March 15, 2017

Fjällgatan

Kastellholmen (left) and Djurgården (right)
Fjällgatan is the name of a street in Stockholm that is famous for its views of the harbor as well as the quaint, historical houses in the area. "Fjäll" has a double meaning in Swedish. It can mean either scales, as in fish scales, or it can mean mountain (specifically the part above the treeline). Someone once told me that the "fjäll" in the street name referred to fish scales because many fishermen once lived in the area and the rocks would be littered with fish scales after they brought home their catch. Not sure if he was pulling my leg, but I can't find anything online to support this so the street name most likely refers to the street's location up on the heights.
At any rate, I visited the area after my recent visit to Fotografiska. Most of Stockholm is pretty flat, with the exception of the northern coastline of Södermalm island which rises above the harbor and provides good views of the city from several points. Fjällgatan is located on the eastern side of this rise. This is one of the most popular view points and is even on the route for the Panorama bus tour. The Hop On/Off bus tour also makes a stop a block or so away from Fjällgatan. As I was at the Fotografiska museum on the waterfront, I used the stairs behind the museum (called Söderberg's stairs) to get up to Fjällgatan.
Söderberg's stairs behind Fotografiska
From Fjällgatan you have views directly over the islands of Skeppsholmen, Kastellholmen and Djurgården. And if you turn your gaze westward you can see the old town (Gamla Stan) and downtown areas. But, as I mentioned, it is not only the views which bring people to the area. The neighbourhood also has many quaint old houses and buildings from the 1700's (most were built after a major fire in 1723). This makes Fjällgatan a good representation of an 18th century Stockholm street. One bit of macabre trivia: the Stockholm gallows were located in this area in the Middle Ages, as the hanging bodies of criminals could be seen by most of the town... providing a good deterent to others who may have been planning any crimes.
Gamla Stan
While you can visit the street year round, I would say that the optimal time is in the summer... when the city is green and in bloom (better views). Small cafés with outdoor seating open as well. One restaurant of special note can be found here: the vegetarian restaurant Herman's. They have a great outdoor garden area where you can dine in the sunshine and look out over the city.
Entrance to Herman's restaurant and garden café
To get to Fjällgatan from the Rival Hotel... it is about a 20 minute walk. Or you could take the aforementioned bus tours. Besides the Fotografiska museum, you also have the SoFo district just a couple of blocks inland from street, so you have a few choices to combine with visiting Fjällgatan. There are a couple of commuter busses that will get you there, but check with me directly for up-to-date information when you are at the hotel because the construction at Slussen means that they are adjusting bus routes in the area often.

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