Every country I visited during my Scandinavia trip earlier this year had amazing beauty and uniqueness. Iceland had natural beauty, Norway was a winter wonderland, Copenhagen was magical and Stockholm, I would say had the more interesting historical background. Spending only about a day in Stockholm, I mainly focused on the main city as there are so much to see and do.
We arrived from Oslo via high speed train which took about 6 hours to arrive. Arriving late at night, we just head to our hostel at Gamla Stan via metro and rest before our full day ahead the next day. We stayed at Archipelago Hostel. It was strategically located in the old town Gamla Stan and only 2 blocks away from the metro. The rooms are small but the facilities are sufficient for an affordable and comfortable stay. You’ll need to pay extra for sheets and towels but the base price is affordable that the extra charges were not a problem to us. I’d recommend this place. The only thing missing here was luggage storage but it wasn’t needed for us as we checked in and out at night.
As the day started, we head out to Stortorget. Stortorget is one of Stockholm’s oldest square and is also where the iconic colorful buildings you see in brochures are located. It’s definitely a must visit. You could also get breakfast at a cafe around the square here. I saw a unique pastry Semla which I read was a seasonal pastry. While waiting for the time to join the free walking tour at 10am, we walked around the Gamla Stan island including the German Church (Tyska Kyrkan) which is just one of the many unique historical buildings around the city.
We head out to the Gamla Stan station to group up for the Free Walking Tour around the north of the city. Turns out there were 2 different groups organizing it and we went to one that was different from the one we intended to join. The morning tour focuses on sights towards the north of the city. We visited the Parliament House, Royal Swedish Opera, Royal Palace and more. Along the way the tour guide gave some backgrounds and history and politics of the city as well as the buildings visited. The tour ended after only 1.5 hours at Norrmalmstrog square in front of the building where a robbery happened and events from it lead to the term Stockholm Syndrome. The tour was very informative and I find that Stockholm’s history is quite interesting. I do wish to try to go for the other free tour as that one went to more places.
Next we decided to go to the City Hall via metro from Kungstradgarden station. I read that the metro stations in Stockholm was fascinating themselves to be visited. I can see why as the metro station here and the one near the City Hall that we passed through were like a living art gallery. There’s a passage that is made to feel like you’re crossing an ancient roman bridge. Then there were walls and ceilings that were made to feel like you’re in a cave. They’re so fascinating. From the Radhuset station, we had to walk a few blocks to reach the City Hall. It is a huge red color building that sits right by the water’s edge overlooking the island of Gamla Stan. If you are here in the Summer, the tower is open to public and here’s where you can get a great bird’s eye view of Gamla Stan. This I believe is from where most of the known pictures of Stockholm is taken, like the ones you see at IKEA stores. The City Hall is where the Nobel Prizes are awarded to recipients.
From City Hall we head back to Gamla Stan via bus. We intended to take the afternoon free walking tour but we missed the call time at 2pm. It was suppose to go around the old town Gamla Stan area. I didn’t want to miss out on the places I read about so I decided to go hunt down some of the interesting places. We manage to find the Marten Trotzigs Grand, which is suppose to be the smallest street in Gamla Stan. It’s as wide as both arms length so it’s going to be hard if there’s going to be a crowd here. Next was to look for the Iron Boy statue. It is the smallest statue in Stockholm. And by small, they really meant it as small. Only 15cm in height. Very very tiny. So tiny that you might miss trying to find it yourself. It sits within the courtyard of a building so you might be weirded out if the GPS is telling you to go through the back alleys to reach to it. Luckily enough there was a crowd at the time so it didn’t take long to figure out where it was.
After grabbing a late lunch at Zinkensdamm area, we headed to Slussen ferry station to get to our next destination, Djurgarden. As we had bought the 24 hours travel card, it included free ferry rides between Djurgarden and Slussen. The 15 minutes ferry trip stops by the island of Skeppsholmen and ends with Djurgarden right by the Grona Lund theme park. We reached Djurgarden at night so missed out on entering the many different museums and parks around the island. Some of the interesting places manage to have a quick glimpse include Grona Lund theme park, ABBA Museum and the massive Nordiska Museet. One of the museum we were looking forward to visiting was Vasa Museum housing the sunken Vasa ship, but missed out as it closed quite early at 5pm that day. If ever I get to come here again, will definitely make a visit.
From Djurgarden, we walked cross the bridge towards the north land of the city. The view of Stranvagen street is breathtaking with buildings, trees and boats lining along the river. From here we made our way by bus to the Shopping street Drottninggatan. Almost the whole stretch of Drottninggatan is filled with shopping malls and stores. Along the way, we came across the Sergels Torg square which is a massive square where a lot of people in Stockholm cross paths. We walked back towards Gamla Stan from here along Drottniggatan. If you’re looking for cheap souvenirs, some shops along here offer some of the lowest price around. In Gamla Stan, Vasterlanggatan street is also a shopping street for your souvenir hunts.
A full day spent around the beautiful historic Stockholm. It’s time to head back and prepare to leave the next day to Copenhagen. I loved Stockholm for its big city and many attractions within itself. I hope to be back to spend more time here and discover further its beauty.