Gamla Stan - The Old Town, Stockholm
Gamla Stan (the old town) is located on a small island in the centre of Stockholm. A very compact and pretty place, the cobble-stoned streets criss-cross the old town, lined with restaurants, bars & shops.
Home to the magnificent looking Royal Palace, along with some great churches and museums, there are plenty of excellent photo opportunities, especially on a sunny day!
Take some time to wander aimlessly around the streets soaking up the atmosphere and enjoying the street entertainment....oh, and perhaps enjoy a scoop or two of ice cream ; ))
Stortorget is the central square of the Old Town. It's surrounded by beautiful old houses, mainly from the 17th/18th century.
In one of the buildings (the old stockexchange), you'll find Nobelmuseet, which gives a lot of background on the winners of the famous Nobelprize.
There are lots of antique shops, restaurants, cafés and bars in the narrow streets leading to the square.
Walking down the streets of Gamla Stan you cant help but feel enchanted by its sheer beauty. There is an air about it that makes even the locals turn their heads down every street. For me, it was so magical with the cobble stoned streets and little narrow passages, all light with lanterns that remind you of Disney's Beauty and the Beast... Amazing amazing amazing... I wish i have a more extensive vocabulary than just stating "amazing" but if you ever saw it... you'd be amazed.
On my most recent trip a fellow VTer and I went and stayed a week and practically every day more than once did we get lost on the small island and let me tell you... there is no such thing as getting lost because even though you dont know exactly WHICH street your hotel is on, there is this magic in all the buildings that make you never want to find your way home. I cant wait to get lost again!
Whats really sweet about the Island besides the fact its EXACTLY in the middle of the inner-city of Stockholm is that the buildings are the oldest, the stores are the quaintest and the views.... my... the views are breathless...
There are a lot of unique things to see when visiting the old town in Stockholm. The old town is the original Stockholm. The town was set up during the 1300 century. There are about 3000 people living in the old city today. Most buildings are from the 1700 and 1800 century. If you can spare a few hours take the time to walk about the old town. The dominant building in the old city is the king's castle. The old town is the place to be if you want to experience the town's pulse. The area has Stockholm's biggest ranges of restaurants, tourist shops, studios and museums. There are many wonderful paths to walk in the old town.
The Old Town Gamla Stan are Stockholms most charming part. The old and new Stockholm are combined.
For more pictures look at my travelogues of Gamla stan (old town)
The heart of the city - the main square Stortorget. It's more than 700 years old. Many streets of the old city are crossed there. There are a lot of tourists everyday. Stones in the center of the square remind about tragical "the Stockholm bloody bath" when more than 100 people were executed there. The majority of buildings appeared there in the XVII-XIX centuries. Their facades are trimmed by an elegant groove and a sculpture. A well was kept also since the XVII century.
The most appreciable building on the square - Borshuset (Stock exchange building). It was built on a place of an old town hall by E.Palmsted in a style of classicism in 1778.
Nobelmuseet (Nobel Museum) devoted to winners of the premium works there now.
May, 16th - September, 15: Monday, Wednesday - Sunday 10.00-18.00. Tuesday 10.00-20.00. September, 16th - May, 15th: Tuesday 11.00-20.00, Wednesday - Sunday 11.00-17.00.
There is a House of the adviser fon Schanz decorated by bas-reliefs to the left of Borshuset. The city church for homelesses is located on another side of the square.
Whenever I'm in Old Town Stockholm (which is often, since family lives there), I invariably stop tourists who are huddled over a map to ask if I can help.
My advice is: Lose the map! At least stick it in your pocket - and don't pull it out until you're pooped and need to get back to your hotel.
Now, wander. Look in shop or at least the windows. Drop into a cafe and have a traditional cinnamon bun with coffee, or maybe the favorite apple pie (different from what you're used to) with vanilla sauce. Pose for a picture with the statues, trolls, moose and other kitcsh you see. Have fun framing photos; get down on your knees to get the funny old phone booth and the church tower in the same shot. Try on something lovely in linen. Grab a snack or a meal in the restaurants advertising their cellar diningrooms (you can pretend you're imprisoned in a dungeon!).
Most importantly, venture down the sidestreets where you don't see a lot of other tourists. More than 2,000 people make their home in Gamla Stan, and this is where you'll see them going about their daily lives. Go into the churches, watch the blonde tots playing in the schoolyard, look up to see duvets airing on the windowsill.
Can you believe that during the 1960s, city fathers actually considered tearing this treasure down? What a crime that would have been!
Don't worry. You're on a small island and you can't get lost. Eventually you'll come to water (either Lake Malaren or the Baltic) and then you can take your map out.
Gamla Stan, or the Old Town, is the original part of Stockholm dating back to Medieval times. The Old City was built here because it is a strategic point between the Baltic Sea and Lake Malren and was easy to defend. The architecture is very well preserved and the views here are just gorgeous. There are also many nice, little restaurants and shops here to visit. I spent quite a while browsing around. The area gets very crowded in the summer, so try to visit during the week if you can.
Gamla Stan [Old Town in Swedish] is basically only one of Stockholm's numerous islands, but of great historical importance Stockholmers & to Swedes as well. Narrow streets, colorful houses & amazing atmosphere make this part of the city one of the tourists' (and locals') favorites... A really picturesque neighborhood will simply change the way you feel & make you love this city for what it is! Although I suppose everyone's gonna spend most of their time there, take some more of it. And some more, and some more... I did. ;)
Even during my second visit to this amazing city, I used to spend a lot of time in Gamla Stan. I guess I managed to see it in a different light and, since I was on my own, maybe I wanted to feel a bit touristy. The thing is that no one thought I actually was a tourist since I was speaking Swedish, but anyway... ;)
Sitting on Stora Torget at dusk was amazing, trying to take some photos over all those Japanese, Chinese, Russian... But walking those dark but warmly lit narrow streets, looking at the façades, just going around was fun!
The fortress where Swedish kings lived appeared on the northern side of the island in the XIII century. However numerous fires destroyed almost all buildings of that time. The unique escaped wing of an ancient fortress is transformed into a museum "Tre kronor". In the XVI century Gustav Vasa began a construction of his residence on a place of the castle Birger Jarl. An emblem with three crowns decorated it. However this building burned down as well.
The building existing nowadays was built in 1754. After a fire 1697 king Charles XII charged to continue work to the Italian architect N.Tessin - younger. However works were stretched for some decades. Now the palace is used as "a study" of the king.
There is Sacred Nikolay's Cathedral (Storkyrkan St. Nikolai) from the western side of the Royal palace. Its second name - Sturchurka, that means "a city cathedral". The construction of the temple, devoted to the patron of seamen, began in the XIII century, simultaneously with the first Royal castle. But it came to an end only in the XVIII century. Now this is the oldest building in the city.
Since the XV century the Swedish kings were crowned there. Burial services over outstanding Swedes (for example, in 2002 - A.Lindgren) took place there. Speeches of owners of the Nobel Prize happen annually in Sacred Nikolay's Cathedral.
May-September daily 9.00-18.00. October-April daily 9.00-16.00.
I know that Gamla Stan is considered the "touristy" spot, but we honestly enjoyed it and visited there several times... We found it interesting and quite scenic. We also ate there several times and I will share this in another place.
We did not do a lot of shopping here except to pick up some T shirts that said (what else?) Sweden on them! I still wear mine! But it is a fun place to just wander around and a great place for "people watching"!
pictured is the gamla stan from across the harbor. the gamla stan, (medieval quarter), is an interesting place to visit when in stockholm. this is an area of narrow streets lined with shops and restaurants. a very nice part of town to wander around.
Gamla Stan is the Old Town of Stockholm. It's situated at the central island called Staden, as an important barrier between the East Sea and the Malaren-Lake. This position made that Gamla Stan was the very first area of civilization in the city. Birger Jarl was the first one to build fortifications here in 1255, to make use of the very strategic position. In the following centuries, the island always stayed the centre of the city that grew around it soon.
Gamla Stan originally was the area where the working class lived. At a certain point in history though, an important decision was made for the future of the island. The local government decided that on the island only stone buildings were permitted from that moment on. Because the new houses were too expensive for the normal people, mostly rich tradesmen moved into the island, into the historical building of the 17th and 18th century you can see nowadays.
The new, impressive houses of the richest people were built at the squares and wider streets at the island. Their houses are to be recognised by the size and shape of the frontdoors and by the family's symbol above it. The less weathy people had to be satisfied with a place to live at the many, narrow alleys in Gamla Stan. Everywhere you look, you'll find these picturesque little streets, sometimes going steep up to the hill, sometimes being only 67 centimetres wide.
Today, Gamla Stan is the most expensive area to live in in Stockholm. Besides houses to live in, there is a huge amount of shops and restaurants. But the large amount of art galeries, restaurants, antique- and tourists shops, don't spoil the view of the area like you do see often in other cities. The front facades of the houses are still wonderful, and the streets don't show much of neon-lightning and signboards. In fact, Gamla Stan is a wonderful place to go to, and one thing you definitely should do, is just walk around without a map and discover the many wonderful little places that are hidden anywhere inside the maze of narrow alleys.
Though there were many people and tourists in Stockholm, as you might expect in a major city in the peak tourist season, the only time I ever felt crowded was on a full bus! If crowds bother you, it's quite easy to get away and only a block or two will provide a serene area. Honestly, it was one of the things I liked best about Stockholm... large and crowded at times but so easy to get away and find a quiet spot!
Gamla Stan (Old town) is perhaps the prettiest section of Stockholm. This is where Stockholm was founded, and it's full of tiny streets worth exploring. You can stroll the main shopping street called Vasterlanggatan, have a coffee at the main square called Stortorget, visit the Royal Palace, see the changing of the guard, or visit one of the museums like the Royal Armoury. Don't miss the Tyskakyrkken (German Church) which does not charge to get in. The whole area is particularly beautiful at night as well.
Frommer's has a little "walking tour" on line which is kind of nice and short--check it out by clicking HERE.