Belgium, Europe, Short Breaks
Best things to do during a city trip in Namur
Namur is a city with a long history. The first trace of habitation date back to the Stone Age. The hilltop in between the point where the Sambre and Meuse river flow together, was a coveted strategic place. What first started with a castle grew into a real citadel and even far beyond. This is how the city that we now Know as Namur arose on the left bank of the Sambre. The many traces from the past can still be found both in the city an on the Citadel. But Namur has so much more to offer. Today it’s a charming, vibrant city where you can enjoy many sights, museums, shopping and last but not least good food and drink. In short, it’s the ideal place for an unforgettable city trip.
How to get to Namur?
The city of Namur, also the capital of the Province of Namur, is located in Wallonia south of Brussels.
Namur has a train station. This makes the city very easily accessible from other Belgian cities by public transport. It’s best to plan your train journey via the NMBS. You can also easily take the train to Namur from Brussels airport. The journey takes about 1h30 min.
You can also travel to Namur by bus from other places in Wallonia. Good to know if you are making a round trip through the Ardennes and using public transport.
I myself traveled by car to Namur. Keep in mind that if you drive past Brussels, there is a risk of traffic jams. Are you also planning to travel by car? Then think about accommodation with parking facilities, or free parking nearby.
How to get around in Namur?
Namur is a cosy, compact city. Everything is therefore easily accessible on foot. And that is of course the best and also my favorite way to get to know the city.
Are you traveling to Namur by car? There are a few public parking facilities around the city, but these are paying. And as in any Belgian city, the prices aren’t that cheap. That’s why I strongly recommend that you take an accommodation with parking so that you don’t have to use your car during your weekend in Namur.
If you don’t like walking or would like to discover the neighborhood around Namur, you can call on Li Bia Vélo at or a blue bike bike at the station. But here too, the popular partial scooters are available. You can of course also rent a bicycle for several days. This is possible at L’Empreinte Belge.
Would you like to take a look on top of the Citadel? Then you can take the shuttle buses Citad’in from the foot of the Citadel. Or you can go by the cable car, which is of course an experience in itself.
Of course you also have a taxi service here in Namur.
When is the best time to travel to Namur?
Namur is charming during every season. I went there at the end of November and could still enjoy the beautiful autumn colors on top of the Citadel and from the trees along the water. At that time, the Christmas lights in the city were already up and that created a super cozy atmosphere. They were also busy setting up the Christmas market and skating rink in the center. During the Christmas period there are many things to do in Namur.
In the spring and summer you can enjoy one of the many cozy terraces in the city or simply relax with a bottle of wine by the water.
Namur is the perfect city for a day trip or a weekend getaway. If you really want to experience the city, I highly recommend staying here for 2 nights so that you have 3 days to discover everything. I did this too, but I still have the feeling that I haven’t seen everything of Namur yet. Moreover, this city is also the perfect base if you want to get to know the beautiful surroundings a bit better.
Where can you stay in style in Namur?
There are plenty of options to spend the night in Namur. I stayed at the Royal Snail Hotel for 2 nights. This 4 star hotel is located a bit outside the city centre. It’s about a 20 minute walk to the centre of Namur. At the hotel you can park for free in the neighborhood or book a parking space in the parking lot of the hotel.
Hotel Royal Snail is housed in a beautiful historic building that has been renovated with a stylish, contemporary design. This style is also extended into the rooms. You can opt for a stay with breakfast. Breakfast takes place on the ground floor in the form of a buffet with both savory and sweet dishes. You can also dine here in the evening in the restaurant La Table du Royal Snail, but be sure to make reservations.
When the weather is nice, you can enjoy the beautifully landscaped garden, with a small swimming pool to cool down during the hot summer days. The hotel also has a wellness area that can be rented for private use. In short, for a stay with just that little bit of extra luxury, you should definitely book a stay in the Royal Snail Hotel.
The best things to do in Namur
Explore the city in an original way
The city of Namur provides various possibilities to get to know the city in an original and fun way. I did the Street art tour. I got a map at the tourist information point at Namur station and I went looking for the different colorful artworks.
In the meantime I also looked for the statues of Isaac Cordal. These are small statues that are placed on the facades of buildings in the city at a height of approximately 3 m. Let me tell you, it’s not easy to find them. You have to search very well. Along the way I met several people looking for these small statues. You can recognize them by staring and pointing up high. It’s quite funny to see. But when you see others looking for the statues as well it’s nice to exchange tips about where to find the figurines. It’s therefore not only an original way to get to know the city, but also creates a connection between the different visitors.
You can of course also explore the city by yourself, or go on one of the organized guided tours during the summer season (May-September)
If you don’t feel like walking, you can opt for one of the two guided tours in a Pousse-Pousse. A driver will guide you through Namur in a bicycle rickshaw.
Soak up culture in one of the many museums
Namur has many museums. Unfortunately I couldn’t visit them all during my weekend.
I did visited the Félicien Rops Museum. Félicien Rops was a well-known illustrator and caricaturist from Namur who lived during the 19th century. He continued in painting and became best known for his Symbolism. In addition, he also had some macabre and lurid works that are both very pornographic and satanic. I found it very interesting to learn more about this fascinating man and admire his artwork.
I also visited the newly opened NiD (Namur Intelligente et Durable). Le NID wants to invite the citizens of Namur to come together to think about the future of Namur, taking the contemporary dangers such as climate change, energy dependence, erosion of biodiversity, conflicts, migrations, loss of social ties, impoverishment, … into account. They do that by using various awareness tools and a quiz. It’s very interesting to see how Namur wants to involve the residents in mapping out a future for the city.
A few more recommendations that I haven’t been able to visit, but are on my bucket list for my next visit, are Museum of Archeology and Decorative Arts, Museum of the Ancient Arts of Namur, the Strawberry Museum and a visit to the Church of Saint-Loup.
Travel back in time with a visit to the Citadel
One of the top things to do in Namur is of course a visit to the Citadel. Here you can make beautiful walks, enjoy the most stunning panoramic views and you can closely observe the traces of the long and turbulent history.
You can visit the Citadel by car. Parking is provided in several places. But as already mentioned, the Citadel can also be reached by cable car, bicycle or Citad’in.
Are you interested in learning more about the history of the Citadel? Then definitely pay a visit to the Terra Nova visitor center where you can find all the information from the beginning to the present.
Here you can also book a ride on the tourist train that takes you through the history of the fortress.
Speaking of history. Did you know that you have a complete network of underground passages here? You can discover these with a guided underground tour. The tunnels were created at the behest of different rulers and you can see this in the different ways they are constructed. They were also actively used during the world wars.
To give the tour an extra dimension, various animated projections were used. This way you can better imagine how these underground passages were made and what they were used for. I thought this was a great experience that I would certainly recommend to everyone.
At the Citadel you can also visit the famous Parfumerie Delforge. You can opt to take a look at the store or book a tour of his atelier.
Discover Namur from the water
Go for a cruise on the Meuse and Sambre and discover the historic centre of Namur from the water. This is possible at L’Olympia and at Le Meuse Ardennes. During the summer season (June – September) you can also take the retro ferries of Les Namourettes that will gladly bring you from one bank to the other. If you are looking for something more adventurous such as renting a boat, a canoe, kayak or stand-up paddle? Then the Capitaineries of Namur is the place to be.
The best things to do in the neighborhood of Namur
If you have some time left on your trip, then you can also discover nice sights near Namur. Take one of the many hiking routes to get to know the area around the city better. You can ask for more information and hiking maps at the tourist information point in Namur. Some other recommendations I can remember from my previous trips to this region are the water gardens of Annevoie, the ruins of the castle of Montaigle, a visit to beautiful Dinant and a kayak trip down the Lesse.
The best spot to go shopping in Namur
Namur is a vibrant city with many shopping opportunities. You will find both the large well-known chains and smaller, local boutiques.
The larger and more well-known retail chains can be found mainly in Rue de Fer and Rue de L’Ange.
In my opinion, the nicest boutiques are located in the historic centre around Church Saint Loup . In the maze of small streets consisting of historic houses with beautiful facades and shop windows, I personally found it more pleasant to walk and shop. Besides many souvenir shops with local products, you will also find trendy boutiques and nice vintage items.
Specialties from Namur you’ve got to try
Namur also has some specialties that you definitely should try. Wépion, better known as the strawberry capital, is only a 12-minute drive from Namur. It goes without saying that when you visit Namur during the strawberry season, you cannot miss this delicacy.
Did you think escargots were quintessentially French? Then you’re wrong, because the Escargot pétit- Gris de Namur is the symbol of Namur. These Petit-Gris snails are processed at the Ferme du Vieux Tilleul in Bierwart, located half an hour’s drive from Namur.
A typical delicacy of the region is the Bietrumé de Namur. These candies are made from caramel and hazelnut, sometimes they are covered with chocolate. You can get them at Maison des Desserts and you can recognize them by the colorful character (called Bietrumé) on the packaging.
Then you also have the avisance de Namur (the advice), minced meat/sausage in a puff pastry roll. This delicious snack is as old as the Middle Ages. Then the pilgrims were advised to bring something to eat during their pilgrimage. And so the avisance de Namur was born.
Some tasty regional beers are also brewed in Namur. When you’re here you should definitely try a lanche de Namur, a Houppe or a Philomène. Or all three of course! You can also enjoy delicious local wines from the Maas region here. And you can end your evening with a hearty gin named Pékèt.
The most trendy hotspots in Namur
Besides many things to do in Namur you can find many trendy and cozy hotspots, from breakfast spots to restaurants. So you can enjoy all the tasty food the city has to offer throughout the day. I did my best to collect some the best addresses for you.
If you’re planning on going somewhere, It’s always best to make reservations. If you don’t feel like making a reservation right away and would rather take a look around first, go to Rue de Brasseurs. I thought this was one of the coolest streets in Namur to stroll through in the evening. Not only because of the beautiful facades, but here you will also find many cozy bars and restaurants, including some of the ones mentioned below.
Coffee, breakfast & Lunch
Do you want to start the day with a nice cup of coffee? That is possible in one of the many cozy and trendy coffee bars such as Coffee & more, Café Nomad, Bubble Waffle Coffee Namur, …
Pain quotidien can be found in almost every Belgian big city and is therefore not the most original place to have breakfast or lunch. But a few summers ago I had breakfast here on the terrace and that was such a pleasant experience that I would recommend this place in Namur. The location opposite the beautiful Church of Saint Loup is simply sublime and that makes dining on this terrace extra spectacular.
In Maison des desserts you can also go for coffee and enjoy the tastiest desserts. Here you can find and taste those delicious Biétrumés.
Poké bowls have become indispensable in today’s cities. For a quick and healthy poké bowl you can go to Mister Poké and Surfside Poké in Namur.
To stay in the theme of world cuisine, I have a delicious lunch address. If you love Spanish cuisine, Bocata et caetera is the place to be! It was the smell that drew me in. I chose the house specialty bocadillo comme D’hab, and this was simply sublime! Of course you can taste other tasty Spanish specialties and enjoy the open kitchen.
For typical Belgian dishes you have to go to Bistro Belgo Belge. Here you can only have lunch on Saturday afternoon, but for dinner you can go there from Wednesday to Saturday.
Bars & restaurants
If you want to chill for a while Chez Juliette bar a tous is just the place for you. If you ask me, it’s the ideal setting to play a board game on a Sunday afternoon, but also perfect for a successful apero or nightcap.
Maybe the next one is not for everyone, but for the cat lovers among us there is also a cat cafe Chez Miss Miaouw where you can take a break during the afternoon for a drink and some quality time with sweet kittens.
For delicious cocktails you can go to Art Salon Namur, Botanical by Alfonse, L’Antiquaire, Boulevard du Rhum, … So plenty of choice to start your evening well.
At restaurant Vivo you can enjoy delicious world cuisine in a super cozy decor. This restaurant is housed in a former house that dates back to 1930. It has been transformed into a trendy gem while retaining the beautiful authentic Belle Epoque elements. In good weather you can also dine here in the garden!
Brasserie Confluence is a collective of 3 restaurant owners in Namur and is situated in the modern building where Le NID is also located. Here you can dine gastronomically with only products from Belgium or from Belgian producers abroad. I liked that a pairing wine is served with the various dishes, based on your preferences. This way you get to know new, tasty wines. You can also enjoy a touch of live music during your meal.
Every time I went into town, I passed an uber cute restaurant Temps de Cersises. Unfortunately I couldn’t dine here, but I would come back just to dine in that cozy interior.
Oh yes, almost forgot! If you like to gamble, then you can visit the casino. You can already find me at the roulette table.
The city of Namur definitely surprised me in a pleasant way. During my weekend, I thoroughly enjoyed everything this city has to offer, from the most spectacular things to do in Namur to soaking up the cozy atmosphere that prevails here. I hope that you will also have an unforgettable experience here as well with the help my extensive city guide full of tips about Namur.
After reading things which things to do in Namur can’t be missing from your itinerary?
Let me know in the comments below.
Thanks for reading!
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