I have always loved Sweden, and anything Swedish for that matter. I love the people, the design, the creativity, the lingonberry jam / smörgåsbord / gravlax / meatballs and the way you find fields and farmland on the outskirts of even the larger more industrial cities. Stockholm has the perfect balance of city living combined with country lifestyle, and I find the vibe is much slower and more laid back compared to other major cities.
Last month I travelled slightly North of the Capital to visit my boyfriend in Uppsala, during Midsommer - a National weekend-long summertime celebration. Sweden is great for many reasons, one of them being their willingness and ability to throw great parties at any oppertunity. Everyone makes an effort to get together to celebrate good company and good times with amazing homemade food and a lot of the alcoholic stuff. We spent Midsommer feasting on shrimp tarts and killing ourselves slowly with an entire kladkakka. The rest of my stay involved many fika's and by that I mean Swedish coffee breaks and by that I mean chokladbollar, cycling around the city as the sun rose (they have like five minutes of darkness during the summer), and learning to say Hej Hej and Tack Tack.
Below is a list of the best places to find things like kardemummabullar, lakes to swim in and painfully nice things for the home. Hopefully these things excite you as much as they do me.
+ I'll keep this page updated with any new discoveries from any repeat visits.
Restaurants, Bars + Cafes
Kafe Kardemumma is tucked inside Uppsala's neat little library. On the edge of hundereds of bookcases is a calm corner of cafe life. The place is filled with natural light, and the interiors - white walls, beautiful tiles, worn but wonderful wooden flooring and art deco wall lamps - create a simultaneously cool and welcoming place to enjoy a wholesome lunch or to take a fika break with a book.
A small summer cafe situated on the edge of the Botanical Gardens, amongst allotments and overlooking the tropical greenhouse and the flourishing grounds. With outdoor space dotted with garden furniture, it is the perfect place to enjoy a coffee and some pastries or one of the more substancial homemade dishes they have to offer, before or after a walk around the gardens.
Kitchen + Table
A easy going, modern restaurant in the heart of the city. The food is a combination of World cuisine and Scandinavian cuisine, and everything is made using ingredients from local producers.
They also do a laid back brunch service on the weekends, with a buffet style offering of Swedish classics and American inspired dishes.
A great spot on a quiet, picturesque street serving coffee, cakes, pastries, sandwiches, salads and a selection of hot food. Outdoor seating makes this place an ideal spot for people watching and passing time.
Frenchi Cafe / Restaurant
A beautifully designed little number sitting on the ground floor of Klubb Rådhuset - a painfully beautiful yet modest department store in what was once used as The Town Hall - first built in 1645. Frenchi is an inspired brasserie, popular for its French menu and interiors, both of which are spiked with Asian influences. Enjoy a unique and innovative breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner anytime of day, or take a Fika in one of their terraces, with good coffee and perfect sweet treats.
A traditional Swedish restaurant situated on the river, with a large outdoor area overlooking the calm waters. Their menu contains some of Swedens most traditional dishes, including Seafood Casserole, Gravlax and Meatballs.
A cosy and very traditional cafe also on the river, popular for their huge counter of cakes, quiches, smörgåsbord, pastries and other sweets. They offer all-you-can-drink, refillable coffee, and this is what I used to wash down the most insane gluten free kladdkaka (several of their cakes are gluten free and some entirely dairy free and vegan).
Cafe Å Lait
A cool little one-stop shop to grab an on-the-go coffee, and a little snack if thats what your feeling.
A pretty spesh Italian grill serving all the Italian specialities you might expect from an Italian restaurant. With fancy interiors this place is chill just for drinks, and ideal for celebratory dinners with a nice crowd.
The name terrason is given to this bar because of its terrace running around the entire exterior. We went here for a drink, sat on the terrace and watched the sun come up, which brought on all kinds of deep meaningful chats.
Sorry, not sorry for this one. No one needs to include Ikea in a city guide - you should all know it's gonna be a good time there - but seriously, if the Swede's swear their meatballs are the best, then their meatballs are the best.
A beautiful place in Uppsala's picturesque train station, serving up a mixture of French and Swedish favourites.
A beautiful place with a nice vibe. Go there for delicious meat and fish dishes (think trout, lamb and seafood) and for real good vegetable plates (think jerusalem artichoke, chanterelles and kale). Head nextdoor for a completely vegetarian version, Legume de Cousteau.
Everything here is prepared with locally produced Swedish ingredients, sometimes combined with the odd ingredient from neighbouring countries. They transform meat and fish into wonderful things, but the vegetables are the main focus, and each dish is designed and updated seasonally.
The best burger bar in town, and it even offers gluten free buns. Their combinations are unique and you can even add avocado.
Güntherska Hovkonditori & Schweizeri
Everything they make here is made from scratch using high quality ingredients. They have a pretty unbeatable selection of cakes, pastries and desserts (apparently the best Kardemummabullar), and make amazing fresh bread including sourdough - which they also make into sandwiches.
Real good fish place. The Swede's do seafood and shellfish well, and this place is proof if you need any.
A new restaurant whos menu is influenced by Spanish and Latin American cuisine. They cook their hot meals over an open fire giving everything an intense flavour. They menu consists of vibrant, fresh starters, salads and small plates, as well as more hearty main courses.
The best thing about this place is the outdoor seating lining the water. Nice vibe, traditional menu and pretty ok scenery.
An atmospheric restaurant serving traditional Nordic specialities, including Smörrebröd, Herring Cake, Wild Boar and Shrimp Salads.
Moe Joes Juice Bar
Freshly made juices, smoothies and salad bowls are on the menu here, all made using real, whole and vibrant ingredients.
A vibrant little eatery with a menu of good seafood and dishes with a middle eastern influence, including houmous, tabbouleh etc etc.
Bondens Mat i Uppland
Here, local food producers gather and sell things like cheese, jams, vegetables and fresh meat.
Here, the stalls on the square are open all year round on Saturdays. Stall vendors offer their locally-grown goods, from fruits and vegetables to bread and flowers.
Health Food Stores
Tantens Gröna Skafferi & Garderob
Specialist Chocolate shop, selling all kinds of chocoalte treats, including vegan and sugar free options.
A sweet family run business selling good quality loose teas, coffee, herbs, spices and traditional sweets and fika snacks. The store smells immense and the walls are lined with jar upon jar of loose leaf tea. They also sell homeware including mugs, teapots, trays, aprons, teatowels, tea strainers, brewing apparatus and Swedish souvenirs.
Parks + Lakes
About 30/40 minutes out of Uppsala by car, Fjällnura is a cosy collection of cabins tucked into the beautiful forest, the perfect lake. Stay overnight or visit for the day. They have pedlo's and canoes to rent, as well as crazy golf and large bonfire pits to barbeque all your worries away.
Running through Uppsala with sidewalks almost all the way along it, the river Fyrisån River is the perfect place to perch in the sun or stop to take it all in on the way in or out of town.
Clothing, Homeware + Vintage Stores
If you like minimal homeware, unique gifts and fun party decorations, make some time for Household. Inside, its much like a little warehouse. No frills, but plenty of (affordable) thrills in the form of candles, marble kitchenwear and small furniture.
Good for basics, and interesting yet effortless designs. Men and women.
If theres a boy in your life, go here for him. Somewhere in between high end and high street menswear store, which they have also turned into a magazine too.
Second hand shop selling clothes, furntiure and other trinkets you don't need but do want.
Odhner Vintage Shop
Second hand design store selling furniture, fabrics, and fun things like rocking horses, art and groovy lamps.
A modern department store in what was once used as The Town Hall (first built in 1645). The original interiors remain, which is why it feels more like shopping in a palace than a store. The building is home to some unique labels and brands, both local and international.