Known in Dutch as the Grote Markt, this large square is Brussels’ main tourist attraction, like the Colosseum is to Rome or the one inhabitable place on the continent is to Antarctica.
Skip the unnecessarily expensive restaurants and chocolate shops in its immediate vicinity, but don’t skip gawking at the incredible buildings. It’s dominated by the town hall with its 96-meter-high tower, as well as the Museum of the City of Brussels and a number of ornate guildhalls. The square began as an outdoor market in the eleventh century, but much of the architecture dates from the seventeenth, rebuilt after French bombardment in 1695. If you’re lucky, you may be able to see the spectacular flower carpet that fills the square every other year in August.
Grand Place; www.brussels.be/grand-place-brussels; open daily 24hr
Free; wheelchair accessible