Finding the most beautiful European squares is one of my favorite things to do when traveling to this incredible continent. And usually, they’re not just pretty but also steeped in history, which makes them even more visit-worthy.
So if you’re also in search of famous squares in Europe that your camera will love, here are 28 spots to add to your bucket list.
*Please consult the constantly-changing local restrictions and safety guidelines before making any travel plans. Note that not all sites and services operate as normal, so check the latest updates on their correspondent websites.
*This post may contain affiliate links from which I earn a commission at no extra cost to you (for more info, read my disclosure). As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
PRETTIEST EUROPEAN SQUARES: BALKANS, EASTERN, AND CENTRAL EUROPE
MARKTPLATZ, HALLSTATT (AUSTRIA)
By Joanna from The World in My Pocket
Hallstatt is one of the most beautiful villages in Austria, popular for its picture-perfect views and the traditional 16th-century alpine architecture. The main square in Hallstatt is called Marktplatz, and it couldn’t be more beautiful.
The Market Square is surrounded by colorful three-story-high buildings with wooden balconies, all decorated with flowers hanging down over the banisters.
The ground floor of these buildings hosts cafes and restaurants with small outdoor terraces where you can relax over a glass of Aperol Spritz and a slice of apple strudel.
Strolling around this European town square is one of the best things to do in Hallstatt. It also has a gorgeous backdrop of the mountain wall, with a tall waterfall coming down the versant.
MARIENPLATZ, MUNICH (GERMANY)
By Kerry from VeggTravel
Munich is a picturesque German city known for its annual Munich Beer Festival; Oktoberfest. But outside of its seasonal notoriety, Munich has stunning architecture and buildings, several of which are in Marienplatz square.
Marienplatz square has been the main focal point of Munich’s city center since 1158. You’ll find several notable buildings here such as The New City Hall and the Old City Hall.
However, one of the main attractions is the glockenspiel spectacle. This show depicts some of Munich’s history, as well as the famous “Schäfflertanz” dance.
Along the Marienplatz, you can also eat or drink at one of the many open-air restaurants and cafes, as well as wander around its shops.
OLD TOWN SQUARE, PRAGUE (CZECH REPUBLIC)
By Samantha from The Wandering Wanderluster
The Old Town Square or “Staroměstské náměstí” in Prague is perhaps one of the most important and historical squares in the Czech Republic.
Sat in the heart of the Old Town, the large public square is home to a number of the city’s most beautiful buildings and historical monuments.
These include the medieval astronomical clock that dates back to the 15th century and the Church of Our Lady before Týn, with its gothic spires that make up part of Prague’s iconic skyline.
Climb to the top of the clock tower to get a wonderful aerial view of the square and panoramic views of the city’s spires and castle.
GENDARMENMARKT, BERLIN (GERMANY)
By Ali from Berlin Travel Tips
You don’t have to go far to find beauty in Berlin. One of the most beautiful squares here is Gendarmenmarkt, and it should definitely be on your Berlin bucket list.
Though the name has changed over the years, the square dates back to the late 1600s. Three historical buildings stand on this square.
The French Cathedral has a great tower you can climb for views. The German Cathedral (not to be confused with the Berlin Cathedral) now operates as a free museum. And the concert hall holds shows on a regular basis.
This square is also the gorgeous setting of one of the city’s most popular Christmas markets, and it hosts other events throughout the year.
Gendarmenmarkt is within easy walking distance from many other sights in Berlin, and the closest Ubahn station is Hausvogteiplatz on the U2.
Read more: 2 days in Berlin
PIGEON SQUARE, SARAJEVO (BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA)
By Maggie from The World Was Here First
If you’re planning a Sarajevo itinerary, then you absolutely cannot miss visiting the beautiful Bascarsija Square – colloquially referred to as Pigeon Square.
This is one of the most iconic spots in the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and it is certainly one of the most unique city squares in Europe.
The Bascarsija neighborhood is the historic center of Sarajevo and once acted as the city’s main bazaar when under Ottoman Rule.
The primary focal point of the square is undoubtedly the Sebilj – an Ottoman-style wooden fountain that was originally constructed in 1753.
The square is also lined with cafes where you can sample Bosnian coffee and other shops selling souvenirs.
LUZA SQUARE, DUBROVNIK (CROATIA)
By Martina from PlacesofJuma
One of the most beautiful squares ever is Luza Square in Dubrovnik. This picturesque city square is located directly in the car-free old town and can be reached by walking along the Stradun, the promenade.
Luza Square is definitely one of the busiest in the city, as it is home to numerous cozy cafes such as the famous Café Gradska Kavana, as well as some of Dubrovnik’s most beautiful attractions.
Unbelievably stunning are the historical buildings that surround this square. The Sponza Palace, the historical Clock Tower, the Marin Drzic Theater, the Rector’s Palace, and the imposing Dubrovnik Cathedral are located directly on this amazing square!
In the middle of it is the Orlando Column, which along with the small Onofrio Fountain makes this square a real historical highlight.
Especially in the summer months, numerous events take place here, including the opening of the Dubrovnik Summer Festival!
PALACE SQUARE, ST PETERSBURG (RUSSIA)
By Anna from Travel Cultura
Palace Square is the central square of Saint Petersburg, Russia. It is one of the most delightful architectural ensembles in Europe and is included in the UNESCO World Heritage list. Everything at Palace Square reminds us of the Russian imperial family.
The most known building at Palace Square is the legendary Winter Palace, the sumptuous residence of Russian emperors. At present, the palace is a part of the Hermitage Museum.
From the opposite side, you will see the impressive building of the General Stuff (it is also a museum now). In the middle of Palace Square, there is the 48-meter-high Alexander Column. It was raised in 1834 in memory of the victory over Napoleon’s France.
Palace Square is not just an open-air monument but also a place for different events. In winter, the square is festively decorated for New Year and Christmas, and in summer, it hosts concerts.
Whenever you come there on an ordinary day, you will hear local musicians performing right by the Alexander Column.
RED SQUARE, MOSCOW (RUSSIA)
By De Wet & Jin from Museum of Wander
The Red Square in Moscow is perhaps the most iconic sight to see in all of Russia.
From the gigantic square, you have access to most of the must-see attractions in Moscow: St Basil’s Cathedral, The Kremlin, GUM Department Store, and Lenin’s Mausoleum.
The Red Square is UNESCO recognized due to its historical importance and links to Russian culture.
While red is indeed the dominating color in the square, the name has its origin somewhere else. In Russian, the Red Square is known as Krasnaya Ploschad, which means Beautiful in antiquated Russian. The word has, however, evolved to ‘Red’ over time.
Entrance to the square is free of charge. Come for a stroll during the day and after dark, as the atmosphere during day and night is very different.
PIAȚA MARE, SIBIU (ROMANIA)
By Sean from LivingOutLau
One of the most impressive European squares has to be Piata Mare in Sibiu, one of the largest and wealthiest of the Saxon citadels in Romania.
Spanning about 130 meters long and 80 meters wide, it is unquestionably one of the biggest attractions in Sibiu.
Historically, like most town squares in Europe, the Piata Mare was the heart of the town where trade, gatherings, and even public executions would take place.
Nowadays, it houses some of the most important historical buildings of the city, such as Brukenthal Palace, Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Church, and more. It is also surrounded by some of the best eateries and architecture in Sibiu!
MARIA-THERESIEN-PLATZ, VIENNA (AUSTRIA)
Connecting Vienna’s famous Ring Road with the Museumsquartier, the incredible Maria-Theresien-Platz houses a remarkable monument of Empress Maria Theresa, as well as two of Europe’s best museums – the Natural History Museum and Art History Museum.
The two buildings are almost completely identical, showcasing exquisite historicism architectural style (combined with other elements), and both were commissioned by Emperor Franz Joseph I.
If you visit Vienna in winter, you’ll also get to enjoy the Maria-Theresien-Platz Christmas market while seeing the square and museums covered in snow, giving the entire scenery a magical atmosphere.
Read more about Vienna and Austria:
- 4 days in Vienna
- Where to stay in Vienna
- Best cafes in Vienna
- Free museums in Vienna
- Cities to visit in Austria
- Famous Austrian landmarks
OLD TOWN MARKET PLACE, WARSAW (POLAND)
Polish cities are home to magnificent old towns, and Warsaw is no exception.
Although its current old town square (Old Town Market Place) was reconstructed after WWII, that doesn’t take away from its beauty, and it’s still one of the top places to see in Warsaw and a famous Polish landmark.
This square actually dates back to when the city was founded in the 13th century, and after the war, it was rebuilt to resemble its 17th-century look.
From the colorful facades to the unique embellishments, all the buildings in the Old Town Market Place are extremely photogenic, and together, they make the perfect postcard.
Read more: All the reasons to visit Warsaw
OLD MARKET SQUARE, POZNAN (POLAND)
Another Polish square you’re going to love is Poznan’s Old Market Square. Originally built in the 13th century, it was remodeled over the years and reconstructed after the damage of World War II.
Beyond the colorfulness and mesmerizing architecture of the square’s surrounding buildings, this is where you’ll find some of Poznan’s most prominent sites, including the gorgeous Old Town Hall, the Merchants’ Houses, the Weighhouse, and an abundance of cafes and restaurants.
This square is, without a doubt, one of the top places to visit in Poznan, and I just know it’s going to win you over in a heartbeat.
Read more: All the reasons to visit Poznan
KOSSUTH LAJOS TÉR, BUDAPEST (HUNGARY)
Home to the stunning Hungarian Parliament Building and the Museum of Ethnography, Kossuth Lajos tér is a square in Budapest named after the governor-president of the Kingdom of Hungary during the Hungarian Revolution of 1848.
The parliament is definitely what makes it worth visiting, but if you explore its surroundings, you’ll come across a few other notable points of interest, including the Szamos Chocolate Museum, the Shoes on the Danube Bank memorial, and scenic Tram 2, which passes alongside the Danube River.
Read more about Budapest and Hungary:
- 4 days in Budapest
- Budapest off the beaten path
- Breakfast and brunch places in Budapest
- Is Budapest worth visiting?
- Cities to visit in Hungary
MAIN SQUARE, BRATISLAVA (SLOVAKIA)
By Melissa from Parenthood and Passports
The Main Square in Bratislava’s Old Town offers visitors a mixture of both enchanting historic allure and modern quirkiness.
The large plaza in the heart of the Slovakian capital has a preserved medieval look, colorful baroque-style buildings, and several notable churches and landmarks.
To get to Main Square, you’ll enter the Old Town through St. Michael’s Gate, the only remaining gate to the once-walled city center. The Old Town is small enough that you could easily explore it in its entirety even if visiting Bratislava for only a day.
In Main Square, you’ll find cafes, coffeehouses, and various shops selling souvenirs and local crafts. But some of the largest draws to Main Square are the whimsical bronze sculptures sprinkled around the square and the surrounding streets.
The unique statues add a modern touch to the historic square, and finding and photographing them has become somewhat of a treasure hunt for tourists to Bratislava.
BEAUTIFUL FAMOUS SQUARES IN EUROPE: NORTHERN, WESTERN AND SOUTHERN EUROPE
TRAFALGAR SQUARE, LONDON (ENGLAND)
By Nathan from Live Dream Discover
Trafalgar Square in London is one of the most visited squares in all of Europe.
Located in Central London, Trafalgar is known as the center of national democracy and protest. Numerous rallies and demonstrations have taken place in this square not only in the past but still today.
The square is also surrounded by galleries, museums, and cultural buildings.
Within the square is Nelson’s Column with bronze lion statues on guard and two fountains flowing into pools. It was designed in 1830 to commemorate the Battle of Trafalgar when the British defeated the French and Spanish Fleets.
Grab a cup of coffee and sit in the square to enjoy the various street performers before visiting the National Gallery, a London theatre performance, or one of London’s iconic pubs, which are all close by.
Read more: Beautiful quotes about London
PIAZZA SAN MARCO, VENICE (ITALY)
By Haley from Haley Blackall
You’ve heard about Venice’s meandering Grande Canal, romantic gondola rides, and its intricate appealing facades. But, at the center of it all is one of the most attractive squares in Italy, Piazza San Marco.
Originally constructed in the ninth century, the piazza (or square) boasts Italian Renaissance architecture and is not to be missed on your Venice trip.
Crowned by the awe-inspiring Saint Mark’s Basilica, surrounded by marble arches, and watched over by Saint Mark’s Campanile, it’s a spectacular sight.
Due to the popularity of Piazza San Marco, it’s recommended to visit the square in the early morning hours. Grab a coffee, and wander around the square before the Basilica opens at 9:30 AM and the crowds ascend.
PLACE DES VOSGES, PARIS (FRANCE)
By Elisa from World in Paris
Place des Vosges is one of the most beautiful squares in Paris. It is located in central Paris – more specifically in the Le Marais neighborhood – and you will be impressed by its elegant architecture and lively atmosphere.
Place des Vosges is one of the few royal squares in Paris and also the oldest (1612). In Paris, a ‘royal square’ is a square that contains the statue of a French King, and there are only 5 in the city.
This one, in particular, has the equestrian statue of King Louis XIII, and the surrounding buildings are typical of his period.
Around the square, the buildings are connected by a continuous arcade that houses small cafes and shops, and there’s also a museum dedicated to Victor Hugo.
SAINT PETER’S SQUARE, VATICAN CITY
By Ania from The Travelling Twins
Saint Peter’s Square is a large piazza located at the entrance to Saint Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican, Rome.
It has been for centuries a central meeting point in Rome. It is now surrounded by some of the most important Catholic structures in the world, including Saint Peter’s Basilica, Vatican Museums, and other historic churches.
The new design of the piazza was ordered by Pope Alexander XII and carried by Bernini in mid 17th century. The square with dimensions of 320 over 240 meters is big, especially if compared with the size of the Vatican.
The trapezoid shape leading you to Saint Peter’s Basilica and oval Doric collonade with the ancient obelisk in the middle is best to see in its glory from the top of St Peter’s Dome. The best time to see it is in the late afternoon when the sun is behind your back.
MARKT (MARKET SQUARE), BRUGES (BELGIUM)
By Shannon from Traveling Teacher Girl
Market Square in Bruges, Belgium, is one of the most beautiful European squares. Bruges is a small and picturesque city located approximately one hour from Brussels and is well known for its canals, cobblestone streets, and medieval architecture.
Some of the most impressive architecture in Bruges can be found in Market Square. Here you will see rows of ornate and colorful buildings that are often referred to as “gingerbread houses”.
In addition, here you will find the Belfry of Bruges, which is a medieval bell tower with 366 steps that offers a beautiful view of the city.
PIAZZA DEL CAMPO, SIENA (ITALY)
Siena is one of the most amazing cities to visit in Tuscany (and is a great addition to any Italian road trip), and its main square, Piazza del Campo, is one of the most outstanding medieval European squares you’ll get to see.
It’s known for its unique shape of a seashell, which faces the beautiful Palazzo Pubblico and its tower, Torre del Mangia.
The shell is divided into nine red brick sections, representing the Government of the Nine (Governo dei Nove/Noveschi), who ruled the city during its prosperous years in the 13th-14th centuries.
When you first step inside the square, there’s a “wow” moment, so savor this feeling, and enjoy the magic of Siena.
Read more: Novels set in Tuscany
PIAZZA NAVONA, ROME (ITALY)
By Noel from This Hawaii Life
Piazza Navona is one of the most visually stunning squares in all of Rome, if not Europe.
The square is a small rectangular piazza filled with gorgeous fountains like the Fountain of Four Rivers created by genius Gian Lorenzo Bernini. It is surrounded by beautiful baroque structures, churches, and other amazing buildings that line the square.
Piazza Navona is a wonderful piazza to explore, eat some gelato and just enjoy the space and everyday scenes happening around the square.
Afternoons are the perfect time to enjoy a passiagata or afternoon stroll in the square and surrounding area, which is a traditional afternoon rite in the neighborhood.
Find a spot in the many outdoor restaurants or near the fountains to really absorb and enjoy the vibe of this lovely space.
PLAZA DE ESPAÑA, SEVILLE (SPAIN)
If marveling at the jaw-dropping Plaza de España doesn’t bring tears to your eyes, I don’t know what will. It is a must-see spot in southern Spain, whether you’re planning a Spanish road trip or a city break in Seville.
Designed for the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929, this is more than just a square. It is a remarkable complex of colorfully-tiled towers, pavilions, and bridges, and it even has a canal where you can go a short boat ride.
With a mix of Spanish architectural styles, the final result can only be described as magical, and you should get there early in the morning to have it all to yourself.
RIBEIRA SQUARE, PORTO (PORTUGAL)
By Cristina of My Little World of Travelling
When visiting Porto, you must wander around Ribeira, a beautiful and colorful neighborhood with cobbled narrow streets and a lively square that has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Ribeira Square is located next to the riverbank of the Douro river, which is popular for the Dom Luís Bridge.
The square is surrounded by small bars and traditional restaurants where you can enjoy a meal with a view of the river, and it’s a picturesque place to watch the sunset.
In the north of the square, you can also find a beautiful monumental fountain decorated with the coat-of-arms of Portugal that you can’t miss.
Read more: Is Porto worth visiting?
PRAÇA DO COMÉRCIO, LISBON (PORTUGAL)
Until the 1755 earthquake (which destroyed many of the buildings in the Portuguese city), this square housed the Paço da Ribeira (Royal Palace of Ribeira), the main residence of the Kings of Portugal in Lisbon.
Today, it’s home to a few cafes and restaurants (including the oldest cafe in Lisbon – Martinho da Arcada), the Museum of Lisbon, an amazing Statue of King José I, and the triumphal Rua Augusta Arch that commemorates the city’s reconstruction.
PLAZA MAYOR, MADRID (SPAIN)
Commissioned by King Felipe II and built during the reign of King Felipe III (17th century), its colorfulness immediately catches your attention, especially when you stop to admire the painted facade of Casa de la Panadería.
This building is decorated with paintings of figures from myths and legends from Madrid’s history and is one of the reasons that Plaza Mayor is so unique.
The square is a great spot for people-watching, and it also hosts different events throughout the year.
Read more about Madrid:
- Where to stay in Madrid
- Famous landmarks in Madrid
- Fun facts about Madrid
- Madrid travel tips
- Alternative things to do in Madrid
- Breakfast and brunch spots in Madrid
- Madrid packing list
- Walking tours in Madrid
- 4 days in Madrid
DAM SQUARE, AMSTERDAM (THE NETHERLANDS)
By Dymphe from Dymabroad
One of the most beautiful squares to visit in Europe is Dam Square in the city center of Amsterdam. It’s where some of the shopping streets of Amsterdam end up, and it is a very impressive place in the city.
At the square, you can also find the Royal Palace of Amsterdam. This used to be the City Hall at the time of construction, and it was one of the largest buildings in the world back then.
One of the purposes of the building was to showcase the wealth of the city of Amsterdam to the world. Nowadays, it is an official palace of the king of the Netherlands, and it is open to visitors that want to see the palace from the inside (which means it’s one of the best museums in Amsterdam).
GRAND PLACE, BRUSSELS (BELGIUM)
The central square in Brussels and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Grand Place is a must-see spot that will blow your mind.
Its construction took place in the 11th-17th centuries, but it was rebuilt in the following centuries after being almost completely destroyed in the Nine Years’ War in 1695.
Today, it’s home to some of the prettiest buildings in the city, including the Town Hall and the Brussels City Museum, and is considered one of the world’s most beautiful squares.
It’s definitely a must-have on your Brussels itinerary, especially if you’re visiting when it hosts events like the Winter Wonders’ light show, the flower carpet during summer, and the Ommegang parade.
PLACE DE LA CONSTITUTION, LUXEMBOURG CITY (LUXEMBOURG)
By Jen from Dabbling in Jet Lag
At the heart of Luxembourg lies one of the most beautiful squares in Europe, Place de la Constitution. If you’re spending a week or even a day in Luxembourg, it’s definitely a must-see.
Not only does it offer splendid views of Pétrusse Park and the Adolphe Bridge, but it’s also a war memorial. Here a granite obelisk topped with a golden maiden sits at the center of the square.
This masterpiece was first unveiled to the public in 1923, but during World War II, the golden maiden disappeared and remained elusive until 1980.
Today, the Place de la Constitution signifies freedom and resistance, commemorating those who fought on behalf of Luxembourg.
Read more about Europe:
- Best winter city breaks in Europe
- Best spring destinations in Europe
- Best Mediterranean islands to visit in summer
- European virtual castle tours
- Best girls’ trip destinations in Europe
Pin this post for later using the share icon in the right bottom corner!