Things to do
Sweden has cafés for everyone – hipsters, nostalgics and foodies
Swedish café culture is quite refined, something you should take advantage of next time you visit this land of coffee and cake devotees. There are cafés for all tastes, whether you are particular with your brew, your pastries or into design and interior.
Sweden is a nation of quality coffee brewers and proud cake makers. Visit the home of a Swede, and you’ll almost always find a pot of coffee brewing – but there is also room for a cup or two when out and about. And wherever you set foot in Sweden, you’ll be sure to find a choice of cafés, bakeries and patisseries in which to indulge in the time-honoured custom of fika – the Swedish ritual of taking a coffee-fuelled break, often topped off with a sweet treat.
Swedish craft coffee hotspots.
Moving away from the darker – slightly burnt – roasts that dominated the Swedish coffee scene for decades, we now see the emergence of a more refined palate searching for robust blends, complex flavours and sustainably sourced beans. In recent years, a number of craft coffee roasters have surfaced to satisfy these hard-to-impress Swedes.
One of the most notable is the Gothenburg-based Da Matteo. This organic sourdough bakery and “brew shop” serves up Swedish coffee made from specialty beans sourced from cooperatives in Honduras, Kenya, Ethiopia and Colombia. These high-quality beans are roasted in an eco-friendly Loring Smart Roast on the premises of their bakery at Magasinsgatan 17A. In this hip and popular space, you’ll be able to enjoy sandwiches, cinnamon rolls and other rustic yet indulgent treats. In addition to the bakery-based main café, Da Matteo can be found at six more locations across Gothenburg. They also offer a Barista 101 course for coffee lovers wanting to get a glimpse into the artistry behind the brews.
In Malmö, Solde Coffee Bar has served coffee made from ethically sourced beans roasted in-house since 2006. Alongside these refined brews, a range of cakes and sandwiches can be had. Be sure to try the croissants that are said to be in a league of its own. Before leaving, pick up a bag of roasted coffee beans to take home or give to a fellow coffee enthusiast.
Atrium, Malmö, is another must-visit coffee bar. Alongside its excellent roasted coffee, developed together with a small roastery in Italy, they have an extensive menu of healthy, organic dishes (including many vegan options) served up for breakfast, brunch or lunch.
The café is renowned for its breakfast and their avocado sandwich. Served on organic sourdough bread with a poached egg, cream cheese, salad and topped with dukkah (an Egyptian spice blend), this tasty dish might become your new addiction. Also try out the eggs Benedict served with cold-smoked salmon or 'spickeskinka', a regional traditional ham much on par with prosciutto.
Fika fans are also catered for – try the homemade carrot cake accompanied with a beetroot latte – one of Atrium’s many specialty coffees.
Bakeries with an artisan touch
Artisan bakeries making bread and sweet rolls from locally sourced, organic ingredients have carved a niche for themselves, not least in the foodie province of Halland on the west coast of Sweden. At Solhaga stone oven bakery, sourdough bread and buns – including the classic Swedish cinnamon rolls – are baked fresh daily. Organic flour from local mills is used exclusively, alongside seasonal ingredients. Pick up a loaf of bread to take home or have a fika on the spot. During summer, you can sit in the Solhaga garden.
Located in the province’s biggest town, Halmstad, Feldts Bröd & Konfekt is another Halland bakery sought after for its organic sourdough bread, delicious pastries and cakes. It has also attracted a strong fan base thanks to its confectionery, such as its famous toffee.
Swedish patisseries celebrating tradition
Swedish patisseries take cake making seriously – something you’ll realise from the very first nibble. There are traditional patisseries (konditorier) in most Swedish towns, offering up delightful recipes from eras past.
The history of high-end Uppsala patisserie Güntherska can be traced as far back as 1887. It produces everything from top quality sourdough loaves to cakes decorated so beautifully they resemble edible pieces of art.
Nilssons Konditori is a bit of an institution in Oskarshamn. Located in the southern province of Småland, it swung open its doors in the 1920s and has retained its fine traditional patisserie craft ever since. In 2018, it was crowned patisserie of the year in the prestigious White Guide. And in 2017, owner Anders Oskarsson was awarded ‘World Confectioner of the Year” by the International Union of Bakers and Confectioners.
Established in 1912, Café Hörnan is the oldest fika spot in Norrtälje, a beautiful coastal town just northeast of Stockholm. It was voted best café in the region in 2017, and locals value its cosy atmosphere as much as its delicious offerings. Sweet treats and savoury delights – think blueberry cake and prawn sandwiches – are made from scratch using locally sourced produce.
Style-driven cafés with exciting interior and mouth-watering treats
If you want to combine your fika with a design experience, Swedish cafés have much to offer. In Malmö café Agge & Bönan, you’ll be immersed in a stylish, retro-tinged world with pink walls and an eclectic mix of designer furniture. As for the edibles on offer, look out for twists on the classics, such as white chocolate sticky cake (kladdkaka).
In the very centre of Stockholm, at Rådmansgatan 57, you’ll spot Gast Café’s charming ghost sign from afar (gast is a Swedish word for ghost). The interior is minimalistic and sleek, in the typical Scandinavian way. Gast serves up cakes, snacks and dishes that are as healthy as they are Instagrammable. There’s even a vegan chocolate ball – a new take on a Swedish classic.
Stockholm-based Café Pascal is bright and airy with exposed brickwork adding to its industrial yet homely feel. One for the coffee enthusiast, the café team works exclusively with micro roasters. Aside from excellent coffee, you can count on Café Pascal to deliver some of the best Swedish cinnamon buns in town.