Kafé Magasinet, Långgatorna
Gothenburg’s Långgatorna block (the area around the four separate Långgatan streets) is known for its nightlife and bars, but there’s also a perfect escape from the bitter winter winds in the form of Kafé Magasinet on Tredje Långgatan.
Housed inside the old auction building, candles and low lighting glowing against the exposed brick make it easy on the eye for those slow, dark Swedish Sundays. All of the coffee is organic and fairtrade too, so you can feel good about yourself while you relax.
Da Matteo, city centre
Famed Gothenburg coffee roasters Da Matteo have a number of different locations in town, but if you’re looking for somewhere relaxing to sit during the chillier stretch of the year, two in particular stand out.
The larger branch on Magasingatan (there are two opposite one another) is warm, has ample seating and its own bakery – and if there's one thing that comes close to the taste of freshly baked bread and buns, it's the smell.
A few blocks away on Victoriapassagen lies a smaller incarnation, and what it lacks in size it makes up for with a tranquil outdoor seating area, where you can sip something warm and watch people dipping in and out of the shops on the narrow alley while escaping the city's infamous winds – more or less!
Berzelii Choklad, city centre
Not everyone is a diehard coffee lover of course, and Berzelii Choklad near Gothenburg Cathedral specializes in a different kind of bean. To find it, head into the Almedals Magasinet store on Korsgatan 21, then continue up to the second floor and you’ll reach a world of chocolate guaranteed to make winter much more pleasant.
Along with handmade pralines, truffles and the like, there’s also a lunch menu combining baked goods with chocolate on a Thursday and Friday. Teas and coffees can be ordered too, but let’s be honest, you’re there for the sweet stuff.
It’ll take a short tram journey from the city centre to reach Biscotti, but it’s well worth the small effort. The biggest selling point is the specialty pastries, but with the cafe consistently recommended in Sweden’s White Guide as one of the best in the country, a high standard can be expected across the board.
Big, wide windows help make the most of what little natural light the Swedish winter offers, and with the location placed well away from the tourist hotspots, expect an authentic local clientele (including Majorna’s resident hipsters, naturally).
Vallgatan 12, city centre
Once an old bank vault, Vallgatan 12 has been transformed into a minimalist blend of shop, restaurant and cafe, where Scandi design lovers can take their pick of cool interior and fashion pieces before settling down for a coffee with a view of the bustling street at one of the window seats.
If the short days have you questioning why you chose to live in a darker corner of the world, this is the perfect place to remind yourself that it’s because it’s unbelievably cool. The buns also help.
Bar Centro, city centre
Everything about Bar Centro’s location – wedged between various chain stores in an otherwise generic part of Gothenburg’s shopping district – says it should be forgettable, but really it’s the exact opposite.
A friendly, family vibe flies in the face of the stereotype of cold Swedish service, and while you may have to share a table with someone reading a newspaper or taking their time over a macchiato, a little human interaction goes a long way at this time of the year.
Röda Sten, Majorna
If a drink with a perfect view is what you’re after then it’s difficult to do better than the Röda Sten, nestled under Gothenburg’s iconic Älvsborg bridge. A perfect example of how Sweden’s second city takes old industrial buildings and makes them into something new and spectacular, it’s warm and friendly inside, but the trump card is really the front patio.
You’ll need to wrap up like the Swedes do, but the combination of a cup of coffee and a view of the ships moving in and out of Gothenburg harbour is a perfect way to forget the more stressful things in life. Once the wind becomes too much you can just go back inside and check out some of the art in the building’s exhibition space. Winter days don’t get much better.
Bar Piccolino, city centre
The right atmosphere can make or break a cafe, and the welcoming tone at Bar Piccolino will definitely make a cold day feel a touch easier. Small but inviting, it’s owned by two brothers of Italian origin who make a mean espresso and draw plenty of regulars, which is always a good sign.
Still not convinced? Check out the wall covered in signatures from famous people who came along in the past and liked the place so much they put their name on it. Here’s Celta Vigo and Sweden striker John Guidetti doing that very thing.