The parliament of Sweden, named Riksdag, has its own island between Gamla Stan and the city. The parliament building was erected in the early 19th century in neorenaissance style. The models were surely taken from the Italian renaissance architectre, given the general appearance of the buildings (and, for the experts, the use of the Serliana pattern for the two gates). Some modern additions and extensions are visible from the opposite banks of the lake.
A public passage leads over the island through arched gates, so you walk right "through" the grounds of the parliament. This is the shortest connection for pedestrians from Drottninggatan and the City over to Gamla Stan.
In the middle of Stockholm's most touristy section lies an oft-forgotten little boy, nicknamed "Olle." Created by Swedish sculptor Liss Eriksson, his formal name is Pojke som tittar på månen ("Boy Looking at the Moon"), or Järnpojken ("Iron Boy") for short.
Since 1967, the 15-cm high iron boy has been sitting and watching the moon in Bollhustäppan, a small square behind the Finnish Church (Finska kyrkan) linking it to Trädgårdsgatan.
If you are lucky, you will find him wearing a piece of clothing someone prepared for him. More likely he will be surrounded by gifts of coins, which are collected by the Finnish church.
A walk around narrow old streets of Gamla Stan is pleasant at any time. However streets are overflown by people in the afternoon. This part of Stockholm gets special charm in the evening when streets become empty, they are shined with weak light. At this time it is possible to plunge into an atmosphere of a medieval city and to take pleasure in its beauty without handicaps through crowds of tourists.
German merchants constructed Tyskakyrkan church in the XVII century on their own money. In the middle of the XIX century the church underwent to significant alteration: there was a belltower with dragons-drainage systems and a stained-glass window at the entrance, representing Sacred Gerthruda, the patroness of travellers.
(Monday - Sunday 9.00-16.00)
From the city centre, as you cross a bridge to Gamla Stan, you'll come across this hand in the harbor. I have no idea of its significance or if it's there now. It caught my attention though.
Wow, it looks pretty real now. I thought it was funny and unique so I took a picture of it.
Talk about a city that's "hands on." Yeah I know: that joke's not funny.
Instead of just check areas where all other tourists are going in Gamla Stan you leave the crowded streets and sneak in on some narrow alley. You will be surprised how soon all street noises and all other tourists will disappear as you enter the labyrinth of streets and buildings that have been there for many hundred years.
No visit to Stockholm is complete without a visit to Gamla Stan. This is one of the oldest parts of Stockholm, and this is where I stayed. The streets are all narrow, twisty and cobblestoned.
An afternoon spent just aimlessly walking around is one well spent. Stop at one of the many coffeeshops and watch the crowd go by. The Swedes like their coffee and it is excellent!
This is not EXACTLY off the beaten path...it is something most people look for but may not be able to find: the tiniest medieval street in the world. It is a meter wide. Look for it in Gamla Stan. Happy hunting! You will enjoy the tour of Gamla Stan on your search...
When you walk through Stockholm's old town don't miss the chance to enjoy galleries with beautiful fine arts.
Take a walk in the Old Town Centre (Gamla Stan) and admire the narrow alleys, the old houses and churches.
During the summer you might meet an old time police patrolling the old town, Gamla Stan.
But don't try to mess with him, it's a real police even if the uniform isn't the latest fashion.
I found this little street by accident and was almost passing by but my attention was caught by the mirrors on the shutters - I have never seen anything like this before!