There’s a huge Hygge movement right now. The Danish concept of happiness and cosy-ness has taken over all sorts of things – Hygge books top bestseller lists (I mean it feels like every book is a New York Times Bestseller but that’s a rant for another day), lifestyle blogs talk about practicing Hygge in your home, food blogs talk about the types of foods in the Danish diet, and sometimes you just see Instagram feeds flooded with socks clad feet, fairy lights, a cup of coffee, a book, a blanket – supposedly the recipe for Hygge.
Don’t get me wrong though. I’m all for happiness, mindfulness and anything that helps you get through the day, and for me, books and being cosy are essential elements. But is Hygge unique to Denmark? Arguably, the Swedish counterpart to Hygge is something called Fika. Popular in its own right, its a term used to describe the practice of having coffee and baked treats and spending time with friends. Now that’s a concept I can get behind.
My friend and I were in Copenhagen and decided to go to Malmo for the afternoon specifically to Fika it up (I know I’m not using the term right and usually using proper language is also hygge-centric to me but I feel like living life on the edge today, ok?).
To me, that spontaneity + opportunity + proximity combo is what Hygge dreams are made of. You can take a 40-50 minute train from Copenhagen (Kastrup), cross the famed Øresund bridge and boom – you’re in Sweden. Remember to walk with your passport even though there aren’t any stressful passport checks. It’s as easy as showing your boarding pass or swiping a metrocard.
Being in this part of Malmo doesn’t really strike you that it is the 3rd largest city in Sweden. It has a lovely mix of modern and old fashioned vibes. When you arrive, you’re plunged straight into the sights and sounds of this highly walkable area – there is a lovely waterfront and enough landmarks to see in reasonably close proximity – a little village square, metal sculptures in the cobblestoned streets, and quaint storefronts and cafes that will seriously broaden your Fika choices.
You can also easily view the tallest building in the Nordic countries at 190m tall. The “turning torso” is meant to resemble, as the name suggests the twisting torso of a woman. Designed by Santiago Calatrava, this architect also was behind the creation of the World Trade Center Transportation Hub in New York City.
From one of the piers, you can also glimpse the Malmo Inre Hamn Lighthouse, built in 1878 and decommissioned in 1983. The Swedish stereotype of efficiency is evident from the pier as there is a huge black marble frame perfect to frame the picturesque scene. No photo frame apps needed!
Don’t even get me started on the Fika. Well, in all fairness I figure you want me to get started on the Fika because isn’t that the title of this post? Cafes are teeming with people intent on practicing this. We found a lovely, hip cafe and ordered two desserts each. I had done my research and I knew that Kanelbullar (Cinnamon buns) are a standard classic, along with Mazariner, (Almond Pie) and Kardemummakaka (Cardamom cake). We ordered all three as well as a chocolate type cake that isn’t Kladdkaka (sticky chocolate cake) but I mean…can you go wrong with any type of chocolate cake?
Suffice it to say that I don’t remember what we actually did chat about – our sugar induced high and subsequent sugar crash makes things a little blurry. But it was a seriously fun afternoon, fortified by some good old English Pub food & beers in the next street, and I’m ashamed to say, some fries from a Burger King after the sugar crash. Overall, it was a wonderful getaway and so doable that it could easily turn into a tradition: “Meet me in Malmo after work!” How ridiculously cool.
When you’re done, take the train back. At the time of writing, I truly can’t remember the ride back home. Maybe I need to take a Fika break?