Grand Place Walking Tour (Self Guided), Brussels

Brussels is the capital of Belgium and also a top tourist destination in Europe. The city's main square is the Grand Place. The square is famous for its Baroque style buildings, such as the Town Hall, the King's House and other guildhalls, all of which make the Grand Place a busy tourist hotspot. Take this one-hour tour to visit the most popular tourist attractions situated in and around the Grand Place.
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Grand Place Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Grand Place Walking Tour
Guide Location: Belgium » Brussels (See other walking tours in Brussels)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 11
Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 0.3 km
Author: audrey
1
Grand Place

1) Grand Place (must see)

Grand Place is one of the most beautiful squares in Europe, its fascinating 17th-century architecture never ceasing to amaze. Among architectural masterpieces, there are many stores selling authentic Belgian beer, delicious chocolate, lace and souvenirs. The square is the most important tourist destination and most memorable landmark in Brussels.

Every even-numbered year in August, an enormous "flower carpet" is set up in the Grand Place for a few days. A million colorful begonias are set up in patterns, and the display covers a full 24 by 77 meters, for area total of 1,800 square meters. The first flower carpet was made in 1971, and due to its popularity, the tradition continued, with the flower carpet attracting a large number of tourists.

Why You Should Visit:
Without any 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 façades and come back in the evening to see them lit.
If you're lucky there's a special sound & light show after dark (around 10:20 pm).
Sight description based on wikipedia
2
King's House / City Museum of Brussels

2) King's House / City Museum of Brussels (must see)

The King’s House, also known as Maison du Roi, is designed in a Neo-Gothic style incorporating many decorative statues. The Dutch name for the building is “Broodhuis”, which translates to “bread house”. This gives a clue to the early origins of the building. At the beginning of the 13th century, a wooden structure stood on this location and was used by bakers to sell their products. In the early 1400s, a stone structure was constructed to replace the original wooden building. In the 1500s bakers favored selling their bread door-to-door and the need for a bread selling house slowly diminished. Instead of letting the building sit empty, it began to be used as a government administrative building. Over the next couple of hundred years, the building declined to the point that it had to be rebuilt. In 1860 the city purchased the building and initiated a complete tear down/restoration. The neo-gothic architecture of the King’s House was inspired by the Oudenaard City town hall.

Today the building houses the City Museum of Brussels. The museum portrays the history of the City and features pieces of Brussels’ heritage including original statues of the town hall, wall tapestries, earthenware, silverware, paintings and other artifacts that speak volumes about the past of the Belgian capital.

Why You Should Visit:
Good way to familiarise yourself with the history of the city while on the run.
While the building itself is a sight to behold, its balcony gives a great view of the plaza.

Tip:
There's an entire exhibit dedicated to the genuine 'Manneken Pis' on the top floor, which is unmissable.

Opening Hours:
Tue-Sun: 10am-5pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
3
Pigeon

3) Pigeon

Pigeon is one of the most popular buildings of the Grand Place square. The Pigeon is famous because Victor Hugo spent part of his exile from France here. The Pigeon building originally housed the painters' guild.
Sight description based on wikipedia
4
House of the Dukes of Brabant

4) House of the Dukes of Brabant (must see)

The House of the Dukes of Brabant is an elegant building situated between the Town Hall and the King's House. The house features 7 departments, each of them having a name. The edifice is called the House of the Dukes of Brabant due to the statues of the dukes, which are on the first floor, under the windows.
Sight description based on wikipedia
5
Arbre d'Or

5) Arbre d'Or (must see)

Arbre d'Or is the only building on the Grand Place square which is still owned by a guild, the brewers'. The building features an equestrian statue of Charles of Lorraine on its top. Arbre d'Or houses a small Musée de la Brasserie on the ground floor.
Sight description based on wikipedia
6
Cygne

6) Cygne

The Cygne building is called so, due to the swan on its facade. Cygne is famous for the bar where Karl Marx met up with Engels when the former was exiled in Belgium. Today the building is home to one of Brussels' most exclusive restaurants.
Sight description based on wikipedia
7
Etoile

7) Etoile

Etoile is one of the oldest and the smallest buildings on the Grand Place square. Mentioned in the 13th century as the residence of the local chief justice, Etoile has been rebuilt several times. Today the building has a number of impressive bas-reliefs on it and a plaque which commemorates Everard Sercles, a famous son of Brussels.
Sight description based on wikipedia
8
Town Hall

8) Town Hall (must see)

Located on the Grand Place, the Town Hall is a lovely example of Gothic architecture. The oldest part of the Town Hall is the east wing and was constructed over an 18-year (1402 to 1420) period under the guidance of Jacob van Thienen. Subsequent wings were added in 1444 and 1452.

The dominant feature of the building is the 310-foot (96-meter) tall tower feature, the spire of which is topped by the Archangel Saint Michael. Upon careful inspection, you may notice the tower, the front archway, and the façade of the main building are off-center relative to one another. Legend has it that when the architect discovered the error he was so distraught that he climbed the tower and leaped to his death. The building façade includes many statues of nobles, saints and allegorical figures. The sculptures you see today are actually reproductions. The older ones are now housed in the city museum. The Town Hall was completely gutted by fire as the result of a 1695 bombardment of Brussels by the French. The fire destroyed the archives and art collection. The halls have since been refilled with tapestries, paintings and sculptures depicting key local and regional historical figures.

Why You Should Visit:
A most impressive building, which acts as a beacon wherever you are in the heart of Brussels – particularly spectacular at night.

Tip:
Make sure to buy your guided tour tickets in the mornings to view the building from the inside – there are just a few tours each day and they do sell out. The information you receive from the tour guide is outstanding!

Opening Hours:
Mon-Fri: 8:30am-5:30pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
9
Le Renard & Le Cornet

9) Le Renard & Le Cornet (must see)

Le Renard and Le Cornet are two buildings that are part of a larger complex of guild houses occupying the northwest area of the Grand Place and opposite the King’s House. During the Middle Ages and later, many cities in Belgium had guilds which had a stake in the city administration. The guilds were very wealthy and had a lot of political power, thus their wealth position was often reflected in their ornate and impressive buildings. Their adjacency to the Town Hall is not surprising, given that they would regularly meet with town officials. The Guild buildings served as a meeting place for the artisans where they would discuss new rules or regulations that were specific to their trade. Le Renard, which translates to “the fox”, was built in 1690 and served as the guild house of shirt makers. The facade of Le Renard is rich in ornamentation and statues, including one of Saint Nicholas. Le Cornet, which translates to “the horn”, was the former boatmen’s guild and features a Flemish Italian style. Some say the facade of Le Cornet looks like a type of frigate or warship. Nearby guild houses include La Brouette, Le Sac, and Le Pot d’Etain which accommodated tallow makers, cabinet makers, and carpenters, respectively.
Sight description based on wikipedia
10
La Louve, Le Sac & La Brouette

10) La Louve, Le Sac & La Brouette (must see)

The Louve, the Sac and the Brouette are an ensemble of houses on Grand Place square, which were not rebuilt in 1695, when the rest of the Grand Place buildings were renovated. Due to the preserved facades, the buildings are considered the most beautiful edifices of the Grand Place.
Sight description based on wikipedia
11
Le Roi d'Espagne

11) Le Roi d'Espagne (must see)

The Roi d’Espange (or King of Spain) building was constructed in 1697 and served as the original house of the baker’s guild. The building was designed by Jan Cosyns and is boxy in style with a domed lantern feature on the top. The building’s name is drawn from the bust of Charles II which is incorporated into the second-floor building facade. The bust of Charles II was included in the facade because he was the sovereign of Southern Netherlands, which included present-day Belgium when the building was complete. Charles II was also the King of Spain. Some of the notable features of the Roi d’Espagne include the statues on the roof and dome. On the top of the dome is a gilded weather vane statue of Fame blowing a horn. The six statues on the roof each represent one of the six items needed to make bread. From left to right, when facing the building, they are strength, wheat, wind, fire, water and foresight. Above the door is a gilded bronze bust representing Saint Aubert, the patron saint of bakers. One of the most popular cafes on the square, Roy d’Espagne, occupies a portion of the building.
Sight description based on wikipedia

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.
City Center Orientation Walk

City Center Orientation Walk

Brussels is a major European capital with a remarkable history and cultural heritage. It features a large number of architectural sites, museums and world -famous specialty shops. Take a walk and discover the main landmarks of Brussels such as the world-renowned Grand Place and the Royal Palace.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.4 km
The Sablon Sights Walking Tour

The Sablon Sights Walking Tour

The Sablon is a hill and neighborhood in the historic upper town of Brussels. At the top of the hill we find the twin squares of Grand Sablon and Petit Sablon, divided by the Church of Our Blessed Lady of the Sablon. The area is especially known for a great variety of antique dealers, chocolate shops and art galleries.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 0.6 km
Artists' Studios and Museums Tour

Artists' Studios and Museums Tour

Brussels is the cultural capital of Belgium and also the former home of such well-known artists as Victor Horta, Camille Lemonnier and Paul Cauchie. There are a number of famous artists' houses and museums in Brussels, which exhibit numerous Belgian masterpieces. Don't miss the chance to visit some of the most famous artists' studios and house museums in Brussels.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.3 km
Laken Park Walking Tour

Laken Park Walking Tour

Laken, also known as Laeken, is a park in a residential suburb of Brussels. Laken Park was formerly the official home to the Belgian Royal Family and is home to the Royal Castle, the Royal Greenhouses, the statue of Leopold I of Belgium, and more. Take this three-hour walk to visit the most famous attractions of Laken Park in Brussels.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.8 km
Royal Sightseeing Walking Tour

Royal Sightseeing Walking Tour

The main Royal site in Brussels is the statue of Godfrey of Bouillon, which actually represents the center of the Royal Square. Also known as the Royal Place, the Royal Square is surrounded by the Royal Palace, the Royal Museums and the Royal Library. All these served as the official residence to the King of Belgium. Enjoy this two hour tour to visit the Royal places in Brussels.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.8 km
Manneken Pis Surroundings Walking Tour

Manneken Pis Surroundings Walking Tour

Seen as the emblem of Brussels, Manneken Pis is a statue in the center of the city. The famous statue is surrounded by the city's fanciest points of interest, such as the Brussels Regional Parliament building, the Church of Our Lady and the Stock Exchange building. Take this three hour tour to visit the popular Manneken Pis and its wonderful surroundings in the center of Brussels.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.3 km

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