Arguably Europe’s most beautiful square, Brussels’ Grand Place—in the heart of the historic and hip city—is surrounded by nearly 40 baroque and gothic guildhalls and the stunning Brussels Town Hall. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the large cobblestone square, also known as Grote Markt, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Belgium.
The central square of Brussels, Grand Place stands out for its unique blend of architectural styles from various eras. It is full of people at almost any hour and is surrounded by some of Brussels’ top attractions, including the Brussels Town Hall (Hotel de Ville) and the King’s House (Maison du Roi), which is now home to the Brussels City Museum. The famous Manneken Pis statue is also nearby. Visit the square as part of a half-day walking tour or full-day city tour, or make it a stop on a hop-on hop-off sightseeing bus tour. Joining a small-group bicycle tour of Brussels is another great way to experience the spectacular square.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Grand Place is open to the public 24 hours a day, seven days a week, although access may be limited during special events. Admission is free.
- The best initial view of the Grand Place may be from the Rue des Harengs, one of six narrow side streets leading to the square.
- The cobblestone-covered square may be challenging for those in wheelchairs or with strollers.
How to Get There
The Grand Place is easily accessible by public transportation, bike, or car. The closest Metro stops are Centrale, Bourse, and De Brouckere. Public parking is available on the Rue du Marche aux Herbes.
When to Get There
The Grand Place is worth visiting whenever you are in Brussels—and more than once, as the atmosphere varies. Visit on Monday, Wednesday, or Friday mornings for a regular flower market. And watch the calendar for special events that take place throughout the year, including the Winter Wonders event and Christmas market, from late November to New Year’s Day.
Brussels Flower Carpet
Every other year in mid-August, the Grand Place is literally carpeted in more than half a million begonias. One hundred volunteers artfully set up the flowers in colorful patterns covering 19,000 square feet (1,765 square meters) in a remarkably fast four hours. The Flower Carpet, perhaps best viewed from the balcony of the Town Hall, lasts for just one weekend, which includes concerts and sound-and-light shows each evening. A tradition since 1971, the next Flower Carpet will take place in August 2018.