June 22, 2021
The different neighbourhoods of Sweden’s capital city are spread out over the city’s 14 islands, the greater Stockholm archipelago has over 24,000 islands. Each neighbourhood has it’s own characteristics and sights to see. The city centre consists of several neighbourhoods, including Gamla Stan (the city’s Old Town), Kungsholmen and Östermalm.
Stockholm’s Old Town is one of the most iconic locations in the city and it is considered as one of the best preserved medieval heritage sites in Europe. Gamla Stan has narrow, cobblestone streets surrounded by colourful, historic buildings.
It’s a great place to start your visit to Stockholm and with this free audio guide you’ll find your way around the island. The city’s oldest square, Stortorget, is a mandatory stop on the island. The eastern edge of the island is one of the places from which boat tours through the archipelago depart.
Stockholm’s Royal Palace, located on Galma Stan, is one of the largest in Europe with over 600 rooms. The Palace is the official residence of the King of Sweden and was mostly build in the 18th century, on the spot where the Tre Kronor castle had burned down in 1697. The combination of royal residence, workplace and historical monument, open year round, makes this place unique amongst Europe's royal residences.
The palace is styled like a Roman palace with a baroque style, its 600 rooms are divided over 11 floors. As it is the residence of the King, not all rooms can be visited. You will, however, be able to visit such rooms as the reception rooms, the Rikssalen (Hall of State) with Queen Kristina's silver throne, and Ordenssalarna (Halls of the Orders of Chilvary).
In addition to the Royal Apartments there are three museums steeped in regal history: the Treasury with the regalia, the Tre Kronor Museum that portrays the palaces medieval history and Gustav III's Museum of Antiquities. During the summer months the Royal Chapel is also open, as well as the Riddarholmen Church – the royal burial church five minutes walk from the Palace.
Nobel Prize Museum
The yearly Nobel Prize announcements are heard around the world. The Nobel Prize Museum features exhibits about the history of the Nobel Prize and significant contributions from Nobel Prize winners. With the help of videos, donated artifacts and in-depth guided tours you meet freedom fighters, writers and scientists who all contributed to the greatest benefit to humankind.
Swedish inventor and industrialist Alfred Nobel had a clear vision about the prize he created. In his will, he wrote that he wanted to reward those who had “conferred the greatest benefit to humankind”. Here you can be inspired by ideas that have changed the world.
The eastern neighbourhood of the city centre is one of the most populous districts in Stockholm. Östermalm is known for its many great bars and restaurants, as well as having some of the best shopping malls and department stores in the city. The island of Djurgården is sometimes considered part of the neighbourhood and at other times considered as its own district.
The boulevard of Östermalm is one of the most exclusive addresses in the city, from here you have views to Gamla Stan and Skeppsholmen, and Strandvägen connects Djurgården to the rest of the city. The western end of the boulevard is the second location from where many of the city’s tour boats and water taxi’s depart.
The magnificent buildings on this street were completed just in time for the Stockholm World’s Fair in 1897. The long row of palatial apartment buildings is in the Revivalist style, epitomised by Isak Gustaf Clason’s Bünsow Building, which looks like a Loire Valley chateau.
Swedish History Museum
Two blocks from Östermalm’s impressive boulevard you can learn all about the history of Sweden at the Swedish History Museum. The museum’s collection contains 10 million objects, which cover over 10,000 years of Swedish history, all the way from the Mesolithic period to present day.
The museum, which has free admission for all, has one of the world’s biggest Viking exhibitions, gold and silver treasures, medieval art and unique object from one of Sweden’s most violent wars – the Battle for Gotland in 1361. All the pieces in the collection were found in Sweden, though many have come from across the world.
Though sometimes considered as part of the Östermalm neighbourhood, the island of Djurgården is unlike any other area in the city. The island is easily accessible with Hop-on Hop-off buses and boats as well as with public transport. The island is a favourite with locals and tourists alike, attracting over 10 million visitors each year.
The world’s first open-air museum, Skansen takes its visitors back in time to life before the industrial revolution. Here you can wander among the farms and homesteads which show traditional Swedish living between the 16th and 19th centuries, while observing crafts such as tanning, glassblowing and pottery.
Skansen open-air museum also includes a zoo with native Scandinavian animals, including bears, wolves and European bison. This is also where many festive occasions are celebrated throughout the year – Easter, Midsummer, Lucia, Christmas, New Year and all other Swedish holidays.
On the southwest corner of Djurgården lies Gröna Lund, where the impossible becomes possible, the old become young again and the world gets turned upside down. Sweden’s oldest amusement park has 30 rides and numerous food and snack stands, including six restaurants. Gröna Lund also offers a wide range of entertainment including concerts, dance evenings and children’s entertainment.
The parks newest attraction was opened in April 2021, Monster, the king of all rollercoasters. Dangling under the track, riders will be upside down no less than four times on Monster as they soar above Gröna Lund.
Not only is this Scandinavia’s most visited non-art museum, the Vasa Museet is also one of the most unique. The maritime museum is named after the Vasa, the preserved 17th century ship that forms the centrepiece of the exhibition. The ship, which sank on its maiden voyage, was discovered in Stockholm harbour in 1961 and painstakingly restored to its former glory.
Beyond the Vasa in the main hall, the museum also has exhibits related to the archaeological findings of the ship, early 17th-century Sweden and models portraying the construction, sinking, location and recovery of the ship. In the harbour outside the museum, four other ships can be visited: an ice breaker (1915), a lightvessel (1903), a torpedo boat (1966) and a rescue boat (1944).
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As primarily a residential island, you’ll truly find yourself amongst the locals on Kungsholmen. The island has many lively restaurants, bars and cafés, especially along Hantverkargatan and Fleminggatan. A walk along the tree-lined quay on Norrmälarstrand offers unparalleled views of Södermalm and boats sailing on the lake.
Kungsholmen is home to one of the most prominent buildings of the Stockholm skyline, City Hall. The building is unmistakable due to its 106 metre tower and its bright red colour. City Hall is a great example of the Nordic National Romantic style and was inaugurated in June 1923 400 years to the day after Gustav Vasa’s arrival in the city.
Every December the Nobel Banquet is held in the building’s Blue Hall and after dinner there is dancing in the Golden Hall, which is adorned with 18 million gold mosaic tiles. Though City Hall is still used by the Stockholm Municipality, you can take a guided tour through the building. If you get the chance, don’t miss climbing the tower to be awarded with an incredible view.
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