Learn everything about the sweet everyday tradition

What is Swedish fika?

If you’ve ever been to Sweden, there’s one thing you’ll have heard of for sure: the Swedish fika, this phenomenon that seems to have some kind of holy, bordering on insanity, status in the entire country. And Uppsala is no exception to this fika frenzy. Lets dive into the Swedish fika culture.

What does the word “fika” mean?

Let’s start off with the semantics. Grammatically, fika is both a verb and noun. Therefore, you can just as well say that you are currently “fiking” or “taking a fika” in Swedish. But etymologically is where it gets really exciting. The word is enveloped in several myths regarding its’ origin, of which one is that it’s an anagram for “coffee” (“kaffe” in Swedish). It’s also said that it comes from the nowadays not very used adjective “fiken”, which means to have a craving or be in the mood for something.

Let’s get down to business and define the word. When Swedes talk about fika, what they generally mean is a coffee break. The coffee can be switched out for tea or even lemonade, but some kind of non-alcoholic and preferably hot beverage is always a part of the deal. More arbitrary is the presence of a sweet treat or a snack, such as cake or a sandwich. 

Coffee and a snack – a social institution

As you’ve probably gathered by now, there’s a fika plays an important part of Swedish culture. You might even call it a national institution. Nevertheless, while the concept of having fika is very hands-on, it can be quite an abstract thing to describe since it comes in many forms and variations.

Just like your regular coffee break, fika can be an excuse to stop doing something laborious for a while. Some people are of the idea that a person working in Sweden doesn’t actually start working before he or she has had the first fika of the day. So if you need a pause from work, school our touristing, this four-letter word can save the day, even if it means ten minutes of binge drinking java or one hour of happy procrastination.

But fika is not only a sidekick activity; it can also be the main event of your day. Haven’t called your mom for a while? Invite her to have fika at your place. Long time no see the buddies? Go for a fika at the new hot spot café in town together. Want to discuss something with a potential business partner? Fika! You get the picture. The fika phenomenon is everything you want it to be.

FAQ about fika in Uppsala

What should I order for fika?

You will find all sorts of sweet treats for fika in Uppsala, but here are som typical Swedish Classics you might want to check from your fika bucket list:

A slice of Prinsesstårta: a cake with a layer of sponge cake, raspberry jam, custard, heaps of whipped cream and a lid made of green marzipan. Commonly served as a birthday cake.

Kanelbulle: Swedes favorite bun and a true fika staple, found at any bakery.

Chokladboll: translates to “chocolate ball”. A raw oatmeal ball with chocolate flavor, rolled in shredded coconut or sprinkles. A children’s favorite!

Kladdkaka: the Swedish take on mud cake is a dense, sticky, and chocolaty slice of  heaven, often served with whipped cream and sometimes berries.

Read more about which Swedish foods you should try in Uppsala in our guide.

Where can I get fika in Uppsala?

Uppsala offers a variety of cafes, from the traditional bakery shop to modern cafes. Why not try several of the cafes during your visit? We have listed some of the city’s best cafes here.

What time of day do you have fika?

The simple answer is: any time of the day! At workplaces it is common to have one fika break before lunch, and another one later in the afternoon. Cafes in Uppsala have varying opening hours, so if you want to visit a particular café, check the opening hours beforehand.

Fika in Uppsala

The Best Cafes for Fika