If you have traveled to Sweden, you are probably familiar with the term ‘fika’, as swedes are raving about this every day. For those of you who don’t understand this obsession and maybe want to join in and get to know what it’s all about (trust us, you should!), fika is simply one or several people having a coffee and something sweet. But to Swedes, even though it seems pretty simple, it’s much more than that. Fika is what you have every afternoon at work (or maybe also in the morning around 10 am), it’s what you do when you wish to catch up with an old friend, it’s what you do when a blizzard is passing by outside, it’s what you do for your first date and it’s what you do while reading your favorite book. Needless to say, fika is very important to the people of this Nordic country, and the fika breaks during work are often said to bring people together and inspire more open and creative discussions!
Maybe one reason why the fika has become a lifestyle in Sweden is the tradition of baking beautiful pastries that goes way back. Except for an unbelievably wide range of cookies, soft cakes and desserts, there are also some pastries that are very typical for the country. Many people have already heard about the cinnamon bun, a delicious, sweet bun baked with a yeast dough, that is also commonly flavored with cardemon or vanilla. The same dough is also used to bake the popular semla, however this satisfying bun with whipped cream is only allowed to be eaten on fettisdagen in february. Other yummy pastries that you need to try include princess cake, strawberry cake (usually eaten during the tradition Midsummer), vanilla hearts, berry pies and dammsugare (”vaccuum cleaners”). The list could go on for ever! And if you love snow, make sure to visit in december to try some typical christmas-fika: pepparkakor and lussekatter.
Of course, probably the most important reason why fika is so beloved is the coffee. This country has a long period of darkness and cold weather, and what would be better to cheer you up than a warm cup of refreshing coffee? When viewing a list of the top ten coffee consuming countries in the world, it becomes clear that the weather may be a very important reason why we drink this strong, restorative drink, as the countries in northern Europe all are included on the list. In Sweden, most people drink their coffee brewed, but espresso-based coffee drinks are nowadays also extremely popular and you can find a high-quality espresso machine in pretty much any café.
Clearly, fika is a way of life in Sweden, and it is not hard to understand that there is a jungle of coffee shops in this place. So where to go for the very best fika? We have the answer.
Of course, Sweden, as any other country, has some big coffee chains, such as Starbucks, Espresso House, Wayne’s Coffee and Joe & The Juice. These all serve some great coffee in convenient places. For even more traditional cafés, though, we have collected some highly recommended places for you to visit.
Bröd och Salt
Also a small chain of bakeries in Sweden, however this one is very specialized on traditional Swedish bread and sweets. They sell beautiful, freshly baked bread, but you can also choose to eat a small sandwich or any of their varieties of buns. And of course, they serve great coffee!
This must be the heaven for cookie monsters! The café named after the childrensbook character Pippi Longstocking’s house, serves a cookie buffet to a fair price. Even better – students and retired get 20 % off!
Vetekatten and Sturekatten
These two cafes in Stockholm serve all of the traditional Swedish sweets you can think of in a picturesque environment with antique furniture and decoration. You may need to be prepared for a quite long waiting line, but it’s worth it.
Da Matteo is a very hip café, with four different locations in Gothenburg. Locals love coming here to enjoy the well-tasting coffee that is roasted in Da Matteos very own coffee roastery, and relax in the modern, inspiring environment.
This wonderful castle is a cake paradise, serving the largest cakebuffet in Europe. It’s definitely the place to visit if you want to make sure not to miss out on any of the delicious wonders of the Swedish fika assortment. It’s a perfect opportunity for you to make a boat trip in the Swedish archipelago, as boats can take you from Stockholm to Taxinge.
Here is the best place to find a mix of tradition and modernism! This chocolate boutique makes their very own beautiful chocolate pralines, many of them infused with traditional Swedish tastes. For example, there are lingonberry, ”Söder-tea”, and swedish christmas pralines. The most appreciated one is the liqourice-seasalt praline. They also serve a variety of exceptional pastries and cakes, and drinks such as coffee or hot chocolate made with hot milk and real chocolate pieces.
Well, to be honest, these are just a few of our favorites, and with the fascinating mixture of bakerys, traditional Swedish cafés and modern coffee shops available, you will be sure to find the fika you love!