Budget Friendly Tips to Explore Like a Local
Gamla Stan is the most well-known neighborhood in Stockholm for a reason. As the city’s old town, some of the oldest and most charming spots are found on this small island. It’s a great place to take visitors or do some exploring on your own. You can find museums, a palace, tasty bistros, independent shops, and old-world charm. Check out some of our favorite aspects of this must-explore neighborhood.
What to see, do, and eat in Gamla Stan:
It’s a good idea to start your walk through Gamla Stan at Stortorget, or The Grand Square. Many will recognize the scenic, colorful buildings from tourist photos, and since it’s surrounded by cute cafes, it’s a great place to people watch. The medieval square is the oldest in Stockholm with many historic sightings, for example, there’s a cannonball stuck on the building at Number 7, which supposedly dates back to the Stockholm Bloodbath in the 16th century. If you’re looking for a little Fika, check out Chokladkoppen for the best hot chocolate.
The Nobel Prize Museum
As a celebration of some of humanity’s greatest achievements, the Nobel Prize Museum is a great spot to check out the creativity and innovation of the past century. Through experiential learning with technology and exhibitions, you get to explore the advancements in natural sciences and culture from the perspective of the Nobel Prize and Nobel Laureates. They even have a reduced student rate for entry!
Västerlånggatan, or the Western Long Street, is the main street running North to South through Gamla Stan. The street is beautiful, lined with cozy cafes, gorgeous architecture, cute shops, and charming alleyways. This is definitely a place to capture some Instagrammable moments while you do some shopping.
Many visitors are surprised that Stockholmers are burger enthusiasts, and that, consequently, the city is filled with great burger restaurants. While there are a lot of top contenders for the best burger in Stockholm, Barrels is one of our personal DIS favorites – and it’s in a stunning location in the heart of Gamla Stan! Stop here when you’re ready for a bite to eat.
The Royal Palace of Stockholm serves many functions: it is the King’s official royal residence, a workplace, and a cultural monument that is open to the public year-round. In addition to 600 individual rooms and 11 floors, the Palace holds three museums showcasing the Tre Kronor Museum, which highlights the palaces medieval history, the Treasury with the regalia, or crown jewels, and Gustav III’s Museum of Antiquities. The museum also has discounted student rates for entry.
Freshly Made Waffles
Ice cream and waffles, even in the middle of winter, is a very common and delicious thing to eat while you’re in the old town. There are lots of cafes that serve them, so find a quaint spot and try some freshly made waffles around Stortorget.
Free Tours of Gamla Stan
If you’d like to learn more about the history of the island, a free tour is always a great way to get an introduction. There are many good companies that host free walks and can guide you to all the hidden treasures of the neighborhood. You’ll probably get to see runestones and Mårten Trotzigs Gränd, the narrowest street in Stockholm.
The Ferry to Djugården
If you’re ready to leave Gamla Stan, definitely make sure to take the ferry to Djugården, which is free for students with SL public transportation cards. The ferry gives you some of the most iconic and picturesque views of the city, and you can keep the fun going by visiting another scenic spot – Djurgården!