A Quick Guide to Gamla Stan, Stockholm

Stockholm is one of those medieval cities that still retains its heritage.  Much of it due to its Old Town.  Gamla Stan.  Cobblestone streets.  Medieval buildings.  Shoulder-width alleys.

Gamla - Stan - Mårten Trotzigs Gränd

The small island at the heart of Stockholm is alive with history.  As you walk towards the island stop and drink in the Royal Castle with its imposing Baroque style.  While not really living up to my view of fantasy and imagination, mostly because the castle is bereft of all towers, it still cuts an impressive figure on the island and is still in use today.  Between May and August you can watch the Royal Guard march through the city for the changing of the guard.

Gamla Stan - Royal Castle

After having checked out the Royal Castle, it makes sense to stop off and admire Storkyrkan, the Big Church.  It was here that the last royal wedding in Sweden took place between the current King and Queen of Sweden.  During the height of tourist season you might have to pay about 20 SEK to get in, the rest of the year, the church is free.  Either way, it is well worth it.  A large statue of St. George slaying the Dragon can be found in the back left corner from where you entered the church.

Walk just around the corner to Stortorget, the Big Square.  Despite its moniker, Stortorget isn’t all that big.  That being said, it is full of history.  Stortorget is the site of the Stockholm Bloodbath.  Which took place between around the 8th and 9th of November in 1520.  Nearly one hundred nobles and other high ranking officials were executed and the events eventually led to the rise of Gustav Vasa and Swedish independence.

Gamla Stan - Stortorget

Finally, having immersed yourself in some of Stockholm’s medieval history, sit yourself down and grab something to eat.  Luckily, restaurants and cafes surround Stortorget.  Look for dagens lunch.  Lunch of the day.   Dagens lunch tends to be quite inexpensive and offers you a drink, a salad, a main dish, and usually some coffee to wash it all down.  Take your time and just enjoy the history of Gamla Stan.

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About Marcus Cederstrom

I was born in Sweden and moved to the US just before my 6th birthday. I grew up in the United States eventually graduating from the University of Oregon. After graduation and about 17 years in the US I made the decision to move back to Sweden. I have been living in Stockholm since the summer of 2007. Since graduation I have traveled throughout eastern Australia as well as in Sweden and Europe.