The old part of any city is always a place of wonders from the ancient past. It often stands in contrast to the newer regions, emphasizing on the advancements over time, but also a constant reminder of the good ol’ days. To visit Gamlastan is a journey itself.
Gamlastan, Stockholm’s old town, consists primarily of the island Stadsholman and the surrounding islets of Riddarholmen, Helgeandsholmen, and Strömsborg. With beautifully preserved architecture, there is a vibrant atmosphere that lingers on making it one of the most admired and visited parts of the city.
The old-world charm at Gamla Stan oozes from its cobbled streets, shops selling handcrafted curios, and the many quaint cafes, perfect for indulging in the Swedish tradition of fika – coffee and cake.
History of Gamlastan
The epicenter of all the activities in this region is Stortorget, Sweden’s oldest square and the site of the infamous Stockholm Bloodbath that took place between 7 and 9 November 1520 and consisted of more than 100 people getting executed under the orders of Christian II, soon after he took over the throne.
Now, the square is busy with tourists admiring the surrounding architecture and is the ideal place get a vibe of the city. Strotorget is also the location for the annual Christmas Market in the winter months, one of the best places to savour the sweet and savoury delights of the festive season.
Exploring the main street; while you visit Gamlastan is full of pleasant surprises. There are many cafes, gift and savior shops, warm chocolate, handicrafts, and high-end decoration boutiques.
Gamlastan main street
For the more culturally aware, the Old Town plays host to the Nobel Museum, Royal Palace and Strokyrkan Cathedral. Some of the more exciting activities that can be enjoyed include visiting the cellar vaults of the Royal Palace, watching the changing of the guards, finding the hidden frescos that are spread out around Gamla Stan and taking a ghost walk discovering some of the scarier characters of the past that may or may not be still walking the streets.
The more adventurous can take a roof-top hike, and for those on a budget, the free walking tours on offer are a great way to learn about all the major attractions of Gamla Stan at no extra cost.
Gamlastan can get crowded during the high season, and the many souvenir shops might seem touristy, but there’s so much more to the oldest part of Stockholm, just waiting to be discovered by the curious wanderer.
Things to remember while visiting Gamlastan
Make sure you take good care of your belongings during your visit to Gamlastan. There have been reports that tourists are sometimes tricked; pickpocketing etc. It is not very common, but it always pays to be little careful and being attentive while visiting places full of tourists.