Brussels’ grand central square: La Grand-Place

Grand-Place at sundown: Brussels, Belgium

Our last stop on a two-week tour of Holland and Belgium ended in the capital city of Brussels, Belgium’s largest municipality, capital, and administrative center of the European Union. But we hardly noticed those noteworthy accolades: we just loved it for the scenery, history, and modern fashions and art!

Central gathering place, Brussels

Although we initially thought that this would be our last post lauding this charming Holland/Belgium journey, we had so many photos of Grand-Place itself that we have two “last” posts! We first discovered the charms of Grand-Place the day we arrived in Brussels: this cobbled plaza lies only a few paces away from our temporary residence in Brussels: Hotel Amigo.

Ornately detailed building, Grand-Place, Brussels

Our first view wowed us: the grand size of the plaza, its historic guild halls, Maison du Roi (king’s palace), and City Hall. Everywhere, people held up cameras to capture buildings, architectural details, and the one-after-another photo ops of remarkable style.

You have to stand at a distance just to take photos. Massive buildings tower above you, offering magnificent architecture and styles ranging from Baroque to Gothic.

Glowing facades, Grand-Place, Brussels

Grand-Place originally was an open-air market, as early as the 10th century. And it has evolved beyond its early designs, with major renovations taking place after a fire in the 14th century and bombardments in 1659. (Source: Top Ten Facts about the Grand-Place)

Today it’s a gathering place.

And the center of celebrations and events, brings people together, securing it as the center of Brussels.

Curves and details, Grand-Place, Brussels

We were unprepared for the beauty at sundown when soft backlighting flooded the buildings, exposing gilded details (as in the photo at the top). And as evening approached, man-made lights added more golden touches, making Brussels a special place to visit.

Whether you go with a tour or all alone, don’t miss standing among historic buildings in this UNESCO Heritage Site or come for greater celebrations like the light and sound shows at Christmas or the spring flower carpet on the world’s most beautiful square.

Grand-Place is a site to behold!

Travel in a dazzled state,

Rusha & Bert

This post is one in a series prompted by a recent trip to The Netherlands and Belgium. Thank you to Viking cruises (Holland & Belgium 2022) and our travel agent, Lauren Gunnels of Ortelius Travel Advisors, for the arrangements and free time to enjoy the scenery!

24 thoughts on “Brussels’ grand central square: La Grand-Place

  1. ourcrossings

    This is such a great post with so many amazing photos. I had a chance to explore and be in awe of Brussels’ grand central square, La Grand-Place a few years ago and it’s a place I won’t easily forget. It was one of the most beautiful squares I’ve seen in Europe – Maison du Roi and Hotel de Ville (Town Hall) were my favourite buildings. Thanks for sharing and have a good day 🙂 Aiva xx

  2. Armando

    Wonderful post! Grand-Place was just as you described it. And we stopped for a terrific breakfast at the Hotel Amigo, great food and wonderful service. If we return to Brussels some day we are sure to stay at the Amigo.

  3. Toonsarah

    It’s an amazing space for sure and you’ve captured it really well. We were lucky to stay in a hotel on the square for a night a few years ago. It wasn’t fancy (only two stars) but what a location! I think it may be the building with green awnings in your first photo.


    The word “grand” is very appropriate for this square. Like you, we were really surprised and delighted by the grandeur of it when we visited a few years ago. One of those squares which just makes you stand and stare. And yes we remember the wonderful evening light too. Your descriptions bring memories of the majesty of this square flooding back.

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