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Swedish Culture

The Best of Jönköping

August 13, 2022 By Evelyn Ramgren

If you’re traveling to Sweden, you probably have heard of Stockholm, Malmö and Gothenburg. But there are many other places to go and one of the larger cities to explore is Jönköping. It’s about an hour and a half by bus from Gothenburg and three hours by train from Stockholm. Located on the southern shore of Lake Vattern, with a university (Jönköping University), local soccer club (Jönköping Sodra IF), and a large e-Sports tournament every year (DreamHack). Since it is right on a lake, it is ideal for boating and maybe some swimming in the summer. From food to shopping, here is a rundown of where to go in downtown Jönköping.

Bryggan Café & Bistro

This hip café is on the east side of Jönköping, and has a variety of foods. It’s a great place if you’re looking for a fika sport for coffee and a sweet treat or a Sunday brunch place. In the evenings there’s live music and a delightful dinner right on the bridge between East and West Jönköping. For a true Swedish experience use a blanket and coat to eat outside no matter the weather or temperature.

San Marianos

Kebab pizza is a classic of Sweden’s fast-food choices and is a delicious, blended food of Sweden. It began in the 1940’s when Italian immigrants came to Sweden bringing pizza with them. As Balkan and Turkish immigrants came in the 1970’s gyros and gyro salads became a more popular food option. As time went on the two eventually became one: the kebab pizza. Made with tomato pizza sauce, gyro meat, fefferoni peppers, and gyro sauce. You can also get a vegetarian version with falafel and French fries. Be prepared to cut your own slices since it traditionally comes uncut.

Bernard’s Confectionary

Experiencing a fika is a must when visiting anywhere in Sweden and a place with established history is always recommended. Bernard’s opened in 1919 and has maintained its cozy inviting energy today. You can find anything from a dammsugare, to vaniljhärtan, or a classic kanelbulle, Bernard’s has a quick bite option for anyone. Coffee or tea is a must for a fika and a quick break eat it’s a beautiful spot right off Brahe Park. If one is looking for more food, they also have a light lunch of sandwiches or salads.

Tändstickmuseet (The Match Stick Museum)

On the west side of the city, past the Resecentrum, is a museum about one of the large exports of Jönköping’s history, match sticks. Taking you through an old, refurbished factory to share the story. The Tändstickmuseet museum is a cool opportunity to learn about Sweden’s workers’ rights, how match sticks were made, and their importance to Jönköping’s economy.


Asecs is an indoor mall, with anything and everything ranging from IKEA to Intersport. It is only a 10-minute bus ride from downtown or a 30-minute walk, slightly east of the city. If you are looking to get a traditional meatball, potato, and lingonberry meal, IKEA cannot be beat. Unless of course you have some when visiting a Swedish friend’s home! Stop by the Target of Sweden, Åhlens, or shop at the Nordic classic H&M and enjoy the goods of Sweden.