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Gamla Stan Guide
Classic must-see places in Gamla Stan / Old town.
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Soak in the history of the Swedish gastonomic cuisine by enjoying a fika. We always make time for a kanelbulle and regular coffee – and so should you!
Café Sten Sture
Enjoy a sandwich or lunch at this amazing café from the 1400’s that were previously secret passages to the Royal Palace and Stockholm Cathedral in the old town. Later during the first world war the vaults as inventories to Royal soldiers. The Cafe has also been used as a monastery until Gustav Vasa’s time, later came to the monastery and were used as detention.
Good for: Fika, lunch.
Also called Sous la châtaigne (under the Chestnut tree). Chill out under this large chestnut tree at Brända tomten. This bistro is perfect for a quick lounging pause while exploring Old town. Offers burgers, fika and lunch with heathly options.
Good for: Brunch, lunch, fika.
This super popular café is the perfect place to enjoy a cup of chocolate, all year around! Located in a historic setting next to the Royal palace, in the center of Old town. Chokladkoppen is a cozy café with lovely food and cold and hot drinks in a unique building at Stortorget 18 in the heart of Gamla stan (Old town) in Stockholm.
Good for: Fika, lunch, people watching
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Enjoy fine dining in a historic setting in Stockholm. These are our timeless favourites in Gamla Stan which will leave you memories for life.
Upscale Nordic gourmet dining in an elegant, 18th-century restaurant with antique furnishings. Season-based dishes, top quality experience. Simply, you need to visit this place once in your lifetime.
Good for: Dinner
Culture bar (Järnet)
Formerly known as restaurant Järnet, Culture bar offers fine dining in a relaxed setting. Perfect athmospere for romantic, relaxed dinners.
Good for: Lounging, bar, brunch, lunch, dinner.
German restaurant offering traditional Swedish dishes served in a relaxed, paneled tavern with art nouveau flourishes. Collaborated with smaller breweries in Sweden and Germany and takes their beer very seriously. Enjoy a relaxed beer with some sill (herring) potatoes, bread and cheese while soaking in the beauty of amazing Skeppsbron.
Good for: Lounging, bar, lunch
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Old town in Stockholm does not only offer classic souvenirs (although this is where you can buy a Dalahäst to bring back home). You will also find hand-crafted beautiful wool sweaters, glass decorations and other.
Enjoy a stroll att Västerlånggatan, stretching southward between the squares Mynttorget and Järntorget, it follows the course of the city’s now demolished 13th-century defensive wall.
Good for: Basic shopping, lunch, bar, fika
This nisched bookstore opened in 1987 and it’s still as popular for anybody who enjoys boardgames, role-playing games, comic books, movies, manga, plush toys, collectible card games and more.
Good for: Science fiction interested
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Take a break from the busyness and connect with nature. In Stockholm you will always find a park to chill out on, no matter where you are.
Riddarholmen (”The Knights’ Islet”) is a small islet which forms part of Gamla Stan. Here you will find amazing buildings and a number of private palaces dating back to the 17th century. The main landmark is the church Riddarholmskyrkan, used as Sweden’s royal burial church from the 17th century to 1950, and where a number of earlier Swedish monarchs also lie buried.
Behind a tall wall in the middle of Old Town next to the German church is Junotäppan. A tiny playground for children in the center of Old town – if your children start to get restless while exploring.
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Old town is the epi-center of Stockholm history. If not only strolling and soaking in the midevel history – visit any of our suggestions below.
Storkyrkan, also called Stockholms domkyrka and Sankt Nikolai kyrka, is the oldest church in Stockholm. Storkyrkan lies in the centre of Stockholm in Gamla stan, between Stockholm Palace and Stortorget, the old main square of Stockholm.
Stockholm Palace or the Royal Palace is the official residence and major royal palace of the Swedish monarch. Stockholm Palace is on Stadsholmen, in Gamla stan in the capital, Stockholm. It neighbours the Riksdag building.
In dark cellar vaults at the Royal Palace the Monarchy’s most important symbols – the Regalia – are kept in safe-keeping. See fascinating and exclusive art, steeped in exciting history.
The Regalia are the symbolic objects that The King or Queen are presented with by the Archbishop on coronation day.
The oldest preserved objects are two swords of state belonging to Gustav Vasa that are exhibited in the Treasury’s inner sanctuary. The oldest preserved crown belongs to Erik XIV.
It is this collection of invaluable objects that still nowadays is regarded as The King’s regalia. This means that some of them are used today on ceremonial occasions such as coronations, christenings, weddings and funerals.
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This is what we call smultronställen in Swedish. These places are the hidden gems in Stockholm which you will only find as a local Swede.
Enjoy an hour in Stockholm salt Spa. Here you can enjoy relaxed yoga session or light theraphy. The salt, which covers the rooms from floor to walls – holds antibacterial properties which will make wonders for your health.
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Enjoy a magical time trip down in an medieval cellar in the old Town. At this bar you can enjoy dished from medieval cookbooks such as Le Menagerie de Paris anno 1393, Le Viandier anno 1386, Forme of cury anno 1400 or Fait du cuisine anno 1420.
History of Gamla Stan
The town dates back to the 13th century, and consists of medieval alleyways, cobbled streets, and archaic architecture. North German architecture has had a strong influence in the Old Town’s construction.
Stortorget is the name of the scenic large square in the centre of Gamla Stan, which is surrounded by old merchants’ houses including the Stockholm Stock Exchange Building. The square was the site of the Stockholm Bloodbath, where Swedish noblemenwere massacred by the Danish King Christian II in November, 1520. The following revolt and civil war led to the dissolution of the Kalmar Union and the subsequent election of King Gustav I.
As well as being home to the Stockholm Cathedral, the Nobel Museum, and the Riddarholm church, Gamla stan also boasts Kungliga slottet, Sweden’s baroque Royal Palace, built in the 18th century after the previous palace Tre Kronor burned down. The House of Nobility (Riddarhuset) is on the north-western corner of Gamla stan.
The restaurant Den gyldene freden is located on Österlånggatan. It has been in business, continuously, since 1722 and according to the Guinness Book of Records is the longest operated restaurant with an unchanged environment and is one of the oldest restaurants in the world. It is now owned by the Swedish Nobel Academy that have their ”Thursday luncheons” there every week. A statue of St. George and the Dragon (sculpted by Bernt Notke) can be found in the Stockholm Cathedral, while Riddarholmskyrkan is the royal burial church. Bollhustäppan, a small courtyard at Slottsbacken behind the Finnish Church, just south of the main approach to the Royal Palace, is home to one of the smallest statues in Sweden, a little boy in wrought iron. The plaque just below the statue says its name ”Järnpojken” (”The Iron Boy”). It was created by Liss Eriksson in 1967.
From the mid-19th century to the early-mid 20th century Gamla stan was considered a slum, many of its historical buildings left in disrepair, and just after World War II, several blocks together five alleys were demolished for the enlargement of the Riksdag(see Brantingtorget). From the 1970s and 80s, however, it has become a tourist attraction as the charm of its medieval, Renaissance architecture and later additions have been valued by later generations.
While the archaeology of the 370 properties in Gamla stan remains poorly documented, recent inventories done by volunteers have shown many buildings previously dated to the 17th and 18th centuries, can be up to 300 years older.
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