The fifth largest country in Europe, Sweden stretches almost 977 miles (1,572 km) from north to south. Fortunately, public transport is excellent, with a mix of trains, long-distance buses and ferries to help you explore.
In more remote regions, the options are fewer, but you can still travel between cities and cities without a car, and even get to many national parks and other wilderness areas by public transport. If you prefer to drive, you will find a well-maintained network of highways and secondary roads that cross the country. Here is a guide to what you need to know to get around Sweden.
Taking a train in Sweden is easy
Sweden’s extensive train network extends across the country’s length and breadth, with approximately 1,500 departures from more than 400 stations throughout the country. The state-owned railway company SJ operates trains in large parts of the country and acts as a salesman for most regional railway companies, so you can book almost all your tickets on a single website. Most long-distance trains have one bistro bil, and you can even pre-order meals if you buy your train ticket at least 24 hours in advance. For night trains you can book a place or bed in one private or shared sleeping area.
The easiest way to buy tickets is online or via SJ’s mobile app, after which you can either print them, download a PDF to your mobile device or download them to an SJ ticket machine. If none of these options work for you, you can also pick them up for a fee at an SJ service center or at a Press Agency or 7 Eleven store. Travelers under the age of 26, students or retirees are eligible to purchase last minute tickets at reduced rates.
Long-distance buses are cheaper
Long-distance bus traffic between cities in Sweden is generally slower than traveling by train, but it is also usually significantly cheaper. Unlike long-distance train travel, there is no centralized operator, so you may need to shop around. Flixbus and View are the two main companies that serve destinations throughout Sweden, but regional bus networks such as Western traffic, Skånetrafiken and Länstrafiken Norrbotten also covers fairly large areas that connect cities, towns and countryside.
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Plan flies to airports in all corners of Sweden
Trains will generally take you where you need to go in Sweden in an efficient and more convenient way than flying, especially if you include waiting times at the airport and travel there, but if you are short on time, it may make sense to fly longer distances. . SAS and BRA are the largest airlines for domestic flights within Sweden and serve airports in all corners of the country. SAS is based at Arlanda International Airport north of Stockholm, while BRA uses the smaller Bromma Airport in the city as a hub. Air jump is a small carrier that flies between Bromma and Visby on Gotland, as well as from Arlanda to Halmstad and Örnsköldsvik.
Enjoy the freedom of car travel in Sweden
Although you can easily get around large parts of Sweden without a car, driving offers flexibility and the opportunity to stop and explore when the urge strikes you. If you decide to drive, you will find large car rental companies at the airports and at least a few different options in most cities. The cost of a rental starts at around 750 SEK (85 USD) per day or 1,300 SEK (147 USD) per week for a small car with unlimited mileage. Collision damage insurance and theft protection are included, but if you want to remove the deductible, you must obtain additional insurance, which can run in the vicinity of SEK 200 (USD 23) per day. Petrol is also expensive in Sweden, especially compared to countries such as the USA.
Additional rental fees may apply for drivers under 25 years or over 70 years. If you rent at airports or certain other places in and near Stockholm or Gothenburg, keep in mind that some companies charge a fixed daily fee to cover congestion charges in the city. , while others add the actual fees you have accrued on your final invoice. Wherever you drive, keep an eye out for signs warning of speed cameras in front of you. They are not always on, but if you blow through one too quickly, you may get a nasty surprise later.
Ferries are part of Sweden’s travel experience
A long, indented coastline and thousands of islands make ferries an important part of getting around Sweden. Passenger ferries connect communities in the various archipelagos with the mainland and with each other. Waxholmsbolaget operates to destinations around the Stockholm archipelago, while Western traffic links communities along the west coast.
Huge cruise-style ferries with car decks connect the large island of Gotland with the ports of Oskarshamn and Nynäshamn on the mainland. Along the coast and in the larger lakes, smaller ferries connect roads on different islands to the mainland. Most road ferries are free; exceptions are the ferry from Gränna to Visingsö in Lake Vättern and the ferry between Slagsta / Fittja and Ekerö in Lake Mälaren, for which tickets must be purchased before boarding.
Public transport in cities
Swedish cities usually have excellent bus networks that extend far into the suburbs or the surrounding countryside. In Stockholm County, buses, subways, commuter trains, trams and passenger ferries to the city center operate seamlessly during a uniform ticket system. Additional passenger ferries connect the center with communities in the archipelago.
In Gothenburg, trams and buses meander through the city’s districts, part of a larger network that stretches across the entire county of Västra Götaland and which also includes commuter trains and passenger ferries. Farthest to the south, Skånetrafiken operates Sweden’s third largest city, Malmö and the rest of Skåne County.
Sweden is created for cycling
With beautiful rural roads, plenty of city bike paths and many organized long-distance bike paths, Sweden is created to explore on two wheels. Rent a bike for a day to explore a city and its surroundings, or set off on a longer journey to see more of the country at a leisurely pace. RentBike is an alternative for one- and multi-day bicycle rental in southern Sweden and beyond.