AUG 01,2018 - AUG 01,2018 (1 DAYS)
Stockholm - Day 3 - Stockholm City Hall, Boat Sightseeing Tour of Stockholm under the Bridges and Östermalmm.
Duration: 1 day. Start & End: Scandic Norra Bantorget, Wallingatan 15, NORRMALM. Weather: We explore sea-side landscapes today. Sunny, bright day is essential for the cruise. Avoid windy, rainy or very hot days. Distance: 12 km (most of the walk is in the last section: Östermalmm).
Part 1 Main Attractions: Stockholm City Hall.
Part 2 Stockholm from the Water, Östermalmm.
Day 3 Itinerary: Our first destination is a 2-hours visit in Stockholm City Hall. We can repeat our 2nd day walk (walking from the hotel to the City Hall via Vasagatan (1.5 km.). Here, we opt for a different route making it a 1.6 km. walk until we arrive to Stockholm City Hall. From Scandic Norra Bantorget
Wallingatan 15, with our back to the hotel entrance we turn LEFT and walk southwest on Wallingatan toward Upplandsgatan, 100 m. Turn left onto Upplandsgatan, 110 m. Continue onto Vasagatan, 210 m. Turn right onto Kungsgatan, 120 m. Slight left onto Kungsbron, 300 m. In the last section we cross the canal. After crossing the water, light left onto Kungsbro strand, 230 m. The water is on your left. Slight left, take the stairs and cross the water again, 550 m. You arrived to the Stockholm City Hall (Stockholms stadshus), Hantverkargatan 1. Buses nr 3 and 53 stop right in front of the City Hall at Hantverkargatan 1. The bus stop is called Stadshuset. The City Hall is formally, NOT a part of Stockholm Gamla Stan and it resides on the Kungsholmen part/island of Stockholm. The City Hall is only 8-10 minutes walk from the Railway/Bus Central Station. It stands on the impressive eastern tip of Kungsholmen island, facing the islands of Riddarholmen (see Stockholm - Day 2 blog) and Södermalm. Stadshuset (City Hall) is Stockholm’s most prominent landmark. There are many remarkable city halls in the world, but what makes Stadshuset unique is that it plays host to the Nobel Prize banquet which is held each year in the Blue Hall. The City Hall construction took twelve years, from 1911 to 1923. The building was inaugurated on 23 June 1923, commemorating exactly 400 years the arrival of Gustav Vasa to Stockholm. Stadshuset is considered one of Sweden's foremost examples of national romanticism in architecture. The juxtaposition of city architecture and deep blue water is BRETHTAKING (in a sunny day) and very inspiring. The architectural style is one of refined eclecticism, blending massive, austere, North European brick construction and playful elements reminiscent of oriental and Venetzian architecture. Many elements in the City Hall complex will impress the visitor: turrets adorned with golden starlets and burning under the shining sun, decorated balconies, wooden masts, and statues. The whole complex gently resides side by side with the deep blue water of lake Mälaren (south to the building). Even in the most oppressive hot days during MAY-SEP - you enjoy a breeze coming from the south. The internal, shady court provides shelter from the heat, rain and frequent freezing winds in this open district. Allow 2-3 hours for the City Hall visit. Your visit should include a walk around and enjoying the the wonderful views. The preferred time of the day - mornings.
City Hall Main Entrance. The entrance is located along the colonnade on the Courtyard’s south side. From October to March, the entrance is located in the City Hall Shop. You find the shop in the vault between the street Hantverkargatan and the City Hall Courtyard:
The complex follows a roughly rectangular ground plan. It is built from eight million bricks which reflect a special colour under the sun rays. It consists of two major parts: a piazza called Borgargården on the eastern side, and the Blue Hall (Blå hallen) to the west. The Blue Hall, although being a closed, extensive space hall, with its straight walls and arcades, incorporates elements of a representative courtyard. Its walls, actually, have NO blue decorations, but it has kept its name after the original architect (Ragnar Östberg) design. This hall is known all around the world as the dining hall used for the banquet held after the annual Nobel Prize award ceremony. The organ in the Blue Hall is with its 10,270 pipes the largest in Scandinavia.
Stairs from the Blue hall to the 2nd floor:
The Eugene Prince’s Gallery which runs along City Hall’s southern long side is primarily used for the reception of honoured guests.
The French windows running the length of the Gallery’s south side offer a wonderful view of Lake Mälaren and Södermalm. This panorama is reflected on the Gallery’s opposite wall in the form of an Al-fresco called “Stockholm’s Shores” created by Prince Eugen, artist and brother of the Swedish King Gustav V. Prince's gallery is painted by the Prince Eugene himself, trying to display on the wall the same view that was available by looking on the window. Since at that time nobody was willing to give him a honest feedback about his work, he was very auto-critical, hence never happy with the results. This is why he repainted this wall many times:
Above the Blue Hall lies the Golden Hall (Gyllene Salen), with its 18 million gold mosaic tiles, named after the decorative mosaics. The mosaics make use of motifs from Swedish history. The Golden Hall is made of millions of tiles and about 10 kg of gold, sandwiched ever so thinly between tiny panes of clear glass. There are the Greek and Roman references that seem to pop up throughout the older Swedish decorative arts. (They’re frequent at the Vasamuseet, for instance). The northern wall of the Golden Hall depicts the Queen of Lake Mälaren. The southern wall displays scenes from around the Swedish capital, as well as historical motifs:
Stockholm’s municipal council meets in Rådssalen, the Council Chamber. The ceiling was inspired by Viking architecture:
The southeast corner of the building, immediately adjacent to the shore, is marked by a monumental 106-meter tall tower featuring the golden Three Crowns, an old national symbol for Sweden. The tower is 106 metres high and is accessible by an elevator or by a staircase of 365 steps. The eastern side of its base is decorated with a gold-plated cenotaph of Birger Jarl. The tower is open during the summer months (May to September) and tours are available in several languages. During the same period, you can also climb up inside the tower and enjoy a fantastic view over the city. Tours can be canceled with short notice due to events. Remember: you can only take a tour of the Tower climbing to the top between May and September.
The small park between the building and Lake Mälaren's shore is adorned with several sculptures, among them Carl Eldh's ensemble representing the three artists August Strindberg, Gustaf Fröding and Ernst Josephson, as well as Eldh's bronze sculptures "Sången" and "Dansen" ("The Song" and "The Dance"). To the south-east of the City Hall, facing Riddarholmen, is a pillar roughly 20 meters tall with a statue of Engelbrekt Engelbrektsson on top.
The City Hall is open to the public through guided tours only. Available tours in English in 2018: June 7 - August 27: 9.00, 9.30, 10.00, 10.30, 11.00, 11.30, 12.00, 12.30, 13.00, 13.30,14.00, 14.30, 15.00,15.30 and 16.00. There is one staircase with 39 steps during the guided tour. There are restrooms. Storage lockers are not available in the City Hall. APR-OCT: adults - 110 SEK, seniors (over 65 years old) and students (with a student card): 90 SEK.NOV-MAR: adults - 90 SEK and concessions: 70 SEK. The number of rooms you can see is limited to the main ceremonial rooms and the city council chambers. Apart from a few impressive rooms (the Blue Hall where the Nobel dinner is held, the Golden Room where the Nobel ball is held, and the council meeting room, there is really nothing much to see.
Ragnars Skaferri Restaurant: You may not bring food and drinks into the City Hall, but you can eat in the City Hall Garden. You can also have lunch or a coffee at Ragnars Skafferi, entrance from the court yard. Opening hours: Monday-Friday 07.30-16.00. For more information, please contact Ragnars Skafferi at: +46 (0)8- 586 218 42. With its entrance from the courtyard of the City Hall, most tourists don't notice this lunch restaurant. But when you come out of the shop, take a few steps sideways right, and with your back still parallell to the shop door, look straight ahead into the corner of the courtyard. There are some steps and a ramp and there is the entrance. For 105 SEK you can eat as much as you like from the buffet. Good food: 2 dishes of the day, one fish or meat, one vegetarian,plenty of vegetables and loads of different mixed salads and greens, dressings, bread and butter (ask for gluten free if you need it). Coffee/tea included - and quite often a little piece of chocolate cake or the like to finish off your meal.There's a rush at 12.00. Come earlier if you can or later.
Our next part of the 3rd day in Stockholm was taking part in a Boat Sightseeing. The boat departs from Strömkajen. It might seem simple - a walk of 1.4 km. But, due to reconstruction works - you'll have to consult the locals how to make your itinerary simple and convenient. If you lose your way - ask for the Grand Hotel which is behind the sightseeing boats. Leave the Stockholm City Hall from its southern park ( Stadshusparken). Walk to its most eastern edge. Turn LEFT (north) , using the stairs, 210 m. Turn right onto Hantverkargatan, 15 m. Continue onto Stadshusbron bridge, 95 m. Slight right onto Klarastrandsleden, 40 m (the water is on your right). Turn right onto Klara Mälarstrand, 95 m. Slight left to stay on Klara Mälarstrand, 120 m (part of the road is under another bustling street). Slight right onto Tegelbacken, 90 m (the water is approx. 25 m. on your right). Continue onto Fredsgatan, 70 m. Now you approch the water and walk along the shores quite closer. Slight right onto Strömgatan, 550 m. Slight right to stay on Strömgatan, 40 m. Continue onto Södra Blasieholmshamnen, 130 m. and the sightseeing boats' pier, is on your right with its tickets office.
Part 2 Stockholm Sightseeing Boat and Östermalm.
Part 2 Main Attractions: Stockholm Under the Bridges Sightseeing Cruise, Royal Dramatic Theatre, Strandvägen, Djurgårdsbron, Östermalm, Oskarkyrkan, Karlaplan, Karlavägen.
Departure: Strömkajen. Season: APR-NOV. Duration: 2h 15min. Price: 250-300 SEK (depending on season). Children 6-15 yrs: Half price. Children 0-5 yrs: Free of charge. This Cruise is Free using the Stockholm Pass. Facilities: WiFi, Cafeteria (very limited. Mainly, sandwiches and soft drinks), a toilet. Every passenger is equipped with headphones (a nice variety of 15 languages). The audio provides you with timely, up- to-date and interesting facts about history, popular culture, Swedish way of life and politics. Our opinion: Average. Clean, convenient, and leisurely cruise. The sights are nice but not spectacular.
Try to make the tour only with a sunny day. A rain, wind, fog or clouds will ruin your pleasure. The whole journey is quite long and becomes a bit boring after 1 hour. The return route is exactly the same as the first half. Consider a smaller boat tour, and a shorter tour that does not double back. During the summer months the tours run out very quickly. Never expect to come on-spot and find vacant seats. Try to buy tickets, at least 4 hours, in advance. Recommend booking online. There are many agents and vendors who offer tickets to the Strömkajen (Stromma) boats in various parts of Stockholm. You can trust them. They are equipped with remote smartphones - all connected to the sightseeing tickets' office in Strömkaje (all seats are drawn from the same pool). In case you have to wait for the sightseeing boat - you have the adjacent Kungsträdgården - for having picnic or taking your lunch in one of the restaurants around. Our suggestion: walk further north to Gustav Adolfs Torg and try the Carousel restaurant (400 m. from Strömkajen). Another tip: wait and relax in the nearby Grand Hotel lobby. The afternoon cruises are far less crowded and might be more brilliant option when you have the chance to see Stockholm at the sunset hours and colours. The boat itself does not lend itself to good views. And it's difficult to get any good pictures through the inner cabin windows. To catch the best shots - walk outside on the front board. Staying in the cabin during a very hot day might be unpleasant and sweaty (NO A/C).
Södra Blasieholmshamnen promenade:
Djurgården - Wasa Ship Museum:
jurgården - Gröna Lund (Amusement park):
Södermalm Passive Houses. A passive house is built without a traditional heating system and is completely sealed. The windows are super-insulated and the heat in exhaust air is recovered to reduce the amount of energy supplied. The heat produced by the residents, domestic appliances and lamps is kept inside the apartment due to the sealed and much insulated construction, which minimizes heat losses;
Stockholm City Hall from the Water:
Hammarby lock (a lock to deal with the 1 meter water level difference between the lake Mälaren and the Baltic See):
From Strömkajen and the Sightseeing Boat Tickets Office we climb northwest onto Södra Blasieholmshamnen and turn right, and, later left - walking along Södra Blasieholmshamnen with our face to the north-west and crossing Tallgatan, 120 m. The Kungsträdgården is on our left (west). Take the right leg and turn right onto Grevgränd, 110 m (a narrow road). Turn right onto Arsenalsgatan, 280 m. You pass, first, the Blasieholmstorg on your right (sculpture of horse), then pass Nybrokajen (on your right), enter the Berzelii Park, cross it from south to north, and arriving to the wide avenue of Nybroplan (continuation of Hamngatan covered in our 1st day in Stockholm). Turn RIGHT onto Nybroplan and, immediately, opposite you, in the north side of Nybroplan - you see the The Royal Dramatic Theatre (Dramaten) (Kungliga Dramatiska Teatern), Nybroplan, 111. The whole area is called Nybroviken bay. Sweden's national theatre is a beautiful Art-Nouveau building facing the waterfront and the aristocratic avenue of Strandvägen. The use of white marble stones with glittering gold decorations highlight the elegance of the building. The building was designed by the architect Fredrik Lilljekvist at 1908. Famous artists like Carl Milles and Carl Larsson were involved in making the decorations and some of the interior decorations were made by Prince Eugen. The theatre's acting school, Dramatens elevskola, produced many famous actors and directors including: Greta Garbo, Vera Schmiterlöw, Ingrid Bergman, Gunnar Björnstrand, Max von Sydow, and Bibi Andersson. The Royal Dramatic Theatre itself was founded in 1788. The building was closed to guided tours during summer 2018 (refurbishments).
Statrt to walk from west to east along Nybroplan
and, further east along marvelous Strandvägen. Strandvägen is a boulevard on Östermalm. Completed just in time for the Stockholm World's Fair 1897, it quickly became known as one of the most prestigious addresses in town. Strandvägen extends for 1 km. from west to east. Hamngatan forms a continuation in its western end, as do Djurgårdsbrunnsvägen in its eastern end. The waters south of the street are named (from west to east) : Nybroviken, Ladugårdslandsviken, and Djurgårdsbrunnsviken. The Djurgården heritage tramway passes over Strandvägen. If the weather isnot opressing - we recommend walking along this shady boulevard with its pretty seashore views and beautiful mansions along its northern side. This is one of the most prestigious locations in Stockholm. Since 2005 works to develop Strandvägen into a more attractive area for both pedestrians and ships have been progressing: Footways are being paved in granite and lampposts, benches, and litter bins are given a uniform design, while parked cars are confined to available underground carparks. Take a walk along Strandvägen, and enjoy the magnificent buildings and wonderful seaside views. It is a special experience to walk along this street during the sunset minutes.
Strandvägen - Hotel Esplanade:
Two columns in Strandvägen - explaining the importance of clean air and water:
We did NOT walk all Strandvägen but made its lion's share, until it meets Djurgårdsbro on its right (south) - the bridge which leads into Djurgården island. Djurgårdsbron ("The Djurgården Bridge") is a bridge designed by Carl Fraenell and built for the Stockholm World's Fair 1897. The present bridge connects mainland Östermalm to the island Djurgården. It is one of four bridges stretching from Djurgården, the others being Djurgårdsbrunnsbron, Beckholmsbron, and Lilla Sjötullsbron. On the bridge stand, on tall granite columns, four Old Nordic gods, sculpted by Rold Adlersparre: Heimdall blowing in his Gjallarhorn; Odin's wife Frigg holding a rod; Freyja with a falcon (one of her guises) in her hand; and Thor with his hammer Mjolnir resting on his shoulder.
On your right, behind the bustling cross-road and the high trees, you can see the spires of the Nordic Museum:
We leave Djurgården behind our back, cross the bustling streets very carefully, and head north along Narvavägen. We enter Östermalm. Östermalm is quite aristocratic suburb in Stockholm. It excels in having the highest residence prices in all Sweden. Narvavägen street has been named after the city of Narva where Karl XII won a battle against the Russian Army on November 20, 1700. The street stretches 600 m. to the north until it meets Karlaplan Square. 200 m. north from the start of walking along Narvavägen - we see, on our right, the Oskarkyrkan (Oscar's Church). Oscar's Church is one of the major churches in Stockholm. The three-aisled hall church holds 1,200 people, has an 80-metre-high tower in the south-western part of the building. It was King Oscar II himself, after whom the church is named, who laid the foundation stone in 1897. Criticised from the start for its Gothic Revival style, it was originally meant to be partly clad in brick; this changed to a uniformly white façade, clad in limestone and marble.
500 m. further north - we arrive to Karlaplan. An open park-plaza. The architect Lindhagen created this plaza during the 1890s. It was created in the image of Place de l'Étoile in Paris. The plaza is named in honour of all the Swedish kings called Karl, like Karl X Gustav, Karl XI and Karl XII. August Strindberg lived on Karlaplan from 1901 until 1908. During World War I, the park was used to grow vegetables. It remains one of the most exclusive and expensive places to live in Stockholm city. The park and the fountain area are very nice and quiet:
With our face to the north (and to the Krlaplan Tram station) - we turn LEFT (west) and walk along the nice avenue of Karlavägen.
Walking along this splendid boulevard will reveal several sculptures dotted along green beds of this street.
Sculpture of August Blanche along Karlavägen:
Another sculpture along Karlavägen:
Man - häst - vagn sculpture of Asmund Arle:
We have to walk approx. 2 km. to return back to Norrmalm and our hotel (Scandic Norra Bantorget). When Karlavägen meets Engelbrektsgatan - turn left onto Engelbrektsgatan, 40 m. Turn right onto Runebergsgatan, 300 m. We are on the border between Vasastan and Norrmalm. Continue onto Tegnérgatan, 550 m. In the beginning of Tegnérgatan - on your left is the Kyrkogard in Johannesgatan:
The Tegnérgata street contains some of Stockholm's finest examples of urban architecture in late 19th century. Turn left onto Drottninggatan, 170 m. Turn right onto Wallingatan, 100 m. And we are back in our hotel: Scandic Norra Bantorget, Wallingatan 15.