My Uppsala: ‘Experience a touch of Swedish Cambridge’
The Local took a trip to Uppsala to discover Sweden’s fourth-biggest city through the eyes of two of its international residents.
André Dutra’s life has changed since moving from Brazil to Uppsala. He no longer works ten hour days or relies on a car to get around. Now he lives in a city that he can easily walk from one end to the other of with a pace of life that’s slower but far from dull.
“What I really like about Uppsala is that it’s a big city but it feels like a small college town. Even the very clichéd shopping street you have everywhere in Europe, here it’s quite cute!”
One of André’s favourite spots is just a few minute’s walk from Uppsala Central Station. Opposite the Linnaeus Museum, the former home of famed Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus, is Café Linné, a traditional Swedish cafe on the corner of Svartbäcksgatan.
“It feels very nice inside, you have this feeling that you’re in your grandma’s house,” André tells The Local, recommending that visitors settle into one of the cafe’s cosy corners with a cup of coffee and a traditional Swedish pastry or cake.
Just a short stroll from Café Linné is the University Park and home to six ancient rune stones. For André, who comes from Brasilia, a city founded in 1960, they’re one of the city’s most special features.
“The ones in the park come from the 11th century. They are quite beautiful, they’re pieces of art. They’re so ancient; this duality, in a modern, environmental city like Uppsala is really interesting.”
For a panoramic view of the city, André suggests wandering up to the viewpoint at nearby Uppsala Castle.
“It’s not really about the castle,” he explains. “The view from the top of this hill is scenic and breathtaking. You see all different parts of the city. It’s just beautiful on a sunny day!”
He recommends refueling with a cup of Joe from Arrenius and Company, “a tiny place with really impressive coffee,” or indulging with a decadent treat from Augusta Janssons Karamelfabrik, a Willy Wonka-esque chocolate shop where you can’t help but feel like a kid in a candy store.
Wrap up the day, he suggests, with a meal at Hambergs fisk - “The seafood is amazing!” - before a night on the town with a pitstop at Shotluckan -- a vegetarian restaurant by day, shot bar by night -- or end it on a high note with some live music at Katalin And All That Jazz.
‘I adore living in Uppsala’
Historian Arina Polyakova Franzén moved from Russia to Sweden in 2015. After a stint in Stockholm, she upped sticks for Uppsala and hasn’t looked back.
“I adore living in Uppsala. I find it a lot calmer and friendlier than Stockholm, where we lived for three years,” she told The Local.
The city’s rich past and strong academic profile holds an obvious allure for the history buff. Particularly Gamla Uppsala, a village just outside the city easily reached by bus, and home to one of Sweden’s most noteworthy museums, where visitors can experience one of Sweden’s oldest historic sites and take a virtual reality tour of Iron Age Uppsala.
“There’s a beautiful museum in the open air with replica houses like the ones people would have lived in the old days. If you go when it’s warm weather you can see the whole territory; in the winter, you just see the burial mounds. You don’t need a ticket, it’s free.”
That’s not to say there isn’t plenty of history and culture to be found in central Uppsala. With a packed events calendar including Uppsala Reggae Festival in July, barely a weekend goes by that there isn’t something on in the city.
River Fyris, which passes through Uppsala, plays host to a number of events throughout the spring and summer. The highlight of the season is a ‘wacky races’-style rafting event which takes place every year on 30th April, a celebration known in Sweden as ‘Valborg’.
“They do a lot of interesting events involving the river,” says Arina. “As soon as it starts to get warm, people start taking out canoes. It’s very fun to see, you can sit in front of the cathedral with a cup of coffee or warm chocolate.”
Arina -- who holds a PhD in British monarchy -- is partial to a cup of tea at Landings, a traditional Swedish cafe in Uppsala’s city centre. It’s a bonus, she adds, that she’s able to take her dog into the cafe with her.
“It’s traditional and delicious! It’s very cosy to go in and chat with friends and have something sweet. I have a very cute little dog who I like to take along! It’s also one of the oldest bakeries in Uppsala, founded in 1887.”
She heartily encourages tourists to visit Uppsala, particularly those who want to experience Sweden outside of its slick capital.
“If people want to see the calmer Sweden, they definitely have to come to Uppsala and experience a touch of Swedish Cambridge.”
This article was produced by The Local Creative Studio and sponsored by Destination Uppsala.
This content was paid for by an advertiser and produced by The Local's Creative Studio.