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Driving in Sweden in Winter: All You Need To Know

Here’s everything you need to know about driving in Sweden in Winter.

We almost always rent a car during our vacations, so we did the same in Kiruna last winter. We love the degree of independence that you get from having your own car. In addition, it seems that the train that connects Kiruna with the south of Sweden is not all that reliable anymore.

We found that driving in Lapland in Winter was pretty relaxed. Major roads were kept snow-free the whole time.

In this article, we have gathered all the information that you should be aware of if you’re planning a road trip to Sweden in Winter.

There is a really good chance that this post contains affiliate links. If you click one of them, we may receive a small commission (for which we are deeply grateful) at no extra cost to you.

In a Hurry?

If you don’t have time to read the full post, here is a list of the best rental car companies in Sweden:

Rentalcars.com: Here you can quickly and easily compare the prices of different rental companies. Booking via Rentalcars is very easy. It’s a very intuitive website and you can see all the important things at a glance, such as the car details, the number of miles included (usually unlimited), the included insurance, and the cancellation conditions.

Discover cars: The booking process with Discover Cars is just as intuitive as it is with Rentalcars.  All rates include the CDW and I like that the deductible is already clearly shown on the comparison page. The fuel policy included mileage and the cancelation policy is also clearly stated.  Most cars are cancellable up to 2 days in advance without any fees.  In some cases, a fully refundable deposit is taken at the time of booking.

Renting a Car in Sweden in Winter

Let’s start with everything you need to know about renting a car in Sweden.

You may know how car rental agencies always try to upsell all kinds of things, from GPS devices to additional insurance.

The good news is, if you know exactly what you need, you can book exactly that car and decline any extras you don’t need at the counter.

These tips will help you find a car in Sweden for cheap.

Why Rent a Car in Sweden in Winter

Stockholm may have good and reliable public transport, if you go to Sweden in the winter then it is probably not to see the capital.

During the winter, Sweden is at its best in the north.

Swedish Lapland is then covered with a beautiful white blanket and offers its visitors a wide range of winter activities.

Kiruna is with about 23.000 inhabitants the largest city in Swedish Lapland.

It’s the go-to destination for people who want to explore Swedish Lapland and it can be easily reached by plane and train.

But once there it is best to have a car if you want to explore the region independently.

To see the real beauty of Swedish Lapland you need to get out of the city. With a car, you can head to Abisko or drive along the road to the Nikkaluokta looking for moose and other wildlife.

Here is a list of the best things to do in Kiruna in winter. If you are driving to Abisko, check out this list of winter activities.

Without a car, you will have to join expensive tours over and over again.

Northern Lights
The magical Northern Lights

Should You Self-Drive in Sweden in Winter?

We like to have as much control as possible over our agendas.

When we are on vacation we don’t like to be told when to get up. That’s why we opt for a rental car whenever possible. It gives us the freedom to come and go as we please.

A rental car has additional benefits in Swedish Lapland.

You can pick a hotel a little outside the city center where there is little light pollution and you have a higher chance of seeing the Aurora.

And why not use your own rental car to hunt the Northern Lights? Organized tours include heated tents and cabins where you can warm up while waiting for the Auror to appear.

But if you have a car you can just as well keep one or 2 nights free and try your luck with your own car.

It may not be as comfortable but a combination of 1 or 2 tours with a few nights on your own will stretch your money.

However, if you plan on booking an organized tour we wrote a few posts about the best northern lights tours in Kiruna and Abisko:

 

And of course, you’re also a lot freer with your car.

You can go to the ski areas whenever you want, you can search along the road for wildlife and you can stop as often as you want to take pictures of this winter wonderland.

A rental car may seem expensive at first but it can save you a lot of money that you would otherwise spend on tours and taxis.

Driving in Swedish Lapland after dark

Car Rental Insurance in Sweden

The way car rental insurance works in Sweden is not much different from other countries in Europe. If you’ve rented a car in Europe before this will all look very familiar.

Basic CDW

CDW stands for Collision Damage Waiver and is an insurance that covers damage to your rental car.

It’s not obligatory by law to have this.

Rental car companies may automatically add it to your rental depending on the country where you’re visiting from.

If the company has different sites for different countries the behavior may also be different in between the different sites.

Eg. If you rent a car on Avis.be or Avis.nl the CDW will automatically be included, if you rent the same car on avis.com the CDW will be optional.

A golden rule is to always double-check what is included and what is not.

If you don’t have a CDW, you will be charged for all damage to the car, from scratches (all major rental companies have a minimum size, so minor scratches, usually smaller than 2 cm, are no problem) to a possible total loss.

When you have a Basic CDW the car will be insured but there will be an excess.

The amount of the excess is related to the type of the car and the age of the driver.

This excess can sometimes be considerable, up to 1000€ for luxury vehicles.

If you don’t want a deductible you can take additional insurance, sometimes called a SuperCover, and you don’t have to worry about damage to the car anymore.

Note that this is different from eg. renting a car in the United States where there is never a deductible and the car is fully insured from the moment you underwrite the CDW.

Theft Protection (TP)

Just like they do with CDW, most car rental companies will also automatically add TP to your rental. This is insurance against theft of the car.

There’s also an excess, usually in-line with the excess for the CDW.

If you don’t like the deductible you can underwrite the SuperCover, it takes away the deductibles for both the CDW and the TP.

SuperCover is a common name but sometimes the rental companies give their own fancy names to this type of insurance.

Third-Party Liability (TPL)

Third Party Liability is mandatory in Sweden, it’s always included in the rate of your car.

The insurance covers damage that you inadvertently cause to a third party, this can be people as well as their property.

Additional Insurances

Car rental companies offer even more insurances.

There’s PAI, an insurance to cover yourself and your passengers in case of an accident. We have never underwritten this insurance, in my personal opinion, the coverage is usually so limited that it is not worth it.

There may also be additional options for damage to the windscreen, or other parts of the car. Every company has its own offer and this differs from country to country.

In our opinion, anything beyond CDW, TP, and TPL is in most cases a waste of money. There have been cases though where we have underwritten some of the extras. Eg. windshield protection when we knew in advance that we would drive a lot of dirt roads.

It’s not really black or white and there may be situations where these extra insurances can offer peace of mind.

The ice rink in Stockholm

Driving in Lapland in Winter

When thinking of Swedish Lapland in winter, images will undoubtedly come to mind of thick packs of snow.

Rightly so, the north of Sweden is covered with a beautiful soft white blanket of snow in the winter months.

Fortunately, the main roads are almost completely kept clear of snow. And that is done very thoroughly, the snowplow passes several times a day. The roads are not gritted but because of the many runs of the snowplow, only a very thin layer of snow remains on the roads.

Smaller roads are not maintained as meticulously and they usually have a layer of compacted snow.

In our experience, road conditions were pretty good everywhere we went, but still the roads can be slippery. This will depend on the weather conditions but we would advise you to always take extra caution while driving.

Here are some tips for driving in wintry conditions:

  • In general front-wheel drive cars are the best choice for wintry conditions.
  • Pay close attention to the road and anticipate the other traffic so that you can avoid brusque maneuvers.
  • Don’t accelerate quickly and know that your braking distance will be up to 4 times longer. Test your braking distance on a deserted stretch of road.
  • Pay extra attention to bridges, they can be icy even if the regular road isn’t.

Don’t worry too much about the road conditions. If you take it slow and use common sense you will be OK.

If you will be driving with your own car don’t forget to also take a look at the regulations further down this article.

Lastly, here are some things you may need during your wintry road trip.

If you will be renting a car, you might want to check if they are present when you pick up your rental car:

  • A snow brush and ice-scraper. Make sure you have them because you will use them quite often.
  • We also had to scoop out the car once after a night with a lot of snow. You could check with your rental car company if they have snow shovels, if they don’t your hotel will be able to provide you with one.
  • Lastly, this is a potential money-saver that isn’t weather related.
    In Kiruna, you need to use a parking disc at most places. Check if it’s there. Worst case, if you don’t have one, you can just write your arrival time on a piece of paper, and the police accept this. We didn’t do this and got an expensive parking fine.
A road near downtown Kiruna in winter

Can You Rent a Car at Your Destination

There are car rental agencies at all major airports and cities in Sweden, even at Kiruna Airport, in Swedish Lapland, you can rent a car.

It is best to rent your car in advance, not only will you have more choice, but you will also likely get a better price.

Booking your rental car online is a great way to take advantage of discounted prices – you’ll be able to compare all the different offers – and find the car that suits both your needs and budget.

Most booking sites offer very flexible cancellation policies where you can cancel up to 2 days in advance, or sometimes even 1 day in advance, for a full refund.

Car Rental Stockholm Airport

There are 4 airports in Stockholm.

Arlanda

The main airport is Arlanda which is used by the major carriers.

Car rental companies are located in a separate car rental center at the P2 beta long term parking.

All household names are there, including Alamo, Avis, Hertz, and Sixt, just to name a few.

Bromma Airport

Bromma airport is a smaller airport located closer to the city center.

It has mostly domestic traffic and a few international flights from Brussels and some Scandinavian cities.

Rental car companies at this airport are Europcar, Mabi, Avis, Hertz, Sixt, and Budget.

They don’t have any offices at the airport, they use a vending machine where you collect your car keys.

Stockholm Skavsta Airport

Stockholm Skavsta airport is the airport used by low-budget carrier Wizz air.

You can rent cars from Avis, Budget, Hertz, Europcar, Mabi and Sixt.

Västerås

The fourth and last airport is Västerås, this airport is at 110 km quite far from Stockholm. It is used by Ryanair.

Car rental companies at this airport are Avis, Europcar, Mabi, and Sixt.

PRO TIP: If you are going to start or end your trip with a few days in Stockholm, you can also rent a car in the center of Stockholm. You don’t need your car in Stockholm with its excellent public transit.
All airports are well-connected to the city with the airport bus (Flygbussarna) and/or train/tram.

Kiruna airport in Swedish Lapland

Car Rental at Kiruna Airport

Kiruna is a smaller airport that is mostly only served by flights from Stockholm.

Car rental companies at this airport are Avis, Europcar, Hertz, and Gruvbilar.

Gruvbilar is a company that rents specialty outdoor vehicles and snow scooters.

Based on the size of the parking lot there aren’t that many cars available at this location, make your reservations in advance!

Should You Rent a Car From the Airport

Car rentals at the airport are usually more expensive because they come with an airport surcharge.

This is how the companies pass on the expensive exploitation costs of their airport offices.

Stockholm

If you land at Stockholm and plan on staying in the city for a few days it may be unnecessary to rent a car at the airport.

Your car will be more expensive and because Stockholm has excellent public transit you probably won’t use it. It will just be standing there, gathering dust, and costing parking fees.

Kiruna

Kiruna is different, you can only spend a few hours exploring the city and for many sights, you need a car.

There are car rental agencies in downtown Kiruna but here it makes more sense to collect your car at the airport at the moment that you land.

Winter tires
Winter tires can be recognized by the symbol of the snowflake. It is not always shown in a 3-peak mountain.

Which Car to Rent in Sweden in Winter

Winter tires are obliged in winter in Sweden. If you’re renting a car you don’t need to worry about that, all cars will have them.

Front Wheel Drive Car

It’s best to rent a front wheel drive car, these cars will offer a better experience driving in snowy conditions.

Modern real wheel drive cars have all kinds of technology on board to compensate for the lack of traction at the rear of the car but are still outperformed by front wheel drive cars in icy conditions.

All-Wheel Drive

An all-wheel drive isn’t strictly necessary, but it can provide peace of mind if you’re feeling insecure driving in snowy conditions.

An AWD vehicle is driven by one set of wheels, either front or rear, and the other set of wheels will kick-in when a slippage, or a lack of traction, is detected.

Most rental car companies will have a limited number of AWD vehicles, this will usually be the more luxurious and thus expensive vehicles.

Renting a Car in Sweden: Manual vs Automatic

An additional thing to keep in mind is that most cars, especially in the smaller and cheaper categories, will be manual transmissions.

If you need an automatic you will have less choice and your car will typically be somewhat more expensive.

Automatic transmission is systematically on the rise in Europe. Today, however, manual transmission cars are still common.

Rental companies offer both. However, the cheapest cars will typically be manual transmission vehicles.

It’s best to book a little longer in advance if you want to score a cheap automatic car.

If you’re visiting Sweden during the winter and are able to drive a manual transmission, then it is best to book one as well. Not only because of the price but also because you will be able to steer this car better through snowy conditions.

Keep your distance while driving in Sweden in winter.
Visibility can sometimes be bad, always keep your distance and drive carefully

Where to Rent a Car in Sweden

Since most of the major car rental companies are present in Sweden, the fastest and easiest way to find a good deal on your car is to use an aggregator site such as Rentalcars or Discover cars.

Aggregator sites compare the prices of all local car rental companies, the major international brands as well as the local niche players, and give you can overview of all prices. In 1 glance you can see which company is the cheapest, or has the best reviews. It is the easiest way to find a good deal.

Here are the 2 sites we use most.

Both sites work good in Sweden.

We almost consistently find lower rates on Discover Cars but it doesn’t harm to compare them and see which one offers the best deals for your trip.

Here’s a comparison of the two sites.

Discover Cars

This is our favorite rental car site. The last time I checked Discover Cars compared the prices of 15 different companies when looking for a rental car at Arlanda Airport.

These include the household names like Hertz and Avis but also lesser-known local companies like Green motion.

In my latest test the exact same car, for the exact same period was 30€ cheaper on Discover Cars when compared with Rentalcars.

The layout of the two sites is very similar and in terms of ease of use, they are both equally easy to navigate and find all relevant information.

The search results can be sorted according to price, rating, or a combination of both. If you click on a car you see all important aspects such as the security deposit, the deductible, the cancellation policy, the cross-border policy, and the driver requirements. (For some of them you have to check the full rental conditions)

A Basic CDW is always included. You can upgrade this to full coverage for a very competitive price.

Check prices and availability:

Discover Cars Sweden

Discover cars Kiruna

Rentalcars

Rentalcars is a well-known aggregator site that has been around for many years. In Sweden, it compared the prices of 8 different companies when I did my latest test.

Like we said before, the two sites are very much alike.

By default, Rentalcars sorts the results on “Recommended” instead of prices. Recommended is a combination of price, reviews, and possibly also impacted by fees paid by the car rental companies to Rentalcars. (but I’m not 100% sure about this)

To see the details of a car you can click on it. Here as well the information shown by the two sites is very much alike. To see all information you have to click on ‘Important Info’.

Rentalcars also gives the Basic CDW by default with the possibility to upgrade to a more complete insurance package for a fee. Their package is slightly more expensive when compared to Discover Cars.

Both sites also allow adding extras to your rental, such as an additional driver, booster seats, and navigation. Regarding these items, the prices of both sites are very close to each other.

Check prices and availability:

Rentalcars Sweden

Rentalcars Kiruna

What is Required to Rent a Car in Sweden

We always recommend checking the Driver Requirement of your specific car.

These can be found in the Rental Conditions of Discover Cars, or in the section with the important information of Rentalcars.

Not all companies have the same rules and some have more stringent rules in place for their premium cars.

That being said, these are the common rules that you can expect:

A driver’s license: Makes sense, not? One thing to keep in mind is that rental car companies typically require that the license is issued over a year ago, and in some cases over 2 years ago. An international driving license may be required, we have more information about it here.

A passport or ID card: This will need to be presented at pick-up together with your driver’s license.

A credit card: Most car rental companies also require a credit card in the driver’s name. This means that all three documents, the license, the passport (or ID), and the credit card, all need to be in the same name.

Visa, Mastercard, and American Express credit cards are widely accepted. Debit cards, prepaid cards, and alternative means of payment such as Apple pay are usually NOT accepted.

However, some companies do accept debit cards. When using Discover Cars and Rentalcars, you can use a filter on the search results page to quickly see which cars you can rent with a debit card.

In Sweden they drive on the right side of the road.
Don’t let this picture fool you, in Sweden, they drive on the right side of the road.

Do You Need an International Driver’s License?

All driver’s licenses issued in countries within the EEA (the European Economic Area) and the United Kingdom are valid in Sweden.

Visitors with a driving license written in non-roman characters will need to provide an additional International Driving Permit, or a certified translation, in addition to their state-issued regular driver’s license.

All other non-EU visitors should be OK using their national driving licenses. Still, most rental companies advise non-EU citizens to have an IDP when renting a car in Europe.

Driving a Car in Sweden With a UK License

Can I hire a car in Sweden with a UK license? Yes, you can!

You do not need an International Driving Permit (IDP) in Sweden for periods up to 12 months.

Driving a Car in Sweden With a US License

In general, you should have no problems using your US driving license to drive in Sweden. The authorities allow the use of a US driving license for a period up to one year.

However, some rental car companies do state the requirement of an IDP for non-EU citizens in their T&C. I would therefore get in touch with your car rental company to verify this requirement or bring an IDP just to be sure.

Rules for Renting a Car in Sweden in Winter

If you’ve ever rented a car in another country, you’ll find that the rules are very similar around the world.

Here are some important things to keep in mind when renting a car in Sweden.

Young Drivers

The legal minimum driving age in Sweden is 18 years.

Rental car companies are in general somewhat more strict and have some additional rules.

We already mentioned how some companies require that you have your driver’s license for a year or longer. This information can be found in the rental conditions.

In addition to that they sometimes also have a minimum age. The minimum age may vary by the rental company and car category and is sometimes less for smaller/cheaper cars than premium vehicles.

Both Rentalcars and Discovercars will only show those cars you can choose from if you enter your age at the start of your search.

Young-Driver Fee

Lastly, there is something called a “Young-driver fee”.

This is a surcharge that some rental car companies add to rentals to younger drivers.

The age varies by rental car company and car category, some companies don’t charge a fee, and others add it until the age of 21, 25, or sometimes even up to 30 years. Albeit the age of 30 is usually only used for premium cars.

Both Rentalcars and Discover Cars clearly disclose when a young-driver fee is applicable.

Discover Cars will show the total amount, including the fee, in the search results. Rentalcars will show the surcharge in small below the price of the car.

Cross-Border Restrictions/Fees

Most car rental companies will require you to inform them at pick-up of your plans to drive to another country.

Driving across the border to Norway, Sweden, or Finland will usually not be a problem but it will cost extra.

Discover cars and Rentalcars show information about the specific cross-border restrictions and fees.

In case of Discover Cars these can be found on the main page of the car. At Rentalcars you will need to look for the information in the “Important information” section.

Failing to inform the company may result in heavy fines and will void all your protections.

Be alert and if possible drive in the middle of the road when driving in Sweden in winter.
Always be alert and whenever possible drive in the middle of the road to avoid accidents like this

Possible Extra Charges When You Rent a Car in Sweden

Here are some other things the rental car companies may charge in addition to the young-driver fees and the additional insurances that we already discussed above.

Additional Drivers

By default, only 1 person is allowed to drive the car. If you want to share the wheel with others you will need to pay an extra driver fee for each one of them.

The cost depends on the rental car company.

If the driver is considered a young or senior driver the young- or senior driver fee will also be applicable to the other driver.

When booking your rental car with Discover Cars or Rentalcars you can usually directly add the additional drivers during the rental process. Some car rental agencies will however require that you do this at the desk during pick-up.

Senior Driver Fee

Just as a fee is charged for young drivers, this can also be the case for older drivers.

Some companies add a fee to drivers aged 65 or more. Again, the age varies from company to company, and some like Avis don’t charge this fee.

Note that rental companies use location specific rules. The fact that Avis does not charge this fee In Sweden does not mean that they don’t do this in other countries.

Just like they do with the young-driver fee, both Discover Cars and Rentalcars will automatically show the fee as long as you entered your age at the start of your search.

Child Seats

Child seats and booster seats can usually also be added during the booking process. Discover Cars and Rentalcars show the fee that the car rental company charges.

You will see that the prices can vary significantly between the different car rental companies.

Bringing your own seat can be cumbersome but it can be cheaper to pay to take it on the plane than to rent one here.

Toll Roads

In Sweden there are two bridge tolls, one in Motala and another one in Sundsvall.

Both bridges use Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) to charge the tolls. You don’t need a device and there are no toll booths.

Stockholm and Gothenburg have congestion taxes in place. Both cities also use an ANPR to charge this tax.

There are no toll roads other than what is stated above.

The tolls will be settled through your car rental company. Depending on where you rent your vehicle they may have added a fixed amount per day to cover these taxes or they may charge the actual costs (sometimes with an administrative surcharge).

Contact your rental car agency if you want to know the exact details about how these taxes will be charged.

Fuel Policy

Full-to-full is the most commonly used fuel policy. It means that the fuel tank is full when you pick up the car and you return the car with a full tank.

The agent may try to talk you into another policy where you do not have to return the car with a full tank. Supposedly to take the worry out of finding a gas station.

This is almost always a bad deal. The car rental agency will charge you much more than the regular price at the gas station.

It’s also not that hard to find a gas station, certainly not if you’re familiar with tools like Waze or Google Maps.

Cancellation Fees

Both Discover Cars and Rentalcars offer free cancellation up to 48 hours before your pick-up.

Stockholm in winter

Driving in Sweden

Never driven in Sweden before? Here we answer the most important questions you may have.

Highways and Toll Fees

As already said above, there are no toll roads in Sweden. There are two bridge tolls though. Both are easy to avoid by leaving the highway before the bridge and making a small detour.

The cities of Stockholm and Gothenburg also charge a congestion tax.

Both the bridge tolls and congestion tax are using an Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) system which means you don’t have to worry about paying the tolls or hiring a toll device.

The taxes will be taken care of by the car rental agency which will either send you an invoice afterward or add a fixed daily charge to your car.

Check with your car rental company in advance, or at pick-up, if you want to know the details.

If you’re driving with your own foreign car you will be sent an invoice for the charges.

Road Signs

Road signs are very similar to those found in other places across Europe.

The only major difference is that the white background is often replaced by a yellow background to make them more visible in winter when there is a lot of snow.

Speed limits are indicated by circular signs with a yellow background and red borders. The most common speed limits are 110 kph on highways, 90 kph on departmental roads, and 50 kph in domesticated areas.

You find speed camera’s all over Sweden, even on rural roads where you might least expect them.

Sweden is officially using kilometers where 1.61 kilometers is 1 mile. However, sometimes you may also hear a Swede referring to a distance in miles. This will then be a Scandinavian mile which measures 10 kilometers.

Most road signs will be self-explanatory. Here’s a good overview.

Moose on the road

Animals on The Road

A set of road signs that you may not be familiar with, but that are equally self-explanatory, are the signs that warn about crossing wildlife.

Moose, reindeer, deer, wild boars, and more. You will find them in many places in Sweden. You should always be alert. A moose jumped on the road a bit in front of our car. It kept running on the road for a while before it disappeared again in the forest on the other side of the road.

These animals are huge, you don’t want to ride into them.

Important Regulations

Sweden has some of the strictest regulations regarding alcohol intoxication. The blood alcohol limit is 0.02. It’s best not to consume any alcoholic drinks if you still plan on driving.

Seatbelts need to be worn by all passengers.

Headlights need to be on all the time, also during the day.

You cannot use your cell phone while driving.

Road Conditions

Most roads are in excellent condition and are also well-maintained during the winter months.

Parking

Pay close attention to the road signs when you’re looking for a parking spot. Parking regulations are strictly enforced and parking tickets can be expensive.

You can assume that the parking spaces are either paid or limited in time with a parking disc in most cities Check carefully what applies. The fine for not placing a disc is €50. We learned it the hard way in Kiruna. You need to place a disc everywhere in the city center of Kiruna

If there’s no parking disc in your car you can write your arrival time on a piece of paper.  This is allowed in Sweden.  Unfortunately we only learned this after we got our ticket.

Your car can be cold at night in Swedish Lapland

FAQ Driving in Sweden in Winter

To wrap up this post, here’s a final FAQ to answer any questions you might have about driving in Sweden in Winter.

Is Driving in Sweden Easy

Yes, we found driving in Sweden to be easy and relaxed.

You need to be alert about wildlife crossings. This is the first time we had such a huge animal jump on the road in front of our car.

Only afterward did we read that collisions with animals are the cause of over 10 human fatalities every year.

You also need to pay attention to the speed limits, there are quite a lot of speed cams.

Except that

Speed Limits in Sweden

The most common speed limits are 110 kph on highways (exceptionally 120 kph). 90-70 kph on major departmental roads and 50 kph in cities and towns.

Other speed limits such as 80 kph and 30 kph can also be found.

Driving in Sweden Left or Right

There was a time that Swedes drove on the left but that stopped a long time ago, on September 3, 1976 to be precise.

Today Swedes are driving on the right side of the road.

Alcohol Limit in Sweden

Sweden has some of the strictest regulations regarding alcohol intoxication.

The blood alcohol limit is 0.02. It’s always best not to consume any alcoholic drinks if you still plan on driving.

In Sweden, you should certainly do so if you don’t want to be fined.

Even if you’re just slightly over the allowed blood alcohol limit your driver’s license can be confiscated.

If you’re really drunk and are considered a grave danger to traffic you can be imprisoned for anything from 6 months to 2 years.

Fuel

There are plenty of gas stations in the more domesticated areas of Sweden but if you move further up north they become more scarce.

Use tools like Google Maps or Waze to map out your road trip and see if there are gas stations.

If in doubt, make sure your tank is sufficiently filled. It doesn’t hurt to fill up your tank every time you pass a station.

Plugging in the car

In-Car heaters

Depending on where you rent your car it is possible that it is outfitted with an in-car heater.

We found one in our car in Kiruna, if you rent your car in Stockholm it might not have one because winters are a lot milder in the southern parts of the country.

In-car heaters will keep your engine and your car warm. They ensure that you can start your car in the morning without any problems and that you do not have to scratch to remove frozen snow from your windshield.

The way they work is very easy. You just have to plug your car into the electrical outlets you find at the parking spots. The heater itself has an on-off switch and, depending on the model, can have one or two modes where it gives more or less warmth.

The electrical outlets are not always free to use. At Abisko Turststation they were free but camp Alta Kiruna charged a fixed fee per night.

As long as the temperatures do not drop below -25, it is not strictly necessary, but it is of course nice not to have to scratch in the morning and to be able to leave in a warm car.

Driving in Sweden in Winter Daylight Hours

One important to know is that it is obligatory to have your headlights on at any time of day.

Days can be short in Sweden in winter, certainly if you go to the north of the country. An average day in the winter has about 6 hours of daylight and if you visit Swedish Lapland in December you will never see the sun.

6 hours leaves little room to combine driving with other activities. So if you are planning a winter road trip to Sweden, it is best not to plan too long rides. 1 hour or 2 hours of driving means you can drive about 100 kilometers.

It is of course also possible to drive after dark. The roads are usually quiet at night. You have to be extra careful after dark for crossing wildlife.

Do You Need Snow Chains in Sweden?

Snow chains are not needed and are outright banned in certain streets of major cities.

Since the roads are usually well maintained during the winter months all you should need are regular winter tires in combination with a careful driving style.

If you feel more comfortable you could opt for studded tires, these are however not allowed on all streets.

Conclusion

You can do incredibly beautiful road trips in Sweden and we hope that this post gives you all the information you need to go out on your own.

Traveling through Sweden’s interior is a really fun experience and you will discover many incredible places.

Have a great trip!

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