I have to admit that Brussels was not one of my favorite cities on our last trip to Europe, in fact it was much lower on the list. However, my favorite part of our time in Brussels was exploring the Grand Place or Grote Markt. It’s the central square of Brussels and the most memorable landmark in the city or at least it was for me. The square boasts some of the most iconic buildings in the city and displays remarkable architectural and artistic styles.
We only spent one day in Brussels and our first stop was the Grand Place. In hindsight we probably should have saved it for last since it ended up being our favorite part of the day. I hadn’t really done any research on Brussels before we got there so I didn’t know what to expect from the Grand Place. As we rounded the corner and the square opened up before us my eyes were immediately drawn to the white, luxurious building towering over us, which we later found out is the city’s Town Hall. We headed toward the Town Hall in complete awe of it’s size and the intricate details etched into the design of the building.
We passed through the archway and emerged in a quaint and colorful courtyard. We wandered around the courtyard admiring the statues, fountains and colorful flowers that decorated the space.
We left the Town Hall and continued meandering around the busy square. We were in Brussels on a Sunday so the Grand Place was lively and bustling with people enjoying the beautiful spring day. The square was filled with several different stalls, a flower market, restaurants and lots of tourists snapping photos. One thing about Belgian architecture that I hadn’t expected was the amount of gold that decorated the different buildings.
It seems like all notable or important buildings are decorated in lavish, gold designs. The Grand Place was certainly no exception as there was an incredible amount of gold decorating the buildings, not to mention the gold statues perched on the top of some buildings. It’s definitely not something you would see decorating buildings in the United States.
After being thoroughly amazed at all the gold covering the buildings, we took a break to look around the flower market. These flowers definitely couldn’t rival the flowers in Holland, but they were still beautiful and a much need pop of color in the busy square.
After the flower market, we turned our attention to the second most notable building in the Grand Place, the King’s House which holds the Museum of the City of Brussels. It was hard for us to get a good view of the King’s House because there was a giant stage set up right in front of it. Nevertheless, this wasn’t going to keep us from admiring the numerous arches and intricate details of the design in the building.
The Grand Place is the location of the famous flower carpet that takes place every two years in August. Honestly, I will probably never go back to Brussels unless I am going to see the flower carpet and even then I would only stay for half a day. However, Brussels is a city you’ll have to make up your own mind about, but don’t miss out on the Grand Place while you’re there!
What is your favorite part of the Grand Place? Do you have a favorite landmark or activity in Brussels other than the Grand Place? I would love to hear what you think – leave your thoughts in the comments below!