Norrtälje traces its history to 1219, when the location was first mentioned as Tälje. After some time, the name officially became Norrtälje, to separate it from the other Tälje in the province, Södertälje. The city arms were created as an upside down anchor as early as 1622 when the charter was granted.
In 1719 large parts of the central town that was built in wood was burnt down by Russian plunders. The new stone church wasn't finished until 1726, and it was another 4 years before the city hall was completed.Norrtälje had a railway station on the narrow gauge Roslagsbanan 1884-1969. It is now served by SL buses as a part of the public transport in Stockholm system.