Dinant, birthplace of saxophone inventor Adolphe Sax was our first destination on the way to the Ardennes. After a nice 20min walk along the riverside from the car parking, we had reached the center of the city with the famous Citadel above our heads on the truly imposing rock. It is worth to walk first to the other side of the Meuse river over the Charles-de-Gaulle Bridge to have a look at catholic church Notre Dame de Dinant, which is located at the foot of the Citadel, from a different perspective. There are many colorful saxophones on the bridge, each represents different country through its unique colors and patterns.
After purchasing tickets in the office and climbing 408 stairs, we reached the top of the Citadel to enjoy beautiful view of the surroundings. There are 14 different exposition rooms to visit but the view was the most impressive for us as we found the exhibitions not very modern and interesting. The cable car can take you to the top within 2 minutes but walking on the stairs gives you a chance to see the view from few different levels, each giving you unique perspective of the city and the river.
Once we left the Citadel, we passed a restaurant, graveyard and car parking where we turned right and followed hiking path, going all the way down to the city center, see map of our walk below. The path was mostly in the forest with one viewpoint of the city and river but the Citadel was almost not visible from there (photo of the city and river below).
For the afternoon, we planned walk starting next to Vêves Castle (9km from Dinant by car), which can be visited on weekends but as we were there on a Friday we couldn’t get a closer look at the castle. Our walk started in the forest but the path quickly entered yellow fields of rapeseed. Once we reached the river Lesse, by going down a very steep path through the forest (around the 3km mark on the map below), we followed a narrow path running along the river banks which was the nicest part of the walk. This area was quite dark and lush with many kinds of ferns and caves that were probably accessible for people who are familiar to caving. At one point we passed a small bar, La Flobette where you could get from the parking car with a stroller so it’s a good ideal for a walk with kids. We discovered this car parking next to some small wooden hut that was office where you could buy a tickets to access the other parts of the park. The path we took had no entrance fee (big parking around 5km mark on the map below). There are plenty of other walking paths in this area (Walzin Castle further to the west) so it’s definitely a better idea to come to this parking and explore the beauty of Furfooz nature reserve. Unfortunately, I found a website with more details about this place after our visit so take this opportunity and check all available attractions ahead of time.
After the cold night, we happily left the camping in direction to Luxemburg, more precisely to the area of Lac de la Haute-Sûre. It is the largest water reservoir in the country, built in the 1950s to meet Luxembourg’s drinking water and electricity needs. There are so many hiking paths that it was difficult to choose one specific area! Finally we parked our car in Esch Sauer, next to the floating bridge where we started our walk.
We really enjoyed this walk! First along the waterside, next narrow path led us all the way up to Liefrange, small village with a lot of campsites. Then, we kept going through the fields in direction of Kaundorf, where we started again getting closer to the lake. Once we passed that village, we quickly reached amazing viewpoints from where we could see far in a distance floating bridge where we started in the morning. Path leading down from the viewpoint towards the lake was really steep so we were happy that we decided to do our walk in the opposite direction where uphill part was longer but not very steep. What we also liked was the fact that there were many benches along the way so we could easily find nice place to have a rest.
Since we still had some time left in the afternoon, after a quick look at the map, we noticed the nearby village Esch-sur-Sûre is worth a visit and we were definitely right! We were lucky enough to find a parking spot along the river from where it was not far to the castle. We just walked through narrow streets to the church and then by the stairs to the top of the hill. There was no entrance fee (parking was also free) and we could admire from there stunning view of the river and steep hills surrounding this small city.
We noticed another tower on the other side of the hill (photo below) but to get there we had to go all the way down to the village and then take another, much longer stairs uphill. My curiosity of the view was too strong and quickly won with fatigue after the whole day of activities. Luckily, it was worth it! The tower itself had few levels from where we could admire this beautiful region.
Since it was our last day on the camping, we packed everything to the car after breakfast and headed to La Roche-en-Ardenne. That day we had a reservation to visit Hotton cave in the early afternoon so we still had enough time to stop and visit La Roche. It was definitely the most crowded place we visited during this longer weekend, we finally found a parking spot on the Av. du Hadja. To our surprise, the city was really crowded, mostly dominated by motorcyclists. We had a walk to Belvédère de La Roche, from where we could admire the view of the city and nearby hills. Then, we came back down to the river to check city park and come back to the car, grabbing ice cream in the center. There is a castle and a military museum in the city but we didn’t have time to check these out.
Our last attraction of the weekend was the visit in Hotton Caves. We bought our tickets online for guided tour in English. The cave is well maintained but without light shows and underground boat ride, a more natural character is preserved. Probably not as interesting for young kids, for them better option would be the Caves of Han or the Caves of Remouchamps. In general, we liked tha cave but we were hoping for more corridors open for the visitors as we feld that it was not enough what we saw. Maybe it’s just the matter of comparison to the big cave we visited in Georgia few years ago.
We were so lucky with the weather, it was first few days with some sun after long, rainy weeks! It was definitely intense but amazing weekend :D
De Citadel Dinant - 10 euro entrance fee, you can take a cable car or 408 steps get up to the top. Toilets on the top but you have to pay 0.50 euro which is strange after paying for the entrance. There are big parking areas on the top of the hill where you can buy entrance ticket so other option would be to leave the car here, visit Citadel and city (ticket allows you to leave the citadel) and come back. Everyone was obligated to wear a mask in the whole area of the fortress but also in the city center. More info on the official website of the Citadelle
Car parking in Dinant - we decided to park in the city center but not close to the Citadelle where it was diffucult to find free parking places, we parked on Rue Alexandre Daoust 46, 20 min. walking distance from the Citadelle (1.5km), many spots available and most of them in the shadow of the trees what is always really helpful.
Car parking in Luxemburg - 13 Lultzhausen, 9666 Esch-Sauer. The price was around 0.6euro/hour so very reasonable but parking was not very big. We easily found a spot but it was not high season yet. There were many parkings in other parts of the lake that were much bigger. More information about the this area
We stayed at Camping Pont de Berguème, despite to be close to the highway, it was very quiet and nice area, next to the stream where kids could play in the water. Clean facilities, nice owners, very much recommended. Just keep in mind that nights in June are still pretty cold in Belgium, around 6-7 °C, take a warm sleeping bag if you are camping with a tent.
In La Roche-en-Ardenne, we parked the car on Av. du Hadja. Nearby parkings were completely full.
Hotton Cave - entrance 10euro/adult, visiting time was about 45min, definitely worth to have sport shoes (slippery and dark inside) and extra jacket if visiting in the summer because temperature in the cave is around 12°C. We bought our tickets online
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