Grand Place (Grand Square), Brussels

Grand Place (Grand Square), Brussels (must see)

The Grand Square or "Grand Place", also known as the Grand Market ("Grote Markt" in Dutch), has long been the economic hub of Brussels; a top tourist attraction and by far the most iconic symbol of the Belgian capital. Esteemed as one of Europe's most exquisite squares, if not one of the world's, it has earned World Heritage status for its representation of 17th-century Belgian society and culture.

This square has functioned as a marketplace since the 12th century and has grown in importance alongside Brussels' prosperity, evident in the lavish gold embellishments adorning the grand buildings. Originally guild houses for various Brussels industries, ranging from haberdashery to baking, these buildings now house commercial shops and cafes, with some offering outdoor seating for patrons. Notably, No. 10 remained inhabited by the Belgian beer brewers guild for centuries, now housing the Brewers Museum.

During the Bombardment of Brussels in 1695, when Louis XIV's French troops relentlessly attacked the square for 36 hours, many of its magnificent buildings were destroyed; however, they were painstakingly restored to their former splendor, primarily using stone for longevity. Among the surviving medieval buildings are No. 3, once the guild house for tallow merchants dating back to 1644, and No. 5, which belonged to the archers guild (the Phoenix on the facade symbolizes the square's revival from destruction).

The Grand Square has been the witness to many historic events over the centuries, such as the burning of Protestant martyrs by the Inquisition and the execution of counts in the 16th century. Today, on a more peaceful note, it hosts a variety of festive and cultural events, including the biennial "Flower Carpet", a dazzling display of over 500,000 colorful begonias covering an area of 1,800 square meters in mid-August. Also popular is the Ommegang, a medieval-inspired procession revived in 1930 to celebrate Belgium's centenary as an independent state. Other major events include the annual Christmas tree lighting, the Meyboom procession, and musical concerts.

Why You Should Visit:
Without a doubt, the heart of the city. Here, alongside architectural jewels from the 17th century, you'll discover centuries-old bars tucked away in alleyways, offering authentic Belgian beer; restaurants along the narrow Rue des Bouchers serving steamed mussels; stores selling delicious chocolate, lace, and souvenirs, and so much more.

Tip:
Visit during the daytime to fully appreciate the intricate details on the facades, and return in the evening to witness the buildings illuminated. If you're fortunate, you might catch a special sound and light show after dark, typically around 10:20 PM.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Brussels. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from Apple App Store or Google Play Store. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Grand Place (Grand Square) on Map

Sight Name: Grand Place (Grand Square)
Sight Location: Brussels, Belgium (See walking tours in Brussels)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Brussels, Belgium

Create Your Own Walk in Brussels

Create Your Own Walk in Brussels

Creating your own self-guided walk in Brussels is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Mont Des Arts Cultural Walk

Mont Des Arts Cultural Walk

Mont des Arts, meaning "hill of the arts", is one of the most important cultural sites in Brussels. A classic among the city’s vantage points, it offers a fine city garden and restored showcase of architecture, in addition to several great museums.

Start your journey by traveling towards the old part of the city, where you’ll find the BOZAR Centre for Fine Arts, greatly admired...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.0 Km or 0.6 Miles
Chocolate Tour in Brussels

Chocolate Tour in Brussels

Belgium is considered one of, if not the, best producer of chocolate in the world. The country's capital, Brussels abounds in opportunities to taste more than 2,000 different varieties of this delectable treat. There is a plethora of chocolate shops in the city which offer chocolates of all imaginable shapes, sizes and colors.

Planète Chocolat’s chocolate-making demonstration make a...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.5 Km or 0.9 Miles
Brussels Historical Churches Walking Tour

Brussels Historical Churches Walking Tour

As well as being Belgium’s political and cultural capital, Brussels is the spiritual home of its most significant churches. Historically, the city has been predominantly Roman Catholic, especially since the expulsion of Protestants in the 16th century. The pre-eminent Catholic temple here, located just a couple of minutes from the Grand-Place, is the Brabantine Gothic Cathedral of St. Michael...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.4 Km or 2.7 Miles
Brussels Introduction Walking Tour

Brussels Introduction Walking Tour

Brussels is a major European metropolis with a remarkable history and cultural heritage, renowned for its cuisine and gastronomy, as well as for its historical and architectural landmarks, some of which are designated UNESCO World Heritage sites. The history of Brussels is closely linked to that of Western Europe, during which the city has evolved from a small rural settlement to an important...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.6 Km or 2.2 Miles
The European Quarter Walking Tour

The European Quarter Walking Tour

Along with Luxembourg and Strasbourg, Brussels is one of the European Union’s de facto capitals. The office blocks of the European Quarter are mainly concentrated along and between two wide boulevards – rue de la Loi and rue Belliard – which Léopold II built to connect his Parc du Cinquantenaire with the city center.

Begin your exploration with the EU’s most symbolic construction, the...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.3 Km or 0.8 Miles
Brussels Beer Tour

Brussels Beer Tour

Belgians are not very prone to boasting, except with things such as chocolate, fries and, evidently, beer. They treat beer the way the French treat wine: for the makers, it's a prized art; for the drinkers, it is something to be savored and discussed. They say that, on average, Belgians drink 150 liters of beer per year per person, and one would often see them sipping it from early in the...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.1 Km or 1.3 Miles

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip


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Belgian Beer Tour of Brussels

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