We recently went on a day trip to Namur and found that there are so many things to do in this beautiful city in Belgium. So why is nobody talking about Namur?
I mean, this city really has it all!
Namur (also known as “Namen” in Dutch) is an old historical city with many interesting things to do and see, incredible viewpoints, merging rivers, and tasty beers. What’s not to like?
In this blog post, I’ll share everything that I’ve learned from our day trip to Namur. I’ll first give some basic information about the city like why you should visit, how to get there, and 2 useful tips. Then I’ll suggest 16 GREAT things that you can do in Namur, before sharing my own personal top 3 activities in the city.
So let’s get to it! Here are the 16 best things to do in Namur – Belgium’s underrated city.
Things to know before your visit to Namur in Belgium
I always like to share a bit of practical information before diving into a destination. So in this section you can find out why you should visit Namur, how to get there from Brussels, and some tips for visiting this beautiful city.
Why visit Namur in Belgium?
Even though Charleroi and Liège have almost twice the inhabitants, Namur still remains the capital of Wallonia with the Walloon government placed in the city. For those who don’t know, Belgium is divided into 3 regions: Flanders, Wallonia, and the Brussels-Capital region.
Related post: What is Belgium famous and known for?
But even though Namur is the capital of Wallonia, it doesn’t feel like a big city at all. With more than 100.000 inhabitants, a big shopping street, and many things to do, you would expect Namur to be crowded. But it isn’t!
I absolutely love Namur because there is room to explore all its wonderful old streets and attractions without any big tourist crowds. It seems like one of those cities that aren’t on the tourist trail in Belgium, yet Namur is crazily beautiful with its old historical buildings, beautiful merging rivers, and unique citadel on the city’s hilltop.
So why should you visit Namur in Belgium? Simply because you get to see a very beautiful part of the French side of Belgium, but you will not have to share it with any big tourist crowds.
How to get to Namur from Brussels?
It’s super easy to get around in Belgium with public transportation. Since Glenn and I live in Ghent, we took the train from here. But most of you who found this blog post will most likely have your base in Brussels, which is why I’ll dive into how to get from Brussels to Namur.
Read more: Brussels Weekend Itinerary
There is a direct train from Brussels to Namur every 2-3 times an hour. The train takes about 1 hour and 10 minutes and cost €9,20 for a one-way ticket. If you’re below 26 years old, you only pay €6,60 for a one-way ticket.
PRO Tip: Download the SNCB app to get the train timetables on your phone.
Top tips for visiting Namur
- Public Toilets: We found 2 free public toilets on our one day trip to Namur. The first toilet is at the city hall on Rue de Fer with the following opening hours: Monday to Friday 8 AM-4 PM, Saturday from 8:30 AM-11:15 AM, Sunday CLOSED. The second public toilet is at the visitor centre on top of the citadel (I don’t know the opening hours here). There is also a public toilet in Namur station with an entrance fee of €0,5
- Free tourist brochure and map: By the Church of Saint-Loup, we found a free map and brochure of things to do in Namur made by the official tourist office. Thanks Namur!
16 attractions, activities & things to do in Namur
All right, let’s dive into the essence of this blog post! Here are all the top attractions and things to do in Namur in Belgium. You probably can’t do them all in just one day, but I’d still argue that you can see most of them and get a taste of what Namur is all about.
1. Visit the Citadel of Namur
Out of all the things to do in Namur, visiting the Citadel is an absolute MUST! The Citadel of Namur is located on a hilltop over the city where the Sambre and Meuse Rivers are coming together. It’s impossible to miss it!
Because of its advantageous position, the Citadel was an excellent place to defend and monitor the crosspoint of the two rivers.
The Citadel of Namur has a rich history and it has been rebuilt and occupied by many different rulers over the centuries. You can learn more of the history by either going on a guided tour or by listening to the audio guide from the Visitor’s Centre.
It’s completely free to visit the Citadel of Namur if you just want to walk around the area and enjoy the incredible viewpoints over Namur. However, there are also several tours you can go on – of which prices I will list below.
|Type of Citadel Tour||Ticket Prices (2021)|
|Guided underground tour||€10|
|Guided train around the grounds||€6|
|Access to the Visitor’s Centre||€4|
|Citadelle Pass (All above activities & tours)||€15|
|Walk around outside and visit the viewpoints||FREE!|
2. Go for a ride in the cable car
Are you not a big fan of walking uphill? But you’d still love to experience the great viewpoints over Namur? – Well it’s your lucky day! Because Namur has it all – even its own cable car over the city.
You can take a cable car from the city centre to the top of the citadel. How cool is that?!
In all honesty, we didn’t try out the cable car… Since we call ourselves the Worldwide Walkers and all, we opted for a walk to the top of the Citadel. And in my opinion, it seemed like a lot of money for such a short ride in the cable car. BUT if you have any issues with walking, then taking the cable car might be just the right thing for you!
One thing is for sure, you’re guaranteed some beautiful views over Namur from the cable car.
Namur Cable Car Opening Hours and Prices (2021)
- April – September: Open daily from 10:30 AM – 5 PM.
- October – March: Tuesday through to Sunday from 10 AM – 5 PM.
|Ticket types (2021)||One-way||Return|
|Children under 4 years||FREE||FREE|
|Children from 4-5 years||€3||€4,5|
|Students + Young people up to 17 years||€3,5||€5|
|Persons with reduced mobility||€3||€4,5|
3. Go shopping on Rue de Fer
One of the best things to do in Namur, if you love shopping, is to stroll down Rue de Fer.
Rue de Fer is one of the streets that are located in the old town of Namur. The street is full of popular shops, and it’s the best place to go if you’re looking to add a new item to your wardrobe.
Rue de Fer is also where you’ll find public toilets and the City Hall, so you’ll most likely make your way past at one point or another during your day trip to Namur.
4. Take a selfie with Namur’s quirky statues
Namur has some of the weirdest statues I’ve ever seen!
On the way to the top of the citadel, you’ll discover a massive golden statue. But that’s not all, you’ll quickly realize that this statue is of a man riding a massive turtle! Say whaaat…
The golden turtle of Namur is named, “Searching for Utopia”, and it’s been standing there, overlooking the city since 2015. It’s honestly a pretty cool sculpture! Although, I’m not sure a turtle is the fastest way to get around…
You’ll find another funny (yet very different) statue at the Central Place d’Armes in Namur. It depicts two cartoon characters and two snails. One of the snails is in a cage – just in case it’s trying to make a run for it… You can hopefully understand my sarcasm here.
The snail is actually the symbol of Namur, and it refers to the slow pace of the city, which is refreshing to see in the fast-paced world we live in today.
So make sure to check out the funny sculptures in Namur – taking a selfie with a massive golden turtle surely must be one of the best things to do in the city!
5. Visit Namur’s Cathedral Saint Aubain
The St. Aubain Cathedral in Namur was originally built as a church back in 1047, and it didn’t receive its cathedral status until 1559. It’s a special building because it’s supposedly the only cathedral in Belgium, which is built in baroque style.
The cathedral of Namur is one of the many attractions that you can easily visit on a one day trip. It’s free to enter, and you can easily find the entry on the right part of the facade.
Funny story… There are candle vending machines in the cathedral (I’m not kidding!) – I’ve never seen anything like it, and I’ve been to Japan! However, DON’T use these machines!
I inserted €1 in the candle machines, expecting to get 2 small candles back, so that both Glenn and I could light one for our loved ones. However, one of the candles got stuck inside of the machine, and the other one never came… So don’t feed any money to the vending machines.
6. See the UNESCO Belfry of Namur
The only UNESCO World Heritage Site in Namur is the old belfry. The Belfry of Namur is part of a list of 33 belfries in Belgium, which are inscribed as World Heritage. Hence, the Belfry is one of the must-see attractions in Namur.
A belfry is a tower with a bell inside of it. Belfries had many features back in the Middle Ages such as warning the city of danger, announcing events, controlling the working hours, and much more!
The Belfry of Namur, originally known as “Tour de Saint-Jacques”, was built in 1388 as part of the city wall. It wasn’t until 1745 that the tower officially became the belfry of Namur.
Compared to the incredible Belfry of Bruges, you cannot enter the Belfry of Namur. However, it’s free to stand and gawk at it. Just follow the signs in Namur that says, “Le Beffroi”, and you’re on the right track!
7. Find Isaac Cordal’s small, old men
One of the best things to do in Namur, is to follow the trail and story of the little businessman!
Allow me to explain.
Isaac Cordal is a Spanish artist who works with sculptures and photography. Cordal has created 45 miniature sculptures and scattered them around the city of Namur.
It’s basically small sculptures (only about 15 centimeters tall), which are depicting elderly businessmen. The men wear suits, and they stand in different positions such as looking down on their phone or holding a briefcase. The sculptures are supposed to tell a story and make us reflect on our place in a society dominated by bureaucracy and politics.
The 45 sculptures are placed on the walls, facades, and cornices around Namur. They’re not easy to spot, so you need to look really hard for them or follow this map (scroll to the end of the page in the link): Isaac Cordal Map in Namur. The trail begins in the garden of Namur’s City Hall.
8. Go for a walk by the river bank
As mentioned earlier, the Meuse River and the Sambre River meet in Namur. This means that there are plenty of opportunities to go for a walk along the river banks.
We found that one of the calmest and best free things to do in Namur, is to head down to the riverfront and have a stroll or a sit, and enjoy watching all the boats go by. It’s also the perfect place to enjoy your lunch! (We had a take-away baguette). Plus, you can see the citadel from so many angles depending on which side of the river you’re at.
We also encountered a group of geese, who were curious about us and our camera. So, we naturally did a little photoshoot with them!
9. Visit the Church of Saint-Loup
The Saint-Loup Church, also known as the, “Saint-Ignace Jesuit Church” because of its dedication to Saint Ignatius, was built between 1621 and 1645. It’s considered one of the most beautiful baroque buildings in all of Belgium.
However, it’s the inside of the church that really takes your breath away! Therefore, visiting the Saint-Loup Church is one of the must-see attractions and things to do in Namur.
Visiting the church is completely free! However, the opening hours are scarce since it’s only open for visitors on Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday. BUT even if you visit outside of opening hours (like we did), you should still pay the church a visit because you can peek in through the big glass entry.
10. Enjoy the local beers of Namur
Just like any other city in Belgium, one of the best things to do in Namur is to try the local beers!
While I couldn’t find any breweries located directly in town, there are several breweries scattered around the Namur Province. So naturally, you should try some of the beers from these breweries. Most popular are the Rochefort, which is a Trappiste beer and the Maredsous, which is an Abbey beer.
During our visit in Namur, we had the Maredsous for the price of €3,8. We enjoyed our drink at one of the many bars at the plaza next to the Church of Saint-Jean Baptiste (another beautiful building in Namur).
11. Visit a museum in Namur
One of the classic things to do in a big city like Namur, is to visit a museum. And while we didn’t find the time to visit one of the museums in Namur, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t!
The museums in Namur are very affordable with prices ranging between €3 to €8 depending on which museum you visit. A lot of the museums are even FREE to enter!
Here is a list of all the museums (and 2021 ticket prices) you can visit on your day trip to Namur in Belgium:
- Saint Julie’s Centre: FREE!
- Commando Museum: FREE!
- Mutien Marie Museum: FREE!
- Museum of Archaeology: FREE!
- Les Bateliers (Museum of Archaeology & Decorative Arts): FREE!
- Museum of the Ancient Arts of Namur: €3 or €5
- Félicien Rops Museum: €3 or €5
- Diocesan Museum: €4
- African Museum: €4
- Strawberry Museum: €6
- IT Museum: €8
As you can see, it’s very affordable to explore the museums in Belgium’s wonderful Namur! Make sure to read a bit about the museums you want to visit and check out the opening hours before you go. Here is a useful link that’ll take you to an overview: All museums in Namur
12. Marvel at the street art in Namur
Namur is so cool! Not only does the city have quirky statues and funny sculptures of old men, Namur also has a lot of beautiful street art.
In fact, there is an urban street art trail that you can follow through Namur, which includes 18 works of art. Check out the map and street art in this link from the tourist board: Street art trail in Namur
13. Get out on the river: Boat tour & Kayaks
Another one of the best things to do in Namur is to experience the city from the river.
While we didn’t get to do this activity ourselves, we learned that you can easily rent a small boat, a paddle board, or a kayak. Just head to Port de Jambes in Namur and check out the prices at Les Capitaineries. These activities are only possible if you’re visiting Namur from mid-April to mid-October.
There are also companies which do boat tours around the Meuse River. The companies are called L’Olympia and The Meuse Ardennes. So look it up if you fancy a boat tour on the river.
14. Hire a bike or go on a hike around Namur
Wallonia is known for incredible landscapes full of forests, hills, cliffs, and even caves! So if you are staying in Namur for a couple of days, and you want to see more of the beautiful nature in Belgium’s Wallonia, then get out there!
You can either hire a bike or strap on your hiking shoes.
Even though I haven’t tried any trails in the area, I know that Wallonia is famous for its great hiking routes. You can also easily hire a bike from Namur and follow the Meuse River past some great viewpoints and caves.
I like to call Wallonia, “Belgium’s green lungs”, because the area is so green. It’s way less populated than Flanders, so you have the best opportunities to enjoy the nature of Belgium here.
15. Fun activities: Escape room, bowling, axe-throwing
If you’re looking for some fun things to do, which doesn’t involve sightseeing in Namur, then go play a game!
Namur has bowling lanes, mini golf, laser tag, escape rooms, and even an axe-throwing bar! Yes, you heard the last one right. You can visit Drakkar Rouge in Namur and throw some axes around while getting drunk… It doesn’t sound safe, but it sounds like fun!
So basically, there are plenty of opportunities if you want to do some fun activities in Namur, which doesn’t involve the classic, touristy things to do.
16. Take a one day trip from Namur
If you’re staying for a couple of days in Namur and want to do a day trip in this particular area of Belgium, then check out these 3 places:
- Dinant: Dinant is one of the more popular places to visit in Belgium. It’s kind of like Namur, but a lot smaller, quieter and greener. It also has a citadel with a great view and the Meuse River also runs through this city. Dinant is SO beautiful, and it’s only a 30 minute direct train ride away from Namur.
- Maredsous: Maredsous Abbey is located just 26 kilometers south of Namur, and it’s where the popular Maredsous cheese and beer originates from! It’s a great little day trip from Namur, and you can take a direct bus to Maredsous Abbey in just 45 minutes.
- Rochefort: Rochefort is a great little picturesque town in Belgium. You can easily go on a day trip to Rochefort from Namur with a direct train that takes 40 minutes. Popular things to do in Rochefort includes trying the local Rochefort beer and visiting the incredible caves in the area.
My 3 favorite things to do in Namur
Now that I’ve shared all the attractions and things to do in Namur, I want to tell you my personal top 3 favorite things to see in this lovely city in Belgium.
- The Citadel of Namur: The Citadel is without a doubt my favorite thing to do in Namur! I was blown away by the immensity of the place and its incredible viewpoints. I would like to go back to Namur one day just to go on the underground tour of the citadel and hike all of the citadel grounds. The Citadel is a MUST-visit on a one day trip to Namur in Belgium.
- Namur’s quirky statues and sculptures: In most of the big Belgian cities, you’ll find statues of counts and kings riding a horse – You know, the classic “I rule this place!”-kind of statues. But in Namur, you have so many great statues and sculptures. The golden turtle, the snail in a cage, and Cordal’s small businessmen sculptures. I really enjoyed finding these funny, quirky statues and sculptures in Namur.
- The Sambre and Meuse rivers: There is just something about water in a city. It creates another feel and dimension to the place! I absolutely loved walking by the rivers in Namur. Watching the geese and the boats in the river while enjoying a good baguette was one of my favorite things to do in Namur. There are also several bridges that you can cross and get some different views of the citadel. So make sure to go for a stroll by the river.
I hope you enjoyed this blog post about all the best attractions and things to do in Namur! I was blown away by Namur, and I keep wondering why nobody in Belgium talks about this city? It’s truly a hidden gem, and it’s the perfect place to stay if you want to explore Wallonia.
If you have any questions about Namur in Belgium, then don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. Thanks for reading!
Check out some other great cities in Belgium: