Grand Place (Grote Markt), Brussels

Grand Place (Grote Markt), Brussels (must see)

The Grand Place ("Grand Square" in French), otherwise known as Grote Markt (Dutch for "Grand Market"), is the central square in Brussels – a top tourist destination and by far the most memorable landmark of the Belgian capital. Recognized as one of the most beautiful squares in Europe, if not the whole world, it has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1998. Surrounded by opulent guildhalls with cafes, the Choco-Story chocolate museum, and dominated by two larger buildings: the Gothic-style City Hall, and the King's House or Breadhouse (French: Maison du Roi, Dutch: Broodhuis) accommodating the Brussels City Museum, the Grand Place never ceases to amaze.

Here, alongside 17th-century architectural jewels you will find many centuries-old bars hidden down alleys and serving authentic Belgian beer, restaurants offering steamed mussels along the narrow Rue des Bouchers, stores selling delicious chocolate, lace and souvenirs, and so much more.

Renowned all over the world for its decorative and aesthetic wealth, the Grand Place is also steeped in history and has witnessed, over the centuries, many historic events including the burning of Protestant martyrs by the Inquisition and the beheading of counts in the 16th century, as well as the bombardment of the City Hall by the French with flaming cannonballs in the 17th century, destroying much of the area. The houses surrounding the square were quickly reconstructed in stone by the various guilds; among them, the house of the Brewers guild now sheltering the Brewers Museum.

Nowadays, on a more peaceful note, the Grand Place regularly sees numerous festive and cultural events. Among them is the “Flower carpet” (77x24 m, 1800 sq meters) organized every two years in mid-August, featuring more than 500.000 colorful begonias set up in patterns. The first such flower carpet was “rolled out” in 1971 and has since become a tradition attracting thousands of tourists. Also popular is the Ommegang, a historical procession rooted in the medieval times, revived in 1930 to mark the centenary of Belgium as an independent state. Other major events include the annual Christmas tree, the procession of the Meyboom, musical concerts, and more.

Why You Should Visit:
Without a doubt, the heart of the city. Gorgeous and breathtaking, even in terrible weather.

Tip:
Go during the day to better appreciate the details on the facades and come back in the evening to see them lit.
If lucky, you might be able to catch a special sound & light show after dark (around 10:20 pm).

This sight is featured in a self-guided walking tour of Brussels, Belgium within the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" which can be downloaded from iTunes App Store or Google Play. Please download the app to your mobile phone or tablet for travel directions for visiting this sight. 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 (Grote Markt) on Map

Sight Name: Grand Place (Grote Markt)
Sight Location: Brussels, Belgium
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

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Chocolate Tour in Brussels

Chocolate Tour in Brussels

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

Brussels Religious Sites Walking Tour

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

Brussels Beer Tour

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Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.1 Km or 1.3 Miles
The European Quarter Walking Tour

The European Quarter Walking Tour

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Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.3 Km or 0.8 Miles
Mont Des Arts Cultural Walk

Mont Des Arts Cultural Walk

Mont des Arts, meaning "hill of the arts", is the cultural center of Brussels. In addtion to offering one of the best views in Brussels, the neighborhood boasts a number of important cultural institutions such as the Royal Museums of Fine Arts, Magritte Museum, the Musical Instrument Museum, and others. Take this self guided walk to appreciate the museums and art galleries that Mont des...  view more

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

Brussels Gift Shops

It would be a pity to leave Brussels without having explored its specialty shops and bringing home something truly original. We've compiled a list of gifts and souvenirs, which are unique to Brussels, that a visitor might like to purchase to reflect their visit. All shops are located within a pleasant walking distance, in Central Brussels.

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

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip


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Belgian Beer Tour of Brussels

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