Sofia Helin shares the secrets of Stockholm’s Old Town

The Bridge actress lives in a medieval townhouse in Gamla Stan - and likes to take a dip in the sea when she's filming in Malmo

The Bridge

Sofia Helin lives in Gamla Stan in Stockholm, which translates as “old town”. Dating from 13th century, it’s an atmospheric maze of cobbled streets, colourful townhouses, cafes and pretty squares.


We asked Sofia how she relaxes when she’s not playing her detective alter-ego Saga Noren in Malmo…

My flat is the opposite to Saga’s because my house was built in 15th century. I am actually a bit of a minimalist as well but she doesn’t care about furniture whereas I pick things that I like.

I moved here by accident eight years ago because they were building something where I lived before. I had no idea if I would like it. It’s a very touristy part of Stockholm and I didn’t think it would be family-friendly. But when I got here, I realised it was the perfect place for families because there are no cars here. So it’s like living in a small town but in the centre of Stockholm.

Stockholm's old town, Gamla Stan
Stockholm’s old town, Gamla Stan

My favourite time of year is September. It’s beautiful, still warm but not too warm. The colours are beautiful.

I shop less and less but I do like furniture shops. I have a weakness for a Swedish furniture-maker called Peseilus. His furniture is minimalistic but still has round, cosy shapes.

Massages are my biggest indulgence. My addiction almost! I have one at least once a week to try to relax.

I don’t go out in the partying sense any more. But if you want to have a feeling of nightlife and good food at the same time, Bar Rouge is a good place to hang out.

My favourite coffee shop is called Albert and Jack’s. I like the atmosphere and they have nice things to eat and drink. I’m a tea-drinker.

When I’m filming The Bridge, I stay in Malmo’s cosy old town but the new part – where Saga lives – is more interesting, I think. I’m fond of a restaurant called Bastard, which does very good, crossover-traditional food.

Kallbadhuset Pier
Kallbadhuset Pier

If you go to Malmo, I’d recommend jumping in the sea. At the end of Kallbadhuset pier, there’s a building with a restaurant and a sauna. Go in the sauna and sit outside sweaty and warm looking at the beautiful ocean outside… And then jump into the sea afterwards. It’s really refreshing.

In December, I like to take my children skating on Saturday mornings. We go to an outdoor ice rink called Kungstradgarden, which is very close to the old city and has music and festive lights. It’s beautiful. Then we head to a bistro called Under Kastanjen for hot chocolate or tea. The afternoon is spent in front of the fire at home warming up, or we visit the Christmas market where you can buy toasted almonds and glogg – Swedish mulled wine.

The Bridge is on Fridays on BBC2