In Sweden, the coffee break, is a national pastime. It’s so important that it even has it’s very own word: FIKA (ka-fi backwards). Fika is both a noun and a verb, so you can go for a fika, or be in the act of fika-ing.
The Swedes take their fika very seriously, and various cities have competed for the crown of largest fika. The city of Kalmar was the first, with 2,620 people sitting down together for a fika on June 6, 2007. This record was eventually broken by Östersund in 2009, with 3,563 people fika-ing together all at once.
Usually involving a cinnamon bun, a caffeinated beverage, a friend, and a lot of conversation, the FIKA, was one Swedish social institution I was most happy to join in.
Where we Fika-ed
flickorna Helin Voltaire
Located along the pedestrian path in Stockholm’s Djurgarden, this cafe is popular with locals for its peaceful surroundings and castle-like exterior. It’s also a great after-Vasa museum stop for tourists.
The classically Swedish kanelbulle (cinnamon bun) and kafi combo wasn’t available for order, so we settled for giant lattes and an apple cake instead.
Our second fika took place at the Espresso House coffee chain, which is basically the Starbucks of Sweden. Here I was able to try the kanelbulle, which is decidedly different than its North American counterpart, with less butter, more cardamon, no icing, and a flakier texture. I am still undecided about which I prefer.
Unfortunately, we were only able to fika twice during our time in Stockholm, due to financial issues. For some reason, despite working in every other Scandinavian country we visited before and after, our Canadian credit card did not work in Sweden, for purchases OR cash advances. Thank god we’d brought some euros with us.
Another reminder to always have some good-old cash with you when you travel.
Do you drink coffee? What’s the best fika you’ve had on your travels?