Driving in Sweden offers a unique opportunity to explore the country's stunning landscapes at your own pace. Whether you're planning a road trip through the picturesque countryside or navigating the bustling streets of Stockholm, understanding the local driving laws and customs is essential.
In this guide, we'll cover everything you need to know about driving in Sweden, from license requirements to road signs and more.
Driving Laws and Regulations in Sweden
Navigating the roads of Sweden is a breeze, but understanding the driving laws is crucial. From speed limits to winter tire regulations, here's all you need to know about driving in Sweden:
In Sweden, the minimum age to drive is 18 years old. However, to rent a car, you must be at least 20 years old and have held a driver's license for two years. If you're a U.S. citizen, your driver's license is valid in Sweden as long as it's still valid at home. If you plan to stay in Sweden for more than a year, you'll need to get a Swedish driver's license.
All U.S. driver's licenses are valid in Sweden, making it easy for U.S. citizens to rent a car and explore the country. However, if you're staying in Sweden for more than a year, you'll need to obtain a Swedish driver's license.
Speed limits in Sweden are expressed in kilometers per hour (kph). In city areas, the speed limit is typically 50 kph (31 mph). On open country roads, the limit is 90 kph (55 mph), and on highways, it's 110 kph (68 mph).
Traffic signs in Sweden use standard international symbols and sometimes include Swedish phrases. Speed signs are round and yellow with a red outline. It's helpful to familiarize yourself with common Swedish phrases found on road signs, such as "Infart" (Entrance), "Utfart" (Exit), and "Farthinder" (Speed bumps).
Seat Belt Laws
Seat belts are mandatory for the driver and all passengers, both in the front and back seats. Children under 3 years of age or under 4 feet, 5 inches tall must ride in an appropriately-fitted car seat.
Sweden has strict laws regarding drinking and driving. The legal blood alcohol content limit is 0.02 percent. If you're caught driving over this limit, you could face a hefty fine or even a jail sentence.
Winter driving in Sweden is a unique experience that requires additional preparation. If visit Sweden in winter (early December to the end of March), your vehicle must be equipped with either studded tires or un-studded winter friction tires.
It's also a good idea to carry a winter kit in your car, including items like a reflective vest, starting cables, an ice scraper, a shovel, a torch, a tow-rope, and a bag of sand to aid tire grip. If you have not driven in snow before, it can be quite daunting initially. But don’t worry – winter tires make an enormous difference, and even smaller roads are regularly plowed.
Provided you follow some simple guidelines, you should be able to drive confidently and safely. Cars with front-wheel-drive will handle better in snowy conditions than those with rear-wheel-drive. ABS can be a useful feature to assist safe braking in snowy conditions.
Finally, use your judgement when assessing conditions. A white winter road with packed snow will often be less slippery than a wet road. Drive safely, but don’t be nervous!
Road emergencies in Sweden
When driving in a foreign country, it's essential to know how to handle emergencies and breakdowns. In Sweden, the emergency services number is 112. This number can be dialed free of charge from any phone, including mobile phones, even without a SIM card.
If you're involved in a minor accident and no one is injured, you and the other party should fill out a self-report form, which can be obtained from insurance companies or police. If there are injuries, or if the other party leaves the scene, you should call the police.
In the event of a breakdown, you should try to move your vehicle off the road to a safe place if possible. Turn on your hazard lights and set up a warning triangle to alert other drivers. In Sweden, it's mandatory to carry a warning triangle in your car.
There are several breakdown services in Sweden that can assist you if your vehicle breaks down. The Swedish Automobile Association (Motormännens Riksförbund, M) provides roadside assistance to its members, and many car insurance policies also include breakdown cover.
Here are some tips to handle emergencies and breakdowns:
- Always carry a charged mobile phone with you.
- Keep the emergency number (112) saved in your phone.
- Carry a first aid kit in your car.
- Make sure you have a warning triangle in your car.
- Join a breakdown service or check if your car insurance includes breakdown cover.
Remember, safety should always be your top priority when driving. By being prepared and knowing what to do in an emergency, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable driving experience in Sweden.
Planning Your drive in Sweden
Planning a road trip in Sweden is an exciting endeavor. From choosing your route to booking accommodations and planning activities, there's a lot to consider. Renting a campervan in Sweden is an easy option if you'd like more door-to-door service.
Most car rental agencies allow you to drive anywhere in Western Europe. They will ask to see your passport and foreign driver's license, at the very least. Insurance varies by the rental car company.
Getting a Car Rental
Renting a car in Sweden is a straightforward process. You'll need your driver's license, passport, and an insurance certificate. Most car rental agencies allow you to drive anywhere in Western Europe. If you're planning a longer road trip, consider renting a caravan for a more comfortable journey. Check out Campervan Sweden for a range of options.
Choosing Your Route
Sweden offers a variety of scenic routes, whether you're exploring the bustling cities or the tranquil countryside. Consider your interests and the time of years when planning your route. For example, a summer road trip could include the stunning islands of Sweden, while a winter journey might focus on the snowy landscapes of northern Sweden.
If you need inspiration, we have a guide to the best road trip in Sweden you can check. As easy as pie!
Sweden offers a range of accommodations, from luxury hotels to cozy cabins and campsites. Booking in advance is recommended, especially during summer in Sweden, which is the peak season.
Planning Your Activities
From hiking and wildlife watching to exploring historic sites, enjoying Sweden's famous cities and savoring local cuisine, Sweden offers activities for every interest. Be sure to research activities along your chosen route and book in advance where necessary.
Driving in Different Parts of Sweden
Driving in Stockholm can be challenging due to heavy traffic and complex road systems. However, it offers the opportunity to explore Stockholm's many attractions at your own pace. Be aware of tolls when driving in Stockholm.
Gothenburg, Sweden's second-largest city, is a bit easier to navigate by car than Stockholm. Gothenburg's attractions are a mix of modern and historic attractions, including the Liseberg amusement park, Universeum science center, and the picturesque Haga district. Parking can be challenging in the city center, so consider using public transportation or walking to explore the city once you've parked your car.
Malmö, located in southern Sweden, is a vibrant city known for its modern architecture and diverse cultural scene. The city is relatively easy to navigate by car, with well-maintained roads and clear signage. Be sure to visit the Turning Torso, the tallest building in Scandinavia, and the beautiful Malmö Castle.
The Swedish Countryside
Driving in the Swedish countryside is a truly delightful experience. The roads are generally well-maintained, and traffic is light. You'll have the opportunity to explore Sweden's beautiful landscapes, from its vast forests and sparkling lakes to its charming small towns. Be aware of wildlife on the roads, particularly in more remote areas.
Tips for Driving in Sweden
Driving in Sweden is generally a pleasant experience, but there are a few tips that can help make your journey even smoother.
- Be prepared for long distances: Sweden is a large country, and distances between cities can be significant. Make sure you plan your route carefully and allow plenty of time for rest stops.
- Be aware of the wildlife: Sweden is home to a variety of wildlife, including moose and deer, which can occasionally venture onto the roads. Be particularly vigilant when driving in rural and forested areas, especially around dawn and dusk, when animals are most active.
- Drive defensively: Swedish drivers are generally courteous and law-abiding, but it's always important to drive defensively and be aware of other road users.
- Enjoy the scenery: One of the best things about driving in Sweden is the opportunity to enjoy the country's stunning natural beauty. Whether you're driving through the majestic mountains of the north or the rolling fields of the south, take the time to appreciate the scenery.
Road tripping Sweden
Driving in Sweden offers a unique opportunity to explore the country's stunning landscapes and vibrant cities at your own pace.
Whether you're planning a road trip through the picturesque countryside or navigating the bustling streets of Stockholm, understanding the local driving laws and customs is essential. With a bit of preparation and a sense of adventure, you're sure to have an unforgettable journey.
And remember, if you're planning a longer road trip, consider renting a caravan for a more comfortable journey. Check out for a range of options. From exploring the stunning archipelago to enjoying the vibrant nightlife in Stockholm, there's no end to the adventures you can have when you're driving in Sweden.
Driving in Sweden FAQ
What are the penalties for traffic violations in Sweden?
The main Penalties for traffic violations in Sweden are:
- Speeding: The fine for speeding in Sweden depends on how much you are over the speed limit. For example, if you are caught driving 20 km/h over the speed limit, you will be fined 1,500 SEK (about $150).
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs: The penalties for driving under the influence in Sweden are very strict. If you are caught driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.02% or higher, you will be fined and may have your driver's license suspended.
- Other traffic violations: Other traffic violations in Sweden, such as not wearing a seatbelt or using a cell phone while driving, can also result in fines.
How much does gas cost in Sweden?
The average price of gas in Sweden is about 16 SEK (about $1.60) per liter.
What kind of insurance do I need to drive in Sweden?
All drivers in Sweden are required to have third-party liability insurance.
Third-party liability insurance covers damage that you cause to other people or property in an accident.
What are some of the best places to drive in Sweden?
- The West Coast: The West Coast is known for its beautiful beaches and cliffs.
- The Archipelago: The Archipelago is a group of islands off the coast of Stockholm.
- The High Coast: The High Coast is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with stunning scenery.
- The Lapland region: Lapland is a great place to go for a winter drive.
Safe travels and enjoy your drive in Sweden!