Hello there! Since it’s been a while since the last time I’ve published an article, I’ve decided to make it special, with a short-list of my very secret places in and around Luxembourg. As I’m used to say: Luxembourg has always something to offer to everyone’s taste. Just get out of the house and explore!
So, you might be wondering about the title of this article, no?! Well, first let me tell you a little detail: Dinant is not next door to Luxembourg, but it is just one (very worthy) hour driving away! It’s a lovely little city with a lot of history to teach us all.
Even though the most prominent building nowadays is the Cathedral, the historical landmark that defines Dinant is its fortress, the so called Citadelle de Dinant built in 1815 under the direction of the “architect” Vauban (any link to our dear Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg is NOT pure coincidence, but I’ll let that for you to find out 😀).
My recommendation is for you to enter “Citadelle de Dinant” in your GPS. By doing this, you avoid some craziness on the parking quest as the parking facilities at the Citadelle is free for its visitors! You will also avoid the traffic down there in the city center as the access to the Citadelle is done by the suburbs. Actually, at some point you might have the impression that you’re completely lost in the countryside as you will only spot the city once you enter the Citadelle! So don’t worry, just trust me that you’ll get there! 🙂
Entrance tickets to the Citadelle have 2 options: Citadelle and Cable Car to the City (return ticket) or Citadelle, Cable Car and Boat Ride. This time we skipped the boat ride as we didn’t have plans to spend all day there. Otherwise, it’s a good deal, especially when compared to buying separate tickets for each attraction!
Visiting the Citadelle
Although you can visit part of the Citadelle by yourself (map area number 2 and common areas), most of the fun can only be reached by joining one of the guided tours. The guided tour is included in the ticket, so all you need to do is to head to the main square of the Citadelle where the guides are waiting to form the groups (there’s a big clock with the time of the “next departure”).
The visits are conducted in French and Dutch but, you can look for Joseph, the most funny “old teacher/guide”. He makes sure to engage you into the group dynamics with an excellent level of English. Plus, he also engages all children with funny details and intimidating questions to double check if anyone knows a bit of history 😉
All areas of the tour are equally interesting and full of history, but there are 3 points that clearly stand out (in my humble opinion):
– At the free access area (number 2), the rooms with binoculars where you can compare the city view of the present time with the exact same view about one hundred years ago;
– The main viewpoint of the Citadelle (guided tour), from where you can enjoy a magnificent view over Dinant and the river Meuse;
– And the big surprise at the very end of the guided tour is the Barracks and Bunker room. It’s a unique room that simulates the trenches in a war scenario followed by an impressive reconstruction of a bunker hit by a bomb. I’ll just tell you that walking through that bunker is a scary experience with tons of laughing (even though we all know that behind this kind of a touristic experience are very sad history times…). If you are easily impressed by dizziness, maybe you should skip this last room, otherwise, go for it!! (PS – Even little kids, without stroller, are welcome to enter it . It is not dangerous, but a parent should absolutely help them walking through it).
Having lunch at the Citadelle
As you might notice by the entrance of the Citadelle (inside the Citadelle grounds), there is a very nice and big playground by an onsite snack-bar / restaurant. Although it is not a perfect place/service nor it serves perfect food (it’s kind of fast-food, with hot-dogs, hamburgers and pizzas), this place is perfectly located by the playground and offers plenty of outdoor tables under the shadow of big trees.
Visiting the City of Dinant
So, after having lunch and spending a bit of energy at the playground, your family might already be ready to continue exploring Dinant. So head to the Cable Car (or adventure yourself through the 408 steps down to the old city!).
The Cable Car will bring you directly to the Cathedral’s side door and from there to the Saxophone Bridge (Did I already tell you that Dinant is the birth city of Adolphe Sax, the inventor of the Saxophone?). The official name of the bridge is “Pont Charles de Gaulle”. However, in 2014, some huge and colorful saxophones were placed in there in commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the birth of Adolph Sax, so people started calling it the Bridge of the Saxophones!
You may also pop by the House of Adolph Sax (“La Maison de Monsieur Sax”). Admission of this so called interpretative center is free and it’s an opportunity to better understand the wonderful story of the saxophone (address: 37 Rue Sax, 5500 Dinant).
Some additional insider tips:
– Plan to arrive to the Citadelle no later than 10 o’clock. By doing this you’ll not only avoid being included in a hugegroup visit, but it will also allow you to have lunch by 11:30 (12:00 the latest);
– There are many visitors that, not knowing about the parking at the Citadelle, start by visiting the city center and then go up to the Citadelle by Cable Car. This usually results in long waiting queues by the Cable Car ticket office. BUT, you, being already a ticket holder, can indeed avoid the queue and just show your ticket to the ticket office lady (I did confirm this point at the ticket office!) – anyway, even though you are still following the rules, you might have to face some very upsetting people staring at you 😉
This year, the swimming pool already opened its doors (last Thursday 25th May), so all is good to start already enjoying this amazing view. Basically, the swimming pool is set on the hill opposite to Vianden Castle, so while you’re laying down on the grass, you face the enchanted castle in front of your eyes! Just like a magical painting! 🙂
The complex is not new, but it offers some changing rooms and toilets, a snack bar with some “fast-food” meals, one big swimming pool with slide and a paddling pool for the little ones with a nice shadow. Next to the kiddie pool you will also find a little playground. There are some shadows but definitely not enough of them for everyone, so better to consider bringing your own parasol.
There are some parking areas next to the entrance of the swimming pool, but be aware that if you arrive late you’ll have some difficulties to park and people start parking on the road – not that family-friendly, in this last case.
Address: rue du Sanatorium, L-9425 Vianden
As the Summer seems to be back in town, our natural reaction is to go out there and look for the perfect outdoor venue… And you know what? Luxembourg is quite perfect on answering to that question: there are amazing lakes and swimming pools all over the country.
The other day we ended up exploring a little secret that is actually pretty close to our home. Remerschen has a beautiful natural reserve where you can not only find dozens of unique birds (and many other natural and animal species), but also a lovely “beach”. Ok, not really a beach, but a very pleasant lake that is nicely surrounded by sand, pebbles and grass.
On the plus side, this place is super family friendly. Not only it has a shallow and safe lake area especially dedicated to children, but it also keeps an onsite lifeguard. There’s plenty of space to place some towels and picnic blankets. Even though there are many trees offering shadows, bringing a beach parasol would be a better idea if you’d like to stay by the water to keep a closer look to your little ones.
Onsite there is also a restaurant with a outside bar in the terrace by the shallow lake area and it serves drinks, snacks and ice-creams (the terrace is only open during the warmer months).
The lake area is fenced and there is an entrance fee of €4 per adult (free for children up to 10yo). In exchange, you get access to the public toilets with babychange facilities, and to the beach area with all the amenities on site (lifeguard, playground, voleyball pitch and maintenance).
On the minus side, I would need to add that the place is very clean around the shallow lake area and the restaurant – where it matters to most of the families with young kids. However, it changes dramatically if you go further to the more distant and isolated areas where you can also make bbq (you need to bring your own). I just explored a bit further and I was quite disappointed – some garbage on the grass and dogs poo..
And if you are in the mood to combine beach fun with a nice walk, you can also explore the local trail around the whole natural reserve, starting by the impressive building dedicate to the nature (on your right side, once you arrive to the lake area – there’s absolutely no way you can miss it J).
All in all, I would say that this place is very nice and a perfect option for a day out in a warm day. You just need to make sure you choose a nice and clean place by the shallow area – big enough for plenty of families!
Address: Breicherwee, L-5441 Remerschen (there is a big parking onsite – free of charge)
More info on the restaurant Le Chalet: http://lechalet.lu
Hello there! Yesterday we decided to explore one more family-friendly place in Luxembourg. I confess that I’m quite surprised when I realise that even after almost 5 years living in the Grand-Duchy (how times fly…), there are still so many fun places to discover!! 🙂
So let me present you the lovelly village of Rosport and it’s amazing promenade by the Saurlake.
So, grab some snacks and your picnic blanket and head to Rosport (address below). As soon as you arrive, you are presented by this gorgeous nature view… And, as soon as you park your car (and even before that), you’ll spot the huge playground, with an “adventure park” style.
There are some picnic tables here and there and a huge table by the fortress (perfect for big groups) and plenty of space for picnic blankets with good shadows if desired. There were also some groups doing bbq (you need to bring your own – if you don’t have a portable bbq, just buy a cheap disposable one – many supermarkets and gas stations sell them).
The playground itself is very well structured with different areas suitable for different ages. There is also a water play area (yesterday the water was still off, but should be on soon), though I freak out with the slippery side of water play areas… A cute detail is an open-air (and free use) library with some nice wodden lounge chairs (behind the amphitheatre). Finally, a very important detail to know of is that the is also a public toilet (quite clean) by the library.
Address: rue du Barrage, Rosport
About one hour and a half from Lux city, there’s a fantastic family-friendly resort called Center Parc Bostalsee.
Some of you who know me best would ask: but, I thought you were not a fan of Center Parcs?! Well, that’s indeed true! Even tought there are many details that I’m not a fan of, I have to admit that the advantages of this particular one make me put a pro-vote on it!
First of all, let me explain the concept for those of you who are not familiar with it! Center Parcs are a group of all-year-round family-friendly resorts that you can find in Europe (mostly in France, Belgium and The Netherlands). The concept is simple: you rent a nice and comfortable mobile home (the level of comfort will depend on you budget) in the middle of a huge park whose center point is a big “dome”. The “dome” is a big building with restaurants, supermarket, playgrounds and the well-known “aqua-mundo”, an indoor swimming pool complex with a tropical theme and warm waters.
The Center Parc Bostalsee has it all, it is quite recent, so you have that “new” feeling, it has a little farm with friendly animals (including poneys) and lies around a big lake. Plus, it’s just by Luxembourg making it perfect for a long weekend or just a day out of family fun (yes, you can visit it for the day!).
Now, time to say something about the “minus” details: in my humble opinion, Center Parcs are overpriced… In the majority of the deals, nothing else is included in the price besides the overnight stay: for example towels or bed linen or even the final cleaning. The resorts are big, so that means that depending on your mobile home location you migh need to walk a lot everyday. Even though there are golf carts and bikes for rent, again it’s quite overpriced. And so are the onsite restaurants.
- Avoid the high season and long public weekends. Instead, take advantage of those weekends when your kids school is off on a Friday/Monday for other reasons (like staff meetings) and find out about the promotional deals available online
- Take your own bed linen and towels
- Plan your meals in advance and take your own food
- Bring waste bags (even if you get final cleaning in your package, you’ll have to collect all waste)
- Bring a kitchen kit (kitchen towel, dishwasher tabs, dish soap and sponge)
- Take your own bikes if you have a bike rack or consider at least the micro scooters or a kiddy wagon
- If it’s still cold season, bring your own wood and oil to lighten up the fireplace at the mobile home
Hello there! So this time I don’t go far away as there’s also plenty of hidden secrets just by Luxembourg city!
In a Sunny day like it was today, nothing like going out for a lunch in a place with outdoors and beautiful views. And the restaurant Juegdschlass is quite something for that as it’s ideal for a family lunch on a weekend. Plus, the restaurant has a garden with a small playground.
Book your table a few days in advance, if possible, as it’s always fully booked. And don’t forget to ask for one of those tables with a view!
Practical info: 400 Rue des Sept Arpents, Bambesch, Tel. 337137
Though, if you have time to arrive a bit earlier, park the car by the restaurant and take a walk alongside the little road. Within very short walking distance you can find several farms where you can spot several animals, including horses and an American bison.
After lunch, head to Bambesch Playground, down the hill on the way to Luxembourg – Rollingergrund. You’ll just need to drive to the Tennis Club Spora and, by the entrance of the club, you’ll spot a huge wooden-framed playground. The playground has several picnic tables and you can also explore some hiking paths from there.
Insider Tip: On Sunny days it becomes quite crowded in the afternoon and you might face some issues to find a parking place. There is a toilette at the Tennis Club premises (though you’ll need to follow the signs to “jogging vestiaires”).