A road trip is a great way to get an authentic experience in Sweden. When you’re driving, you can choose to stop anywhere you like, and you aren’t restricted to anyone else’s schedule. That means no rushing to airports or bus stations! Sweden has all kinds of terrain to experience, from chilly Nordic wilderness to rural farmland. With an itinerary like the one below, you can ambitiously loop all the way from the south to the north and see a bit of everything in about a week.
Start in Stockholm
Stockholm is the easiest starting point for most visitors, as that’s where they’ll enter the country. Before setting out on the road, take some time to see the city by boat or take a foodie tour or even a ghost walk! Check out this Stockholm city guide for ideas of all the best places to see.
Go to Gothenburg
Stockholm to Gothenburg driving time: five hours
Gothenburg (Göteborg in Swedish) has historically been a bustling trading city, thanks to its convenient location on the coast partway between Copenhagen, Denmark, and Oslo, Norway. You’ll find a temperate coastal climate here, and the city is famous for lots of parks and green spaces. Slottsskogen, the largest park in Gothenburg, boasts a free zoo, the Natural History Museum, and the oldest observatory in the city.
Overnight in Ostersund
Gothenburg to Ostersund driving time: 10 hours
Ostersund bills itself as “the center of Sweden” and for good reason. It’s not only in the center of Sweden, but it’s also in the center of all of Scandinavia. It’s also between Gothenburg and Kiruna — your next stop — which makes it a good place to stay over before heading further north. Ostersund is famous for its café culture, so grab a cup of coffee and relax.
Keep It Cool in Kiruna
Ostersund to Kiruna driving time: 10 hours
Located in the far north of Sweden, Kiruna features Arctic wilderness and chances to see the northern lights. About 11 km from Kiruna lies The Ice Hotel, where you can stay overnight in a hotel made entirely of ice! For adrenaline junkies, snowmobiling and dog sledding are also on offer. If you just can’t sleep in the snow, guided day tours are available.
Kiruna to Umea driving time: seven hours
Umea is a university town bursting with culture. The city is proud of its music, hosting jazz festivals, opera performances, and even a hardcore and heavy metal scene. Guitars – The Museum is a famous electric guitar museum with an attached record shop, restaurant, and rock club. After listening to some tunes, head back to Stockholm on the stunning coastal drive back along the Gulf of Bothnia.
Umea to Stockholm driving time: seven hours
Driving in Sweden
Visitors to Sweden should familiarize themselves with Swedish road rules and regulations before getting behind the wheel. Swedish road laws are strict compared to some countries, but the country’s excellent traffic safety record shows that the laws work.
A Swedish road trip is the perfect way to see the country. You can customize your itinerary any way you like and get a local feel by visiting off-the-beaten path places that you see along the way.