If you could only do one thing in Brussels (and frankly, that would be a tragedy), it would have to be a visit to the Grand Place. Also called the Grote Markt, in Flemish, Grand Place is Brussels’ UNESCO-listed central market square. Standing in its cobbled centre and doing a 360-degree turn to take in all of the stunning architecture is a must.
One side of Grand Place is dominated by the Gothic city hall building, with its dramatic spire. Opposite is the darker grey but equally ornate Maison du Roi, or King’s House, now the city museum. The two shorter sides are lined with gold-trimmed Guild Houses. These were the headquarters for Medieval Brussels’ most influential trade guilds: the brewers, the bakers, the sailors and many others.
The Grand Place is also the location of many important festivals and events like the Winter Wonders Christmas market, the Flower Carpet, Floralientime, Ommegang and the Belgian Beer Weekend (All of which have individual Highlights here).
Things to avoid on Grand Place: Eating and Drinking can be double or triple the price on the square as virtually anywhere else in Brussels. Photograph to your heart’s delight but head elsewhere to refuel. Pickpockets also prey on distracted tourists so know where your belongings are at all times.