Swedish word of the day: Fika. It’s both a noun and an adjective, but don’t let that confuse you – the concept is simple.
It’s a moment every day that Swedes dedicate to taking a break, often with a cup of coffee, but sometimes with tea and usually accompanied by a sweet pastry or cake.
The essence of the fika is setting time aside to fully savour this short time-out from the daily grind, catching up with friends for a chat or simply taking a few minutes to indulge in a sugar and caffeine fix.
Nowhere in Sweden is the fika more in evidence than in the city of Gothenburg. Such is the passion for coffee in this city that it seems like not a month goes by without news of a new café or coffee shop opening its doors.
With this in mind, we recently caught up with Viktor Wennerblom who runs Viktors Kaffe on Götaplatsen to ask his tips on the best places to soak up the city’s culture (fika hotspots included). Check out his recommendations on how to explore Gothenburg like a local below:
"When a friend visits me in Gothenburg, the first place I take them to is the old town of Haga where there’s many cosy places to plan your trip.
Summer is a great time of the year to explore Gothenburg because of its closeness to the sea and all the islands in the archipelago. You can see almost all of Gothenburg from the water tower in Guldheden – there’s a full 360 degree view of the entire city.
Walking or cycling is the best way to explore Gothenburg – even though the city isn’t that big, you get to explore a lot more this way.
Syster Marmelad at Mariaplan is my favourite breakfast in Gothenburg, they have an awesome brunch menu with mini pancakes and homemade strawberry jam.
Viktors Kaffe at Götaplatsen is obviously a good place to stop for a coffee or a traditional fika! Later, go to Björk & Bambu for dinner and try their fantastic, innovative Scandinavian/Asian cuisine.
Before exploring Gothenburg you should read something about the role that “jantelagen” and “lagom” play in Swedish culture. In Sweden we have a saying, Lagom är bäst (Lagom is best).
The word lagom means ‘just the right amount of something’ and is a state of mind – it’s the balance between happiness and sadness and longing versus satisfaction.
It means never having too much of anything, just enough to sustain you. In Sweden, we also celebrate the Scandinavian concept of Jantelagen, meaning the Law of Jante.
The idea is that everyone is equal – nobody should ever think they are better than anyone else.
If you only do one touristy thing when exploring Gothenburg, make sure you rent a city bike. If you’ve got the energy, take some time in the morning or afternoon and cycle all the way from Majorna to Gårda.
The Linne area has the best nightlife because the two main bar streets, Andra långgatan and Tredje Långgatan are located there, as well as many restaurants.
If you visit the area between April and June, you might stumble upon the Andra Långdagen block party, a crazy one-day street party organised by the street’s traders. There are usually DJ sets, film screenings and barbecues.
Details of Andra Långdagen events are usually announced on Facebook."
Flights to Gothenburg
- Fiona Hilliard