Sweden is the largest of the Nordic countries, the northern area is contained within the Arctic.  The capital Stockholm is made up of 14 islands and lies in an archipelago of 24000 islands.

Sweden and wider Scandinavia are renowned amongst travellers as expensive travel destinations; this guide should help you to save some money whilst you enjoy the peace and quiet of Sweden.

We visited 3 cities Stockholm, Malmo and Gothenburg, you can find out information about our time in each of the cities in our Traveller’s Tales.

Click on the links contained within this article for more information.

Getting There

Plane

All major and budget airlines have flights to multiple destinations within the country. We use Skyscanner to search for flights and for budget flights go direct to airlines such as EasyJet or RyanAir.

Bus

Buses are available for travel to and within Sweden. Please note we have not used buses to travel between cities and would appreciate your feedback if you have. You can leave a comment below or contact us.

Train

Trains are a comfortable and time efficient way to travel between cities in Sweden. It will be cheaper if you book in advance and there are Eurail passes available.  We did not use Eurail passes as we are travelling for a long period and not able to find a pass that suits us, but if you are travelling for a shorter period of time, this can be an economic way to purchase tickets. The information on the website is helpful and as always check with blogs like themaninseat61.

We booked using the SJ website and app. The app stores your tickets, meaning that you do not have to worry about printing or collecting tickets.

Ferry

There are also multiple ferry companies that run to multiple sights within the country, we used DirectFerries to book the ferry from Stockholm to Helsinki.

There are also multiple car ferries within Sweden if you are driving and many of them are free.

Currency

Whilst Sweden is a member of the European Union (EU) it does not use the Euro.  It retains it’s own currency the Swedish Krona (SEK).

As always we recommend that you use a currency converter when travelling, we use apps on our smart phones. The xe.com app is free to download from the app store.

Getting around

The public transport system in Sweden is exceptional, although much like everything else it is not cheap.

We found that using the App on our iPhone gave us the best deal, as paying in cash on the day attracts a fee.

Each city has it’s own way of ticketing and it is worth checking with the visitSweden website.

In the Skåne (Malmo) region public transport is operated by Skånetrafiken. You can download an app, which allows you to purchase tickets and plan your trip. Or if you are planning to do a lot of travelling on public transport in the region, you can purchase a JOJO card, which you can top up as you need. There is a great wikipedia site, that explains the system in English, whereas the company website is in Swedish.

BUDGET TIP-if you catch the train from Denmark to the Skane region, your train ticket allows you to travel on the bus for one trip.

Gothenburg has a well integrated public transport system, consisting of buses, trams, trains and ferries. The Göteburg website has all the information you need to know. We purchased a 3 day ticket from the Pressbyrån, which are like 7-eleven stores and located all over the city.  We used trams, buses and ferries whilst we were there. There is an app for planning trips, but if you do not have a Swedish credit card you can purchase tickets on the app.  This link is for the iPhone app, however the Göteburg website has links for all other types of phone too. You cannot pay for tickets with cash on the buses.

In Stockholm public transport is managed by SL and pre paid tickets are your best option if you plan to make a few trips. The tickets cover buses, trams, trains and some ferry lines. There are 24 hour, 72 hour, or a 7 day card option. You can purchase the tickets in metro train stations and at Pressbyrån and other stores around the city.  The pre paid tickets can be used for up to 6 years, so if you plan to return keep it. The SL-billejeter app allows you to purchase single journey tickets and to plan your journey. We purchased a 72 hour ticket and it was a great way to get around. You cannot pay for tickets with cash on public transport.

BUDGET HINT a trip on the number 69 bus or the number 7 tram is a great  and cheap way to familiarise yourself with the city  and you don’t have to pay the price of the hop on hop off bus.

BUDGET HINT  the public transport ferry is a great way to see the archipelago and get some great photos without having to pay for a cruise.

In general everyone is very polite on public transport and you should give up your seat for older people, those with disability and pregnant women. As we think you should do everywhere!!!

Accommodation

The best option to save money is to be able to self cater, AirBnB has loads of options.

If you are a first time user of AirBnB you can use our discount code , just click on the link. The added bonus is we get a discount too!

We stayed in a cozy studio in Malmo, which was great, with buses just out the front door, a supermarket 500m up the road and easy access to the train to Copenhagen. We would highly recommend it.

In Gothenburg, we broke the budget a bit and stayed in a very nice apartment, in a great location (it was a birthday celebration). Be sure to check the booking for information about stairs or elevator though, it was a long way up with suitcases.

In Stockholm we stayed out of the city a little bit, which saved some money and it was conveniently located to public transport and supermarkets, however the Systembolaget was a bit further away.

During summer there are thousands of Camper Vans travelling and there are many designated areas where you can park across the country.  Google camping in Sweden for more information, there are heaps of sites.

Food and Drink

The Swedish government regulates the sale of alcohol and only low alcohol drinks (<2% can be sold in supermarkets).

The price of alcohol is really high in bars, clubs and restaurants, so it is best to find out where your closest Systembolaget is and shop there.  It took us back to student days, where you would always have a few drinks before heading out to save $$$$.

Or take the cheapest option and don’t drink whilst you are there.

Eating in restaurants and cafes is also expensive, so choose carefully.  We spent a huge $50AUD on 2 burgers, at a burger cafe in Malmo and about the same on a small lunch at a pub in Gothenburg.

Shopping in the supermarkets is comparable with Australia, although red meat was expensive; we would recommend simple meals like pasta or stir fry during your stay. We ate a few sausages too.

Language

Most Swedes speak very good English but it is always a good idea to learn a few words in the local language, it is only polite!

We always download the language for any country to the GoogleTranslate app before we arrive. You can then use the app offline and it is super handy in the supermarket when you are not sure what a product is.

We recommend you learn 5 phrases:

Hello- Hallå (or our preferred HeyHey)

Goodbye-Adjö

Please-Snälla du

Thank you-Tack

Can we have 2 (beers, wine, insert word here)- Kan vi ha två ……

If you plan to use public transport it can be useful to learn how to recognise the local words for departure, arrival and platform.

Healthcare

If you are visitor to Sweden you are entitled to the same healthcare as a resident, if you are covered by Social Security Insurance in a European Economic Agreement. However you will need to European Health Insurance Care (EHIC) card; if you do not have this card you could be responsible for the cost of the care.

If you come from countries outside this agreement and your government does not have a reciprocal agreement in place with the Swedish Government you will be responsible for the cost of your care.

You can find out more about the fees for care here.

The bottom line is: get Travel Insurance and know what you are entitled to before your trip.

Customs and Traditions

Sweden is a tolerant and welcoming society. It is a very safe and pleasant place to travel, you will also notice how quiet it is.

Fika- is an important cultural tradition in Sweden which is the equivalent of English afternoon tea.  Make sure you get the cinnamon buns.

What did we love?

  • Wandering in the cities, the architecture, history, parks and gardens
  • Trips to the islands in Gothenburg, Stockholm
  • The attention to the environment and being clean, green cities
  • The worlds biggest cinnamon buns 
  • The free maritime museum in Stockholm

On the list for next time

  • Heading north to the arctic
  • Seeing the Northern Lights
  • Exploring more of the countryside
  • Sailing in the Stockholm Archipelago

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