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Stockholm/Gamla Stan

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Gamla Stan, the Old Town, also known as Staden mellan broarna ("the town between the bridges") is the Old Town in Stockholm, containing genuine cultural heritage, as well as tourist traps. Adjacent islands are Helgeandsholmen, with the Swedish Parliament, and Riddarholmen, with several nobility palaces, today occupied by various government functions.

Get in[edit]

Accessed by the Tunnelbana (T-Gamla Stan or T-Slussen), by bus, or on foot from Norrmalm or Södermalm.

See[edit][add listing]

The Royal Palace
  • The Royal Palace (Kungliga Slottet) [1], at times referred to by Swedes at the "Royal Castle". Built between 1697 and 1754, dominating the north-eastern part of the Old Town, the Royal Palace is the official residence of the king of Sweden. However, the royal family lives at Drottningholm, using the Royal Palace only for official ceremonies. It is open to the public unless being used for a state ceremony. Tickets to The Royal Apartments, the Tre Kronor Museum, the Treasury, and Gustav III's Museum of Antiquities cost 100 SEK each, with the sumptuous Apartments being the main draw. If Royal regalia is your thing, you'll probably want to pay 140 SEK for a combination ticket and visit the Treasury as well. Open 10:00-16:00 daily in the summer, noon-16:00 (and closed Mondays) in the winter.
  • The Stockholm Cathedral (Storkyrkan), Trångsund 1 (next to the Royal Palace, T Gamla Stan), +46 8 723 30 16, [2]. Open daily 09:00-18:00 21 May-29 Sep, 09:00-16:00 rest of year. Guided tours every Thursday at 11, free entry. Storkyrkan is the oldest church in Gamla Stan. Originating as a 13th century Gothic structure, the exterior was remodelled in Baroque style around 1740. The church is the seat of the Church of Sweden bishop of Stockholm. It contains two pieces of famous artwork: the 15th century wooden statue of Saint George and a copy of the oldest known image of Stockholm, Vädersolstavlan ("The Sun Dog Painting"), a 1636 copy of a lost original from 1535. Entrance 40 SEK except for visitors to services 21 May-29 Sep, free entry rest of year.
Riddarholmen with its church tower
  • Riddarholmen Church (Riddarholmskyrkan), Riddarholmen (T Gamla Stan), +46 8 590 350 09, [3]. Open daily 10:00-17:00 Jun-Aug, 10:00-16:00 15 May-31 May and 1 Sep-14 Sep. Riddarholmskyrkan is one of Stockholm's most beautiful churches, and the only remaining Medieval abbey. The structure dates back to the late 14th century. In the church, many Swedish regents are buried, including Gustavus Adolphus (Gustav II Adolf) and Charles XII (Karl XII). Adults 30 SEK, children 07:00-18:00 10 SEK.
  • The German Church (Tyska Kyrkan), Svartmangatan 16A (T Gamla Stan), +46 8 411 11 88. Open Tu-F 09:30-23:30, Sa-Su noon-16:00. Officially named Sankta Gertrud, this Gamla Stan church is the home of the first German-speaking parish outside Germany, giving some clue to the importance of German merchants in the history of Stockholm. On the site of the church, a German merchants' guild was founded in the 14th century. In the 16th century, the headquarters was converted into a church, which was later expanded. The interior is baroque in style, with large windows and white vaults. The church belongs to the Church of Sweden but holds services in German at 11:00 every Sunday.
  • The Nobel Museum (Nobelmuseet), Stortorget (T Gamla Stan), [4]. Open Tu 11:00-20:00, W-Su 11:00-17:00 17 Sep-20 May, and 10:00-17:00 (Tu 10:00-20:00) 21 May-16 Sep. Located in the old Stock Exchange house in the middle of Gamla Stan, this museum has lots of material on the Nobel Prize, including videotaped speeches by laureates. Admission 100 SEK (students 70 SEK, free for children up to 18 ).
  • The Museum of Medieval Stockholm, Medeltidsmuseum [5] displays the dawning age of Stockholm. Small and hard to find, it provides a good historical background to a visit to Stockholm.
  • The National Museum of Economy and the Royal Coin Cabinet, Kungliga Myntkabinettet, [6], Slottsbacken 6. Free entrance for everyone on Mondays.
  • Postmuseum [7], Sweden's only postal museum.
  • Riksdagen, the Parliament, [8] has no-cost guided tours in Swedish and English.
  • Riddarhuset', The House of Nobility, [9], presents Swedish history from a noble perspective.

Do[edit][add listing]

  • Storkyrkobadet, Svartmangatan 20-22 (T Gamla Stan), +46 8 20 90 27 [10]. Open for men Tue, Fri, Sun 05:00-20.30, for women Mon, Thu 05:00-20:30 (closed during summer). A small secret hidden in what once was a wine cellar in the old town, where you can take a bath under 18th century vaults. Note that men and women cannot visit the bath together. Adults 40 SEK, includes entrance to pool and sauna. Students and seniors 30 SEK.

Buy[edit][add listing]

  • Gamla Stan (the old town) has plenty of small stores selling souvenirs, art, handicraft and other items mainly geared towards tourists. Although there are a number of tourist traps with tacky, grossly overpriced merchandise, especially on Västerlånggatan, you can also find nice and interesting stuff. If you want a calmer experience, try Österlånggatan or any of the other streets. From late November, Stockholm's most well-known Christmas fair takes place at Stortorget (open daily 11:00-18:00) [11].
  • Sweden Bookshop, Slottsbacken 10 (T Gamla Stan or T Kungsträdgården), +46 8 453 78 00, [12]. Open M-F 10:00-18:00, Sa (Jul-Aug) 11:00-16:00. Whether you’re looking for a Swedish cookbook, a glossy coffee-table book on Swedish design or Swedish fiction in English translation, this is the place to go. Part of the Swedish Institute, Sweden Bookshop is a specialized bookstore that supplies a broad selection of information about Sweden and Swedish literature in English and other languages.
  • Science Fiction Bokhandeln, Västerlånggatan 48 (T Gamla Stan) [13]. A bookshop selling science fiction, fantasy, horror, manga/anime, role-playing games, boardgames and some popular science; a lot of it is in English.

Eat[edit][add listing]

Evening restaurant dining in Gamla Stan is quite expensive - expect to pay around 120 SEK for a starter and 250 SEK for a main course. Check the evening menu price rather than the boards outside - the prices displayed outside are often lunch offers only. In winter months restaurant kitchens seem to close at around 21:30, so dine early!

Cafes[edit]

  • Chokladkoppen & Kaffekoppen, Stortorget 18-20 (T Gamla Stan), Kaffekoppen and Chokladkoppen (literally, the Coffee Cup and the Chocolate Cup) are two LGBT-friendly sister cafes situated on the Stortorget in Gamla Stan, just off the touristy Västerlånggatan. If one is full you can just walk over to the other one. The interior in both of them is small but cosy, probably not for the claustrophobic! Gigantic sandwhiches if you're hungry, and if you're looking for something sweet try their chocolate cake!
  • Chocolates Caffe House, Österlånggatan 31, S-111 31 Stockholm. An amazing little chocolate shop where milkshakes (with 3 scoops of ice cream, a chunk of chocolate) go for 70 SEK, and 50ish SEK for four scoops of ice cream. You can also freely take the handmade chocolates by the cash register, and the owner is very friendly.

Budget[edit]

Mid-range[edit]

  • Aifur, Västerlånggatan 68, [14]. A Viking restaurant.

Splurge[edit]

  • Leijontornet, Lilla Nygatan 5 (T Gamla Stan), +46 8 506 400 80, [15]. Open M-F 11:30-14:00, 18:00-22:00, Sa 18:00-22:00. With the foundations of a city wall tower behind glass in the cellar dining room, Leijontornet is about exclusive food with a traditionalist slant in an exclusive historical environment. The street-level bar next door is a surprisingly vivid place with cheaper dishes from the kitchen. Three-course dinner 745 SEK. Mains in Leijonbaren 115-210 SEK.
  • Den Gyldene Freden, Österlånggatan 51 (T Gamla Stan), +46 8 24 97 60 [16]. Open M-F 17:00-23:00, Sa 13:00-23:00 (closed M in July and early August). The members of the Swedish Academy eat here every Thursday. Old traditions (traced back to 1722) in the old town. The reputation allows "The Golden Peace" to charge high prices. Mains 165-335 SEK, three-course menus 565-675 SEK.

Drink[edit][add listing]

Drinking in Gamla Stan itself is quite expensive - expect to pay around 60 SEK for a 500 ml lager in a cheap pub, rising to 95 SEK for a microbrew beer in a nice pub. If you like to drink a lot, it's worth heading further afield, and avoiding the tourist bars.

  • 6:e Tunnan / Sjätte tunnan, Stora Nygatan 43, Gamla stan (T Gamla stan). Bar open until 03:00. Medieval bar and restaurant, with medieval food and mead, and a small rock bar at street level. Live performances most evenings.
  • O'Connell's - Irish Pub, Stora Nygatan 21 (T Gamla Stan), Open everyday 12:00-01:00. This comfortable and cozy Irish pub serves excellent pub food and has live music most nights of the week. Be sure to check out the 400-year old cellar bar.

Sleep[edit][add listing]

Budget[edit]

The Old Town contains several low-cost hostels. As the beds are in high demand, especially during summer, advance booking is strongly recommended.

  • Archipelago Hostel Old Town, Stora Nygatan 38, [17] (info@archipelagohostel.se). Central location. Dorm bed from 275 SEK.
  • Best Hostel, Skeppsbron 22, [18]. Hostel is nice enough but not the kind of place where people hang out and talk to each other. The bars and restaurants nearby are quite expensive, so you will probably want to quickly locate the supermarket in the basement of Galleria Slussen at Katarinavägen 1 about 700 metres away. If you can manage a longer walk there is a much nicer supermarket called Hemköp at Mäster Samuelsgatan 59, around 2 km away. Dorm bed from 215 SEK (in a 28 bed dorm).
  • Castanea Hostel, Kindstugatan 1, [19], in a quiet area.
  • Old Town Lodge, Baggensgatan 25, [20], stay in a vault of a 17th century building in the centre of the island. Free breakfast, tea and coffee all day and WiFi, clean and modern. There is an extra charge of 65Kr for bed linen if you don't provide your own.

Mid-range[edit]

  • The Collector's Hotels: Lord Nelson Hotel, Victory Hotel and Lady Hamilton Hotel [21]. A three- to four-star chain of three hotels with a maritime theme, all of them in Gamla Stan.

Splurge[edit]

  • Rica Hotel Gamla Stan, Lilla Nygatan 25, [22]. A four-star hotel in a 17th century building.
  • First Hotel Reisen, [23]. A fairly large waterfront hotel.
  • Mälardrottningen, a private yacht launched in 1924. [24]
  • Sven Vintappare [25], in a 1607 building.

Get around[edit]

Most of the Old Town is pedestrian-only. As in most historical districts, people with motion disabilities might have difficulties getting around, though many basement establishments have wheelchair lifts. Community bicycles are good for the waterfront roads, but they could be difficult to bring inside the alleyways.

Stay safe[edit]

Beware of pickpocketing and illegal street gambling, especially around Västerlånggatan.

Contact[edit]

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