Swedish Fika & Cafes

This is a Swedish Semla – and Here is Where to Get Them in Uppsala

If you’re familiar with cinnamon rolls, you’re already acquainted with a significant aspect of Swedish fika culture. The next delightful step in this culinary journey is the Semla—a wheat bun filled with sweet almond paste, fluffy cream, and powdered sugar. This treat is only available for a limited time of the year, adding to its allure. And trust us when we say it’s not just delicious—it’s so irresistible that it once led a Swedish king to eat himself to death…

The history of Semla

Semlor is traditionally eaten on Fat Tuesday, known as Fettisdagen in Swedish. The celebration of this day originates from the Christian tradition of Shrove Tuesday, marking the beginning of a 40-day fasting period before Easter. The calorie-heavy Semla was simply eaten as a way to prepare for fasting. The first mentions of Semlor are made in the bible of Gustav Vasa, the first king of Sweden. During the 18th century another Swedish king, Adolf Fredric, died after devouring 14 Semlor in just one sitting (following a five-course meal).

Semla – a widely popular fika choice

Today, Semla is a popular choice for fika, during the season that runs roughly from the beginning of January to March. A Semla can be enjoyed as is, accompanied by coffee, or immersed in a plate of hot milk. In modern times, many bakeries put their own spin on this traditional treat, incorporating flavors like berries and chocolate or by presenting it in unconventional shapes like wraps.

During the Semla season, Swedes devour approximately 50 million Semlor each year—that’s an average of 5 per person.

Where to Get a Semla in Uppsala

Uppsala boasts numerous top-class bakeries and cafes where you can try different versions of Semlor. The annual competition for the title of “Best Semla in the City” is fierce, providing ample opportunities for enthusiasts to explore. Just be cautious not to follow in the footsteps of King Adolf Fredrik… See our top picks below!


Uppsala’s oldest continuously operating bakery has been crowned the best Semla in town by the local newspaper, several years in a row. Despite its long traditions, this bakery introduces a new, exciting Semla variant each week during the semmel season.

Konditori Fågelsången

Nestled below Uppsala Castle, Konditori Fågelsången has maintained its charm since its inception in 1954, making it the go-to place for those who appreciate a retro vibe and a classic semla.

Leijon Konditori

Leijon Konditori, established in 2017, swiftly became a modern classic in Uppsala. Well renowned pastry chef Frida Leijon, named Pastry Chef of the Year in 2016, offers a traditional Semla with meticulous attention to every component. Additionally, they present a popular Semla variant with pistachios. Leijon won the title Best semla in town 2024, in the local newspaper UNT.

Bröd & Salt

This Swedish bakery chain prepares delicious Semlor on the spot. When ordering a Semla for fika here, the whipped cream is skillfully added behind the counter. If you can’t get enough of Swedish fika, various cookie packages are available to buy and bring home.

Ofvandahls Hovkonditori

Since the 19th century, Ofvandahls have been a go to fika place for Uppsala residents, in the same premises you still find it today. Famous poet Karin Boye and author Gustaf Fröding drank their coffee here – and we’re guessing they indulged in an occasional semla or two, as well.


A modern bakery renowned for their bread, drawing Uppsala residents to Saturday morning queues, Triller also serves delectable Semlor. Why not try a yummy Karlsbad bun with pistachio or lemon?

Forsa Hembageri and Güntherska

Güntherska is somewhat of an Uppsala institution. This cafe is run by the fifth generation and is listed by the culinary beacon White Guide. Since a few years back the owners also run artistry bakery Forsa Hembageri. Both instances serve excellent Semlas.

Bageri Brantingstorg

This bakery is nestled in the cozy neighborhood Sala Backe, just outside the city center. They are known for their creative and beautiful pastries, and the Semlas are no exception. Here you can find Semlas in the shape of chocolate bonbons, wraps and buns.