Sweden will always exceed expectations, and a self-drive tour is the perfect way to explore this northern European country. Most road trips kick off in Stockholm – a waterside city that’s spread across 14 serene islands with an alluring energy, from the immaculate cobblestone streets of its historic centre, to its ever-evolving design scene. Sweden road trips also help you delve deeper – taking you to small fishing ports, like the Viking cemetery of Old Uppsala (Gamla Uppsala) and the ancient city of Sigtuna, scattered with quintessential colourful houses. The perfect time to discover this Scandinavian gem?
The good news is that it’s captivating all year round, whether you’re looking to explore its pristine nature, or get stuck into outdoor sports.
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There is probably no better time to listen to ABBA’s Greatest Hits album than on a drive along Sweden’s Bohuslän coast. Overlooking thousands of tiny islands dotted with Falu red houses and craggy knolls of distinctive Bohus granite, it is the perfect setting to belt out Super Trouper. Stippled with postcard-perfect fishing towns, where minimalist design and superlative seafood restaurants merge with ubiquitous fisherman huts, Sweden road trips are a smorgasbord of stellar scenery and adventure. Try your hand at harvesting mussels, follow Fjällbacka locals to their favourite fika spots and pause atop Vetteberget’s summit for a 360° view of the crimson coast.
If you envision Sweden road trips coming with a hearty helping of snow, you’ll be well and truly spoilt in Swedish Lapland. Drive down avenues of snow-clad hills, past frozen rivers and herds of wild grazing reindeer to cosy bucolic cabins, where crackling fires and bowls of steaming dopp-i-kopp (potato broth) await. Continue on to Abisko National Park, where a couple of nights camping at the foothills of the Scandinavian Alps will offer the chance to experience the region at its very best. Tear through its Arctic tundra on a dog sledding safari or snowmobile (if the road trip has given you a real need for speed) or strap on some snowshoes for a gentler pace. If you’re lucky, you may even see the celestial glow of the Northern Lights dance over the majestic fjords ahead.
Every road trip deserves a good ending, particularly in Sweden where Stockholm waits at the finish line. Meander around the capital’s old town, Gamla Stan, where cobbled streets cut through brightly coloured buildings and curve round historic squares and palaces. Relax in the city’s southern island, Södermalm, where boutiques and coffee shops ooze creativity and coolness, or take a private boat tour of Stockholm’s breathtaking archipelago. Weave through its 30,000 islands, reefs and uninhabited islets, past napping seals and soaring white-tailed eagles and see why Scandinavia is so easy to fall in love with… and so hard to leave.