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, Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic — This adorable square is quintessential Cesky Krumlov. The square is small but vibrant, with interesting Eastern European architecture. It is anchored by the lovely Town Hall and the center of the square is occupied by a beautiful fountain, topped by the Marian Column, erected in 1716.
Wenceslas Square, Prague, Czech Republic — This large oval space has a central area surrounded by a road which is busy with traffic. On the perimeter are scores of restaurants and shops. The square has great historical significance, since it was the scene of the Velvet Revolution, when Czechoslavakia declared its independence from the USSR.
Piazzeta, Isle of Capri, Italy — This small square, perched high above the harbor is a great rendezvous point, since it sits at the top of the cable car that brings many visitors up from the marina. It is also a convenient entrance into the warren of narrow alleyways that make up the tourist area of Capri Town.
Hippocrates Square, Rhodes, Greece — This is another adorable village square. On one side are the lovely city walls while at the center is a fountain which attracts a lot of activity.
Syntagma Square, Athens, Greece — Governmental buildings anchor this large gathering place. The Parliament building sits at one end of the square and features the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, where a Changing of the Guard Ceremony takes place during the day..