4. Gamla Stan: A Self-Guided Audio Tour of Stockholm’s Old City
The cobbled streets of Stockholm’s old town, Gamla Stan, are layered with history. They tell the story of how the city became a medieval settlement forced through climate changes, a transit point for merchants heading to the eastern Baltic Sea, following the earlier Viking's routes. On this walking tour, I’ll introduce you to the fascinating old town that has attracted travelers for centuries. As you walk through the narrow streets of Gamla Stan, I’ll point out the four islands that form this area: Stadholmen, Riddarholmen, Strömsborg and Helgeandholmen. You’ll hear about the people that shaped the city like Birger Jarl, regarded as Stockholm’s founding father, and Gustav Vasa, the father of Swedish monarchy. On this circular tour, I’ll tell you about the current monarchy and its origins. You’ll hear about how the city transformed from a liberated nation to a European powerhouse and, finally, a democratic monarchy. Along the way, you’ll see: • Evert Taubes Terrass, a tranquil square named after the Swedish author, artist, composer and singer • Riddarholmen Church, the final resting place for Swedish monarchs • Storkyrkan, the pink St Nikolai Cathedral that’s been used for coronations as well as royal weddings, including Princess Victoria and Daniel Westling’s 2010 ceremony • Stortorget (the Great Square) where you’ll see the Nobel Museum and Library and hear about the gruesome decapitation of 91 nobles and a bishop in 1520 • Järnpojke, the Iron Child statue, with its head rubbed smooth by superstitious people hoping their wishes will come true • Stockholm Royal Palace and its 608 rooms • The intricate St George and the Dragon statue • Mårten Trotzigs Gränd, Stockholm’s narrowest street • Västerlånggatan, Gamla Stan’s longest commercial street. Join me on this 75-minute stroll down cobblestones alleys and streets to learn about Stockholm and Swedish architecture, artwork, and local cuisine. There are plenty of places along the way to treat yourself to some refreshments or to go window-shopping.