Gamla Stan is a small island in the city. Here, the city of Stockholm got its beginning. Gamla Stan is a great place to walk around and get lost in with its windy streets. The colors of the buildings are amazing. Stop by one of the many ice cream places or if the weather is nice enjoy a beer at a place with outside seating. It is a touristy area with lots of shops, restaurants and cafes. There are also a number of souvenir shops. But don't get the wrong impression, it is not obnoxious touristy. Everything was in good taste.
My approach to Gamla Stan was simply to wander. I was not overly concerned with which particular street I was on. Given that I was on vacation and had no place to go, there was no rush! The result was that I felt a true appreciation for the area. I felt like I was exploring something new with each narrow side street I walked down.
You cannot say you visited Stockholm without visiting the Old Town (Gamla Stan). Its a beautiful and lively quater and there are many interesting shops, good restaurants, cafes and ice-cream shop. The Nobel Academy is also here.
The monumental building of the Royal palace of "three kings" (Slottsbacken Tre kronor) towers on the opposite side of Rikcsdag. The word-combination "Tre kronor" is known to everyone who heard though something about Sweden.
"Tre kronor" is partially opened for tourists (cash departments are in the western court yard). However it's difficult enough to examine it entirely for a day: there are more than 500 rooms with a set of ancient Gobelin tapestries and pictures. Some museums enter into a palace complex.
Although those used to the architecture of central and southern Europe, so full of charm and finesse, may say that Stockholm architecture is a bit too massive, gloomy and monotonous, Gamla Stan undoubtedly makes an impression. You can admire there the magnificent buildings of churches and palaces, walk along busy streets with plenty of souvenir and antique shops, drink wine in medieval cellars. And in narrow streets you will feel as if a time machine took you back into the past. ( Did they know graffitti then?)
It is better to begin a walk across Stockholm with acquaintance to three its central islands: Stadholmen, Riddarholmen and Helgeandsholmen.
The Old city - "Gamla Stan" is located on a northwest extremity of the biggest of three islands - Stadholmen.
The Stortorget is the main square in the Old Town "Gamla Stan". It used to be the centre of the old Stockholm, where in 1520 about 100 political opponents were executed.
Nowadays the historic buildings from the 17th and 18th century house cafes and restaurants. Many benches invite for a rest and for a look at the street perfomers.
Stortorget is situated in the heart of Stockholm's old town "Gamla Stan".
The old medieval heart of Stockholm (Gamla Stan) is a compact place located on three islands - Staden, Riddarholmen and Helgeandsholmen. Here you will find beautifully preserved buildings largely dating from the 17th and 18th centuries, and narrow cobblestone streets and alleys. Start your visit with a stroll in Staden, the main island jam-packed with churches, museums, a royal palace, little shops and cafes.
The most important central square of Gamla Stan is called Stortorget, Big Square. It's a great place to go to in the centre of Stockholm. It's surrounded by lots of colourful, 18th century buildings that really give you the feeling of walking in ancient Stockholm.
The lamps at the walls are made of cast iron, the pavements of the square is made of cobble stones, and lots of other details are all in the old style. For example the old, marble fountain at the centre of Stortorget used to be the one source of fresh water in the city. It still works.
The square became famous because of the Bloodbath of Stockholm that took place here in 1520. The king of that time, Christian II, organized the execution of 82 noblemen that didn't argee with his regime. The execution took place at the Stortorget, just as the burning of the bodies after that. This was the beginning of the end of the bigger Kingdom that also included Denmark and Norway, and the beginning of the independent Kingdom of Sweden.
Nowadays the many photogenic facades of the buildings are renovated perfectly and are mostly used as cafe's or restaurants.
Tours in Swedish or English (although also available German, Spanish, Russian and Italian). When I did my walking tour it was raining lightly, but the tour still went ahead with all of us under our umbrellas (not supplied – you have to bring your own). You walk all over Gamla Stan with the guide telling you about the Old Towns history, including the Bloodbath of 1520 and the story behind ‘St. George and the Dragon’. You are encouraged to ask your guide questions, which makes for a friendly atmosphere amongst the group (which is at maximum 20 people). At the end of the tour you can either follow your guide back to Gustaf Adolfs Torg or stay and wander around Gamla Stan.
Only available in July and August - SEK 90 for 1 hour
(For more on Gamla Stan - check out my Gamla Stan Travelogue)
The Royal Palace is located in a part of the city called The Gamla Stan. Gamla Stan means 'old city' and that shows. I love this part of Stockholm, it is so picturesque. You really should take some time to explore this part of Stockholm. The square you can see on the picture is the Stortorget (meaning big square), Stockholm's oldest centre and site of the 1520 Stockholm bloodbath. You can read more about this part of history in my General Tips.
Don't forget to take a look at the well on the square. This was once the place from where all distances in Sweden were measured.
Another fun little detail remembering days long gone by is about the three main streets leading to the square (Köpmangatan, Svartmangatan and Skomakargatan). These three streets all have the same width of '8 alnar' which is about 4,80 mtr, the required width for roads designed for horse and carriage.
The best way to explore the Gamla Stan (Old City) is just wander around in the many small streets. If you are into shopping the place to be is the Västerlångatan. But if you are more interested in the old houses and being away from the tourist area, it is best to avoid this street altogether, and maybe take the Österlångatan or the Prästgatan instead. Don't miss the Stortorget! (see the tips above).
In the second picture you can see the Mårten Trotzigs Gränd by night. This is the narrowest street in the Gamla Stan and is only 90 cm wide. Here you also realize the differences in height in the Gamla Stan: you have to walk not less then 36 steps up if you decided to take this little road between the Västermangatan and Prästgatan. This little road is located very close to the Järntorget.
Tip : Many of the best restaurants and pubs are off Västerlångatan.
Gamla Stan is a small island in the heart of Stockholm. In English it literally means "Old Town" because it is the oldest district. It has narrow stone streets that are nice to walk around in, or shop. The town dates back to the 13th century , and consists of medieval alleyways, and archaic architecture. You'll find the tiniest street in the world, and there are also some good restaurants. From there, you can take a boat to Tivoli, (an amusment park also known as Grona Lund)an amusment park on an island.
It means the big square in Swedish. It implies the big public square in Gamla Stan. It is the oldest square in Stockholm and it was this centre around which the urban area of Stockholm gradually came into being historically. This is the square where the infamous execution of about 90 people, mostly the nobles and clergymen, from the opponent party was done in 1520. Many small lanes of gamla stan lead to this big square and believe it or not, wherever in Gamla Stan you are, even if you wander about the streets, you will surely make it to this square even unintentionally. The square is very touristy all throughout the year. The annual Christmas market set up here is very famous.
In the big square there is a beautifully designed well. It was designed by Erik Palmstedt who designed the Börshuset or the Stock Exchange building and were built together between 1773 and 1776. It had dried up in 1856 due to land elevation. It was relocated to Brunkebergstorg but then moved back here to its original location in the middle of 20th.
This is one of the squares in Gamla Stan not to be missed--it's where the main pedesrian street comes together with another important street called Osterlanggatan, at the southern end of Gamla Stan. On Osterlanggatan are many cafes as well as antique shops. The square's architecture is more reminiscent of an Italian piazza than a Swedish square.
This square used to be the heart of the city's iron and copper trade, therefore the name "Iron Square"--and this is also where people used to be punished in medieval imes...A statue of Swedish National poet Evert Taube stands here...a most unusual statue.