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Södermalm Neighborhood Tour

Discover urban Scandinavian cool, where old meets new in Stockholm - with an expert local
From US$387 privately
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Tour Details
Duration
3 hours
Product Type
Tour
Venues
  • Södermalm neighborhood
  • Mariatorget
Photos & Highlights
  • Keep up with the times as you explore Stockholm's hippest cultural neighborhood complete with buzzing energy and overflowing culture
  • Led by a local expert
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Tour Description
The old working class district was the first of Stockholm's islands to be populated, and has since played an important role as a grittier counterpart to the governmental grandeur and wealth of the historical city center. On this Södermalm Tour, we explore the atmosphere and culture of the neighborhood, which presents itself with bohemian flair and a bustling city life not found anywhere else in Stockholm. The creative class has made its mark on the city, but still small details from the district's past are visible to the trained eye.

Södermalm Tour - Humble Beginnings

The area of Södermalm today is a prime example of 21st-century urbanism and renewal, even taken to gentrified extremes in certain corners. After being trumpeted as one of Europe’s “coolest” neighborhoods, it would seem that Söder’s status has been cemented as the 'It' place to be in Stockholm. But these hilly streets weren’t always populated with stylish young people and chic minimalist cafes. Once a upon a time, this borough was home to agriculture and industry, a rural area where the poor working class of the city made their home. On our walk together, we’ll unpack these historical facts to discover why Södermalm’s rocky cliffs and sweeping views have always been ripe for rediscovery and regeneration.

For more on the city's history, try our Gamla stan Walking Tour.

Beginning at Slussen, the locks that separate Södermalm from the neighboring island of Gamla Stan, we’ll ascend into the steep hills and tread through old streets around the neighborhood nicknamed “Häckelfjäll.” Here stories of superstitious residents still lend an eerie atmosphere to the otherwise charming alleyways. We’ll use this opportunity to discuss social stratification in Swedish society and the historical circumstances that caused this inhospitable topography to become a major urban district.

Birth of the Cool

As we continue through the streets of Södermalm, we’ll emerge from the past into the vibrant areas that define the district today and earned Södermalm the reputation as one of the coolest neighborhoods in Europe. From exuberant nightlife along Götgatan, to cultural institutions at Mariatorget, to the independent and vintage shopping boutiques that are liberally scattered along both sides of nearly every avenue, we'll find the streets that have earned this area its reputation. Although we may stop to enjoy the local tradition of “fika” (a break for coffee and cake), we’ll also ask questions about the effects this new swing towards the upper class is having on the city’s demographics and future urban planning. With Stockholm in the throes of a housing crisis, many residents are waiting for years for the chance to move out of the suburbs and closer into the center. We’ll ponder the future of the district as Sweden on the whole becomes increasingly urbanized.

Take Aways

Depending on the day and the interests of the group, we may even make it as far as Eriksdalsbadet, the outdoor swimming complex and miniature concrete jungle at the southern edge of Söder. Here, we’ll find ourselves retreating from the hipster heaven of the more northerly roadways and discover how this site underscores the renewal of the cityscape and encapsulates the district’s flair for reimagining and recycling its shared spaces. From working class industry to the 21st century’s version of stylized aristocracy, our time together will help us unravel this neighborhood and the reasons why it can’t be pinned down.

Care to take a closer look at modern Sweden? See our Swedish Socialism Tour.
Where You'll Start
19 Reviews (4.83)

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Very knowledgeable
Anna was an excellent guide! She perfectly tailored our tour to our needs and wants. Super!
We had a great tour with Anna today. It was very relaxed and fun, but also really informative. We especially enjoyed chatting with Anna about real, everyday life in Stockholm, and would recommend this tour with our hesitation.