Gamla Stan’s narrow cobblestone streets, along with its mustard and rust colored buildings, are quintessential images of Stockholm. If you only had a day or two in this city, and frankly that’s probably all you really need, Gamla Stan would be the best place to start.
If you’re coming into Stockholm via the Stockholm Central Station, stop by Vete-Katten for some premium Swedish pastries. It’s absolutely NOT to be missed and it’s right next to the train station. After indulging in their famous Princess Cake, make your way to Stockholm’s old town – Gamla Stan. The historic town center is filled with museums, restaurants, cafes and small shops – typical of any city really.
The Royal Palace
Right off the Stortorget main square is The Royal Palace. It’s fairly modest compared to other palaces in Europe. This one is made up of five museums and has hundreds of rooms. The changing of the guards also happens every day. In the summertime, you can also see a military band and horses parading around the complex.
The Parliament House
The first you’ll come across from Stockholm Central Station is The Parliament House. It sits on a teeny tiny island of Helgeandsholmen and is the official residence of the Swedish monarchy. Guided tours are free and it lasts about an hour or so. You can spend the rest of the time wandering around and, if the timing is right, even catch the change of the guards.
The Hairy Pig
From The Parliament House, you’ll want to head towards The Royal Palace – but not before grabbing a bite to eat. My first Swedish meal was at The Hairy Pig, a tiny restaurant filled with antlers, boar’s heads and other hunting trophies proudly display along the brick walls. To satisfy my inner fattie, I ordered sausage hot dog, pull pork sandwich and salmon pate. It was definitely a palette adjustment as I found the meal, and all the meals I had in Stockholm and Norway, to be really salty.
I arrived in Stockholm in the afternoon and was able to see The Parliament, have lunch and visit the Royal Palace before the day ended. If you have a full day, however, you’ll likely have time to take a ferry to Fjaderholmarna – the closest archipelago to Stockholm.