Should You Rent a Car in Sweden?

Car rental Sweden

Are you wondering if you should rent a car in Sweden? We’ve got you covered! We won’t say “It depends” – we’ll give you a clear answer. Renting a car in Sweden is a topic of debate, as some people believe it’s an additional expense in an already expensive country. But fear not, as we’ll analyze the pros and cons of renting a car in Sweden so you can make an informed decision.

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Advantages of renting a car in Sweden

If you’re getting ready for your trip to Sweden but need a little extra motivation to embark on a road trip, look no further! Here is a list of reasons why renting a car is the perfect way to explore Sweden:

The Swedish road network is excellent

The Swedish road network is excellent and one of the best in Europe! It is well-maintained, safe, and efficient, making it easy for drivers to cover long distances. The road network is designed in a way that it is very easy to drive for hours without getting exhausted or bored.

The limited traffic and well-organized system make it even easier for drivers to navigate and reach their destination in good time. In fact, we had planned a small road trip, but we ended up driving 6-8 hours per day because of how seamless the driving experience was.

Car rentals are cheap

This may come as a surprise, but car rentals in Sweden are relatively cheap compared to other expenses in the country. While everything else in Sweden is expensive, renting a car is affordable! There are many international and local rental companies to choose from, and most are reliable with excellent reviews.

We recently rented a Volkswagen T-Cross for a week, and it cost us less than 200 dollars. The prices are reasonable, and you can easily find a car rental company to fit your budget.

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You can take scenic routes and explore the countryside

When it comes to combining beautiful landscapes and an excellent road network, few countries do it better than Sweden. By renting a car, you can have unlimited access to Sweden’s beautiful countryside and all its natural attractions. From mountains to forests and beaches to lakes, there is no shortage of sights to discover that you can access by car. Many national parks allow you to enter by car. You may even spot some of Sweden’s famous wildlife along the way! Plus, the country is designed to make it easy to park your car everywhere, even in isolated places.

Toll fees are minimal or non-existent

Although there are some tolls on bridges and tunnels, they are quite rare and won’t significantly impact your budget. During our own road trip in Sweden, we traveled for days on both highways and country roads and never came across any tolls. We even chose the fastest route suggested by our GPS and still didn’t have to spend a single penny on toll fees! Therefore, if expenses are your main concern, rest assured that toll fees won’t be an issue when renting a car in Sweden.

You can rent a car in Sweden to visit natural attractions.
By renting a car in Sweden, you gain access to countless natural attractions

Disadvantages of renting a car in Sweden

Here are the primary reasons why renting a car in Sweden may not be the best option for you:

Costly fuel prices

At the time of writing this article, gas prices in Sweden are relatively high, with an average cost of around 19 SEK per liter (equivalent to approximately 1.8 USD or 1.7 EUR). While there are countries with even higher fuel prices, it’s important to consider the impact on your budget.

To be more specific, embarking on a round trip of Sweden by car, covering approximately 3,000 kilometers, can lead to spending around 6,000 SEK (600 USD or 500 EUR) on fuel alone. Comparatively, traveling the same distance by train would typically cost significantly less, making it a more economical option for budget-conscious travelers.

Parking in cities is challenging and expensive

Parking in cities can be a challenging and expensive endeavor in Sweden. While it is relatively easy to find parking in the countryside and small towns, the situation changes in larger cities like Stockholm and Malmö.

Free parking is scarce, and you’ll often need to pay for parking, which can be quite costly. For instance, in central Stockholm, hourly parking rates can range from 20 to 50 SEK (2 to 5 USD). Moreover, navigating the parking system in cities can be complex and not very user-friendly.

Insurance and liability issues can be complex

Having an accident is the ultimate nightmare for every traveler embarking on a road trip. Certain rental companies may demand a high insurance deposit upfront. But rest assured that they will refund it to you upon returning the car in good condition. Furthermore, expect a thorough inspection of the car for any damages upon its return.

Being cautious and mindful of the car’s condition throughout the rental period is essential. In our experience, we opted for a company with lower insurance requirements. By returning the car washed and in excellent condition, the company conducted a brief check and we encountered no issues whatsoever.

Weather conditions during winter can make driving difficult

Weather conditions in Sweden during winter can make everything difficult! You can experience challenges even if you travel by public transportation. Rainfall during this time can turn the journey into a dreary and tiresome experience.

Additionally, ice on the roads adds another layer of risk, making driving a potentially dangerous activity. It’s important to exercise caution and keep a low speed if you decide to do a winter road trip in Sweden.

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Renting a car vs public transportation

Let’s delve into both options. Starting with public transportation, it’s important to highlight that Sweden boasts a great network, especially in its larger cities. There are so many reliable options, from buses to trams, trains, and even ferries. During our recent road trip to Sweden, we spent two days in Stockholm, and not once did we feel the need to move our car from the hotel. Therefore, public transportation is the clear winner in big cities like Stockholm or Malmö.

However, when you move out of the cities, a car becomes an invaluable asset. While public transportation serves many areas, there are so many idyllic spots that you can only access by car. Picture yourself driving along winding roads, making spontaneous stops at beautiful lakes, charming villages, and majestic mountains. You can’t easily reach these off-the-beaten-path locations by bus or train, making renting a car the ultimate winner for countryside exploration.

Car parking spot
There are numerous parking areas for your rental car in the Swedish countryside

So, should I rent a car in Sweden?

The answer is yes! If you want to truly see Sweden, and discover its amazing places beyond the tourist spots, renting a car is the way to go. It may cost a little extra, but we promise you won’t regret it. Plus, you don’t have to worry about safety because Sweden is one of the safest countries for a road trip.

Now, there’s one exception to keep in mind. You don’t need to rent a car in Sweden if you’re just visiting a city like Stockholm or Malmö for a quick weekend trip. Public transportation is convenient and walking or biking will work just fine. So, save your money and skip the car rental if you’re staying within the city limits. But if you’re planning to explore beyond the city, renting a car is your best bet to make the most of your Swedish trip.

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What do you need to rent a car in Sweden?

To rent a car in Sweden, you will typically need the following:

  1. Valid Driver’s License: A valid driver’s license from your home country or an International Driving Permit (IDP) is required to rent a car in Sweden.
  2. Age Requirement: Most rental companies require drivers to be at least 21 years old. Some may have a minimum age of 25.
  3. Credit Card: A credit card is usually necessary for the rental process and as a security deposit.
  4. Proof of Identity: You’ll need to provide a valid passport or ID to rent a car in Sweden.
  5. Rental Agreement: You’ll be asked to sign a rental agreement that outlines the terms and conditions of the rental, including insurance coverage and liability.
  6. Insurance: While not mandatory, it is safer to have car rental insurance to protect yourself and the vehicle.

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