Once considered a slum, Stockholm’s Old Town (Gamla Stan) is a must for any visitors to the city. With 3000 permanent residents to cater for and a steady stream of tourists, there’s no shortage of great bars and restaurants. There’s also a lot to see and learn. Here our are picks for the top five cool things to do.
The changing of the guard at The Royal Palace
An every day occurrence, but with so much pomp and circumstance you’ll think they’re doing it all for you. Complete with an orchestra, horses, marching and flag waving. Catch it at 12pm Monday to Saturday, and 1pm on Sundays. The palace itself is worth checking out, as it houses the offices of the Swedish royal family and has five museums.
Theatre of Death
Speaking of royalty, the Theatre of Death is a rather morbid affair depicting royal funerals from the 16th century (Gustav Vasa in 1560) through to the 20th century (Gustaf V in 1950). Presented by the royal armoury, the exhibition doesn’t shy away from the morbid and there are plenty of photos of open coffins.
The Nobel Prize Museum (Nobelmuseet)
A museum dedicated to showcasing the work of Nobel laureates – you can go and explain to anyone willing to listen why certain people don’t deserve there’s! With the exception of the peace prize – or Bob Dylan, who will collect prizes when he feels like it – each Nobel prize is presented at an annual ceremony in Stockholm.
The oldest square in Stockholm, this is the heart of old town and one of the best preserved medieval centres in Europe. Check out the beautiful multi-coloured houses while you’re sitting and people watching. The square was the site of the Stockholm Bloodbath in 1520, when the Danish conqueror Kristian II had 82 Swedish dignitaries opposing his rule arrested and beheaded. Slightly more cheerfully, it’s now the location of Stockholm’s annual Christmas market – plus events and performances. Stortoget is full of historical significance and modern celebration.
THE MUSEUM OF MEDIEVAL STOCKHOLM (MEDELTIDSMUSEET)
If Old Town itself isn’t enough, this is a proper glimpse into the Stockholm of old. The museum was constructed around the findings of a huge archaeological dig in the 1970s, and the history of the city from the 13th to the 16th century is depicted. On display are workshops, brick houses, and gallows. Part of Stockholm’s city walls were also found.