Gamla Stan - The Old Town, Stockholm
The Old Town, the well-preserved area where the history of Stockholm once started, is seen best from a horse and a carriage. The beautiful carriage, an art piece more than a vehicle, takes you with the help of two horses and a skilful coachman through the narrow streets and lively squares and will show you the Old Town from a somewhat different perspective. The guide will tell you about the life in these quarters from the 13th century until our present days.
See the genuine Old Town accompanied by the charming clattering against the cobbled streets!
PRICE 120KR (ABOUT 20$)
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.
This is the scene from a pedestrian bridge that crosses one of the many waterways... This particular one is just outside the main transportation terminal and crosses into the "Old Town" known as "Gamla Stan". This is one of the best known areas of Stockholm and though a bit commercial is not to be missed!
When walking from central Stockholm to old town, surely you'll end up at some point waking along the Drottningsgatan, the main pedestrian street of Stockholm. This street will eventually lead you to this bridge and the entrance to the old town (Gamla Stan). The views from the bridge are beautiful and the entrance to the old town at the Royal Palace is gorgeous. Great views and people watching from here!
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.
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.
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 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.
The narrowest alley in the Old Town is Marten Trotzig's, a narrow step alley. I followed some people through it and took a photo, which really shows how narrow it is!
The width of the 36 steps tapers to 90cm!
The Alley is named after the Merchant, Marten Trotzig , who lived in the Alley at the end of the 16th century. He was one of the wealthiest merhants in Stockholm at that time.
Leads from Vasterlanggatan and Jarntorget up to Prastgatan and Tyska Stallplan.
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)