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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.
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, and 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 a good deal more than 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. Major carriers include FlixBus, Ybuss, Netbuss Express and Svenska Buss.
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 an agent or at various convenience stores. Tickets cannot usually be bought on board a bus, and when they can, they are more expensive than advance tickets.
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.
There are also 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.
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 valid national driving licence in Sweden for up to one year. Following this, expats 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. Nationals of certain countries are allowed to simply 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 can drive on this licence as long as it remains valid.
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.