What to do and see in the heart of Stockholm

After having presented Stockholm's neighbourhoods Östermalm, Gamla Stan and Södermalm, it's time to finally write about the city centre of Stockholm: Norrmalm. And to make things easier I'm also including the area of Vasastan and Kungsholmen in this post, as they're situated very centrally as well and host a couple offbeat sights.

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Norrmalm

But let's start with Norrmalm. This is the area right in the city centre. It is where the central station, the shopping mall Åhlens and a hundred other stores are situated on Hötorget and Drottninggatan.

You can also find Stockholm's 5 skyscrapers here.

View on Norrmalm from Skinnarviksberget


Vasastan

Vasastan is in the west of the city centre. It's where Folkuniversitetet and Stockholms Handelshögskola are situated. You can also find the town library and a bunch of restaurants at Odenplan.

Right in the middle of the neighbourhood, there's a park where you can flee from the hustle and bustle of the city. Vasastan furthermore is where Olaf Palme, Sweden's prime minister, was shot in 1986.

View on Vasastan from Observatorielunden


Kungsholmen

Kungsholmen is a popular area in the west of the city centre too. Similarly to Östermalm, it has a boulevard at the waterside and 4-storey townhouses that only wealthy people can afford to live in.

The only difference is that Östermalm is situated at the Baltic Sea whereas Kungsholmen is situated at Lake Mälaren. The town hall of Stockholm, called Stadshuset, is at Kungsholmen and from there you can enjoy a wonderful view on Gamla Stan and Riddarholmen.

View on Kungsholmen from Skinnarviksberget


What to do and see in Norrmalm

  • shop till you drop at Beyond Retro, the best vintage store in town, situated on Drottninggatan
  • walk from Drottninggatan to Hötorget and just take a look at every store that catches your eye
  • visit Åhlens, the big Scandinavian department store chain, where you can find absolutely everything
  • take a picture of the 5 skyscrapers lined up in a row

the skyscrapers at Hötorget

 

What to see and do in Vasastan

  • visit the Observatorielunden park and take pictures of Stockholm from above or simply enjoy a break from the hectic and noisy city
  • if you're on a budget, Lidl on Sveavägen is the place for you to do your grocery shopping
  • have a coffee and a panini or Swedish carrot cake at Espresso House

Observatorielunden and the library in winter

 
What to see and do at Kungsholmen

  • visit Stadshuset and either take a tour to see where the nobel prize is handed out or visit the tower to enjoy a view over Stockholm
  • stroll along the boulevard
  • sit at the waterfront and just enjoy the scenery

Stockholm's Stadshuset as seen from Skinnarviksberget


I visited Vasastan every day for my Swedish classes, had a wonderful time strolling around Kungsholmen on a warm March day and got lost in Norrmalm twice. These areas aren't the usual tourist spots as except from Stadshuset, there are no sights or must-see's.

However if you visit these areas, you can be sure to experience the real Stockholm.

You will meet Swedes instead of tourists and if you want to freshen up your Swedish skills or just want to know what living in Stockholm must feel like, these areas are where its at. Go shopping where the Swedes go shopping, have a coffee where the Swedes have theirs and visit the park where they go for a walk with their dogs.

So if you visit Stockholm for the second or third time or if you plan on staying longer than just a few days, put these neighbourhoods on your itinerary. It's worth it!
 


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