24 hours in Gamla Stan
Welcome to Part Two of my Stockholm post! As I mentioned, I stayed at my friend's house for a couple days outside the city, but I wanted to have at least one full 24 hours IN the city to explore. So I booked a room at the STF Hotel Gamla Stan. Very affordable, clean, and quiet. I also booked a Swedish Massage at the Luxury Spa at First Hotel Reisen, which was an amazing experience (cliche, I know).
Here's how I recommend spending 24 hours in Gamla Stan.
The wonderful part about traveling during winter is that most places are cheaper and way less crowded. It's honestly the only way I could afford traveling through Europe for 2 months. The downside is, while out exploring, you are often freezing!
Thankfully, there are plenty of cute little coffee and pastry shops to pop into to warm up (and have a treat... what better excuse!)
The city has such a good energy about it. It's clean, well organized, and once you get into "old town" also known as Gamla Stan, you are transported back to medieval Europe. It's on a little island in the middle of Stockholm (accessed by bridges).
This eclectic mix of new and old, makes Stockholm so much fun to explore (especially for photographers!)
I spent most of my time in Gamla Stan, as there is so much visual and cultural interest there.
Tons of little shops (most of it is pedestrian-only), restaurants, art galleries, and museums.
But even just the people watching is ace, and the old architecture is alluring.
Spend a few hours wandering around the old city. The narrow cobblestone streets and alleys wind between old stucco'd buildings. There's so much to see and you can get a good sense of the place by wandering without itinerary. Stop into any of the coffee or pastry shops for a morning snack/early lunch.
Eventually you'll want to check into your hotel. I enjoyed the STF Hotel Gamla Stan, and it was about $60 including breakfast. Located right on the end of Gamla Stan and easy to access. Even at night I felt safe walking alone in the area.
My friend knew about a really cool place called the Aifur Krog & Bar, which was basically a Viking-style restaurant. It's pricey, but if you have the chance, you MUST have dinner here!!
(NOTE: It's extremely popular so you will need to make reservations!! Even in the dead of winter.)
Seating is family style (large tables) among roaring fireplaces, candle light, live musicians perched on cushions, and the food...oh man the food...
As a vegetarian eating in a viking restaurant, I was a little nervous. I ordered one of the few options without meat, the stew.
Hands down, it was one of the best things I've ever eaten. I practically licked my steel bowl.
After a rousing dinner, make your way to the Ice Bar. (https://www.icebarstockholm.com/book-icebar/)
It's not in Gamla Stan, but you can get there with a 20 minute walk or by bus.
Located under Hotel C, you walk in, pay the entry fee ($22), and you are escorted through to the very cool (literally freezing) Ice Bar! A very unique (and strong) cocktail is included in your entry fee, but you can buy more as needed/desired. They provide the warm gear for you to wear, which you definitely want, because even the seats are made of ice!
After about an hour, I was frozen to my core, so we decided to head out.
You can enjoy exploring the city a little more, or head to Sjätte Tunnan, and amazing underground "pub" who serves some of the best mead I've ever tried! It's located back in Gamla Stan. It has a very old world feel, and very delicious beverages. (They also serve viking style food but I missed the cut-off.
You'll never run out of things to do, see and taste in Stockholm, especially in Gamla Stan.
A 2 day trip would still leave you wanting more.