• Photo: Kerstin / Shutterstock

Gamla Stan and Skeppsholmen

Gamla Stan (Old Town) sits between two of Stockholm's main islands, and is the site of the original Stockholm, founded at least as far back as 1252. History, culture, and a dash of Old Europe come thick and fast here among the twisting cobbled streets lined with superbly preserved old buildings. Understandably, Gamla Stan is also a magnet for tourists. Consequently there are plenty of substandard shops and restaurants ready to take your money for shoddy goods and bad food. Because of this, locals often make a big show of dismissing the area, but don't believe them. Secretly they love Gamla Stan. And who wouldn't? Its divine alleys, gorgeous architecture, shops, and restaurants are irresistible. Wander just a few blocks from the main tourist areas and you'll find narrow residential streets and tiny, peaceful squares. Just east of Gamla Stan is the island of Skeppsholmen, an urban oasis with tree-lined streets, colorful boats tied up alongside wooden docks, and historic maritime buildings, many now housing museums.

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