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Top Sweden Road Trips: Ideas for Scenic Swedish Drives

Last Updated: 05/11/2020

Rolling green countryside, sandy beaches and red cottages await you on a Sweden road trip. Imagine the freedom of driving at your own pace and stopping at charming villages or pretty lakes en route to your next destination.

So which are the top itineraries for self-drive tours of Sweden? We asked our Scandinavia travel experts for their advice. They’ve selected the following routes as the very best scenic drives in Sweden.

We also have some useful tips on driving in Sweden at the end of this article to help you prepare for your self-drive tour.



Top driving itineraries in Sweden:


1. The Express Sweden Route – 7-day driving tour

One of the best ways you can spend a week in Sweden is with this express road trip. In 7 days you’d get the perfect mix of culture and nature, with time to take in Swedish castles, museums and lakes.

What’s the drive like?

Picture pretty scenic views that showcase the Swedish countryside, where green fields are dotted with traditional red houses. The total distance of this route is 937 kilometres (581 miles), with each driving stretch ranging between 1 to 4 hours, without stops.

Day 1 – Stockholm

You start and end this self-drive tour in the Swedish capital, Stockholm. Soak up the attractive architecture of Gamla Stan (the Old Town) where you’ll find the Royal Palace, Parliament building and medieval houses.

Stockholm Old Town in summer

Day 2 – Stockholm to Örebro

From the capital hop in your rental car and drive west towards Örebro. Visit historical sites on the way, such as the castles of Gripsholm and Örebro. There are also the interesting open-air museums of Rademachersmedjorna and Wadköping.

Day 3 – Örebro to Sunne

Take the scenic route to Sunne, enjoying views of forests, lakes and rivers. Make a stop in Karlstad, endearingly known as the “city of sunshine”, which rests on the banks of a river delta. You could also take a break in Kristinehamn for a walk in the woods or along the lakefront.



Day 4 – Sunne to Dalarna

Discover the sculptures and gardens at Rottneros Park or visit Mårbacka, the former home of Nobel Prize winner Selma Lagerlöf. Next continue north to the region of Dalarna, which is brimming with picturesque views of forests and lakes, including Siljan. It’s no wonder why many Swedes have second homes here.

Day 5 – Dalarna

Enjoy a full day exploring Lake Siljan and the surrounding area in Dalarna. You might want to see how the traditional Dala horse is made at the Grannas Workshop in Nusnäs. Or go fishing, horse riding and swimming in Rättvik. Alternatively, look for trolls in the nature reserve around Styggforsen waterfall.

Lake Siljan, Dalarna, Sweden

Day 6 – Lake Siljan to Stockholm

Return to Stockholm today and stop at interesting sights along the way. Head to the area around Falun to visit the Dössberget Heritage Museum and Dalarna Museum. Then how about a photo with the biggest Dala horse in Sweden? Head to Avesta where you’ll see this huge 13-metre (43-foot) tall carving.

Day 7 – Departure

Enjoy more of Stockholm today before your journey home.



2. The Classic Sweden Route – 10-day driving tour

Experience the idyllic landscapes and exciting cities of southern Sweden with this 10-day road trip. You’d get to discover not just the lush countryside, but also beautiful coastline, islands and lakes.

What’s the drive like?

This is one of the most popular scenic drives in Sweden thanks to the charming views you’ll get from your car window. You’ll cover a total distance of 1,719 kilometres (1,067 miles), with each leg of the journey ranging between 1 to 4 hours, without stops.

Day 1 – Stockholm

You start and end this self-drive tour in the Swedish capital, Stockholm. Soak up the attractive architecture of Gamla Stan (the Old Town) where you’ll find the Royal Palace, Parliament building and medieval houses.

Day 2 – Stockholm to Vadstena

Hit the road and drive southwest towards Lake Vättern. En route you can make stops at Tullgarn Palace park, Trosa and Linköping. Explore the “Old Linköping” open-air museum for an insight into life in Sweden 100 years ago. Continue to Vadstena on the shores of the lake and visit the Renaissance castle here.

Tullgarn Palace park, Sweden

Day 3 – Vadstena to Kalmar

Continue driving beside Lake Vättern on your journey to the south coast. On the way there are plenty of opportunities to stop at charming towns and villages. In Gränna, where the striped candy cane was invented, you could pick one up from one of the bakeries.

Once you reach the region of Småland, you’ll find yourself in the Kingdom of Crystal (“Glasriket”), an area renowned for traditional glassmaking. Finish the day in Kalmar where you can visit the 800-year-old castle.

Day 4 – Kalmar and Öland

From the town of Kalmar, cross the bridge to explore Öland. Spend the day enjoying the best of this pretty island, the second largest in Sweden. Discover sandy beaches, the UNESCO-listed landscape of Stora Alvaret, Borgholm Castle and Solliden Palace.

Day 5 – Kalmar to Ystad

Drive to the southernmost part of Sweden today, taking the coastal route along Blekinge. You’ll arrive in the beautiful region of Skåne which is beloved for its rich culture. Visit the megalithic site of Ales Stenar, admire medieval architecture, and visit a quaint café or farm shop in Österlen.



Day 6 – Ystad to Halmstad

Enjoy the charms of Ystad, a place of colourful half-timbered houses, before heading on to Halmstad. En route explore Smygehuk, the southernmost point in Sweden, and the Falsterbro peninsula with its white sands. In Halmstad admire Picasso’s Head of a Woman sculpture or discover beaches and nature reserves.

Ystad, southeast Sweden

Day 7 – Halmstad to Gothenburg

Continue your drive up Sweden’s west coast to Gothenburg, acclaimed for being the most sustainable city in the world. Borrow a bicycle to explore Gothenburg on two wheels or travel down the canals by vintage boat. Visit the Gothenburg Museum of Art, Feskekôrka fish market and Liseberg amusement park.

Day 8 – Gothenburg to Örebro

Head eastwards as you make your way to Örebro, home to a 14th-century castle, the open-air Wadköping Museum, and densely forested Slottsparken Palace Park. Before you arrive in Örebro, you might like to stop by Lake Vänern, the largest in Sweden. Or check out the Göta Canal, a feat of engineering.

Day 9 – Örebro to Stockholm

Return to Stockholm but first enjoy some last stops on your journey back. Discover the open-air museum of Rademachersmedjorna as well as castles and manor houses in the region surrounding Eskilstuna town. Don’t miss Gripsholm Castle, with its pretty grounds and 400-year history.

Day 10 – Departure

See more of Stockholm today before your journey home.



3. The Complete Sweden Route – 14-day driving tour

This complete Sweden road trip has it all: the lovely coast, historical sites, hip cities and charming countryside. If you want to experience quintessential Sweden, this 14-day driving route won’t let you down.

What’s the drive like?

Expect a varied drive with views of the sea, farmland, lakes and forests. You’ll cover a total distance of 2,270 kilometres (1,394 miles), with each leg of the journey ranging between 1 to 4 hours, without stops.

Countryside and flowers in Sweden

Day 1 – Stockholm

You start and end this self-drive tour in the Swedish capital, Stockholm. Soak up the attractive architecture of Gamla Stan (the Old Town) where you’ll find the Royal Palace, Parliament building and medieval houses.

Day 2 – Stockholm to Vadstena

Hit the road and drive southwest towards Lake Vättern. En route you can make stops at Tullgarn Palace park, Trosa and Linköping. Explore the “Old Linköping” open-air museum for an insight into life in Sweden 100 years ago. Continue to Vadstena on the shores of the lake and visit the Renaissance castle here.

Day 3 – Vadstena to Kalmar

Continue driving beside Lake Vättern on your journey to the south coast. On the way there are plenty of opportunities to stop at charming towns and villages. In Gränna, where the striped candy cane was invented, you could pick one up from one of the bakeries.

Once you reach the region of Småland, you’ll find yourself in the Kingdom of Crystal (“Glasriket”), an area renowned for traditional glassmaking. Finish the day in Kalmar where you can visit the 800-year-old castle.

Day 4 – Kalmar and Öland

From the town of Kalmar, cross the bridge to explore Öland. Spend the day enjoying the best of this pretty island, the second largest in Sweden. Discover sandy beaches, the UNESCO-listed landscape of Stora Alvaret, Borgholm Castle and Solliden Palace.

Kalmar Castle, Sweden

Day 5 – Kalmar to Ystad

Drive to the southernmost part of Sweden today, taking the coastal route along Blekinge. You’ll arrive in the beautiful region of Skåne which is beloved for its rich culture. Visit pretty Simrishamn and the fortress of Glimmingehus before arriving in Ystad, a place of colourful half-timbered houses.

Day 6 – Ystad

Spend a full day getting to know Skåne. Try some local produce at the fishing village of Kåseberga, or relax on the beach at Sandhammaren. Don’t miss the megalithic site of Ales Stenar with the Baltic Sea as a backdrop. When you’re hungry, pop into a quaint café or farm shop in Österlen.

Day 7 – Ystad to Halmstad

En route to Halmstad explore Smygehuk, the southernmost point in Sweden, and the Falsterbro peninsula with its white sands. Make a detour to Söderåsens National Park to hike amid the forests, cliffs and rivers. In Halmstad admire Picasso’s Head of a Woman sculpture or discover beaches and nature reserves.



Day 8 – Halmstad to Gothenburg

Continue your drive up Sweden’s west coast to Gothenburg, acclaimed for being the most sustainable city in the world. On the way make a pitstop in Vargerg to see the fortress and have a bite to eat in the city square.

Day 9 – Gothenburg

Enjoy a full day in Sweden’s second city. Borrow a bicycle to explore Gothenburg on two wheels or travel down the canals by vintage boat. Visit the Gothenburg Museum of Art, Feskekôrka fish market and Liseberg amusement park.

Queens Square, Gothenburg

Day 10 – Gothenburg to Sunne

Leave the west coast behind as you make for Sunne. Take a break at Lake Vänern, the largest in Sweden. Or check out the Göta Canal, a feat of engineering. Drive through lovely green forests before arriving in Sunne.

Day 11 – Sunne to Dalarna

Discover the sculptures and gardens at Rottneros Park or visit Mårbacka, the former home of Nobel Prize winner Selma Lagerlöf. Next continue north to the region of Dalarna, which is brimming with picturesque views of forests and lakes, including Siljan. It’s no wonder why many Swedes have second homes here.

Day 12 – Dalarna

Enjoy a full day exploring the Lake Siljan area in Dalarna. You might want to see how the traditional Dala horse is made at the Grannas Workshop in Nusnäs. Or go fishing, horse riding and swimming in Rättvik. Alternatively, look for trolls in the nature reserve around Styggforsen waterfall.

Day 13 – Dalarna to Stockholm

Return to Stockholm today and stop at interesting sights along the way. Head to the area around Falun to visit the Dössberget Heritage Museum and Dalarna Museum. Then how about a photo with the biggest Dala horse in Sweden? Head to Avesta where you’ll see this huge 13-metre (43-foot) tall carving.

Day 14 – Departure

See more of Stockholm today before your journey home.



4. The Scandinavian Route – 10-day driving tour

If you can’t choose between visiting Sweden, Norway or Denmark, you don’t have to. Explore all three as part of a Scandinavian self-drive tour and see the capital cities as well as Swedish and Norwegian countryside.

Nyhavn, Copenhagen, Denmark

What’s the drive like?

This 10-day drive showcases a little bit of Sweden, Denmark and Norway in one go. You’ll get breaks from driving, including an overnight cruise from Copenhagen to Oslo. The total distance is 1,352 kilometres (839 miles), with each leg of the journey ranging between 2 to 5 hours, without stops.

Day 1 – Stockholm

You start and end this self-drive tour in the Swedish capital, Stockholm. Soak up the attractive architecture of Gamla Stan (the Old Town) where you’ll find the Royal Palace, Parliament building and medieval houses.

Day 2 – Stockholm to Kalmar

Hit the road and drive southwest towards Kalmar. Once you reach the region of Småland, you’ll find yourself in the Kingdom of Crystal (“Glasriket”), an area renowned for traditional glassmaking. In Kalmar itself you can visit the 800-year-old castle, or cross the bridge to explore Öland island.



Day 3 – Kalmar to Ystad

Drive to the southernmost part of Sweden today, arriving in the beautiful region of Skåne which is beloved for its rich culture. Visit pretty Simrishamn, the megalithic site of Ales Stenar, and the fortress of Glimmingehus before arriving in Ystad, a place of colourful half-timbered houses.

Day 4 – Ystad to Copenhagen

En route to Denmark explore Smygehuk, the southernmost point in Sweden, and the Falsterbro peninsula with its white sands. Then drive over the Öresund Bridge to reach Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark. Walk around the colourful harbour of Nyhavn and enjoy the fun and games at Tivoli Gardens amusement park.

Kings Garden in Copenhagen, Denmark

Day 5 – Copenhagen to Oslo

Soak up the many delights of Copenhagen today, such as Amalienborg Palace, Christiansborg Palace, and the Little Mermaid statue. A great way to see the Danish capital is by taking a boat tour from the harbour. Later in the day, board an overnight ferry to Oslo.

Day 6 – Oslo

Enjoy the view of Oslo from the cruise boat as you arrive in the capital of Norway. Spend the rest of the day enjoying the city’s gems. Discover the Royal Palace, Akershus Fortress, Oslo Opera House, and the Aker Brygge area by the harbour.

Day 7 – Oslo

Explore outside the city to see some of Oslo’s interesting sights, including the Vigeland Sculpture Park and the Holmenkollen ski jump. There are also fantastic museums in the capital, like the Viking Ship Museum and Fram Polar Ship Museum.

Day 8 – Oslo to Örebro

Leave Norway and make your way back to Sweden, driving across the border towards Örebro. Make a stop in Karlstad, endearingly known as the “city of sunshine”, which rests on the banks of a river delta. You could also take a break in Kristinehamn for a walk in the woods or along the lakefront.

Day 9 – Örebro to Stockholm

Visit Örebro Castle then make some more stops on your return to Stockholm. Discover the open-air museum of Rademachersmedjorna as well as castles and manor houses in the region surrounding Eskilstuna town. Don’t miss Gripsholm Castle, with its pretty grounds and 400-year history.

Day 10 – Departure

Enjoy more of Stockholm today before your journey home.



Pretty Swedish countryside

Tips for driving in Sweden

Read these driving tips before you visit Sweden on a road trip.

Car rental

If you need to rent a car in Sweden, make sure you sign up with insurance so you know you’re covered. When you book a Nordic Visitor self-drive tour, Basic Collision Damage Waiver (CDW), Basic Theft Protection (TP), unlimited mileage and authorisation for 1 driver is already included in the package price.

Additionally, we only work with reputable car rental agencies that can guarantee high-quality vehicles.

Speed limits in Sweden

The maximum speed limit in Sweden is 110 kilometres (68 miles) per hour. On some highways this increases to 120 kilometres (74 miles) per hour.

When you’re driving through residential areas, the speed limit is usually a minimum of 20 or 30 kilometres (12 or 18 miles) per hour. Other types of roads and built-up areas require different speed limits – between 40 and 100 kilometres (24 and 62 miles) per hour – so look out for the signs.

Note that speeding is monitored with cameras in Sweden, so there’s all the more reason to stick to the speed limit at all times.

Alcohol limit

As the maximum blood alcohol limit for drivers is 0.02%, it is advised that you don’t drink anything at all. Anyone caught exceeding the alcohol limit is heavily fined and can face imprisonment.

Driving license

You don’t need a Swedish driver’s license to enjoy a road trip in Sweden. However you must have a full driving license, passport and proof of insurance at all times when driving.

Driving requirements

It’s important to know that you must drive with your headlights turned on at all times, even in the summer and during the daytime. You also need to carry a warning triangle in case of a breakdown, but the rental car agency should provide this.

Swedish roads

The roads in Sweden are generally in really good condition, making your self-drive experience that much smoother. However, we don’t recommend that you drive in Sweden’s winter, as the ice and snow can make it more challenging.

It’s also good to know that you should take care to look out for wild animals if driving at night in rural areas.

Sweden self-drive tour in autumn

Which of these Sweden road trips would you like to experience? Our Stockholm-based travel experts will use their expertise to organise your tour for you. They can also customise your itinerary if you’d like to spend extra nights in a particular destination or make any other adjustments.

Plus, when you book a Sweden self-drive tour with Nordic Visitor, your accommodation, rental car and insurance are included in the package price. You also get a daily breakfast, hand-noted map and access to our 24/7 emergency helpline.

Get in touch with our Sweden travel consultants to start planning your road trip.

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Post by: Emma Gillies

Wanderlust has taken Emma across much of the world, but it was Scotland that she made her adopted home. Aside from enjoying countryside walks, campervan weekends and gigs in Glasgow, you’ll often find her writing about European travel and plotting her next trip.

More posts by Emma Gillies

Getting there

We'd love to give you the same amazing travel experiences as you read about in our blog! To visit the destinations and attractions mentioned in this post - and to discover a few new highlights along the way - check out these recommended Nordic Visitor tours.