Driving in Sweden – all you need to know!
Are you considering a roadtrip in or to Sweden? Go for it! Depending on where you are from in Europe, taking your own car is much more convenient than flying and also a lot cheaper and more sustainable than traveling by plane. I went to Sweden three times by car from The Netherlands in the last year and a half and would not want anything else.
You can take as much stuff as you want, have the ultimate freedom to stay overnight and camp where you are at that moment and it’s also much cheaper than traveling by plane and with a rental car. In this article I am happy to give you all my tips for driving to Sweden, driving in Sweden and basically all you need to know before you’ll start your road trip. Enjoy!
Also read: first time in Scandinavia? All you need to know!
Driving to Sweden: what you need to know
You won’t have to prepare a lot when you go on a road trip in Sweden with your own car. However, there are a number of things that you need to arrange before you travel by car from abroad to Sweden. For example, we had a flat tire twtice: once on the way back from our last trip and also during our summer road trip in 2018. In 2018 we were able to close fix it at a nearby garage, but the last time we were in Sweden (winter 2020) our flat tire happened on a Saturday. And then all garages were found to be closed. So take a spare tire with you always, because driving on unpaved roads is almost unavoidable, which increases the chance of a flat tire. Something to worry about? No, certainly not, but something to just consider when driving in Sweden.
You do not need a vignette or something similar for driving in Sweden. If you make a cost estimate, it’s good to know if you want to make the crossing to Sweden by car or if you prefer to go via the bridge between Copenhagen and Malmö or possibly even from Norway.
Driving from Denmark to Sweden
We have selected both options for driving from Denmark to Sweden, but always choose to make the crossing via the bridges rather than the ferry. You come across two large bridges: the bridge between Nyborg and Halsskov over the Great Belt (the Storebælts Bridge) and the Öresund Bridge (also known as ‘the Bridge’) from Copenhagen to Malmö.
You can pay for both bridges on site with a credit card. When you book online it can be cheaper. Are you planning to travel to Sweden more often than once by car and take the Öresund Bridge? Then buy the Bropas for the Öresund Bridge, you already got it out on the second trip to Sweden. Rates and info can be found here.
If you happen to be on the way to Dalarna and are looking for a nice and not too expensive overnight hotel on the way, check out these options. We have slept in Best Western Plus Hus 75 in Ängelholm (4*) and three star Hotel Erikslund, also in Ängelholm. The latter is right on the highway, Hus 75 is in the center and has great beds!
Taking the boat to Sweden
There are countless options and combinations possible to get into Sweden by boat. A frequently used route is the boat from Puttgarden to Rødby in combination with a possible second crossing Helsingør – Helsingborg or the Öresund Bridge to Malmö. This goes every half hour and takes about 30 minutes. However, research shows that the costs for both options are virtually the same. And since you have to wait for the boat and when you cross the bridge not, we opt for the bridge.
Driving from Sweden to Norway
Generally speaking, crossing the border from Sweden to Norway is not difficult. On all the border crossings we used, we never saw any checks and we could just continue driving. The same goes for the border with Finland. When entering Sweden from Denmark we are usually stopped by passport control, so this is something to keep in mind and always make sure that you have your passport with you and ready to be checked.
Toll roads in Sweden
There are hardly any toll roads in Sweden, only a so-called ‘congestion tax’ is levied around Gothenburg and Stockholm. You pay for this afterwards, the owner of the vehicle receives the bill about a month after that date. It is normally no more than 10 euros / dollars (approx. 105 SEK). So you don’t have to keep a credit card nearrby for this. If you are driving a rental car, you will be charged by the rental company afterwards.
Driving in Sweden
Driving in Sweden is not difficult and actually quite relaxed. Apart from the big cities, there are hardly any four-lane roads and you are usually driving on a two-lane road. In addition, keep in mind that there are still countless unpaved roads. Campsites and other facilities that are somewhat more remote are often only accessible via a dirt road. If you just drive quietly and avoid potholes as much as possible, it will not cause any problems.
Swedes are very nice drivers, but also like drive fast, especially in the countryside. When someone is behind you, it is an unwritten rule that you divert as far to the right as possible (without endangering yourself of course) so that they can pass you without problems as a courtesy.
If you are driving through Sweden with a camper, then stop regularly to let vehicles that follow you pass, especially in mountainous areas. There are regularly small parking places along the road and you do everyone a favor if you stop here to let faster traffic pass by.
Unlike in the Netherlands or other European countries with many highways, you never drive faster than 100 kilometers per hour. A maximum speed of 80 kilometers per hour applies on most through roads, but experience has shown that it is not really easy to achieve that average. So plan your trip well and not the way you would plan it in the rest of Europe.
In addition, you notice that the roads in Sweden are raised, the roadside is always a bit lower than the actual road. This has to do with crossing wildlife, this way you have them in sight a little earlier. Wildlife crossings are not something to worry about, but it is something to keep in mind. Moose can suddenly cross over (especially at dusk) and when you drive towards Lapland, it may just be that there are herds of reindeer along the road. And then sometimes you have to wait until there is room to drive on. Don’t push or bother them, but let them be. Eventually they will make space for you. And after all, it’s vacation!
Driving in Sweden in winter
Ice driving in Sweden can be quite tricky when you are not used to it. Most cars have studded tires and know how to drive in the snow. Make sure your tires are winter tires and bring snow chains in case you are driving in Sweden in winter. Many backroads will not be cleared and can be extremely icy when it has just snowed and/or when it is raining. Take your time when driving in Sweden in the wintertime and always make sure to bring water, blankets and something to start a fire with just in case …
Renting a car in Sweden
In case you won’t have a car to drive to Sweden but instead you’ll want to rent one, it’s quite easy to do so. You can book via Rentalcars.com – and make sure to read all the rules well. Damage to glass, tires and the bottom of the car are usually not insured and precisely the places where you are easily damaged due to the unpaved roads, so read the everything carefully before you rent a car and / or sign a contract!
Fuelling up in Sweden
You will find countless gas stations along the way, mostly around villages and towns. If you go further north towards Swedish Lapland, you will notice that the gas stations become scarcer. It’s smart to refuel regularly and not always push it until the end. You can find all kinds of gas stations, Preem usually has the cheapest gasoline. The gasoline price in Sweden is currently (Jan. 2020) around 15.3 SEK per liter, or about 1.50 euros, making refueling in Sweden cheaper than in the Netherlands and quite average compared to the rest of Scandinavia.
In addition, you will often find a small shop and toilets for the manned pumps, for which you usually do not have to pay, unlike in the Netherlands and Germany. For us, a stop at a gas pump often means a stop for a hot dog with Johnny’s: a characteristic sweet mustard sauce that is typical for Sweden. Or a coffee with a cinnamon roll when it is early in the day.
Conclusion and disclaimer
Hopefully you found this article about driving in and to Sweden by car useful. If you have any questions, feel free to ask them below. We have traveled all over Sweden (from Malmö to Kiruna) by car and can therefore answer most of your questions without any problems.
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