Stockholm’s old town (Gamla Stan) was way more beautiful than we had expected. With a splendid entrance dominated by the Royal Palace, the most charming narrow side treets and old facades covered in warm colours, the medieval center of Stockholm has a wonderful fairy tale – like feeling to it.
The Royal Palace happens to be the biggest palace still used by a head of state. It combines Italian, French and Swedish influences and was originated as a 13th century fortress that evolved into a palace in the 16th century. We bumped into the changing of the guard and well, it was quite a show. There was even a speaker who, in perfect English, explained everything that was happening and talked about the history of the palace. Very entertaining!There are two wonderful churches in the old town that truly deserve a visit. The Cathedral (Storkyrkan) was built in 1279 and is surprisingly beautiful. We use the term surprisingly because, if you have visited a few churches in the North of Europe, you’d know that they are very austere and cold. This cathedral, however, was beautifully embellished and had the most peaceful and welcoming atmosphere. We were amazed by the sculpture that represents St. George and the Dragon. It dates from 1489 and was made by an artisan from Lübeck! It was carved from oak and elk horn and, if you like photography, we are sure you will take aproximately 1000 pictures of it. Every angle is astonishing! Before leaving the church don’t forget to look for the Sun Dog Painting, the oldest portrayal of Stockholm painted in 1636.The German church (Tyska Kyrkan), a five minute walk from the cathredal, was founded in 1571. You will recognise its pointed tower from almost every corner of the city. It’s surrounded by a lovely tiny garden and, once you enter the church, you will be mesmerized by the beautiful wooden walls and pulpit. It’s like a little wooden jewellery box. We loved it. Please don’t leave the old town without spending a few minutes in this church. For us, it felt kind of magical. But, of course, the best thing you can do is getting lost in the tiny streets, grab a coffe in Stortorget , the oldest square in Stockholm, and spend a few hours of pure leisure just wandering around. Maybe you will be surprised, like we were, by corners that remind you of Rome, roofs that bring Amsterdam to your mind and hidden alleys that invite you to dream about new adventures.