Water is essentially synonymous with the city of Stockholm. So are beaches. Sure, perhaps not in the sense we usually think of beaches with sand, beach umbrellas and margaritas but still, beaches are literally everywhere in Stockholm.
The great think about this is that coastlines can be perfect guides when discovering the city. A perfect example is the Kungsholmen Island where you can actually walk around the entire perimeter of the island discovering all the distinct parts of this area which combines historical and modern sights in a brilliant symbiosis.
Also, there is no way you will get lost if you simply follow the coastline. Eventually, you must end up where you began, and at the same time, you will not have to ever walk the same path twice.
If you arrive at Kungsholmen from Norrmalm, which you will do If you come from the Central Station or from the Old Town (Gamla Stan), for instance, you have two options. You can either begin by discovering the stunning Stockholm City Hall (Stockholms Stadshus) and then continue to your first beach, Norr Mälarstrand, or go the other way and start with Kungsbro strand north of the Stadshusbron Bridge which you are most likely to cross.
I choose to start with the latter beach for reasons that will become apparent later in the post.
Kungsbro strand is one of those underappreciated places in large cities that are easy to miss when you do not know the neighbourhood well. In all honesty, it took me a long while to discover this gem and I stroll around the streets of Stockholm looking for interesting places a lot.
Not only is Kungsbro strand a nice promenade with public docks for small boats, this beach gives you a unique opportunity to admire the numerous interesting buildings on the other side of the Klara Lake (Klara sjö). While the development in this busy urban area may seem chaotic from other angles, from here you can get a much better overview of the landscape and, hence, gain a completely different perspective on the area in the neighbourhood of Stockholm Central Station.
Noticing the bridges stretching over the Klara Lake is also worth your while. Among others, you will find the Kungsbron Bridge from the 1940s here, which, while possibly being less visually attractive, is considerably more practical than his predecessors from the late 19th and early 20th century.
If you continue along the shores of the lake, you will soon find yourself on Kungsholms strand and notice that the modern business development on the other side was replaced by the cosy, colourful streets of the Vasastan district.
Even the facades on your side of the lake match their counterparts and, in my opinion, this combination of colourful architecture and lake views makes for one of the best places for a pleasant walk in Stockholm.
What awaits you on the western end of Kungsholms strand is the amazing 17th-century Karlberg Palace (Karlbergs slott) with its long wings stretching on the shores of the Karlberg Lake (Karlbergssjön).
Once again as we approach the western side of Kungsholmen, the character of the island changes. In this part, you can admire some of the most interesting modern architecture in town. Even the Hornsbergs strand itself was created as a part of the reconstruction of the area informally known as Lindhagen from an old industrial area into the modern dream it is today.
The facades in this neighbourhood will not leave any modern architecture aficionado disappointed.
At the end of this modern area, you will meet a somewhat older neighbourhood near Kristinebergs strand where the architecture might remind you of Kungsbro strand we met early in the post.
Coming to the southern parts of the island, you are about to meet the most natural area on Kungsholmen. Here, you should particularly enjoy the environment around you and the views of the surrounding parts of the city across the lake.
Not less interesting are some of the bridges you can see including the Traneberg Bridge (Tranebergsbron) – at the time of its completion, in 1931, the world’s largest concrete arch bridge – and Västerbron Bridge which gives you some of the best panoramic views of the town, should you be interested.
Norr Mälastrand is my favourite promenade on Kungsholmen and perhaps even in all of Stockholm. With the beautiful views of Södermalm on one side, colourful architecture on the other, nice venues right on the shores of the Lake Mälaren, pretty details along the path, and the one and only Stockholm City Hall at its end, this place is hard not to love.
While the promenade can be very busy on a sunny weekend, it is surprisingly peaceful at night so if you would prefer it this way, I warmly recommend Norr Mälarstrand after dark.
And with that, we have completed the tour around the entire Kungsholmen Island starting and finishing near the City Hall. As you can now see, the island is diverse and hopefully, we can agree that through its beaches is a great way of discovering it.
So, are you ready to take a stroll around Kungsholmen? Feel free to let me know what you think about the island and this post in the comments below. Also, make sure to subscribe to our newsletter to never run out of interesting places to explore.