City Center (Norrmalm) Walk (Self Guided), Stockholm

Once an independent city, Norrmalm has been a part of Stockholm (one of its central areas today) since 1635. Many of Norrmalm's old buildings were torn down during the 1950s-60s to clear space for modern construction. Still, the most notable pieces of local architecture are in place and reveal a wide range of styles - Late Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque. Among the many places of interest found here are the Stockholm Central Station, House of Culture, National Museum of Fine Arts, Royal Swedish Opera House, and more. To see these and other attractions of this part of the Swedish capital, follow this self-guided walk and enjoy!
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City Center (Norrmalm) Walk Map

Guide Name: City Center (Norrmalm) Walk
Guide Location: Sweden » Stockholm (See other walking tours in Stockholm)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 10
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.0 Km or 1.9 Miles
Author: rose
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Stockholm Central Station
  • Klara Kyrka (Saint Clare Church)
  • Kulturhuset (House of Culture)
  • Gustav Adolfs Torg (Square)
  • Royal Swedish Opera
  • Sankt Jacobs Kyrka (Saint James's Church)
  • Stockholm Synagogue
  • Hallwylska Palatset (Hallwyl House)
  • Royal Dramatic Theatre
  • Nationalmuseet (National Museum of Fine Arts)
1
Stockholm Central Station

1) Stockholm Central Station

Stockholm Central Station (Stockholms centralstation) is a railway station built between 1867 and 1871 to the design by architect Adolf W. Edelsvärd. Opened on 18 July 1871, it used to serve daily over 200,000 visitors, including almost 170,000 travelers. As of 10 July 2017, the local commuter trains have been calling at the nearby Stockholm City Station.

Prior to 1925, the railway tracks had led straight into the station, but during a 1925-1927 renovation they were diverted to the west, and the former track hall was converted into a spacious – 119 meter long, 28 meter wide and 13 meter high – waiting hall. During the renovation, the station itself was also extended to the south through the construction of the southern pavilion; this part of the building now houses a conference facility. Next to it is the Royal waiting hall used by the Royal Family when traveling by train.

In 1951, the facade towards Vasagatan was changed to a more simplified look. In 1958, an underground passage to T-Centralen was opened. In 2011, Jernhusen real estate company found a way to channel the body heat from the hordes of commuters passing through the Central Station to warm another building that is just across the road.

Ringen ("the ring"), in the centre of the ground floor, is one of the station's most distinctive features. Locals jokingly refer to it as spottkoppen ("the spittoon"). The front facade of the station was renovated in summer 2012, upon which the statue of Nils Ericson – Swedish mechanical engineer and prominent railway builder – outside the main entrance was fitted with ear mufflers and accompanied with a text: Jäsicken hvilket oväsen ("Oh my gosh, what a noise").
Sight description based on wikipedia
2
Klara Kyrka (Saint Clare Church)

2) Klara Kyrka (Saint Clare Church)

The Church of Saint Clare or Klara Church (Klara kyrka) was founded on the site of today's Klara Västra Kyrkogata in the Klara area in lower Norrmalm in the 1280s. Initially, it was part of the Roman Catholic Convent whose inhabitants were members of the order of Saint Clare, hence the name of the church and the entire neighborhood, Klarakvarteren. Eventually, this name has become synonymous with the old city that once occupied lower Norrmalm.

For 300 years until the 15th century, the convent had enjoyed great prosperity. Then the number of new nuns began to decline, incomes dwindled and the armed conflicts hit the nunnery so that it physically fell into disrepair. In 1527, both the church and the convent, by that time already a ruin, were torn down upon the commencement of the Protestant Reformation by Gustav Vasa, the then King of Sweden. Construction of the current church commenced in 1572 under Johan III.

The new church was severely destroyed by fire in the mid-18th century. It was rebuilt, but during the 19th century endured several major renovations and its interior got an entirely new look. The latter now contains many paintings emblazoned with golden tones and warm hues, along with the stylish stained glass highlights reminiscent of the 18th century, and a pulpit of gold that is a sight to behold.

The exterior we see today, in many ways, is a 19th century creation. The 116-meter (381 ft) tall tower was built as part of the restoration work in the 1880s. As for the church graveyard, it was started in the 17th century. Among its famous residents is the poet, Carl Michael Bellman. Presently, the church is completely surrounded with modern buildings, and can only hint at its presence to the onlooker with the spires peeking above.

Opening Hours:
Monday through Friday, from 10 am to 6 pm; Saturday, from 10 am to 7 pm; and Sunday, from 8:30 am to 6 pm.
Sight description based on wikipedia
3
Kulturhuset (House of Culture)

3) Kulturhuset (House of Culture)

Kulturhuset is a cultural center, one of the largest of its kind in Northern Europe. For several years before 1983, it had provided temporary accommodation to the Swedish Parliament whose own building was under construction. Designed as a public space for all people in Stockholm, Kulturhuset Stadsteatern is the brainchild of architect Peter Celsing who strove to create a space fit to accommodate all forms of art. The renowned architect won the competition for a new cultural center in 1966. The glass front of the building facing Sergels torg enhances the idea of a shared common space, and, at night, creates a transparent view into the interior.

There are eight stages at Kulturhuset Stadsteatern used annually for over 2,000 shows of performing arts, and attended by audience of more than half a million people. Since 2013, Kulturhuset Stadsteatern has had its own dance company in residence.

Kulturhuset Stadsteatern hosts about six curated art, design and fashion exhibitions annually, and has six profile libraries catering to different audiences, of which three have a children’s and youth perspective. The building also houses a theater, restaurants, shops, several cafes, a variety of entertainment facilities, plus a Tourist Center run by external partners.

Any given day, the house offers new paths into diversity, be it film or debate, an exhibition, dance or musical performance, or just finding that special book you always wanted but never thought existed.
4
Gustav Adolfs Torg (Square)

4) Gustav Adolfs Torg (Square)

Located near the Norrbro bridge, at the intersection of Strömgatan, Fredsgatan, Malmtorgsgatan and Regeringsgatan streets in Norrmalm, is Gustav Adolfs Torg. The square is named for the Swedish King, Gustav II Adolf, who reigned from 1611 to 1632, and was known as “the lion of the North”. He died in Lützen in 1632, and for hundreds of years since has been remembered as a hero. The square got its name in 1805.

In the middle of it, there is a huge statue of Gustav II Adolf himself, created by the French-born, Swedish sculptor Pierre Hubert L'Archevêque (1721–1778). Molded in 1778, it was erected in 1791 being the first equestrian statue to be installed in Sweden. Guarding the sculpture are two bronze lions that have been in place since 1926. These are the copies of original pieces, sculptured as far back as the 300s, currently preserved at the Vatican Museums in Rome.

Apart from being a spectacular sight to behold, the square also serves as a geographical midpoint for setting distances to and from Stockholm, unlike many other cities in Sweden where distances are counted from a railway or bus station. Gustav Adolfs Torg is also home to the Royal Opera, Arvfurstens palats (seat of the Foreign Affairs Ministry) and the Ministry of Defence. South of the square are the Riksdag Building on Helgeandsholmen and the Royal Palace in Gamla Stan.
Sight description based on wikipedia
5
Royal Swedish Opera

5) Royal Swedish Opera

Founded by patron King Gustav III, the Royal Swedish Opera opened with its inaugural performance of “Thetis and Phelée” in 1773. The opera house itself was opened in 1782. A new building took its place in 1892 under the rule of King Oscar II. The building was designed in the Neo-Classical style boasting an incredible foyer and grand marble staircase leading to the majestic three-tiered auditorium. Most productions are sung in the language of the original, accompanied with Swedish subtitles.

The theater has heard many famous operatic voices within its walls, but is also the home to the Royal Swedish Ballet company, famed as one of Europe's top. Guided tours of the opera house are conducted at 12:30 pm on most Saturdays, one of which is always in English. On certain Saturdays, the tours have a special theme, such as art exhibitions, opera for children, or costume exhibitions. On performance days, red lanterns are lit above the main entrance to indicate the show being sold out.

Why You Should Visit:
Beautiful inside and outside, this opera house is a gorgeously decorated edifice worth admiring by architecture lovers.
The actual stage and seating area is smaller than one might imagine, which makes for a very cozy and intimate setting.
The operas played here are usually of very high quality.

Tip:
You can well purchase your ticket for performances online, as the schedule is published for the whole season.
By taking a guided tour, you will have the opportunity to look backstage, visit the Royal Box, and look into the orchestra pit.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Fri: 3-6 pm; Sat: 12-3 pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
6
Sankt Jacobs Kyrka (Saint James's Church)

6) Sankt Jacobs Kyrka (Saint James's Church)

Just as many Saint James's churches throughout the world, the Saint James Church of Stockholm (Sankt Jacobs Kyrka) is dedicated to apostle Saint James the Greater, who is also the patron of travelers. This church is often mistakenly referred to as St Jacob's. The confusion arises from the Swedish language which, similarly to some other languages, uses the same name for both James and Jacob.

Arguably, this is the central-most church in the Swedish capital. It is close to numerous attractions, namely: Kungsträdgården park, the Royal Opera, Gustav Adolfs Torg, Sergels Torg, the Royal Palace, and governmental office Rosenbad. Outside, there is a bust of Swedish tenor, Jussi Björling (1911-1960).

The church took centuries to build, and therefore features a variety of styles: Late Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque. At different times, various architects had worked on its design, including Willem Boy (1580–93), Hans Ferster (1635–43), Göran Joshuae Adelcrantz and Carl Hårleman (1723–35), Carl Möller and Agi Lindegren (1893–94).

The original chapel on the site was first mentioned in 1311 as part of the Solna parish (Solna municipality now one of Stockholm suburbs). Together with other churches on the ridges surrounding the medieval city, it was demolished by order of King Gustav Vasa following the Protestant Reformation in 1527.

In 1580, King John III ordered a new church to be built. The construction started in 1588 and by the time of John III's death, a central nave flanked by two tall aisles resting on sandstone columns had been completed. Finished on the outside, the church was inaugurated on November 26, 1643, in the presence of Queen Christina. Still, the interior was only partially completed and a sacristy was added in 1698.

After the fire of 1723 destroyed the roof, a new central tower, designed by Göran Joshuae Adelcrantz, was added in 1739. The exterior was repainted gray-white in the 1770s.

During the 19th century, most of the 17th-century interior was hastily replaced, including both the southern and northern galleries, the retable, and the organ gallery. Complaints from the parish regarding the now dark church, caused the galleries to be rebuilt again in 1825, eventually incorporating central heating in 1850 and the state-of-the-art gas lighting in 1862. Later in the century, the galleries were reshaped once again, into Neo-Baroque, and fitted with electric light. Another exterior restoration took place in 1910 giving the church its new copper roof and sandstone socle.
Sight description based on wikipedia
7
Stockholm Synagogue

7) Stockholm Synagogue

The Great Synagogue of Stockholm (Stockholms stora synagoga) was built in 1867-1870 to the designs by architect Fredrik Wilhelm Scholander made in 1862, described as a "paraphrase over Oriental motifs".The rectangular structure, framed by four towers, each containing a staircase, is said to mirror the Biblical description of the Jerusalem Temple. The building can hold up to 850 people at a time.

The Judiska biblioteket (Jewish Community Library), located beneath the synagogue, boasts a multilingual collection of books in Swedish, German, English, French, Hebrew, and other languages. It includes the library of Rabbi Marcus Ehrenpreis (1869–1951), who was Chief Rabbi of Sweden from 1914 to 1951. In addition to housing books and periodicals, the library also hosts occasional exhibits, plus annually sponsors exhibits dedicated to the history of the Jewish people.

One of the unique features of this building is the Holocaust Memorial set on the wall connecting the synagogue to the community hall. Engraved here are the names of over 8,000 Holocaust victims who were relatives of Swedish Jews. The memorial was dedicated by the King of Sweden, Carl XVI Gustav, in 1998.

A new mikvah in the basement of the synagogue was built in 2017.

Decorative inscriptions in Hebrew are etched and painted into the stonework of the Great Synagogue. Among them extract from Exodus 25:8-9, "And make Me a sanctuary that I may dwell among them" on the front facade, and two more inscriptions on the rear facade, quoting the building's formal name ("The Great Synagogue of Stockholm") along with the fragment of Isaiah 57:19: "Peace, peace, to him that is far off and to him that is near, saith the LORD that createth the fruit of the lips; and I will heal him."

Considered to be one of Stockholm’s most historic buildings, the synagogue has been listed in the Swedish registry of national historical buildings.
Sight description based on wikipedia
8
Hallwylska Palatset (Hallwyl House)

8) Hallwylska Palatset (Hallwyl House)

Hallwyl House (Hallwylska palatset) was built in 1893–1898 to the design by Isak Gustaf Clason for Count Walther von Hallwyl and his wife, Wilhelmina. It was created to accommodate the office of the count and the extensive art collection of the countess. Wilhelmina and Walther von Hallwyl also lived here during the winter. The countess collected artworks during her worldwide journeys in order to found a museum, and, consequently, the palace was donated to the Swedish State in 1920, a decade before her death, on the condition that it would remain unchanged. Hallwyl Museum (Hallwylska museet) officially opened in 1938.

Today, the property is maintained just as it was when Countess von Hallwyl donated it; well preserved rooms from the late Victorian era offer a glimpse into the lifestyles of the nobility in Stockholm at the turn of the 20th century. While the exterior of the building and the court are historical in style — borrowing architectural elements from medieval prototypes and Renaissance Venice — it was utterly modern upon its completion, fitted with electricity, central heating, telephones, and bathrooms. The elevator was a later addition.

Today, the museum, in association with Skokloster Castle and the Royal Armoury, forms a government agency, known as the Royal Armoury and Skokloster Castle with the Hallwyl Museum Foundation. Presently, the Hallwyl Collection comprises circa 50,000 works of art.
Sight description based on wikipedia
9
Royal Dramatic Theatre

9) Royal Dramatic Theatre

Sweden’s Royal Dramatic Theatre was founded in 1788 under the patronage of King Gustav III. The theater occupies an incredibly large building, which houses eight stages allowing to present over 1,000 shows annually. Stora Scenen is the main stage and holds 720 people when sold out. The Lilla Scenen is much more intimate, with 340 seats. The Lejonkula is devoted to young actors and productions for school-aged children. The Stora Elverket is devoted to contemporary productions.

With stages capable of holding hundreds of guests to no more than just 60, the venue caters to pretty much every type of theatergoer. Designed by architect, Fredrik Lilljekvist, the Art Nouveau building boasts an interior skillfully enhanced by famous local artists, Carl Larsson and Carl Milles. The place is renowned for having shaped talents of many an actor over the years. In fact, legendary Swedish actress Greta Garbo began her career at the Stockholm Royal Dramatic Theater, and Ingmar Bergman, the similarly celebrated Swedish director, used to stage here at least two productions each year.

Tip:
Visitors should expect all productions to be in Swedish.
Guided tours are offered during the year; guests are advised to call in advance for reservations.
The English guided tours are scheduled for Saturdays, usually at 5pm.
Sight description based on wikipedia
10
Nationalmuseet (National Museum of Fine Arts)

10) Nationalmuseet (National Museum of Fine Arts) (must see)

Nationalmuseum (The National Museum of Fine Arts) is housed in a building constructed between 1844 and 1866, inspired by the North Italian Renaissance architecture. Its designer was German architect, Friedrich August Stüler, who also authored the Neues Museum in Berlin. The relatively closed exterior, save for the central entrance, gives no hint of the spacious interior dominated by the huge flight of stairs leading up to the topmost galleries.

Upon its foundation in 1792, the museum was called Kungliga Museet (Royal Museum). Among its benefactors have been King Gustav III and Carl Gustaf Tessin.

The building was enlarged in 1961 to accommodate on-site workshops. The restaurant was added in 1996. For five years, between 2013 and 13 October 2018, the museum had been closed for renovation. The $132-million overhaul sought to put more of its collection on display added with the enhanced security, accessibility, fire safety and climate control befitting a modern institution.

Today, the museum exhibits comprise almost half a million drawings from the Middle Ages to the 1900s, a prominent 17th-century collection of Rembrandt and other Dutch painters, as well as collections of porcelain, sculptures, and modern art. The museum also has an art library which is open to the public.
Sight description based on wikipedia

Walking Tours in Stockholm, Sweden

Create Your Own Walk in Stockholm

Create Your Own Walk in Stockholm

Creating your own self-guided walk in Stockholm is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
The Museums Island Walk

The Museums Island Walk

With almost 70 museums in operation, Stockholm houses more museums than most cities on the planet. The island of Djurgården, inside Stockholm, is home to an array of museums and historic monuments, including Scandinavia’s most popular Vasa Museum and Sweden’s first open-air museum. To explore these and other museums of Djurgården in detail, follow this self-guided walk.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.2 Km or 2 Miles
Old Town (Gamla Stan) Walk

Old Town (Gamla Stan) Walk

Gamla stan (The Old Town) is the oldest part of Stockholm, officially known until 1980 as “The Town Between Bridges” (Staden mellan broarna). Established in the 13th century, the area abounds in medieval alleyways, cobbled streets, and archaic architecture, showing a great deal of North Germanic influence. There are quite a few historic sights in the area, including The Royal Palace, The...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.6 Km or 1.6 Miles
Sodermalm District Walking Tour

Sodermalm District Walking Tour

Södermalm, or "Söder" for short, is a borough in central Stockholm, incorporating a large island of the same name (formerly known as "Åsön"). Although considered an island, the water surrounding Södermalm to the north and south does not flow freely, but passes through a series of locks. Visitors are charmed by the borough's narrow, cobbled streets and neat squares, as...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.3 Km or 1.4 Miles

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