Stockholm's old town Gamla Stan wouldn't be the same without its Christmas market, the typical Swedish small and – most importantly – red huts spread over the market square Stortorget. What an enchanted and miraculous Christmas scenery it is that Stockholm residents like to call “Julmarknad”! All scents intertwine here... Can you already smell the spicy Christmas scents? Have a little stroll through the meticulously and lovely cobbled old town alleys of Stockholm. You will love it! The Gamla Stan Christmas Market attracts people from all over Sweden. Everyone likes to gather around the brightly lit market stands where merchants come together to offer their valuable goods. You get to see precious Swedish artwork being sold, for instance, Sami artwork from Norrland, pottery from south Sweden, jewellery and handmade Christmas decoration. Walk around and just get carried away by the special Christmas atmosphere. Contrary to many other Christmas markets, this one seems to have remained rather small, cosy and original without all that fuss, which after all is exactly what creates the great atmosphere. Each year, you may enjoy various live music performances taking place here. Should you be feeling cold at some point, we recommend you to walk the “Know-the-Old-Town” quiz circular path to get both going your brain and blood circulation.
Of course, the delicious traditional Swedish food mustn't be missing! You have a choice from a wide range of hearty meals, smoked salmon and sausages, reindeer and elk, cheese and crispbread, roasted almonds, gingerbread, waffles, candy floss (cotton candy), and many other delights... When here, you really have to try a mug of Glögg, Scandinavian mulled wine, refined with almonds and raisins. Mmmh... that's the taste of Christmas!
Since the beginning of the 20th century, traditionally, a highly decorated Christmas tree has been an essential part of Gamla Stan. It is positioned in the centre, complements the rest of the Christmas market gracefully and actually gives it the extra bit that makes it so special.
A number of other Christmas markets are spread over the islands of Stockholm. During the Advent season, the open air museum Skansen and the park Kungsträdgården set up Christmas markets, too. Additionally, the wintry skerry garden attracts visitors with its beautiful Christmas markets. You can get here by taking a steamer from the city centre.
We have known of the existence of Stockholm's Gamla Stan Christmas Market since 1523 and can tell you that it had its ups and downs in the course of its history. The market square the Christmas market is temporarily built on during the Advent time, is reportedly one of the oldest squares in town. The Christmas market, though, had to move several times due to various reasons.
The market, which handicraft products have always been offered on, was relocated to Stortorget in the old town. Unfortunately, the quality of the products was low and as a consequence the market was closed in 1907.
In 1914 a Stockholm association was founded to built up the Christmas market again. Thanks to this initiative, the following year the first new Stockholm Christmas market of the 20th century could be held in the old town again.
In the middle of the 1950s the Christmas market's reputation wasn't all good. The huts were run down and the products sold weren't exactly what we call high standard. This was already the second low the Christmas Market had to go through. It was initially thought to shut it down forever. But there was hope, after all! Thanks to a generous donation by a member of the association, 34 new huts were built, held in medieval style. They were all designed by architect Nils Tesch, modelled on a medieval drawing of Stortorget and totally blending in with the surrounding houses. At the same time, a new legislation was ratified concerning the products offered at the Christmas market.
Since 1961 it has successfully held the number 1 position for the most popular Christmas market in Stockholm. In the very same year, Sven Ståhle, a member of the association, made it possible that the market's profits have ever since been partially used for funding scholarships and scientific research.
How to get there
The Gamla Stan Christmas Market can be found in the old town of Stockholm, Sweden's capital city, located on the market square Stortorget.
By public transport
You may travel to Stockholm by plane, ferry or train. In close proximity to Stortorget you find the tram line stop “Gamla Stan”. From here you can comfortably walk to the Christmas market. The central train station is also just a few minutes walking distance away from the market square. The shipping piers Riddarholmen, Slussen Kajen and Strömkajen are close by.
To get here follow the large streets E20 and 75, leading straight to the city centre.
Coming from the north, follow the street Klarastrandsleden that takes you to the old town's peninsula.
Coming from the south, you may use the two streets Stadtsgårdsleden and Johanneshovsbron, taking you through the Söderled tunnels, before arriving at the Gamla Stan Christmas Market.