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trip by 4* coach, on-board drinks and snacks, entrance fees, citadel visit, cave visit, entrance fees, great group of international people, a lifetime memory
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Today we visit two of Belgium’s best destinations. First, the Caves of Han-sur-Lesse in the Ardennes are truly exceptional. It is one of Belgium’s top tourist attractions with well over half a million visitors per year and a 3-star rating by the Michelin guide. This hug complex of caves were carved out as a result of erosion by the small Lesse River. During our tour we will walk not less than 2km through the caves and visit several absolutely spectacular rooms, some of which are very large. Afterwards we’ll head towards Dinant, arguably one of the nicest towns in the country with a very long history and a superb citadel overviewing the Meuse river 100 meters below.
We depart from Place Schuman around by luxury coach, followed by La Chasse, Metro Delta and Metro Hermann-Debroux. Along the way you’ll be served some snacks and drinks. It’s just a short drive of maximum 1h30 towards Han-sur-Lesse. Although we only visit the caves, it is part of a much larger natural complex, the Domain de Grottes de Han, which also includes a Wildlife Park and several smaller attractions.
It is quite amazing to know that the Lesse River found its way through the rocks of the Ardennes. As you can see on the above pictures, the river is considerably larger on exit than on entry. This is due to the water that is added to the river while running underground. It’s very humid inside (95%) with a constant temperature of 13 degrees.
Upon arrival we’ll be boarding a unique 110-year old tram that was once part of a much larger vicinal tramway network. Needless to say that they are expecting us, so there is really no need to stand in line for tickets and the tram itself. In just a few minutes the tram will take us to the entrance of the caves. At the end one or more English-speaking guides will be waiting for us to take us through the caves. Due to the temperatures and high humidity it is advisable to dress warm. Also keep in mind that there will be a total of 504 steps (up and down) over a length of about 2 kilometers. During 1 to 1,5 hours this guided tour we walk along many spectacular rooms with the most beautiful and amazing rock formations.
At the end of the tour you can either chill out in one of the two restaurants or you can go to the PrehistoHan (entrance also included). “This year PrehistoHan is highlighting the underwater excavations carried out on the bed of the Lesse and at the exit from the Cave of Han. Films, models and photos take you down with the divers, into the murky waters of the river, to the discovery of one of Belgium’s most fabulous archaeological treasures. It’s an adventure that started 50 years ago! Frequented by man for over 4,000 years, the Cave of Han has yielded up an impressive quantity of archaeological remains dating from the Late Neolithic to modern times. The best represented period is without doubt the Late Bronze Age. The quantity of objects discovered is such that it makes Han one of the most important sites in western Europe for this period. The exhibition also includes a section dedicated to the natural sciences: geology, the formation of the caves and concretions and cave fauna. A large model of the massif of the caves, a presentation of the various networks of the cave system and an animation on the Lesse in spate round off the exhibition.” (source: http://www.grotte-de-han.be/)
After spending about 2,5 hours in Han we are going to drive towards one of Belgium’s most famous little towns. Lying along the beautiful Meuse River, Dinant has a very long and tumultuous history. In Dinant there are many things to do, including the ascent by cable car (or foot) to the impressive Citadel that towers 100 meters over the town and Meusse river. You can also visit the Adolph Sax museum, take boat tour over the river, visit the lovely Maison Leffe (and taste various sorts of their beers) or visit another cave.
Dinant is the birth town of Adolph Sax, the inventor of one of the most famous instruments. You may even find some time to find his birth house or to visit the Sax museum. But of course you are also more than welcome to go to a nice bar and enjoy the local beer… Leffe! We finish as a group in a nice bar / restaurant for some drinks and a light meal (optional). We leave again around 19h15 so we won’t be back too late in Brussels as it’s just 1h15 driving.