Exploring Stockholm's Old Town - Gamla Stan
Updated: Apr 26
When it came to booking our flight back to Thailand from Norway, we noticed that the cheapest route was through Sweden, with an overnight stay in the capital of Stockholm. After some discussion, we agreed that the money saved on flight tickets would ultimately fund the stopover, so it seemed like a no brainer.
After a short flight from Bergen, we arrived at Stockholm Arlanda Airport at around 4:30 pm, we had less than 24hrs in the city and we were determined to make the most of it. We jumped on the Arlanda Express train to Stockholm Central Station, where after disembarking we were welcomed by a city that appeared to be cold, dark and wet, needless to say, it was not a great first impression. Despite the weather, we were still excited to see more of the city, so we threw on our rain jackets and warmed up with a 15-minute walk to our accommodation, which was a beautiful Yacht moored in the harbour near Stockholm's historic old town.
Because we were only going to be in Stockholm for a short time we decided to focus our attention on the Gamla Stan (old town in Swedish) area of the city, so after dropping our backpacks at the hotel, we headed out on foot in search of a place to eat. Because it was the start of the low season, the beautiful cobblestone streets were not crowded at all, which made the atmosphere even more magical. Although the rain had eased, the temperature had dropped significantly, so we popped into a cosy restaurant where we enjoyed some Swedish meatballs and local beer.
After dinner, we strolled around the district and did some shopping at the small boutique shops which lined the streets selling local art, textiles, and handicrafts. We started with the main streets of Västerlånggatan and Österlånggatan and then ventured further out, passing the Royal Palace and the Swedish House of Parliament. Eventually, we got tired and decided to call it a day, as we had ventured quite far from our hotel and it was beginning to get darker.
The next morning we woke up early hoping to see some more of Gamla Stan in daylight, the weather was less than ideal, but once again we donned our rain jackets and headed out to explore. The old town was very quiet in the early morning, making for a peaceful stroll through the winding cobblestone streets. During our walk, we passed a few churches including Riddarholmen, St Nicholas', and St Gertrude's, but unfortunately, they were not open yet so we couldn't go inside, but judging by the external architecture they would be well worth a visit if you have time.
Another thing we also noticed while walking around Gamla Stan is the abundance of museums in the area, including the Royal Palace with around five museums on the grounds, the Nobel Prize Museum and the Wooden Horse Museum. The museums all seemed to open at around 10 am or later, so we didn't have time to check them out, as we had to head back to the hotel to pack our things and head to the Airport.
Although we were only in Stockholm for less than 24hrs, we feel that stopover was well worth it, even if it was just to get a taste of what this spectacular city has to offer. The time we spent walking around the beautifully preserved medieval district of Gamla Stan, was simply breathtaking and it was a great way to wind down after a busy week travelling through Denmark and Norway. We would love to come back at some stage to see more of Stockholm and the rest of Sweden; however, we feel extremely lucky that we were able to spend some time wandering the streets of this spectacular city.
For more information about the attractions in Gamla Stan and the rest of Stockholm, you can try visiting the Visit Stockholm website, which has an array of information for travellers.
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