WELL BEING & OTHER STORIES

Recipes, rituals and other stories to realign the body and mind

Around the World

Well Being Around the World: Austria ~ For Ecoage

Around the World, City guides, Lifestyle, Travel, Wellbeing, Commisionsdanielle coppermanComment

My first encounter with Austria was at the age of 17 whilst I was interrailing around Europe with my best friend. That visit, fuelled by copious amounts of Viennese baked goods, was somewhat different to how I’m about to depict the country here, which is in a much more wholesome and, I hope, inspirational light.

Earlier this year, I visited two small towns in Western Austria, and as part of a new series of articles exploring Well Being Around The World, I wanted to share some of the local and traditional rituals I discovered during my stay, that I feel we can all learn from and apply to our own daily routines.

Rituals

1. Nature & The Great Outdoors

Since I was visiting a ski resort, it quickly became apparent to me just how much the great outdoors and nature are celebrated and valued in Austria. I guess it could be different in the larger towns that aren’t necessarily towered over by mountains, but there is certainly something about the fresh air and surrounding landscapes which not only bring a sense of safety, security and calm, but also awe and wonderment which is instantly grounding and gratifying.

I visited both Innsbruck and Mayrhofen, and both were relatively small towns encapsulated by mountains. For me, waking up each morning was just mesmerising, and I found it hard to imagine anyone getting stressed or feeling overwhelmed by insignificant worries and problems when the view was such a spectacle. It triggers a sense of wonder, and stands as a reminder that we are part of something much, much bigger than our own little lives.

Being in nature is known to have profound affects on health and wellbeing, both physically and mentally. Things like fresh air and sunlight support skin and complexions, as well as providing vital vitamins and nutrients (hola vitamin D!). Things like plants, greenery and natural formations are known to benefit things like eyesight, focus and concentration and are also known to provide and stimulate certain vitamins, minerals and hormones (that’s why being around green spaces with plenty of plants often makes you feel happy and relaxed!). Not to mention, trees and plants help to cleanse and purify the air, and thus increase the air quality and make breathing more enriched and nourishing. Natural formations, such as rocks, mountains and earth are also known to be grounding and relaxing and to support mental health. Just think of them as different and larger forms of crystals!

As for the great outdoors, Austria is full of adventure and activity. Locals and tourists unite for daily hikes, rambling, cycling and skiing and swimming, when the weather permits. I noticed a lot of people walking, and the people we met often said they rarely drove, except for long distances. I certainly didn’t notice any traffic jams or rush hour on the same scale as London. The cities seemed incredibly bike-friendly, too, something that seemed preferential to locals for ease, to stay active and to reduce pollution (that fresh, fresh air!).

Skiing and swimming are of course more season-dependent, and more extreme ways to keep fit and stay active. However, having it on your doorstep wouldn’t seem so extreme after a while, I don’t think, and some people we encountered said they often make the journey up to the slopes during the winter even if it’s just for an hour or two of solo skiing; in other words, a full-body workout, without the confines of a gym and with the benefits of being in nature.

Swimming is a different ball game altogether. Since I visited in Winter, wild swimming was not particularly on my radar, but locals are known to enjoy icy, outdoor swimming even during the winter, which is known to increase metabolism and boost circulation, amongst other health benefits. The practice is incredibly invigorating and revitalising, and in Austria, with the water coming straight off the mountains, think of all those vitamins and minerals (like a cross between hydrotherapy and cryotherapy)! There are many natural pools, often surrounded by Alpine backdrops and lush greenery, making the whole experience incredibly grounding and nourishing. Some pools become filled by the melting snow from the mountains - the water crystal clear but incredibly cold. In larger pools and lakes, water can get to around 16-20 degrees during the summertime, and serve as a way to cool down as temperatures rise. Want to go a step further, nude swimming is also quite a thing!

2. Saunas & Spa Therapy

Like many Alpine countries, as well as Scandinavian and Nordic, Austria’s spa game is strong. You won’t struggle to find a sauna or spa, something we tend to view as an indulgent luxury rather than a daily necessity. Saunas offer incredible benefits for skin, circulation, lymphatic drainage, immunity and much more, and I for one find a sauna a week to be deeply cleansing as well as relaxing. It helps to purge impurities from the skin and detox from within, through sweat and respiration. The only thing is, they’re not so widely available or accessible in the UK or larger cities, and if they are, they usually come in fancier forms and with a larger price tag.

3. Mid-afternoon Coffee (& Cake)

The Austrian cafe culture introduces another ritual into the day, incorporating an important pause amidst work and other duties. What I loved particularly about going for coffee was that, in Austria, it must always come with a glass of water on the side. I love this as I am all for staying hydrated, and coffee can be incredibly dehydrating. Take note!

Austria is of course not the only culture to advocate regular coffee breaks or a more thorough coffee ritual than we are used to in the UK (we’re looking at you, France and Italy), but it is nice to see so many people actually enjoying a break, and not just working through it or drinking take-out on the go. Their coffee break often comes with a side of cake or strudel too, which is not so ‘wellness’ physically, but, hey, it’s mentally good to treat yourself and do something you enjoy. And it helps to notice that in most cafes, these traditional baked goods are often freshly made and handmade, unlike the processed fare you find in mainstream supermarkets. So that kind of makes it ok?

4. Day of rest

Something I always love about visiting particularly European destinations is how they have held onto the tradition of closing shop at least one or two days a week. In Austria, there’s no (or very few) shops open on Sundays, meaning locals simply adapt their consumer habits accordingly. I like this not only as it means workers will get more rest, but it encourages people to consume less, or at least take a day off from shopping, allowing more time to do something more wholesome.

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Food and Recipes

The food in Austria is not overtly nutritious, or at least that’s not the talking point when it comes to food. You’ll find most delicacies include generous helpings of potatoes, cheese, dumplings and pasta, alongside other traditions like schnitzel and goulash. It’s all quite heavy, but after all that exercise, it kind of makes sense!

When eating out, though, you will always get a homemade feel from what’s on offer, and whilst there’s often lots of flavour, it all seems to be kept quite simple. There’s often a steady ratio of meat or fish to vegetables, and everything seems quite authentically done, unlike fast food or take away fare.

It is apparent that growing your own and using local produce is commonplace, and even in the supermarkets, you will often find locally produced fare, and not much overly processed stuff at all. There is a lot of fresh meat and bread, even in small convenience stores, and what’s more, I enjoyed that their fresh fruit and vegetable aisle was mostly unpackaged.

Recipes

Below are 2 recipes inspired by those I tried during my visit, made with all-natural ingredients, vegan and gluten-free.

Celeriac Salad - Serves 2-4

Celeriac salad is a common side accompaniment for main meals in both Austria and Germany, and I love the earthy but fresh and hydrating flavour it offers to other dishes.

Components

500g celeriac
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
2 tablespoons boiling water
½ teaspoon apple cider vinegar
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons soy or coconut yoghurt - optional

Method

First, peel and grate the celeriac finely, or shred it in a food processor to make it into thin, long threads.

In a separate bowl, mix the lemon juice, olive oil, mustard, boiling water, apple cider vinegar and salt and pepper together until combined. Next, add the celeriac and stir to coat, then spoon in a tablespoon of yoghurt, if using. Stir to combine again and add more yoghurt if desired.

Season again, to taste and serve immediately or store in the fridge until ready to enjoy.

Porcini Mushroom and Potato soup - serves 4

Potato soup is a staple on almost any menu in Austria. Usually made with bacon and heavy, I’ve adapted to make this vegan and slightly more nutritious, by using mushrooms as a meat replacement, and dairy-free cream alternatives.

Components

500g medium potatoes
20g Porcini mushrooms
1 white onion
1 medium carrot
1 parsley root (can replace with parsnip or celeriac)
½ celery stick, plus leaves
1 tablespoon olive oil
500g vegetable broth (or water)
Small bunch of lovage leaves
2 bay leaves
6 peppercorns
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
Salt and pepper, to taste
6 tablespoons coconut milk (or soy or coconut yoghurt, or Oatly creme fraiche)
Handful of fresh parsley

Method

Start by soaking the porcini mushrooms for about 10-15 mins in warm water.

Next, roughly chop the vegetables (potatoes, celery, carrot, onion and parsley root (or parsnip or celeriac) and place them in a large saucepan with a drizzle of olive oil.

Next, add the lovage leaves, caraway seeds, bay leaves and peppercorns. Add stock or water along with herbs and spices. The liquid should cover the vegetables, so you may need to add a little more accordingly, depending on the size of your vegetables.

Add a pinch of salt and pepper and stir. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 30-45 minutes.

Remove bay leaves and transfer to a blender or use a hand blender to puree the soup, until smooth.

Add the coconut milk (or plant-based yoghurt or cream alternative of choice) and blend again.

Finally, chop the porcini mushrooms roughly into small pieces, add to the blended soup, season for a final time and garnish with fresh parsley.

* If you like chunky soup, sauté the carrot in a separate pan and add to the soup, once blended.1.


Resources

Where to stay

I stayed in an airbnb in Innsbruck and a local hotel/guesthouse in Mayrhofen - most of which are complete with an onsite spa, gym and restaurant.

Featured Wellness Destinations & Other Places to Stay

Hotel Aurelio Lech

Geinberg 5

Interalpen-Hotel Tyrol

Getting there

Flights into Austrian towns are easy and often, but if you want to look at more sustainable ways of getting there, there are plenty of train and bus routes, and driving is often doable with a few stops along the way. It really depends on the number of people traveling though, as to which option is more eco-friendly, so do some research, and perhaps try to choose a destination where you won’t need a car or public transport once you’re there.

Well Being in the local area

Innsbruck:

- Olive, vegetarian restaurant
- Ludwig, Vegetarian restaurant
- Rauch Juice Bar
- Coffeekult, cafe
- The Breakfast Club, day cafe with gluten-free / vegan / vegetarian options
- Haepinest, cafe
- Akropolis, restaurant
- Das Schindler, restaurant
- Lichtblick, restaurant
- Oniriq, restaurant
- Die Muhl, restaurant
- Nordkette Cable Car
- Spa’s (research local to your destination)
- Skiing (research local to your destination)
- Walking / Hiking (research local to your destination)

Mayrhofen:

- Goldkind, cafe with gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian options
- Schneekarhutte, restaurant with gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian options
- Hikes, walks, skiing, activities
- Spa’s (research local to your destination)
- Skiing (research local to your destination)
- Walking / Hiking (research local to your destination)

* Whilst I am not saying Austria is necessarily the wellness capital of the world, and whilst I am not disregarding their love of cakes, cream, potatoes, cheese and strudel, I do feel we could learn a thing of two from the Austrian culture to assist and inspire us in our own quests for wellbeing. For me, wellbeing is not a “one size fits all” scenario and I have always felt that we can learn so much from different cultures, both wellness-focused and otherwise. The aim of these features is to provide a broader approach to wellbeing, one that travels a little beyond green juices and boutique fitness classes and into long-standing traditions that have been used for centuries. Many of the practices I tend to discover are often nothing very new at all, but are instead incredibly simple, as well as being much more authentic and sustainable than the latest trends we tend to get over-excited by.

Well Being Around the World - Lake Como

Travel, Around the Worlddanielle coppermanComment
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I don't know how or why it took me so long to visit Como, but it did, and in hindsight, I'm really not impressed with myself. To think that I could have been waking in a room with a panoramic view of the lake, eating the best gelato of my life and just generally living a more simple life at an idyllically slower pace (and all under the life-giving warmth and energy of the sun) long ago, is hard to come to terms with and makes my work-centered world here in London seem, frankly, strange and unusual. As travelling always does, it made me question why we city folk put ourselves through the paces we do, and at the paces we do - running almost constantly at full speed from one thing to the next without any real feel for each individual moment. I truly believe it is the energy of these cities that keeps us powered up and focussed on doing and achieving, since, as soon as I step foot in a place with a slower pace and simpler agenda, I feel myself begin to exist more slowly and more simply. And it feels really good.

We started our Como experience at the North point of the lake where we spent a couple of days really at one with nature. We were staying right on the edge of the water, and spent our days exploring local villages by foot and lazing by the lake - soaking up the sun, getting weathered by the wind (the North is seriously windy) and wallowing in the water. There are local hikes and water sports too, but if you're on more of a 'doing nothing' vibe, it's the perfect setting to do just that. The lake is large and it takes a few hours to drive around it, but there is a local bus (more like a coach) that runs around it hourly or half hourly, which is really convenient if you want to explore some of the larger villages. We took a bus to Menaggio and after a leisurely coffee, we took a boat from there to Varrena. After some gelato, we took another boat over to Belaggio, where we found a place to settle for dinner. With only 2 nights on the lake, we wanted to fit as much in as possible, and whilst this might seem like a lot for one day, I'd recommend it as the villages are small and, although visually unique, are all quite similar. Enough time for a snack and some sun lounging in each is sufficient if you're on a tight schedule.

We left the lakes and ventured further inland to C Hotel & Spa in Cassago Brianza / Lecco - a design hotel tucked away in the hills of a tiny and peacefully quiet village. The hotel stands with just 18 rooms (the phrase 'quality over quantity' truly applies here) and also boasts a pool, a gym, a spa, a restaurant, a concept store and an award-winniner gelateria (dangerously close by), and we were invited to review their new 'Detox' programme. 

Our stay began with a private training session in the gym, which, fresh out of the lake and still drowsy from the sun, was more difficult than anticipated. We spent an hour doing quite isolated exercises both inside the small gym and outside on the lawn, which was perfect as I wouldn't have lasted long doing cardio in that heat. We then went straight into a full body massage with two resident masseuses, before lolling around in the spa with a snack platter of pressed juices, fresh fruits and mango sorbet from the on-site gelateria. In the evening, we tried out the detox menu in the hotels restaurant which involved all kinds of fresh and vibrant ingredients in the form of salads, soups and meat and seafood dishes. We then took an evening stroll in the local area before calling it a night after such a hard day (not).

This kind of behaviour continued for another couple of days. Working out, eating, yoga, facials and unforgettable ayurvedic massages became routine and the entire experience was life changing. We felt refreshed, revitalised and rested, and my boyfriend (who isn't really spiritual at all) even experienced his first emotional release during an Ayurvedic massage. That kind of stuff is seriously exciting to me.

With not many other residents around, we couldn't have planned for a dreamier getaway. It was almost like a retreat - with fitness, food, spa facilities and untouched nature all in one place - only with a menu that also includes the best red wine you've ever tasted (made minutes down the road) and a few pasta options for good measure. Nothing about this place is restrictive, which makes it an ideal stay for couples or groups with varied interests and levels of eagerness to detox. 

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"C-Hotel was built according to the principles of bio-architecture. We chose the sustainable construction, with a special attention to the balance between the surrounding environment and the building, not a burden on the ecosystem. We created everything using natural resources and reducing harmful emissions to the maximum, favoring renewable energy sources, environmentally friendly materials and techniques".

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"A perfect symbiosis between natural and experience". 

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"Austere but not extreme, contemporary and yet timeless, calm but not ascetic, strong but not intimidating, smart but not ostentatious. The created layout has been thought to spread a feeling of comfort and tranquillity".

 


"Local, seasonal and fresh, we are convinced that food tastes best when prepared with fresh ingredients, grown and harvested with a proper respect for nature. That is why we work, anytime we can, with the best local producers". 

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"Mind and sight are led to a state of relaxation through the visual order generated by our design. The clear framework dictated by the long architectural elements, creates a flowing perception of space. The use of stone, wood and the subtle combination of natural colours in contrast with the white walls and ceiling, helps to create a welcoming, warm and sensual environment".

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Well Being Around the World - Obonjan Island, Croatia

Travel, Lifestyle, Around the Worlddanielle coppermanComment

This summer arrived pretty slowly and disappeared pretty quickly. Last summer, I travelled around cuba, mexico, belize and guatemala with my oldest friend, which, as you can imagine, took quite some planning. But this year, I allowed the summer to unfold naturally, making no plans whatsoever, apart from to go with the flow (said the free-spirit traveller in me).

This worked out well for me, because running my own business causes me enough stress as it is, and I didn't want the pressure of making summer plans to add to this. I love going with the flow. It is so much more fun to see what experiences and oppertunities unfold. I truly, truly believe that over-planning kills magic, and that to a certain extent, the universe has its plans for you. And luckily for me, this summer the Universe made plans for me on the Croatian island of Obonjan. So I abided.

I arrived on Obonjan island towards the end of the season (Aug - Sept), having been asked to develop an island flavour of Qnola to help the visitors and guests to Wake Up Well throughout the season. Qnola Obonjan involed a base of vanilla and maca infused organic quinoa, mildly sweetened with coconut palm sugar and enhanced with dried lavender - a native herb of Croatia and a healing addition to support the body and sooth the mind. I also contributed to the schedule and hosted some Mindful Morning events throughout my time there. We held our first gathering in the woods with Pip Roberts, where we led our guests through a centring meditation exercise, before sharing our morning regimes, techniques and other offerings specific to waking up well away from home. The entire circle opened up and we connected and learned from each other as everyone offered an insight to their own rituals.

For the rest of our time on obonjan, we genuinely just. relaxed. The qnola was already produced and sitting happy in the shop, so after ensuring that each morning was mindful, we spent the rest of our days sunbathing, eating fresh, hand made food and stargazing to our hearts content.

Scenery
From split or zadar, you take a water taxi or a shuttle boat from sibinek (check out SHE whilst you’re there), and as you pull up to the island you are greeted by serene looking wicker umbrellas, lined up as if they’ve been waiting just for your arrival. As the island is only newly inhabited, it hasn’t been built up too much, so the umbrellas stand almost alone, decorating the check-in area and an ocean-facing bar and shading prime sunbathing spots in the form of rock faces and decking.

After check in and leaving your bags for someone else to deal with, you wander through the island into calm, cool woodland; home to 2-man tents and 4-man tipi-style lodges (complete with a private bathroom and a balcony - in our case, overlooking the ocean). The accommodation is idyllic. It’s quiet and away from most of the motion, its spacious and its impeccably clean.

Adventuring further into the island, you come across the huge pool (filled freshly each morning with ocean water), multiple beaches, artistic music stages and dreamy dirt track dance floors and a selection of unique eateries.

Day Time
During the day - for those rested enough to wake up - the schedule offers meditation, yoga classes, creative and spiritual workshops and the opportunity to book a slot with the islands masseuses, reiki experts, and more. Yoga and meditation is held in different places most days, dependant on the weather and amount of people attending. From the bark of the woodland, to stone semi circles, each place is unique and special in its own way, and each is, of course, quiet and calm. We enjoyed sunrise yoga overlooking the ocean most mornings, soothed by the sounds and the rhythm of the waves, and welcoming the occasional splash. The Green Bar is the perfect place to refresh after a class or just a heavy night (serving fresh smoothies, chia seed pudding, herbal teas, avocado toast and salads), and then, there’s little more to do than eat, drink and sunbathe - oh shame. Dj’s are on a chilled vibe most of the day, providing the perfect soundtrack to whatever you have the energy to do. If you don’t like chilling, this place is not for you, and i also think you are weird, but that’s ok/just my opinion.

Evening Time
Later on, the music transitions accordingly and live acts come into play on a few of the main bars and scenic stages. Sunset yoga is a must, even if you dont do or like yoga, go and watch those who stand silhouetted in warrior 1 and the sun paints the sky (and the sea) pinks, oranges and purples. Late Lunch at Bok, dinner at The Kitchen or a pizza from Pavillion Pizza are options if you don’t fancy a floor feast in your tent, and some of the islands cocktail specialities (from Drift, The Pool Bar or Forest Bar) wash all of the above down nicely. Before, after or during the music - depending on your vibe - its nice to take a stroll to the edge of the island to find astrologers with their telescopes, eager to share their knowledge of the constellations, and stun you with a close up of the Moon and nearby planets.

Conveniences
The food on the island is amazing. It's good quality, locally sourced and fresh. So local, in fact, that if the boats can't get out or the rish can't be caught, you will experience shortages. The island has a few stores, including the SLC concept store (selling summerwear, souvenirs and spiritual offerings) and a small grocery store (selling local necessities, picnic essentials and, ofc, Qnola). There are fridges in the accomodation, so I'd recommend bringing a few things in from the boat port if you're prone to getting hangry.

Obonjan is a magical place. The island, until now, has been completely uninhabited and untouched. As soon as you arrive on the island, your mind slows down and your mood adapts to the serene surroundings and the other islanders. The energy on the island is so balanced and everyone connects somehow - if not at sunrise yoga then most probably later on at the Forest Bar. The island is small, and there is not a lot to do other than stretch, meditate and just be. But in a place where everyone else is just being, it makes the concept of checking emails or even opening your laptop totally bizzare. Obonjan is all about letting go and exploring the other special people sharing the island with you at the time. Despite live music, buzzing bars and quite possible a few hangovers, it's not really a festival at all.

Well Being Around the World - Uppsala, Sweden

Sweden, Travel, Lifestyle, City guides, Around the Worlddanielle coppermanComment

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
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.

Cafe Victoria
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.

Cafe Linne
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.

Lingon
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.

Cafe Arummet
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.

Aaltos
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.

Terrason
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.

Ikea
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.

Stationen
A beautiful place in Uppsala's picturesque train station, serving up a mixture of French and Swedish favourites.

Cousteau
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.

Annabels
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.

Dylans
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.

Hamburgs Fisk
Real good fish place. The Swede's do seafood and shellfish well, and this place is proof if you need any.

La Parrilla
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.

Åkanten
The best thing about this place is the outdoor seating lining the water. Nice vibe, traditional menu and pretty ok scenery.

Nubben Cafe
An atmospheric restaurant serving traditional Nordic specialities, including Smörrebröd, Herring Cake, Wild Boar and Shrimp Salads.

Juice Bars

Moe Joes Juice Bar
Freshly made juices, smoothies and salad bowls are on the menu here, all made using real, whole and vibrant ingredients.

Green House
A vibrant little eatery with a menu of good seafood and dishes with a middle eastern influence, including houmous, tabbouleh etc etc.

Markets

Bondens Mat i Uppland
Here, local food producers gather and sell things like cheese, jams, vegetables and fresh meat.

Fyristorg
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.

Tehornan
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

Fjällnura
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.

Botanical Gardens

Stadsträdgården Park

Fyrisån River
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

Household
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.

Weekday
Good for basics, and interesting yet effortless designs. Men and women.

Volt
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.

Korrens Kuriosa
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.

Klubb Rådhuset
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.