Don't Miss Getting Lost in Gamla Stan!

One comment I often get from visitors when I discuss with them what to see & do in Stockholm is that they are planning on avoiding the old town (Gamla Stan) because it is probably too touristy. But this is a mistake! Sure, it is popular with tourists... but that doesn't mean it is bad and not worth seeing. And while I apprciate the trend of "experiencing the authentic parts of the city", you can't really understand what Stockholm is all about without seeing where it all started 800+ years ago.
So, by all means, visit Gamla Stan and soak in the history and beautiful architecture. Perhaps avoid the pedestrian street Västerlånggatan if you don't like a high concentration of tourists and souvenir shops. I usually tell visitors to just get lost in narrow medieval streets. If the crowds turn left, you turn right... you never know what interesting things you will find around the corner. If you get the chance, take a guided sightseeing tour to hear some history and interesting stories. Free Tour Stockholm has guided tours year round as well as the company Our Way.
The little statue Iron Boy behind the Finnish Church with
an interesting story.
There is a lot to see on this island (yes, Gamla Stan is an island), like the Royal Palace, a couple of cathedrals, museums like the Nobel Museum and Royal Armoury as well as the narrow alleys and picturesque squares. You also have some of Stockholm's best restaurants and bars here as well as good opportunites for shopping. Besides souvenir shops, there are lots of Swedish design, arts & crafts and antique stores.
A real Viking runestone, used as building material by medieval Stockholmers.
Gamla Stan is at the very center of Stockholm and is easy to get to by subway... both the red and green lines stop at the Gamla Stan station. Otherwise it is only a 10 minute walk from the Rival Hotel! In this article you will find pictures I took the other day when I walked around Gamla Stan getting "lost". I hope that they will inspire you to do the same thing!


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