Best Road Trips in Sweden

Best Road Trips in Sweden

Sweden’s road trip routes may not be as famous as the USA’s renowned Route 66 or Chile’s awe-inspiring Carretera Austral, but they’re no less full of adventure and intrigue. Sweden has a varied natural landscape and a plethora of vibrant towns and cities, meaning there’s an endless supply of options when it comes to hopping in the car, blasting some tunes and living your best life as you cruise through the great outdoors. Stunning coastal roads leading to enticing swimming spots, quiet drives through untouched rural terrain, and activity-packed journeys from city to city all feature on our list of four fabulous routes that we think are some of the best road trips in Sweden.


The Wild West Coast: Gothenburg to Strömstad

Cruise along the country’s west coast to experience the rugged stretch of coastline that runs north from Sweden’s second city. This three to five-day road trip begins in trendy Gothenburg, one of Europe’s most sustainable cities, and leads you along the E6 to Strömstad, close to the Norwegian border. Although the road between these two cities is only around 100 miles, it’s dotted with pretty fishing towns that are the perfect base for exploring the 8,000 or so islands scattered along the Bohuslän coast. Along the way, take in smooth rock formations, have your fill of local seafood, kayak through protected channels, and visit the village where Swedish star Ingrid Bergman used to spend summer with her family. Six miles west of Strömstad, you’ll find the wild and wonderful Koster Islands, an archipelago where you can hike, swim, wander through ancient forests and even go on a lobster safari. You can make the journey back from Strömstad to Gothenburg in one go, but don’t miss a stop at Tanum to see the UNESCO World Heritage-protected rock carvings, some of which are 4,000 years old.


The Heart of Sweden: Stockholm and Dalarna County

History buffs and nature lovers unite – this next road trip is for you. This discovery of central Sweden begins in Stockholm and leads you through Dalarna County, a historic region that was instrumental in freeing Sweden from Danish rule in the 15th and 16th centuries. As you make your way from Falun, the county’s capital, to Tallberg, on the shores of beautiful Lake Silijan, you’ll find ample opportunity to get a feel of Dalarna’s cultural and historical significance: wander the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Kopparberget copper mine, explore the beautiful traditional houses of Leksand and visit Sollerön’s Viking graves. Dalarna is brimming with natural beauty, and as you continue your journey from Tallberg to Skinnskatteberg and finally back to Stockholm, you’ll find plenty of it in the form of dense forest, sparkling lakes and flower-filled meadows, where you can hike and picnic. Dalarna is sometimes referred to as ‘miniature Sweden’ owing to its encapsulation of all that is quintessentially Swedish, from unspoiled landscapes to traditional cultural sites. Throw in a stop at the country’s capital and you have yourself the perfect Swedish road trip.


The Wilderness Way: Strömsund Circuit via the Stekenjokk Plateau

If you’re in the market for some spectacular alpine scenes, we know just the place. Beginning in Strömsund, the Vildmarksvägen (Wilderness Way) leads you up to the Stekenjokk plateau – Sweden’s highest-altitude paved road – and down to Route 45 at Vilhelmina, a beautiful town in Swedish Lapland that began as a Sami village. Here, you can visit Kyrkberget’s traditional Sami dwellings, wander through fairy tale forests and explore snowy landscapes on skis or sleds. This route is around 310 miles in total, but to do it in one go would be to miss out big time – it’s about the journey, not the destination. Highlights along the way include the spectacular Hällsingsåfallet waterfall that gushes into a 2,600ft canyon, and the idyllic Murusjöen Lake, which lies on the border with Norway. When stopping to take in the views and soak up the silence, you might well find that you’re the only ones around (ideal if you want to try a spot of nude bathing…). And if you find yourself craving some indulgence, there’s a spa-hotel located at Saxnäs to break up the journey. We know it all sounds perfect, but there is a catch: due to the Arctic conditions, the road through the Stekenjokk plateau is closed from mid-October to the beginning of June, so be sure to plan your trip for the warmer months.


The Best of Southern Sweden: Stockholm to Gothenburg

This road trip is lengthier than the rest, but it’s worth it for the UNESCO-listed landscapes, royal residences, sandy beaches and lively cities you’ll experience along the way. Beginning in the country’s capital, Stockholm, journey along the shores of Lake Vättern (the second-biggest lake in Sweden) to Vadstena and then Kalmar, located in The Kingdom of Crystal (otherwise known as Småland). This city is home to a charming Renaissance-style castle along with a beautiful Baroque cathedral, but the real draw of Kalmar is that it’s the gateway to somewhere remarkable: the neighbouring island of Öland, complete with flower-studded nature reserves, a magnificent castle and a unique limestone landscape. The next stop is the charming coastal town of Ystad, which you might recognise from the detective drama Wallander, starring Kenneth Branagh. Even if you’re not a fan of crime drama, Ysad is a great base for exploring beautiful Skåne County, known for its pristine beaches and lush green forests. Wander the town’s medieval cobblestone streets, tuck into fresh produce in Simrishamn, or kick back and relax on the sandy beach of Sandhammaren, awarded Sweden’s best beach on more than one occasion. If you like, take a detour to the bustling city of Mälmo or the stunning Söderasens National Park en route to Halmsad, home to yet another contender for Sweden’s best beach. The last stop on what is undoubtedly one of the best road trips in Sweden is Gothenburg, full of quirky bars and excellent restaurants – what better way to round off your adventure?