Tourists in Sweden hook up with locals

Sweden, visit, tourism, Gothenburg, city break, locals, meet, experience, food, insider, fika, West Sweden Tourist Board

West Sweden Tourist Board

Meeting the locals for the fika ritual is a piece of cake

A new initiative in western Sweden is giving visitors the chance to connect with locals, whether it involves jogging in a leafy nature reserve or experiencing the ritual of fika (coffee and pastries or cake), The Guardian reports.

Within a couple of hours of landing in Gothenburg, the journalist is enjoying lunch at the street food truck Jinx with a local called Jonte. That night she meets up with Erik, a keen musician and live music fan.

Getting close to the locals – an experience increasingly desired by so many tourists who don’t want to be like all the other tourists – is now possible via Meet the Locals, an initiative launched by the West Sweden Tourist Board.

During a long weekend, the journalist also learns how to make hallongrottor (jam cookies) with a Scottish expat and goes to a yoga class with Maria, a Swede. The fika tradition comes in the nearby town of Alingsås with enthusiast Gunilla, who is happy to share the history of the custom as well as the best spots in town to do it.

Insider knowledge

“With its sharing economy ethos, the project has already been compared to the early days of Airbnb, when the appeal of staying in a stranger’s home lay not only in cut-price accommodation, but also the opportunity to meet someone who might offer insight into the local area,” the journalist writes.

So far, there are 20 ‘locals’ to connect with in the Gothenburg area, but more are expected to sign up to the project soon.

“Locals’ insider knowledge of the region is key to experiencing the city but avoiding tourist hotspots,” the article elaborates. “Less formal than a tour guide but more decorous than the average Tinder date, it feels more akin to an exchange program, with those we meet eager to demonstrate the best of their city (and many experiences are free).” The only requirement is that locals are individuals, not businesses.

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