Home of the saxophone makes for a great day out

Looking for ideas for a great day out before the long, dark winter nights set in?

If so, a relatively short trip down the motorway to the picturesque town of Dinant could be just the job.

Dinant is arguably best known as the home of Adolphe Sax, who invented the saxophone (and possibly also for a visit by President Clinton, a renowned jazz lover, in 1993!).

Either way, the Indian Summer we’re enjoying is another good reason to get out and enjoy the lovely landscape of this sometimes under-rated region.

A good way of seeing what this pleasant town has to offer is taking to the River Meuse for an hour or so.

The locally-based Dinant Evasion offers an impressive range of vessels from which one can take on the river to sit back and enjoy the gorgeous surroundings.

These include self-powered electric boats that will continue to ply the river until the middle of next month.

Comfortable, safe, quiet and environmentally friendly, these small boats can accommodate up to 7 people. The piloting is very simple - a single lever adjusts travelling directions and speed.

Boarding and return takes place at the centre of Dinant below the bridge (on the right bank of the river) at the foot of the town’s best-known attraction, the Citadel. The ride allows you to sail about 4 kms between two locks at Anseremme and 200m downstream from the boarding point in the town centre.

They cost just €49 per hour per boat and run until 15 October from 10am to 6pm.

Beware that hours can vary, depending on weather conditions, so it is best to check ahead for confirmation.

An alternative way to admire the surroundings is  by jumping aboard one of the cruise boats, also run by the same company.

These are for groups or individuals and run daily from April to October.

One lasts 45 minutes and runs every hour while the second lasts 2 hours and starts at 2.30pm.

During the cruise a trilingual commentary allows you to better appreciate the sights,including historical monuments and ancient buildings and famous places.

If you want to treat yourself to something extra special, try a trip on Le Sax, described as the “gem” of the fleet. It's a prestigious boat that can accommodate up to 250 and comes complete with a restaurant, panoramic lounge, bar and dance floor.

2018 is, in fact, a special year for the company – the 40th anniversary of kayaking, yet another of its services.

The kayaking takes you on the nearby Lesse, another lovely river that winds around and through beautiful landscapes, medieval castles, natural parks and prehistoric caves and rocks. That’s not to mention the 2 cascades that you have to cross!

Dinant Adventure is a fourth activity operated by Dinant Evasion.

Here, you take your pick from a range of daring programmes, including rope bridges, nature walks, laser games, cross country cycling, telepherique and deathrides. It is particularly good for challenges between colleagues, friends or family.

Dinant Aventure park is nestled in an old sandstone quarry and covers an area of 18 hectares.

All these activities are very easily accessible via the motorway E411 (exit 20 Dinant) or by train line 154 (Brussels/Namur/Dinant).

It all makes for a great day out and just the thing to recharge your batteries before winter arrives.

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Martin Banks

Martin Banks

Martin Banks is a highly qualified journalist with many years experience of working within the EU institutions. He is an occasional, and highly valued, contributor to EU today, writing on a wide variety of issues.

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