Gamla Stan is the old town of Stockholm. In the past it was called the city in between bridges, as it is located on an island (Stockholm is built on 14 islands) stretching literally from the bridge of the royal castle to the hectic junction of Slussen. This part of town dates back to the 13th century, and consists of alleyways, cobblestone streets, and medieval architecture. There is also a healthy mix of street art reminding you in which century you live. And yes, it is touristic during the day, but after dark it is the playground of the locals, and one of my favorite parts of the city.Gamla Stan has in the recent years enticed a large number of new, exciting restaurants and bars. Some of the best wine- and cocktail bars in town are located there: Burgundy, 19 Glass, Corvina Enoteca, Tweed and Pharmarium. (Probably) The most well known chef in Sweden, Björn Frantzen has built his empire there with The Flying Elk, Gaston, Elghjärtat and the Corner Club; all except his newest attempt at a three star are located next to Munkbron.
Yes, Gamla stan is a great place for restaurants, and we visited the newest addition to its serious line-up, Kagges, this Friday. Kagges is a small bistro housing the space that used to belong to two starred Frantzen. The cuisine is modern European and the wine list is inspiring. What I really like is that instead of a glass you can order a small carafe of wine. It was enough for two proper glasses of wine, but if you are three, it is a perfect small serving and pretty price worthy with maybe +25% on top of a price of a glass. Food at Kagges was very well prepared. Will write a bit more about it in a separate post.
In addition to its great restaurants, Gamla Stan is a nice place to take a stroll. Especially after dark. Stortorget is one of the most photogenic spots in the old town. It is home to the Nobel Museum and surrounded by beautiful buildings and historical landmarks. One of the houses has a cannon ball stuck to its side, a reminder of the war between Sweden and Denmark in 1520 (The Stockholm Bloodbath). I didn’t notice the black ball until M had me staring straight in to it (its right above the sign for Stortorgetskällaren). Just a block away there is another favorite spot: a small square with a large chestnut tree, the Castanea Hostel and the Under Kastanjen cafe. I love walking in Gamla Stan, but not when the tourists are there. Early in the morning or late in the evening are the best times to visit.