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Public transport in Sweden is safe, clean and efficient, but can be quite expensive, particularly in Stockholm. That said, it's extremely punctual, making travelling around the country a breeze for any expat, even if they do not have a car.
For those who do own a car, Sweden boasts an excellent road network and safe driving conditions.
Public transport in Sweden
Public transport in Sweden is well organised and subsidised by the government, although it can still be expensive compared to some other countries.
Commuters use a system where one ticket is valid on both buses and trains. Public transportation in Sweden is nearly always on time and expats can use online journey planners to help them plan their trip. Journey planners advise users about the best and fastest combination of modes of transport to reach their destination, as well as calculate changeovers and waiting times.
The national railway company in Sweden is called Statens Järnvägar (SJ), serving the major cities of Malmö, Gothenburg, Helsingborg and Stockholm with hourly trains.
Regional trains in Sweden have first- and second-class carriages available, whereas certain trains have a family car with entertainment facilities for children.
The Swedish railway network is extensive and trains are a quick and comfortable way to travel long distances. Expats travelling to the country’s northern parts might need to use a combination of trains and buses to reach their destination.
Trains in Sweden make commuting from the suburbs to work in the city quick and easy. They are also some of the most environmentally friendly in the world, running on various renewable energy sources.
The X2000 trains are Sweden’s fastest, but are also the most expensive. Tickets for these trains cost twice as much as bus tickets for the same journey, but the trains travel at 124mph (200km/h) and are much faster than buses.
Sweden has a number of county bus networks as well as national long-distance routes. In the south of Sweden, the largest express bus network is Swebus Express. All Swebus Express buses are equipped with air conditioning, toilet facilities and free WiFi.
Ybuss is one of the smaller operators that provide bus services in the north of Sweden.
Expats are advised to purchase their bus tickets online as this is the cheapest method, but they can also be bought over the phone, at a Swebus agent or at various convenience stores. Tickets cannot be bought on board a bus.
Sweden’s county buses are connected to the train system and one ticket can be used for both. The fares on local buses and trains are usually the same.
There is an extensive boat network in Sweden, especially in the Stockholm archipelago. There are also regular ferries in Gotland and near the fishing villages of the country’s west coast.
Taxis in Sweden
Taxis are readily available in most parts of Sweden. Expats can reserve them via telephone, engage one at a taxi rank or hail one off the street.
Taxis in Sweden have been deregulated, meaning that fares can vary from company to company. Expats are advised to agree on a fare with the driver before setting off, but it is the law that taxis must display their rates on the inside and outside of the car. Most taxis accept credit cards as well as cash as payment.
For those averse to using regular taxis, there are several convenient ride-hailing apps to use in Sweden, including the likes of Uber and Bolt. These apps allow for more convenient navigation and payment, and help to avoid any language barriers. Expats simply download the app, link their credit card, and start riding.
Driving in Sweden
Driving in Sweden should be a pleasure for most expats, as the country has excellent roads and its highways are usually congestion free. Expats should note that all cars in Sweden are required by law to have winter tyres between December and March. All cars must also have their headlights on at all times of the day and night. Most modern Swedish cars automatically have their lights on at all times.
Standard speed limits in Sweden range from 25mph (40km/h) to 75mph (120km/h). The standard speed for roads outside cities is 43mph (70 km/h) unless otherwise signposted.
The legal blood-alcohol percentage in Sweden is 0.02, which is a quarter of the limit in the US, Canada and UK. We'd strongly advise that expats don't drink at all before driving.
Expats should be aware of animals when driving in Sweden. Deer and moose often wander out of the woods and into the road. A collision with a moose can be fatal. If a driver hits and injures an animal and it runs off into the woods, they are required by law to mark the spot where it ran into the woods and then report the incident to the police, so that tracking dogs can find the injured animal.
Expats can use their national driving licence in Sweden as long as it is still valid in their home country, they have not been a resident in Sweden for more than one year, they do not also hold a Swedish driving licence which has been suspended and they have not already exchanged their national licence for a Swedish driving licence.
Expats who have lived in Sweden for more than one year will have to apply for a Swedish driving licence. Expats will have to pass a series of tests, including an ice-driving test, in order to get a Swedish driving licence. Expats holding a Swiss or Japanese driving licence can exchange their licence for a Swedish one without taking any driving tests, but they must meet the medical requirements and undergo an eye test.
Expats who have an EU or EEA licence do not have to apply for a Swedish licence, no matter how long they have lived in Sweden.
Air travel in Sweden
Stockholm-Arlanda is the busiest airport in Sweden and many domestic airlines are based there. However, there are over 30 domestic airports in Sweden. Domestic flights can be super expensive, but discounts for students and those who book in advance are available. Sweden’s national airline is Air Sweden.
Are you an expat living in Sweden?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Sweden. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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