Sweden has an extensive motorway and road network that covers even the extreme north of the country and connects Sweden with Denmark via the Öresund Bridge. Most roads are toll-free, but some cities operate congestion charges. In 1967, Sweden changed to driving on the right-hand side of the road. Those new to driving in Sweden should be aware that driving regulations are strictly enforced – you are required to wear seatbelts, keep your lights on at all times and use winter tyres from December to March. The maximum speed limit is 110kph (≈68mph) and the blood alcohol limit is significantly lower than in many other European countries.
If you are over the age of 18 and hold a driving licence issued outside Sweden, you are usually able to drive on it for a limited period. However, depending on where your licence was issued, your residency status and the duration of your stay in Sweden, you may need to exchange your licence for a Swedish version or take the Swedish driving test. For more information, visit the Swedish Transport Agency driving licence portal.
Taxis are readily available in most major towns and cities in Sweden, and can be pre-booked, hailed in the street or picked up at taxi ranks. Although taxi drivers in Sweden are required to pass advanced driving qualifications to gain their taxi licence, the industry is not regulated on price and fares can vary enormously between companies. Some firms work on fixed prices rather than meters, so make sure that you check with the driver before beginning your journey.
The major cities in Sweden all have good transportation links including reasonably-priced local bus services. For one-off journeys tickets are available to purchase separately, but many cities and regions offer combined travel cards for buses and other public transport services such as trams or local rail services – these are often the best value for money.
Coach travel is usually cheaper than rail travel in Sweden, although journey times can be longer. The best-known national operator is Swebus Express, whose fleet of modern coaches offer amenities such as air conditioning, power sockets and free WiFi. However, for those willing to pass on the luxuries, cheaper options might be found with other operators, like Svenska Buss or Nettbuss Express. Ybuss is a good alternative for travel in northern Sweden as rail services there are less comprehensive.
Sweden has an extensive railway network, although coverage is better in southern regions than in the far north and tickets can be quite expensive. The country’s railways were state-built and the government-run company SJ remains the largest operator of services today, running a mixture of high-speed, intercity and regional services and a ‘night train’ sleeper option. However, there are a number of smaller subsidiaries and local operators as well, so it’s always worth shopping around for options.
Trams and underground rail
Stockholm is the only city in Sweden that has a metro, but it is a fairly large system with seven lines and over a hundred stations. Tramways are enjoying something of a resurgence in popularity, with Stockholm and Norrköping expanding their light rail infrastructure in recent years and Gothenburg running one of the largest tram networks in northern Europe.
With a flight time of over three hours between the southern city of Malmö and Kiruna in the far north, it’s easy to see why domestic air travel is important in Sweden. The largest provider of domestic flights is SAS. Sweden’s largest international airport, Stockholm Arlanda Airport, is located around half an hour’s drive from the city centre, and also provides regular services to the majority of Sweden’s commercial airfields. Gothenburg Landvetter Airport, Bromma Stockholm Airport and Malmö Airport also handle significant amounts of national and international air traffic.
Other ways to get around
With large commercial ports at Gothenburg, Malmö and Stockholm, Sweden is an important maritime powerhouse for Scandinavia and has regular ferry links with much of northern Europe. Coastal ferries and inland canals can also be a great way to experience some of Sweden’s stunning scenery.