Gamla Stan is an area usually heaving with tourists who come to see the beautiful buildings and cobbled streets in what is Stockholm’s Old Town. [Photos:@Pharmarium/@Restaurangbrinken/@NobelPrizeMuseum]
It is steeped in history and unlike anywhere else on Earth. The Medieval and Rennaisance style of Gamla Stan’s buildings, painted in beautiful bright colours attracts visitors from around the world, but locals love it too for its charming and convivial atmosphere. After all, Gamla Stan was the city of Stockholm until one by one the mostly rural areas surrounding it began to join the city, and so it is seen as quintessentially Stockholmian (if that’s a word).
It’s home to Den Gyldene Freden, a restaurant that has been in business since 1722, making it one of the oldest in the world, and Stockholms Slott, the official residence of the monarch. There are also tons of amazing restaurants in Gamla Stan, lovely places to walk, and fantastic things to see, which makes it the perfect place to spend an afternoon exploring. Here are our favourite things to do, see and eat in Gamla Stan.
Top 5 places to eat
1. Stockholms Gästabud
📍Österlånggatan 7, 111 31
If you want proper Swedish food, then Stockholms Gästabud really is the place to go. From meatballs to moose, they have it all, and it’s good, hearty grub that will leave you feeling full and contented for hours. Check out their Facebook page to see what they have on the menu.
📍Kåkbrinken 14-16, 111 27
Another fantastic place to find delicious Swedish food is Brinken, and people rave about their delicious vegetarian meatballs. The menu is great for vegetarians and the restaurant has a lovely, cosy atmosphere. You can read the menu on their website.
📍Lilla Nygatan 11, 111 28
If you like Lebanese food, you’re going to love Oummi. They serve phenomenal plates of tasty Lebanese fare with delicious Lebanese wine, and the waiters are so lovely that we could stay there all day, quite happily! Veggie options are available, and they taste fantastic. To read the menu, visit the website.
4. The Hairy Pig
📍Lilla Nygatan 13, 111 28
The name says it all – The Hairy Pig is a restaurant centered around meat and meat-lovers. They serve little, tapas-sized dishes made with locally sourced meat, from wild boar to roasted moose meat, and people love it. You can also order delicacies from their deli on the website.
📍Kornhamnstorg 47, 111 27
Corvina is the place to go for delicious Meditteranean food, and the restaurant has a lovely, warm atmosphere. They serve tasty cheese boards, and even tastier wine, making it perfect for date night as it’s also fairly expensive to eat here. The menu is available to view on the website.
Top 5 places to visit
📍Stortorget 2, 103 16
It’s a place that every Stockholmer will have visited already, but we can’t get enough of it. Because Nobel Prizes are awarded for various fields of study there is a huge variety in the displays. Alfred Nobel’s old chemical bottles might just be the most fascinating of all but you can learn about lots of different things that humans have achieved here, and we’re incredibly lucky to have the museum in Stockholm. It’s 120 SEK per ticket for adults and 90 SEK for students.
📍Trångsund 1, 111 29
It’s the oldest church in all of Stockholm, and it’s incredibly beautiful. Construction is said to have started on this amazing building in the 13th century, so there is a lot to discover about it, including Vädersolstavlan, which is a painting of Stockholm with ‘sun dogs’ in the sky above, painted in 1535. It’s truly fascinating to see this meteorological phenomenon depicted in such an old painting. It costs nothing to enter the church, but please be respectful of Covid-19 regulations and those worshipping in the church.
📍Trädgårdsgatan 2, 111 31
In English, Järnpojke is referred to as ‘Iron Boy’ or ‘Boy Watching The Moon’, which really hits the nail on the head. This tiny sculpture is only 15 centimetres tall and it only arrived in Stockholm in 1967 and was created by Liss Eriksson, inspired by nights spent as a child looking at the moon when he couldn’t sleep. People leave coins and sweets near this little guy and patting him on the head is said to be lucky.
📍Skeppsbrokajen, 111 30
This lovely wharf on Gamla Stan’s coast is a beautiful place for a relaxing walk. It has amazing views of Stockholm and it’s a fantastic place to just sit and watch the world go by, by the softly rippling water. Before the pandemic, you could catch a boat from Skeppsbrokajen and see the city from the water.
5. Stockholms Stadsmission
📍Köpmangatan 15, 111 31
There are plenty of second-hand shops around Stockholm, but this one is particularly good. Plus, the money from your purchases goes to help those struggling with poverty and homelessness. This particular shop is usually packed to the brim with interesting items, not least because it’s located in a very fashionable area and the so the stock is generally excellent quality. It’s a great place to find vintage clothes and lovely crockery.
Top 3 places to drink
1. Zum Franziskaner
This lovely German pub serves delicious snacks and the best German and Swedish craft beer. Decked in beautiful dark wood, it’s the perfect place to have a beer and relax, especially if it’s raining outside, as it often is in Stockholm. You can view the menu on the website.
2. The Secret Garden
📍Kornhamnstorg 59, 111 27
This gorgeous gay bar has a beautiful terrace and when the sun actually shines you can lap it up out there with a delicious drink in hand and enjoy the wonderful, welcoming atmosphere. Check out the website to view their extensive (and delicious) drinks menu.
Pharmarium is another bar with a fantastic terrace which they open up in the Summer. The building was once one of the city’s oldest pharmacies and tiny apothecary drawers that used to hold ingredients for making pharmaceuticals stand behind the bar. The cocktails are delicious and infused with tasty herbs. Check out the drinks menu on their website.