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Diest

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Diest is a town of 23,000 inhabitants in the northeastern corner of the province of Flemish Brabant in Belgium. The town is mainly known for its beguinage and ramparts.

Understand

  • 1 Tourist Office, Koning Albertstraat 16, ☏ +32 13 35 32 73. Daily 10:00-12:00 and 13:00-17:00. Here you can get information about what the town has to offer. 

Get in

By train

The 1 Diest Railway Station is just outside of the city center. There are direct connections to BrusselsLeuvenAntwerp and Liège.

By bus

The Flemish national bus company, De Lijn, has lines to Diest from for example LeuvenAarschot and Tienen. There are also connections to Brussels and Hasselt, but in these cases the trains are a quicker alternative. For more information regarding different timetables (unfortunately only available in Dutch): https://www.delijn.be.

By bicycle

There are several very well maintained bicycle networks leading you to the city center without the need of using the regular roads. It will let you discover the beauty of the region.

By car

You can exit the E314 highway at Bekkevoort or Halen, from there on it's only a few minutes to the city center. If you don't like highways you can perfectly follow the N2 national road also leading to the city center of Diest.

By plane

Brussels Airport (BRU IATA) is relatively close and has a direct train connection to Diest.

Get around

The city center and ramparts are easily navigated on foot. Twenty minutes takes you straight across town.

If you want to see the nearby sights and see the nearby Flemish countryside it is best to rent a bike when the weather allows to. Bikes can be rented in two places in Diest.

  • Fietspunt Diest, Turnhoutsebaan (next to the railway station), ☏ +32 13 66 51 47, ✉ fietspuntdiest@velo.be. This place also rent out electrical bikes and mountainbikes, but they are more expensive. €7 for half a day, €10 for a full day. (updated Jan 2018)
  • The Halve Maan recreational area also rents out bikes for €6 days. Tandems and electrical bikes are also available.

See

  • 1 Beguinage. Beautifully restored, now with some art shops open in summer.  
  • 2 Church of St. Sulpitius, Grote Markt. Main church, a beautiful example of "Demer Gothic", the "Demer" being the local small river.  
  • 3 Church of Our Lady, Bruidstraat 347. This church dates back to the 13th century and lost its tower in the 17th century but it never got rebuilt.  
  • 4 Holle Griet. A medieval cannon made in 1465. Out of this cannon round balls of limestone or granite were shot. Nowadays the cannon is displayed publicly on the little square in front of the Cloth Hall. 
  • 5 Lindenmolen Mill, Omer Vanaudenhovelaan. This mill was built in 1742 and stands on the city ramparts. The mill is since 2005 again in use. It is operating on every first Sunday of the month.  

Near Diest

  • 6 Averbode Abbey, Abdijstraat 1, Scherpenheuvel-Zichem, ☏ +32 13 78 04 40. Founded in 1134 and reestablished in 1834. It is situated about 6 kilometers northwest of Diest in the municipality of Scherpenheuvel-Zichem.  

Do

  • 1 "Halve Maan" provincial open air swimming pool, Halve Maanstraat, ☏ +32 13 31 15 28, ✉ provinciedomein.diest@vlaamsbrabant.be. A wonderful place to while away a sunny afternoon in this lazy town. Paid entrance from 1 April until 15 September. (updated Oct 2019)

Walk the old city ramparts, a very green belt around the city. It easily connects into the surrounding countryside.

  • 2 Parachuting class, Nieuwe Dijkstraat 44, ☏ +32 498 50 94 68. Take a parachuting class in the nearby (4 km) Schaffen airport, which doubles as training grounds for the Belgian paratroop regiment. (updated Jun 2017)

Events

  • Every first Sunday of the month a book fair in the beguinage area takes place.

Buy

  • 1 Teastation, Grote Markt 3, ☏ +32 13 33 33 03. Tu-Sa 10:00 — 18:00. M, Su closed. More than 150 kinds of tea. (updated Jan 2018)

Eat

There are several restaurants and other eateries in the town centre.

  • 1 Immigrand, Commissaris Neyskenslaan 5, ☏ +32 13 77 64 00. Mediterranean fusion restaurant, inspired by the Turkish and Indian cuisine. (updated Jan 2018)
  • 2 Wannes Raps, Schaffensestraat 17, ☏ +32 13 30 58 05, ✉ info@wannesraps.be. Typical Belgian dishes served in a modern way. Mains €19-€22. (updated Jan 2018)
  • 3 IJskafee Diest, Felix Moonsstraat 26, ☏ +32 13 32 32 35, ✉ info@ijskafee.be. For ice creams on a hot summer day, or even when it is raining outside. (updated Jan 2018)

Drink

Sleep

  • 1 The Lodge, Refugiestraat 23, ☏ +32 13 35 09 35. This 3 star hotel is conveniently located in the town center. The hotel is housed in the former gatekeepers house of a convent. 
  • 2 B&B Guesthouse @ Home, Heilige Geeststraat 3 (In the beguinage), ☏ +32 13 31 22 82. Cozy bed and breakfast in the beguinage with private garden. It is possible to store your bike here overnight. (updated Jan 2018)

Go next

  • Leuven — this thriving student city is very close.
  • Scherpenheuvel — a famous local Christian pilgrimage site that is only a few kilometers away.


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