Gamla Stan (Old Town)
Start: Gustav Adolfs Torg
Time: 3 hours
Best Times: Any day it's not raining
Worst Times: Rush hours (Mon-Fri 8-9:30am and 5:30-7pm)
1. Gustav Adolfs Torg
In the Royal Palace facing the square, Gustavus III, patron of the arts, was assassinated here at a masked ball in 1792.
Walk across Norrbro (North Bridge) heading toward the Royal Palace, passing on your right the:
2. Swedish Parliament
The Parliament building at Helgeandsholmen dates from 1897, when its foundation stone was laid. It can be visited only on guided tours.
Along the bridge on your left are stairs leading to the:
3. Medeltidsmuseet (Museum of Medieval Stockholm)
This museum on Strömparterren contains objects and settings from medieval Stockholm, including the Riddarholmship and parts of the old city wall.
Take a Break
One of Stockholm's hidden cafes, Café Strömparterren, Helgeandsholmen (tel. 08/21-95-45), is also one of the most centrally located -- just next door to the Medeltidsmuseet. Many Stockholmers come here for a morning cup of coffee and a stunning view of the waterfront. In summer, tables are placed outside; the interior of the cafe is built into the walls under Norrbro.
After leaving the museum, continue along the bridge until you come to Slottskajen. Here, directly in front of the Royal Palace, make a right turn and head to:
4. Mynttorget (Coin Square)
This square is the site of the Kanslihuset, a government office building erected in the 1930s. The neoclassical, columned facade remains from the Royal Mint of 1790.
Continue straight along Myntgatan until you reach Riddarhustorget. On your right is the:
The Swedish aristocracy met in this 17th-century House of Nobles during the Parliament of the Four Estates (1665-68).
Continue straight across Riddarholmsbron bridge until you come to the little island of:
Called the "Island of the Knights," Riddarholmen is closely linked to the Old Town. You'll immediately see its chief landmark, the Riddarholmskyrkan church with its cast-iron spire. Founded as an abbey in the 13th century, it has been the burial place of Swedish kings for 4 centuries.
Walk along the north side of the church until you reach Birger Jarls Torg. From there, take the 1-block-long Wrangelska Backen to the water. Then go left and walk along Södra Riddarholmshamnen.
Veer left by the railroad tracks, climb some steps, and go along Hebbes Trappor until you return to Riddarholmskyrkan. From here, cross over Riddarholmsbron and return to Riddarhustorget.
Cross Stora Nygatan and take the next right onto Storkyrkobrinken, passing the landmark Cattelin Restaurant on your right. Continue along this street, past the Lady Hamilton Hotel, turning right onto Trångsund, which leads to:
7. Stortorget (Great Square)
Take a seat on one of the park benches -- you've earned the rest. This plaza was the site of the Stockholm Blood Bath of 1520 when Christian II of Denmark beheaded 80 Swedish noblemen and displayed a "pyramid" of their heads in the square. The Börsen on this square is the Swedish Stock Exchange, a building dating from 1776. This is where the Swedish Academy meets every year to choose the Nobel Prize winners in literature.
At the northeast corner of the square, take Källargränd north to view the entrance, opening onto Slottsbacken, of the:
8. Royal Palace
The present palace dates mainly from 1760 after a previous one was destroyed by fire. The changing of the guard takes place on this square.
To your right is the site of the:
This church was founded in the mid-1200s but has been rebuilt many times since. It's the site of coronations and royal weddings; kings are also christened here. The most celebrated sculpture here is St. George and the Dragon, a huge work dating from 1489. The royal pews have been used for 3 centuries, and the altar, mainly in ebony and silver, dates from 1652. This is still a functioning church, so it's best to visit when services are not in progress. It's open Monday through Saturday from 9am to 7pm, and Sunday from 9am to 5:30pm; admission is free.
Continue right along Slottsbacken, either visiting the palace now or saving it for later. Go right as you reach Bollshusgränd, a cobblestone street of old houses leading to:
One of the most charming squares of the Old Town, Köpmantorget contains a famous copy of the St. George and the Dragon statue.
From the square, take Köpmanbrinken, which runs for 1 block before turning into:
Now the site of many restaurants and antiques shops, Österlånggatan was once Old Town's harbor street.
Continue along Österlånggatan, but take the first left under an arch, leading into:
12. Stora Hoparegränd
Some buildings along this dank street, one of the darkest and narrowest in Gamla Stan, date from the mid-1600s.
Walk down the alley toward the water, emerging at Skeppsbron bridge. Turn right and walk for 2 blocks until you reach Ferkens Gränd. Go right again up Ferkens Gränd until you return to Österlånggatan. Go left on Österlånggatan until you come to Tullgränd. Take the street on your right:
This street was named after the priests who used to live here. As you climb the street, look to your left to Mårten Trotzigs Gränd, a street of steps that's the narrowest in Gamla Stan.
Continue along Prästgatan, passing a playground on your right. Turn right onto Tyska Brinken until you see on your right:
14. Tyska Kyrkan
Since the beginning of the 17th century, this has been the German church of Stockholm. The church has a baroque interior and is exquisitely decorated.
After you leave the church, the street in front of you will be Skomakargatan. Head up this street until you come to Stortorget once again. From Stortorget, take Kåkbrinken, at the southwest corner of the square. Follow this little street until turning left at:
This pedestrian street is the main shopping artery of Gamla Stan and the best place to purchase Swedish gifts and souvenirs.
Follow Västerlånggatan to:
This street used to be known as Korntorget when it was the center of the copper and iron trade in the 16th and 17th centuries. At times in its long history, Järntorget has been the place of punishment for "wrongdoers." The most unusual statue in Stockholm stands here -- a statue of Evert Taube, the troubadour and Swedish national poet of the early 1900s. He's carrying a newspaper under his arm, his coat draped nonchalantly, his sunglasses pushed up high on his forehead.
From the square, take Järntorgsgatan to:
Here you can catch a bus to return to the central city, or you can board a ferry to Djurgården and its many museums.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.