Gamla Stan Walk, Part 1 (Self Guided), Stockholm

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 German influence. There are quite a few historic sights in the area, including The Royal Palace, The Royal Coin Cabinet (money history museum), Livrustkammaren (The Royal Armoury - oldest museum in Sweden), The Riksdag (Parliament) Building; and The Museum of Medieval Stockholm. Follow this guide to see Stockholm the way it used to be back in the old days!
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Gamla Stan Walk, Part 1 Map

Guide Name: Gamla Stan Walk, Part 1
Guide Location: Sweden » Stockholm (See other walking tours in Stockholm)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 15
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.6 Km or 1 Miles
Author: Daniel
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Johannesgränd
  • Österlånggatan
  • Järntorgsgatan
  • Järntorget
  • Mårten Trotzigs Gränd
  • Pasadena AB
  • German Church
  • Kindstugatan
  • Brända Tomten
  • Köpmanbrinken
  • Tessin Palace
  • Royal Palace
  • Royal Armory (Livrustkammaren)
  • Riksdag Building
  • Museum of Medieval Stockholm

1) Johannesgränd

A historic alley, Johannesgränd is a part of the history of Gamla Stan. The alley is first mentioned in the early part of the 16th century. The alley cross the historic streets Pelikansgränd, Lilla Hoparegränd, Gaffelgränd, and Packhusgränd and was named for the church of the Order of Saint John, which was located next to it. During the age of Vasa and the Protestant Reformation, the church was one of the ones which were ordered to be destroyed. Archaeological digs during the 1960s revealed remnants of the old church building including limestone columns, a graveyard, coffins and skeletal remains. Where the alley meets the sea, visitors will find the Hebbeska House that dates back to the 1630s. Originally owned by Simon Bernhard Hebbe, the director of the Swedish East India Company, who made his fortune as a 17th century merchant and trade commissioner. His family lived in this home for over one hundred years when the building was purchased by the government for its use. On the other side of the alley is the Nordstrom and Thulin House which was erected in the 1790s. During the 19th century, the building was purchased by Carl Gustaf Thulin for use as a business office for his shipping trade. The house continues to be used as office space even today.
Sight description based on wikipedia

2) Österlånggatan

A historic street in Gamla Stan, Österlånggatan has been one of the major thoroughfares in the city. The street is flanked by taverns, restaurants and shops which attract tourist from all over the world. During the 1300s, the street was filled with woodshops and blacksmith shops which supported the local shipping industry. The area was very popular with German immigrant merchants and was a middle class area up until the 1800s. During the 1700s, popular taverns like the Gilded Dragon, the Star and the Swedish Arms lines the streets and were popular with the business class crowd. Historic buildings like the Royal Coin Cabinet, the Stockholm Concert Hall and the Stockholm School of Economics can be found located along the street. The famous statue of Saint George and the Dragon can also be found on Österlånggatan along Köpmanbrinken, the Merchant’s Slope. The street has several alleys which cross it, each with its own unique name, usually associated with the buildings which line the alley. Several archeological excavations have taken place over the years which have revealed bricked walls which once surround the city during the middle ages. This is a favorite spot amongst tourist who want to explore the historic surroundings.
Sight description based on wikipedia

3) Järntorgsgatan

One of the most historic streets in Old Town Stockholm, Järntorgsgatan spans from the Old Iron Market to Slussplan Island. Nicknamed “The Big Street,” the street once was a main outlet to Södermalm. This is one of the most heavily populated areas in Stockholm and the street is lined with middle class dwellings which date back hundreds of year. The street has a history which dates back to the 15th century when portions of it were covered by water and other parts were used to store shipments from the Lake Mälaren region. It is one of three methods of transportation access which allow entrance to the island. Located by the Iron Market, the large street has a history that is solidly connected to the iron industry of Sweden. Along the street, visitors will find the Iron Market, a statue of Evert Taube, a local tavern owner and, Sundberg’s bakery, which dates back to 1785. The street is a terrific place for visitors to Stockholm to take a walking tour. Lined with fantastic shops, which are filled with trinkets and handmade items, along with fabulous cafes, where visitors will enjoy the local culinary fare, there are plenty of places to sit and take in the sites or stroll, while absorbing the historic flavor of the area.
Sight description based on wikipedia

4) Järntorget

Järntorget is a public square located in Old Town Stockholm on the Island of Gamla Stan. One of the oldest squares in Stockholm, the public square has a history that can be traced back to the 14th century. The square was a popular area for trade due to its convenient location to the landing bridges, where shipments of butter, salt, beer, wine, iron, copper, silver and fur were shipped and received. The square was known as the “Grain Square” during the middle ages when the corn trade was a significant part of industry in Stockholm. During the middle ages, the iron trade became more active and overtook the grain trade with Germany as the leading merchant. However Britain, France and the Netherlands soon caught up and became competitive with German trade. During the 1600s, the square was lined with taverns and began to be dominated by the wealthier class, who built larger, more elegant buildings around the square. One of the more historic of the buildings is the National Bank Building that was designed by famous architect Nicodemus Tessin the Elder. During the 1800s and 1900s, the square has been used as a market place to sell fresh produce and, most recently, it is a popular place for tourists to take a walk and to take in the sites of Stockholm.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Mårten Trotzigs Gränd

5) Mårten Trotzigs Gränd

Mårten Trotzigs Gränd, known as the “Alley of Mårten Trotzig” is located on the island of Gamla Stan. One of the oldest locations in Stockholm, Gamla Stan is filled with many buildings and unique features which date back to the middle ages, Unique to the area, the alley is known to be the narrowest alley which at its smallest measures only 90 centimeters in width. The alley itself consists of 36 steps which narrow as it approaches the top of the alley. Upon approach to the alley, visitors will approach a flat are and walk toward a rising staircase which is visually intimidating as the narrowing is very apparent. The stairs rise upwards and the alley narrows with each step taken. Its namesake, Mårten Trotzig was a 16th century German immigrant to Stockholm who became a successful trader and merchant. He traded in metals like copper and iron and was an active member of the Iron Market. Mårten Trotzig bought up the property surrounding the alley and, therefore, lent his name to the alley. Trotzig became one of the most powerful men in the city only to meet his demise in 1617 when he was beaten to death in the very streets where he conducted business.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Pasadena AB

6) Pasadena AB

What to buy here: Sámi traditional bone and wood carved practical and symbolical items- known as 'Duodji'.

The Sámi people of Sweden have their traditional craftsmanship called Duodjí passed down through generations, always marked with a symbol for true craftsmanship. The items all have a practical use, such as water bowl out of birch, water flask of leather, a knife sheath or spoon carved out of bone, small engraved boxes for sewing equipment. Leather pouches with bone pearls and leather tassels are typical, and simple ornaments such as a zigzag line or a very simple flower shape. Geometric shapes, similar to runes, are common.The practice of 'Duodji' is protected as a cultural inheritance, and has to be approved by receiving a quality hallmark symbol. The symbol is a circle of dark red, green, yellow and blue, and includes the letters 'Samí Duodji'.

Each piece of Sámi craft take hundreds of hours to create out of wood or bone, the leather is treated all the way from the animal, and the braiding of bracelets with silver or pewter thread take at least 10 hours to complete. That is why the price range is very high, for the exclusiveness and the hard work. A small knife with a bone handle is 500 EUR, a large knife 7-900 EUT, a small leather pouch 200 EUR.

The traditional handicraft of the Sámi people are sold in a very few shops in Stockholm, as the artists prefer to sell the work in person.
German Church

7) German Church (must see)

The German Church – also known as Tyska Kyrkan or St. Gertrude’s Church – is located in the oldest part of Stockholm, which once played host to a German community during the Middle Ages. The church was built in honor of Saint Gertrude, the patron saint of travelers. Several famed architects were involved in the design and building. During the 17th century, the church became a major epicenter for church music within Sweden.

The massive brick structures have a large steeple, which can be seen from several blocks away along with the impressive copper-covered spire. In Baroque style, the Neogothic gargoyles, which perch on the top, overlook the town. Large windows adorn the church, which allows light to flood the church during the day and, the ceiling is adorned by an intricate painting by David Klöcker Ehrenstrahl, who was once a member of the church community. Visitors to Stockholm can hear the carillon every day at 8am and 4pm. The gilded face of Saint Gertrude decorates the northern gate, while the southern portal is bordered by the statues of Jesus and Moses.

Check the schedule – you may be able to catch a musical performance.
If your timing allows you to see the inside with good lighting, you'll be treated to spectacular stained glass scenes.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 10:30am-4:30pm (Jun 15-Aug 15); 11am-3pm (May 15-Jun 15, Aug 15-Sep 15); Wed, Fri, Sat: 11am-3pm, Sun: 12:30-3pm (Sep 15-May 15)
Free admission
Sight description based on wikipedia

8) Kindstugatan

Stan. The street dates back to medieval times in Stockholm and was known as a cross street between the eastern and western gates. The street is lined with many historic buildings. The Törne House is a 17th century building which was the home of one of Stockholm’s mayors. Also known as the Gray Building, the cartouche over the door proclaims Then Gudh wil hielpa kan ingen stielpa which means “God helps those who let him.” Number 14 Kindstugatan is known as the rose colored building. The building has been the location of a tavern where Lasse Lucidor, a renowned Swedish poet, was murdered as a result of a bar fight. Several of the buildings were inhabited during the 1700s by local medical professionals including Johan von Hoorm, who introduced obstetrics to Sweden and published a book on midwifery in 1697. Other famous residents include the surgeon, Henrik Quant, and several pharmacists. The buildings that line the street represent a wide variety of architectural styles including Rococo, Baroque and Renaissance design. The cobble-stone streets are well preserved and the landscaping is lush and green.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Brända Tomten

9) Brända Tomten

A triangle shaped public space, Brända Tomten can be found in the old part of Stockholm, Sweden. Brända Tomten means “The Burnt Down Estate” and, the name is significant as it is the result of a fire. Said to be the location of a building that burned to the ground in 1728, never to be rebuilt, the property was left open for other uses. The area is a beautiful place to take a stroll or to sit on one of the many benches to do some people watching or, to just enjoy a relaxing day. Large chestnut trees and ivy make the space lush and appealing in appearance. In the summer months, visitors are treated to the talents of troupes of storytellers, who gather in the Brända Tomten to tell popular Swedish folktales to the crowds. Used at one time as a space to turn horse-drawn carriages around, Brända Tomten was used for this purposed during the 18th century. Many storytellers and writers have been influenced by this area including the author, August Strindberg, who wrote a play based on the location. For visitors to the area, spend the day on a walking tour, bring a camera and spend some time exploring the beauty of Brända Tomten.
Sight description based on wikipedia

10) Köpmanbrinken

Köpmanbrinken, which is also known as “Merchant’s Slope,” is a historic street located in Old Town Stockholm on Gamla Stan Island. The street is actually sloping with the northern portion commonly known as the “Fishing Shore Slope.” There is no surprise that the slope received its title because it was a major part of the fishing trade during the Middle Ages. Walking along the street, visitors will find some of the most famous icons like the replicated statue of Saint George and the Dragon at the Cathedral Storkyrkan. The bronze replica was cast in 1912 by Otto Meyer. Saint George is depicted as a young man in his battle armor with his lance impaling the dragon. Though it is a similar copy of the original in Storkyrkan, several parts of the statue have been altered like the knight wears a helmet and the dragon is positioned differently. He sits atop a life-sized horse with the dragon’s legs pushing in the horse’s stomach. The plinth is embellished with reliefs of the martyrdom of the brave saint. The original piece was commissioned by the Swedish Viceroy, Sten Sture in 1489. The street is lined by historic buildings and the cobble-stone streets add to the historic appeal.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Tessin Palace

11) Tessin Palace

Designed in the Baroque style, with its powerful lines and artistic influence, Tessin Palace is located in a part of Stockholm known as Gamla Stan. Gamla Stan is in the oldest part of the city. Once known as “The Town between the Bridges” the town is located on the island of Stadsholmen. With beautiful views and a rich architectural history, this is an area of town that will transport visitors back to medieval Sweden. Tessin Palace is located on prime property next to the Royal Palace. Its cubical shape, dotted with perfect rows of windows and its pastel yellow color lend well to the strong lines designed by its architect. Built in the late 1600s , the building is a creation of famed architect Nicodemus Tessin the Younger. The architect designed and constructed several churches and buildings around Stockholm for the royal family during the 18th century. After his death, the building was willed to his son Carl Gustaf Tessin, who lived in it for a short period of time and then was forced to sell it to settle his own financial debt. Since that time, the palace has been owned by Swedish Royalty and has been the residence of several governors and noblemen.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Royal Palace

12) Royal Palace (must see)

Home of the Swedish Monarchy, the Stockholm Palace is a ceremonial and formal residence (the actual residence of the Royal family is at Drottningholm Palace). This is where the King performs his mandated duties as Sweden's Head of State. The palace is flanked by other stately buildings such as the Parliament building which commands attention worthy of the government.

The original building on this site was a fortress during the 15th century. Under the 16th century rule of King John III, the fortress was transformed into a luxurious Baroque palace structure designed by Nicodemus Tessin the Younger, also the designer of Tessin Palace. Visitors to the palace are greeted by the Högvakten, the Swedish Royal Guard, whose history reaches back to medieval Sweden and adds to the intrigue of the majestic structure. The brick structure with sandstone facades is shaded by an exquisite copper roof. The palace has 660 windows, over 1400 rooms, several lush courtyards and is said to be one of the largest in the world.

It's always good to get a tour as it is a more personalized experience, but the rooms are well marked in English.
The treasury room with all the regalia would justify taking the tour as you actually get to learn about what you're looking at.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Royal Armory (Livrustkammaren)

13) Royal Armory (Livrustkammaren) (must see)

Livrustkammaren, the Royal Armory, is the oldest museum in Sweden, taking visitors on a trip back in time, as they scrutinize and discover the numerous treasures of Sweden’s monarchy. Opened in 1907, the museum has continuously displayed artifacts from political, ceremonial and battle history related to Sweden. Rooms are full of the apparel worn for coronations and royal weddings, which bear evidence to the fulsome lifestyle of days gone by within the Swedish monarchy.

Some of the objects are a tad on the gruesome side, including blood-dried clothing worn during battles and assassinations. In fact, the museum is recognized for its compilation of blood-stained garments, which pay homage to the fearlessness of their royal wearers. In addition to the collection of clothing, visitors will discover a multiplicity of weapons and saddles used in battles and ceremonies. A collection of gifts from heads of state to the Swedish royal family are also on display.

The museum has something for everyone including young children. The Play and Learn Room is a place where children can draw, play and discover the history of Swedish royalty with many opportunities to touch and feel artifacts including costumes and military regalia.

The museum's new permanent exhibition will open in summer 2019. Until then, visitors are welcome downstairs to enjoy the royal coaches and their history. "I love you madly", an exhibition about Axel von Fersen‘s and Marie Antoinette’s impossible love story is also presented there.

Opening Hours:
Tue, Wed, Fri-Sun: 11am-5pm; Thu: 11am-8pm (Sep-Apr); Tue-Sun: 11am-5pm (May, Jun), Tue-Sun: 10am-6pm (Jul, Aug)
Closed: 1/1, 30/3, 22-23/6, 24-26/12, 31/12
Free admission
Sight description based on wikipedia
Riksdag Building

14) Riksdag Building

Known as the House of Parliament, the Riksdag Building is located amongst the incredibly historical architecture of Old Town, Sweden. Designed by architect Aron Johansson, the building was erected at the turn of the century between 1897 and 1905. Even though the building is more modern when compared to some of the other structures nearby, the influence of the local Baroque and Renaissance architecture is evident in the façade of the building and, the overall construction. Located on the island of Helgeandsholmen, the building is flanked by water and is impressive as it lies on the horizon, especially at night. Hegeandsholmen is part of the Old Town Stockholm, otherwise known as Gamla Stan. On the Eastern part of the island, visitors will find restaurants, which have been serving the local cuisine since 1832, along with an exquisite public park, which offers incredible views of Riksdag and the surrounding landscape. Originally built to hold the bicameral assembly and the Swedish National Bank, changes were made to the construction of the building during the 1970s, when Sweden changed to a unicameral system of government. When the decision was made to build the parliamentary building on the island of Helgeandsholmen, the only stipulation made to the designers was that it would not outshine the Royal Palace.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Museum of Medieval Stockholm

15) Museum of Medieval Stockholm (must see)

The Stockholms Medeltidsmuseum or Museum of Medieval Stockholm is a distinctive gallery with an exceptional story. This exhibition hall was born as a product of the wealth of archeological discoveries, which were made between 1978-80 while the Swedish Parliament Buildings were under reconstruction.

The exhibit consists of over 850 objects and artifacts, which map out the history of the Old Town area of Stockholm, all the way back to the 13th century. Part of the exhibit consists of the Town Wall built in the 1530s by Gustavus Vasa. During the three years of excavation, the archeological dig came to be known as the National Hole, because of its depth and magnitude, which involved over 50,000 meters of soil. The items unearthed during the dig provided the community of Stockholm with a history of the city's medieval development. Some of the items found during the dig included several boats, castles and over 7 metric tons of skeletal remains.

Why You Should Visit:
Engaging exhibits and preserved archaeological remains – you can almost 'smell ' the old times!
Much larger on the inside than it appears; displays are described in both Swedish and English.
Kids would really like this, too – there are a number of exhibits designed specifically for them.

For a minimal fee, the museum offers multilingual audio tours in English, German or French.

Opening Hours:
Tue, Thu-Sun: 12-5pm; Wed: 12-8pm; Free admission
Free guided tours in English: Tue-Sun: 2-2:30pm (Jul-Aug)
Sight description based on wikipedia

Walking Tours in Stockholm, Sweden

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Travel Distance: 2.3 Km or 1.4 Miles
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Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.1 Km or 1.9 Miles
Östermalm Cultural Walk, Part 1

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Travel Distance: 2.7 Km or 1.7 Miles
Riddarholmen Landmarks Walk in Stockholm

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Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 0.8 Km or 0.5 Miles

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