Norrmalm & Östermalm travel guide
Brash and busy – for Sweden, anyway – Norrmalm is Stockholm’s commercial centre. If the city has a ‘downtown’, this is it. Roughly speaking, Norrmalm takes up the rectangular grid of streets running southeast from Tegnérgatan to the water’s edge, which marks the boundary with Gamla Stan – the oldest part of the city.
The difference between the two districts couldn’t be more distinct. While Gamla Stan is all medieval lanes and pretty gabled buildings, Norrmalm has straight, wide streets and a few too many ugly 1960s office blocks.
But Norrmalm has some excellent places to stay, great shopping, some very good restaurants and a couple of intriguing museums – not least Medelhavsmuseet, which houses ancient objects from around the Mediterranean, and Hallwylska Museet, an incredible inner-city palace that remains virtually untouched since the late 1800s.
Even if you skip these attractions and stay elsewhere in Stockholm, you’ll spend at least some of your time in Norrmalm. The city’s main train hub (Central Station) is here, as it the long-distance bus terminal, City Terminalen. Norrmalm is also home to T-Centralen, the only subway station that’s served by all three lines. Our guide to getting around Stockholm has more.
Adjoining Norrmalm’s western edge is the flashy neighbourhood of Östermalm. This is the most expensive area in Stockholm, not only for us short-term visitors but for also for the locals, who have to contend with some of Sweden’s highest house prices.
Wealth is everywhere you look, especially around Stureplan, where high-end fashion houses share street space with luxury cars, exclusive nightclubs and some of the city’s most expensive restaurants. There are however a couple of reasonably priced places to eat in Östermalm.
One of the city’s best museums – Historiska – is also located in Östermalm. If you came to Sweden looking for Vikings, this is a good place to start.