The river towns in Belgium don’t receive the credit they merit. At least that’s what Pierre-Yves Dalem, president of GET to Belgium thinks. And I couldn’t agree more. Not only are they attractive destinations, but they depict ingenuity at its finest. Maria Lisella, contributor to Jax Fax Magazine, uncovers these hidden gems like they deserve.
Namur and Dinant
Namur and Dinant are located on the banks of the Meuse and the Ourthe Rivers in the Wallonia region. The French-speaking “Walloon,” as it is sometimes called, takes about 55% of the territory of Belgium. Namur hosts a magnificent Citadel and is renowned for shopping and boat cruising along the river. Alternatively, Dinant also has its own fortified Citadel. Plus, the city was home to Adolphe Sax, the inventor of the saxophone.
Located 20 miles from Holland is the cultural city of Liège. Although the town initially began as a working-class mining place, it now has seven beautiful hills to keep it looking pastoral even in the face of its past. The city is home to the glorious The Curtius Palace, built for 17th century Liège gentleman Jean de Corte. The Grand Curtius museum holds extraordinary artifacts from prehistoric, Roman and Frankish medieval periods - coins, furniture, decorative art, glass and famous weaponry- the latter which made Curtius wealthy selling gunpowder to Spain. The city’s cathedral, St Paul's Collegiate Church, founded in the 10th century, features some of the most the most beautiful Gothic cloisters in Belgium. Discover its 16th-century and contemporary stained-glass windows, a baroque Christ in white marble, and brilliant 19th-century furniture.
The Sunday market in the town recruits hundreds of vendors, buyers and visitors who can’t get enough of the gigantic pans and old-fashioned kitchen appliances from the 50s. Walk to Le Bistrot d’en Face to savor the legendary Liège meatballs. Looking for fine gourmet? Take a visit to L’Epicerie,serving Italian and French cuisine.
A visit to Wallonia wouldn’t be the same without taking a leisure excursion to Durbuy. Back in the day, this tiny town was known for its thriving agriculture, but now a view around calls to mind a flourishing valley of resorts. However, once you take a good look behind the resorts – literally – you’ll discover charming, narrow streets with small, shops, restaurants and boutique hotels. Among the popular places to stay is Jean de Bohême, known for its exceptional staff service and out-of-this-world cuisine at its “Boheme” restaurant, and Le Sanglier des Ardennes.
Take a seat and soak up Belgium's river towns on a river cruise!