Itineraries > Europe itineraries > Södermalm heights tour

A walk along Södermalm's northern hills, Söders höjder, provides a showcase of 18th and 19th century buildings and several art & craft galleries, as well as an astounding view of the rest of Stockholm.

The historical buildings with the amazing backdrop create many spots for travel photography and urban sketching.

UnderstandEdit

Until the 19th century, Södermalm's northern shoreline below the steep hills was used for docks and factories, and the hills housed the workers. The rest of the island was a farmland which supplied Stockholm.

As the rectangular city plan was laid out over Södermalm in the 1880s, the hills were exempted, and has preserved wooden houses from the 18th and 19th centuries, in a manner similar to Montmartre in Paris.

Being a centrally located low-end neighbourhood (at times a slum) overlooking the more affluent districts, Södermalm has been romanticized more than any other part of Stockholm. Many of Stockholm's most famous artists and writers have lived on the hills, and there are many art galleries today. In the 1960s the buildings were modernized; today they are gentrified, and among the city's most expensive properties.

Södermalm's heights came to world fame in the 2000s with Stieg Larsson's Millennium book series and its film adaptation; see Millennium Tour.

Get aroundEdit

Some of the roads are steep and narrow, and can get slippery from rain, snow and ice. Be sure to wear good shoes. Bicycles, strollers and wheelchairs will have a hard time to get through.

DestinationsEdit

 
 Blue  marks waypoints.  Red  marks interesting places for eating or drinking along the way.  Green  marks landmarks visible from the distance (zoom out for more).

 
Panoramic view from Skinnarviksberget.

MariabergetEdit

Mariaberget is a ridge on northern Södermalm, at the shore of Mälaren, inhabited at least since the 14th century.

  • 1 Zinkensdamm metro station. The beginning of the tour. The art is more sparse than other stations of the Stockholm metro, but the walls at the end of the platforms have paintings.    
  • 2 Yttersta Tvärgränd. A street with buildings from the 18th and 19th centuries.
  • 3 Skinnarviksberget. Stockholm's tallest hill, at 53 metres above sea level. Until 8,000 years BCE, Stockholm was covered by ice. The ice pushed down and eroded the bedrock, creating the blocks and scars visible today. Since the ice melted, the land began to rise again today around 1 metre for every 200 years. Around 2500 years BCE, the hill you stand on surfaced through the sea; the scenery looked pretty much like the outer parts of Stockholm archipelago. Skinnarviken literally means "the tanners' bay"; the smelly craft was usually located outside the city.  
  • 4 Lundagatan (Gamla Lundagatan). While these houses were typical dwellings for Stockholm's poorest, they were modernized in the 1960s.
  • 5 Lundabron. A cast iron bridge built in 1889.  
  • 6 Monteliusvägen. A scenic trail which opened in 1998 with seating at the viewpoints.
  • 7 Ivar Lo-museet, Bastugatan 21. A museum for Swedish writer and labour activist Ivar Lo-Johansson, famous for depicting Swedish farm workers' harsh conditions. The museum contains a small exhibition and Lo-Johansson's apartment, and requires advance booking. A scrapbook of Lo-Johansson's life is on display in the window. Across the street is Ivar Los park, a public park with a playground, and a bust of Lo-Johansson.  
  • 8 Bellmansgatan. The street is named for the ballad writer Carl Michael Bellman (1740-1795). The bridge to the defunct elevator Mariahissen is famous from Stieg Larsson's Millennium series.
  • 9 Hornsgatspuckeln. A hump in the road, with many art & craft galleries.
  • 10 Maria Magdalena Church (Maria Magdalena kyrka). Inaugurated in 1634.    
  • 11 Stockholm City Museum (Stockholms stadsmuseum), Ryssgården. Displays the history of Stockholm from 1523 to present day, with special attention to construction, architecture and interior design.    

Landmarks visible from MariabergetEdit

  • 1 Västerbron. This 1935 arch bridge became Stockholm's first north-south bridge outside of Slussen. On 8 August 1993, thousands of people watched the first public exhibition of the new Swedish military aircraft Saab 39 Gripen, known for its advanced control system. As of a miracle, the plane crashed a few metres from the crowded bridge in a nearby park; the only injured person got burns from touching the wreck.    
  • 2 Norra tornen. Residential skyscrapers finished in 2020. Between Wenner-Gren Center and Norra tornen, a new campus district named Hagastaden is being built during the 2020s, around the Karolinska Institute (famous for handing out the Nobel Prize in medicine), with the intention to develop Stockholm as a science cluster for the future.
  • 3 Stockholm Court House (Stockholms Rådhus) (Kungsholmen). The courthouse from 1915 with its massive tower is regarded as one of the foremost examples of Swedish national romanticism architecture, with a successful 2000s restoration.    
  • 4 Münchenbryggeriet. A brewery built in the 1890s, today used as a conference centre.  
  • 5 Stockholm City Hall (Stadshuset) (Kungsholmen). The 1923 city hall with the iconic Three Crowns spire, where the Nobel Prize Banquet takes place every year.    
  • 6 Hötorget skyscrapers. The postwar economic expansion brought the 1950s and 60s redevelopment of Norrmalm, visible through the five Hötorget skyscrapers in international style.    
  • 7 Stockholm Cathedral (Storkyrkan) (next to the Royal Palace). The oldest church in Gamla stan. Built in the 13th century in the Gothic style, the exterior was remodelled in Baroque style around 1740. The church is the seat of the Church of Sweden bishop of Stockholm.    
  • 8 German Church (Tyska Kyrkan). Officially named Sankta Gertrud, this church is the home of the first German-speaking parish outside Germany, giving some clue to the importance of German merchants in the history of Stockholm. On the site of the church, a German merchants' guild was founded in the 14th century. In the 16th century, the headquarters was converted into a church, which was later expanded. The interior is baroque in style, with large windows and white vaults.    
  • 9 Globen (Ericsson Globe). Located just south of Södermalm, and claiming to be the world's largest hemispheric building with 110 metres across, the Globe has been one of the most eye-catching features of the Stockholm skyline since its inauguration in 1989. It is frequently used for ice hockey games but also for other sporting events, as well as concerts and galas. The Globe also represents the Sun in the Sweden Solar System; Mercury is at Stockholms Stadsmuseum, Venus and Earth on Östermalm, and the outer planets are north of Stockholm.    

KatarinabergetEdit

  • 12 Slussen Showroom (Slussenrummet), Södermalmstorg 4. Slussen literally means "the sluice"; referring to the lock between lake Mälaren, around 70 centimetres above the brackish Baltic Sea. Over the centuries, Slussen has developed to a complex transportation hub for boats, road and rail, with a current redevelopment set to be complete in 2025. The showroom has archaeological artifacts, posters and a scale model present the history and future of the canal. Open daily.
  • 13 Almgrens sidenväveri, Repslagargatan 15. A silk workshop, still operating 19th-century machinery.
  • 16 Katarina Church (Katarina kyrka), Högbergsgatan 13, +46 8 743 68 00. Open to the public M-F 11:00-17:00, Sa Su 10:00-17:00.. Katarina kyrka ("Church of Catherine"), named after Princess Catherine, mother of King Charles X of Sweden, can be seen from many parts of central Stockholm from its location on a Södermalm hill. The church was built 1656–1695 and has been rebuilt twice after being destroyed by fires. After the first fire in 1723, the church was given a larger, octagonal tower. Following a new fire in May 1990 which left almost nothing but the external walls, the church was faithfully reconstructed and reopened in 1995. Several notable Swedes are buried in the cemetery; among them singer Cornelis Vreeswijk, and former Foreign Minister Anna Lindh, who was assassinated in 2003.
  • 1 Södra Teatern Bar, Mosebacke Torg 1-3 (T Slussen). Open Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, this very relaxed and stylish bar offers a marvellous view of Stockholm from its lounge. Be sure to come before 23:00 to get seats offering the best view.
  • 2 Mosebacke Etablissement, Mosebacke Torg 3 (T Slussen), +46 8 556 098 90. In the same building as the Södra Teatern theatre and bar, this is a laid-back restaurant, bar and music venue. In the summer, its large beer garden with a panoramic view is extremely popular with Stockholmers and tourists alike. Indoors, you will find lots of clubs and live music in a wealth of genres, including brunches with live jazz on weekends 10:30-03:00.
  • 17 Fjällgatan. Walking eastwards from Slussen up Katarinavägen you will reach the picturesque street Fjällgatan, with a view of Gamla Stan from the east.
  • 3 Fjällgatans kaffestuga, Fjällgatan 37. Astounding view over Stockholm.

Landmarks visible from KatarinabergetEdit

  • 10 HMS af Chapman. A full-rigged ship launched in 1888 under the name Dunboyne, later G.D. Kennedy. She ran freight between Gothenburg and Australia. From 1915 to 1934 she was a training ship, and since 1949 she is used as a hostel.
  • 11 Kastellet. A citadel from the 17th century, which flies the naval flag, and is used for gun salutes. The building exploded in 1845 and was rebuilt in 1848.    
  • 12 Nordiska Museet (Nordic Museum), Djurgårdsvägen 6-16. A museum of cultural history from 1520 to our days, in an impressive 1907 cathedral-like building on Djurgården. Exhibitions focus on Swedish handicraft, customs and traditions.
  • 13 Vasa Museum (Vasamuseet). The Swedish Empire was at the height of its power in the 17th century. For the Thirty Years War, a warship named Vasa was built at Blasieholmen. In 1628 it sank outside Södermalm at its maiden voyage, was salvaged in 1961, and is since 1990 on display in a museum on Djurgården, as the only of its kind.
  • 14 Kaknästornet. A TV tower from 1967.    
  • 15 Gröna Lund, Lilla Allmänna Gränd 9. Stockholm's only amusement park.

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