European capitals have evolved over many centuries, in some cases even millennia. It is interesting to notice, though, that some eras were more prosperous than others, that some periods produced more art masterpieces and more legendary individuals than others. I believe that every architecture aficionado will tell you that buildings from the late 19th and the turn of the 20th century belong to the most beautiful these cities can offer.

No matter whether I am walking the streets of Stockholm, Vienna, or Paris, I always feel there is something special about the residential areas from this particular period. Recently, it got me thinking. What is it about these places that is so attractive? I do not have a definite answer, yet there is something I came up with. In my opinion, these places represent a transition between the world of the past and the present.

While the apartment houses from this era look familiar, they are still in many ways different from those we live in today. Few modern-day places enjoy high ceilings, carefully decorated facades, and elegant entrances. Things have gotten more practical and they have been adjusted to the crowded cities we live in today.

Let’s use a moment to take a walk into the past by exploring the most attractive turn-of-the-century residential buildings in Stockholm and the elegant streets that surround them.

1. The Diplomatic City (Diplomatstaden)

Trygger's Villa in Stockholm

Trygger’s Villa (Tryggerska villan) in the Diplomatic City (Diplomatstaden).

First up is the Diplomatic City – the exclusive neighbourhood within the most exclusive borough in the Swedish capital. Truth be told, this neighbourhood was never built for ordinary citizens and it shows. The 12 villas from the 1910s and 1920s were designed by the foremost architects for the most prominent of residents living in Stockholm at the time. Eventually, the area fulfilled its destiny by becoming the home of foreign diplomats in Stockholm which had been the idea from the very beginning.
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2. Strandvägen

Strandvägen in Stockholm

I mention Strandvägen in my posts fairly often but for a good reason. If there is only one street relevant to the topic of this episode of Places of Interest that you must see, it is Strandvägen. The massive apartment houses at this wide boulevard overlook the beautiful bay and the popular promenade which is just as deeply loved by the locals as it is by the tourists.

You can enjoy this place walking, sitting on a bench, from the seat of your bicycle (or from the one you just rented), from a boat, a tram, and, of course, the back of a horse. The choice is yours, but you can obviously stick to a car if you are not feeling adventurous.
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3. Narvavägen

Narvavägen 19 in Stockholm

Narvavägen is the street that will lead you from Strandvägen to the heart of the Östermalm district at Karlaplan square. This likely being the most expensive residential area in Sweden, the architecture you get to see here is rather impressive. However, if you are not very familiar with the Swedish lifestyle, the area might seem somewhat more ordinary than you would expect considering what I just told you. That is how things work here and it is one of the beauties of Stockholm and Sweden in general.

If you are losing excitement, know that you can still buy a Ferrari or a Maserati here just a stone’s throw from the local hot-dog stand directly on the bottom floor of one of the residential houses.
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4. Valhallavägen

Stockholm Olympic Stadium in Stockholm

A lot less known than Strandvägen and without sea views but still gorgeous. Meet Valhallavägen forming the opposite border of the distinguished district. Apart from a wide boulevard, tree alleys, and extraordinary facades, you can meet the legendary Stockholm Olympic Stadium (Stockholms Stadion) where the 1912 Olympic Games took place on the northern side of the street.
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5. Stureparken

Stureparken in Stockholm

Just across the road from the stadium behind perhaps the most beautiful building around, there is Stureparken. While this small park might have a hard time competing with some of the bigger, more impressive parks in Stockholm, I guarantee you that you would love to see it in the morning through a window from one of the phenomenal houses in its neighbourhood.
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6. ‘The Villa City’ (Villastaden)

Villagatan 4 in Stockholm

Villastaden is a neighbourhood formed by beautiful villas built in the late 19th century as a response to the growing trend of living in large apartment houses. Just like in the case of the Diplomatic City, not everyone could afford living here which remains this way to the present day. Although some of the original villas have later been replaced by more modern apartment buildings, there are still plenty of exclusive residences to look at, some of which serve as embassies, too.
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7. Stureplan

Stureplan facades in Stockholm

We are staying in the neighbourhood of the beautiful Humlegården where you can relax before exploring more architectural masterpieces Stockholm has to offer. Today, Stureplan is known primarily as a place for business and entertainment and although the local venues are certainly attractive, do not forget to pay attention to the beautiful architecture surrounding the square.

This includes the unique Danelius House (Daneliuska huset) which, unlike other stunning buildings from the era, managed to survive the modernisation of the area in the 20th century.
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8. Brunkebergsåsen

Brunkebergsåsen in Stockholm

Moving to the Norrmalm district, we explore the area around Saint John’s Church (Sankt Johannes kyrka) located at the top of Brunkebergsåsen. What is, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful churches in Stockholm is also surrounded by some great-looking residential buildings. Combine these with the rich greenery of the pleasant churchyard and you get a place where you will want to spend more than a few minutes.
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9. Tegnérgatan

Upplandsgatan in Stockholm

A street where probably not many visitors set foot, which forms the border between Norrmalm and Vasastan, is Tegnérgatan. This street is a true gem that I warmly recommend to everyone. The surrounding buildings are some of the most elegant in the city and moreover, there is another beautiful hill park, Tegnérlunden, from which you can admire them all.
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10. Odenplan

Odengatan in Stockholm

Located only a few minutes from the previous location, Odenplan is a large and fairly busy plaza in a beautiful part of the Vasastaden district. Here, you will find a plenty of monumental buildings to look at along Odengatan, Karlbergsvägen, and even Sveavägen if you are hungry for more. In other words, no matter in which direction you go from here, you will not be disappointed.
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Fleminggatan in Stockholm

11. Hantverkargatan

The island of Kungsholmen also has its fair share of eye-pleasing structures. I recommend starting on the long Hantverkargatan and slowly exploring as many streets in the neighbourhood of the Stockholm Court House (Stockholms rådhus) as you can. It might be hard to explore these places together with the ones above all at once, so you can take a nice tour of Kungsholmen another time.
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12. Mariatorget

Bellmansgatan in Stockholm

Lastly, we must visit Södermalm. This island has many different faces but one of the prettiest ones can be seen in the area surrounding Mariatorget square where you can also arrive by metro. Södermalm is well-known as the home of many entertainment venues and many of them are situated in nice historical buildings, hence you might want to combine the two experiences.
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These are my tips for twelve amazing places to admire beautiful architecture from the 19th and early-20th century in Central Stockholm. Remember that these are only pointers to show you the prettiest places and to get you started but you can always find additional buildings to your liking nearby or in other parts of the city.

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