Driving advice for every country in Europe

Find up-to-date driving laws and advice for any country in Europe before you visit, including any accessories you may need to purchase. Don't forget the RAC provides European breakdown cover while you're driving in Europe.

Driving in Sweden

Sweden
Population: 10m
Area: 449,964 square kilometres
Currency: Swedish Krona (SEK)

Coronavirus update

Please be aware that driving in Europe may be restricted at the moment.

Check the Foreign travel advice section of the GOV.UK website for up to date advice on all European countries.

Driving is a great way to experience the natural wonders of Sweden, with its vast forests, spectacular lakes and rocky coastlines – and in some parts you can drive for hours without meeting another vehicle.

But if you’re planning a road trip to Sweden, it’s essential you’re fully prepared ahead of time as driving there has many differences to the UK. 

To make your journey to Scandinavia as safe and effortless as possible, we’ve put together a guide to everything you need to know before you go, from required documents to rules of the road.

Driving a rented vehicle? Jump to the advice for driving a hire car in Sweden section.  

RAC European Breakdown Cover (Basic and Comprehensive) provides a wide range of benefits should you breakdown in Sweden to ensure you stay safe. 

To supplement this, RAC also offers travel insurance. Cover will include medical expenses, baggage, personal money and belongings, among many other benefits.

 

Need short-term insurance for your vehicle? Our temporary car cover is perfect if you're looking for flexible insurance for between 1 hour and 30 days.

European Breakdown Cover

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Get covered when driving in Europe from just £7.*

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Things to take when driving in Sweden

driving-advice-sweden

Documents for driving in Sweden

  • A valid, full UK driving licence (you must also be 18 or over)
  • Your motor insurance certificate
  • The V5 registration document for your own car or the hire car paperwork for a rental

Do I need a GB or UK sticker for driving in Sweden?

From 28th September 2021, the distinguishing mark (or national identifier) displayed on vehicles registered in the United Kingdom that are driven abroad will change from GB to UK.  

This means that vehicles registered in the UK must display the letters “UK” when driven in Sweden.   

The identifier can be incorporated in vehicle number plates (along with the Union Flag) or as a separate sticker. Note that vehicles featuring the letters GB together with the Council of Europe golden stars are no longer valid for driving abroad.

If your vehicle does not have the UK identifier within the number plate, you will require a UK sticker when driving in Sweden. GB stickers will no longer be valid from the end of September.

Do I need an insurance green card?

From 2nd August 2021, drivers will no longer require an insurance green card for taking their vehicles to Sweden.

Driving in Sweden packing checklist

Aside from the documents above, there are some legally-required items you must bring with you to drive in Sweden.

Unless your headlights can be adjusted, it's a legal requirement to carry headlamp converters (stickers for your headlights when driving on the right, so your lights don't dazzle motorists coming the other way).

A warning triangle is also compulsory to carry in vehicles in case of a breakdown.

You will also need winter tyres if you're driving between 1 December and 31 March in snow and ice. Snow chains must be used where indicated by road signs.

It's also recommended to have:

  • Spare bulbs for your car's external lights
  • A fire extinguisher 
  • A first-aid kit
  • A reflective jacket
  • A Green Card (this is no longer a requirement, but it could be useful to back-up your insurance documents and show you've got the minimum legal level of cover. To find out more, contact your insurance company)

You can pick up all the car kit you need from RAC Shop.

 

Is there anything that I shouldn’t take with me?

Be aware that you cannot take the following with you into Sweden:

  • meat or products containing meat
  • milk or dairy products

You cannot take the following unless you pay to have them inspected before you leave and get a ‘phytosanitary certificate’:

  • fresh fruit (apart from bananas, coconuts, dates, pineapples and durians)
  • vegetables
  • plants
  • plant products

Rules of the road in Sweden

While driving in Sweden you must:

  • Be 18 or over
  • Use dipped headlights during the daytime all year round and on all roads
  • Make sure everyone in the car wears a seat belt at all times
  • Wear a crash helmet if you're riding a motorcycle or moped
  • Have antifreeze in the windscreen fluid and a shovel to clear snow if you’re driving in winter
  • Ensure your car is covered by third-party insurance recognised in Sweden. This is the legal minimum cover for visitors, so check with your provider before you travel
  • In Sweden, you drive on the right and overtake on the left. Vehicles from the right generally have priority
  • Horns should only be used when an audible warning is required to prevent an accident 
  • Some roads may be closed or have weight restrictions imposed during the early spring period when snow is melting. Road surfaces may also be damaged due to frost
  • If you're caught committing a minor driving offence while travelling through Sweden, you could be given an on-the-spot fine of up to 4,000 SEK (around £340)
  • Seat belts must be worn in all seats where a belt is available
  • Children under 135cm in height must use an appropriate restraint or child seat. Children under 140cm are allowed in the front passenger seat if the airbag is turned off
  • The drink-drive limit for all drivers is 0.02%. Random tests are carried out and drivers must always submit to a test at the request of the police, even if there are no grounds for suspicion

Swedish speed limits

Speed limits are based on the safety of the road not the category, so always check the signs for maximum speeds as they can vary even on the same road. In built-up areas, the maximum speed allowed is between 60km/h and 100km/h. On motorways, the limit is 120km/h

Speed cameras are common on Swedish roads, and they’re not always obvious as they’re thin and grey in appearance

Equipment that searches for mobile speed cameras or interferes with police equipment is prohibited

Other things you should know when driving in Sweden

driving-speed-limit-sweden

  • Large wild animals, including elk and moose, often run out into the road in rural areas
  • Private cars have to pay a toll on some roads, while there are also four bridges that have a charge – Oresund, Motala, Sundsvall and Svinesund
  • There are no petrol stations or service areas on the motorways. These are situated near the exits and are indicated on the motorway exit signs. There are also no emergency telephones along motorways
  • Unleaded petrol and biodiesel are readily available throughout Sweden. Almost every petrol station has automatic pumps that accept international credit cards
  • Parking can be limited in built-up areas, with restricted zones signposted. Parking fines range from 400-1,000 SEK (around £34-85). Wheel clamps are not used in Sweden, but wrongly parked vehicles may be towed away

In an emergency

112 - Here's a really important bit of knowledge; you can dial 112 from anywhere in Europe and an operator will connect you to an emergency service in the country you're visiting.

Operators can answer your call in their native language, English or French.

Breaking down in Sweden

RAC offers great-value, flexible RAC European breakdown cover tailored to meet your needs. We also offer comprehensive travel insurance, including cover for medical expenses, baggage, personal money and belongings.

Driving a hire car in Sweden

Not all of the information in the guide above will be relevant to those looking to rent a hire car in Sweden.

Though it might be a good idea to read through everything anyway, here are the most important things to know for drivers of rental vehicles:

Rental information

  • The minimum age to hire a car is 21, although this may vary depending on your provider
  • You need a full, valid UK driving licence and usually a second proof of ID (passport)
  • Some car rental companies ask that you have held your licence for a minimum term of 1 year
  • Some companies require you to use a credit card for deposit
  • You may not be able to drive outside of Sweden unless planned in advance - check with your hire company first
  • Make sure you get car hire excess insurance before your trip to protect yourself from unexpected costs. It's almost always cheaper to do this with a separate insurer and in advance

Hire car driving tips

  • Swedes drive on the right and overtake on the left - the opposite to the UK
  • The national speed limit on Swedish motorways is 120km/h (74mph). In built-up areas, the maximum speed allowed is between 60km/h and 100km/h
  • Dial 112 in an emergency
  • It’s compulsory to wear seat belts in the front and rear seats
  • The blood alcohol content limit for drivers of private vehicles is 0.02%. That's lower than the whole of the UK

Car hire excess cover

Protect yourself from unexpected excess costs when hiring a car.

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Car hire excess cover

Driving in Sweden FAQs

  • Is it safe to drive in Sweden?

    Sweden is a very safe country for motorists and the road system is maintained to a high standard. That said, due to weather conditions driving in the winter can be challenging and some roads may be closed in the spring when snow is melting as they’re too hazardous for motorists.

    Collisions with wild animals such as elk, deer and moose are a common occurrence, so you should be particularly vigilant when a sign indicates their presence.

  • Can you drive in Sweden with a UK licence?

    Yes. You can legally drive in Sweden with a full and valid UK driving licence. You don’t need an International Driving Permit, although it could provide extra peace of mind if you have one.

  • Do I need a green card to drive in Sweden?

    Like the UK, Sweden is a member of the Green Card System, a Europe-wide scheme that allows countries to recognise foreign vehicle insurance policies of visiting motorists.

    UK motorists are no longer required to carry a green card to drive in Sweden, but you should check that your policy will cover you in all countries you plan to visit before setting off.

  • What side of the road do they drive on in Sweden?

    As in most European countries, motorists drive on the right-hand side of the road in Sweden.

  • Can I drive my car in Sweden?

    Yes, so long as you have all your essential documents, including a valid UK licence, V5 document and sufficient insurance for your trip.

    You should also familiarise yourself with the laws around driving in Sweden and ensure you have all the required items needed for your journey (such as a warning triangle and headlamp converters). That applies to any other country you’re planning to drive through too.

  • How do I drive to Sweden?

    As there are no longer any direct ferry routes from the UK to Sweden, you’ll have to go either via France or the Netherlands.

    You can take your car to the Netherlands on board a ferry from Newcastle, Hull or Harwich. From there, drive up to Sweden through Germany and Denmark. For a spectacular road trip, take the Oresund Bridge that links Copenhagen to Malmo. The drive from Amsterdam to Malmo takes around 9 hours non-stop.

    If you’re taking your car on the Eurotunnel from Folkestone to Calais, drive up to Sweden through France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark.

  • What age can you start driving in Sweden?

    To legally drive in Sweden, you must be 18 years or older and in possession of a full valid driving licence.

  • Does Sweden have toll roads?

    You will have to pay to use some roads in Sweden. However, there is a charge to cross four bridges, including Oresund, made famous by Scandi-noir TV series The Bridge.

    It’s also worth noting that the cities of Stockholm and Gothenburg have a congestion charge on weekdays.

  • Do you need winter tyres to drive in Sweden?

    From 1 December to 31 March all vehicles must use winter tyres when there are winter road conditions. That’s when the road is covered with ice or snow, or the road is wet and the temperature is around or below 0ºC. Winter tyres should have a minimum tread depth of 3mm.

  • When do my lights need to be switched on in Sweden?

    Headlights set to dipped beam must be used whatever time of day you’re driving and regardless of whether it’s sunny or not. This is to make sure you’re always visible to other drivers so you stay safe.

European Breakdown Cover

European Breakdown Cover

Get covered when driving in Europe from just £7.*

European Breakdown Cover

UK Government travel advice

See up-to-date travel advice


Information in this guide is subject to change

British Embassy Stockholm 

Office: British Embassy Stockholm
Street Address: Jakobs Torg 1
Postal Address    : PO Box 16119
ZIP Code: 10323
City: Stockholm
Country: Sweden

Telephone: (+46-8) 4067500
Fax: (+46-8) 7917220
Email: [email protected]

British Consulate Timra

Office: British Consulate Timra
Street Address: SCA Graphic, Ostrand Pulp Mill
ZIP Code: 86181
City: Timra
State: Sundsvall
Country: Sweden

Telephone: (+46-60) 164000
Fax: (+46-60) 574990

British Consulate Gothenburg

Office: British Consulate Gothenburg
Street Address: Sodra Hamngatan 23
ZIP Code: S 41114
City: Gothenburg
Country: Sweden

Telephone: (+46-31) 3393300
Fax: (+46-31) 3393302

*Based on 1 day cover in Zone 1, max 9 people in a vehicle up to 1 year old.

*Based on 1 day cover in Zone 1, max 9 people in a vehicle up to 1 year old.