Grand Place, Brussels

1000 Brussels, Belgium

The Grand Place in Brussels is the magnificent main square in Brussels. The square is the main tourist attraction in Brussels and is surrounded by numerous cafes and shops. Most of the buildings were constructed in the late 17th century, although market activity in the square dates back to the 12th Century. It’s a great place to hang out, grab a coffee or a liege waffle, and people watch.

More Recommendations

A carpet of flowers

If you were in Brussels last weekend, you were lucky because the city had laid down the flower carpet in the main square. This is done every five years and I decided to head up the road to have a look since it had been some time since the last one. It is made from real flowers and with the tropical weather that Belgium is having it wouldn’t last more than the 4 days that were allotted for the display. Roll on 2017!

night falls in the most beautiful square in the world

with the clocks having changed last weekend here in belgium, the sun disappeared a bit earlier last night and as it was heading west, the buildings darkened, the sky grew a heavier gray and the old fashioned street lamps began to light the square, filled with tourists, cafes and chocolate shops.

a day in the life of the city square

It has been called the most beautiful square in the world, but whether you have another favorite or not, the Brussels grand place is worth a visit for many reasons - especially the chocolate shops and cozy cafes.

Christmas in Brussels

Although not the best Christmas market in the world, Brussels does have a very good one that is spread out outside of the grand place, heading towards the bourse and leading all the way to Place St Catherine. The main square has a rather unorthodox tree this year, but has kept the traditional life sized nativity scene, complete with real sheep.

Flower carpet

Every 2 years, in August, for a weekend, the Grand-Place in Brussels is covered with a carpet of flowers, mainly begonias. I always wanted to see it and last year I got to see it. It was absolutely amazing, looking forward to the one in 2014!!!!

Brussels' UNESCO-Listed Grand Place

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.

When it rains...

Face it; if you are going to visit Brussels, you’re more than likely going to get wet. It rains quite a bit in the whole country, as a matter of fact. Don’t let that put you off enjoying yourself though. When it rains in the main square in the evening and the lights are on, it makes for some dramatic photos with the lights and buildings reflecting on the wet cobblestones.

Bella Brussels

No matter how many times I stroll through Brussels’ Grand Place, I always have to stop and admire the architecture, and also snap some photos. And I must have walked through that square hundreds of times in my life. For interesting photos when the sky is dark and you don’t feel like using a flash (which isn’t very good for the background) switch to black and white! And of course stop by the Godiva chocolate shop or beer museum or just one of the cafes for some refreshments.


the Belgian artist Renee Magritte was one of the leading members of the surrealists. His work is somewhat over exposed and may now seem all too familiar but he offered a completely differnt take on everyday objects that created cognitive dissonance that made the brain work just a bit more sharply. The Magritte Museum is located in the heart of Brussels but this shop window was located in the Grand Place where tourists can pick up various Magritte adorned souvenirs. After the museum, head past the tourist trap restaurants on Rue de Bouchers to Aux Arms des Bruxelles for a wonerful traditional meal. And if you want to overnight in the area try Le Dixseptieme.

To feel like a medieval peasant

To emerge from a narrow Brussel’s side street and behold, for the first time, La Grand Place is to come as close as you can ever come to feeling like a medieval peasant. And if this first sighting should occur on a clear and sunny day, when the light picks out the carvings and glints off the gilded buildings, you may temporarily lose your powers of speech. I did!

Information on this page, including website, location, and opening hours, is subject to have changed since this page was last published. If you would like to report anything that’s inaccurate, let us know at

Nearby highlights
Sign up for our newsletter
Join more than a million of the world’s best travelers. Subscribe to the Daily Wander newsletter.
More From AFAR