Squares (plazas, piazzas, places) are great tourist stops. They are usually a beehive of activity, with restaurants, shops, street performers, and often major attractions. They are great places for people-watching and frequently offer a respite from sightseeing since they are places to relax and have a glass of wine or beer or a cup of coffee or tea.
In this series, I will list my favorite squares around the world, with the reasons why they are special. I will present them in groups of five (5) although I will not attempt to rank within the group. However, groups are ranked; group 1 is my all-time favorite 5, while group 2 is next, etc.
Main Square, Zhouzhuang, China — This adorable little square is located in one of China’s most popular “water villages.” After you take the obligatory boat ride on the town’s canals, find this charming little spot for some relaxation.
Place de Armes, Luxembourg City, Luxembourg* — This lively square is the most popular gathering place in the old part of the city. It is ringed with restaurants and shops and is centrally located near the city’s major attractions. It is also home to City Hall.
Mallory Square, Key West, Florida, USA* — This is the absolute best place to watch a sunset in the United States. Not only is the setting sun beautiful, but the occasion, in Key West, like every other event in this town, becomes a party.
Place de la Concorde, Paris, France* — This square is truly difficult to appreciate. Because it is a busy traffic circle with a deafening noise level and true danger for the pedestrian, it is hard to concentrate on the tourist-worthy parts of the square. The centerpiece is a 3,000 year old Egyptian obelisk, complemented by the beautiful street lights.
Main Square, Delft, Netherlands* — This adorable square is the focal point of this charming Dutch town. It is anchored at one end by the distinctive Town Hall and at the other end is the Nieuwe (New) Church, which contains the remains of many Dutch rulers. In between are many shops and restaurants.
* All these locations are included in my walking tours of each city. Check them out by clicking on “Walking Tour Store.”.