I’ve always loved being on the move. There’s something amazing about discovering a country from the road. So when it came to deciding where we’d spend our summer holidays, I naturally suggested a road trip. I put hours into organizing every single detail and thought I’d share our Sweden Road Trip Itinerary with you. Could save you a bit of time. 🙂
There will be more than one post about the individual days and the exact route (links at the bottom of this post). But first I wanted to give you a general overview. So if you want to learn more about the details, come back here next Monday. 🙂
So, let’s get started then.
For the entire trip, we had 17 days of which we spent 4 days in and around Stockholm. The original plan was to drive up to Vilhelmina before crossing the boarder to go to Mo i Rana in Norway. But due to the weather, we spontaneously decided to stay in Sweden and drive down the coast back to Stockholm. 17 days seems like a lot of time, but we could have easily spent double the amount of time exploring the country.
I will go into more detail in next Monday’s post. But for now, you can see our general route in the map down below. Click on it to see all the details. Personally, I especially enjoyed the drive up north as it gave us plenty of opportunity to explore the Swedish countryside and nature. I would have loved to drive further north, but we didn’t have enough time.
We rented our car with Avis. Since we had quite a lot of luggage, we ended up driving a Nissan Qashqai. Not the most beautiful vehicle if you ask me, but it had enough room and took us safely from A to B. It was our first time renting a car, so we were a bit nervous. Especially since we didn’t have a full insurance with Avis. We insured our excess with a Swiss insurance company instead, as it was much cheaper.
The woman at the Avis desk was really friendly and helpful and we were on the road in under 10 minutes. Same went for the return of the car. The guy just walked around the car once and declared that there were no damages and off we were to the airport within 10 minutes.
If we were to rent a car again, I would choose Avis. They were easy and straightforward. The only thing I’d recommend is check the different websites before you book your car. The cost for the entire rental period would have been much higher had we book through Avis Swiss instead of Avis Sweden.
I am someone who loves planning holidays. So I naturally put a lot of effort into checking out different routes and consulting all kinds of websites to get more information. Below is a list of the “tools” I used most frequently:
- We used the Schweden travel guide from Dumont. It was really hard to find a travel guide that covers all of Sweden and not just the south or the north. Personally, I found that the guide was fairly ok to plan from home. Since it has to cover the entire country in a limited amount of pages, the descriptions are very minimal and I believe that they had to leave out many things. Given that I planned most of the trip from home and could also consult the internet, it was a good choice. Spontaneously deciding where to go on the second half of our trip was a bit harder with this travel guide. So I’d maybe suggest getting two guides instead of just one to get a bit more information.
- Especially when it came to campgrounds, I made sure to check on TripAdvisor or on Google whether people recommended the site. I am not that complicated, but I also like a bit of comfort so I am always really glad for all those sites.
- So far I haven’t come across a better route planning tool than Google Maps. I would look at the route Google suggested and then see whether I liked it or not by virtually driving down the road. It takes some time, but we did end up driving some incredibly beautiful roads.
- Since my boyfriend doesn’t trust my navigation skills (and rightfully so), we bought a satnav for our trip. He ordered a tomtom one and it was actually quite good. It had some problems with some of the places and it was no good when it came to spontaneously planning the second half of our trip, but I would still recommend it. It is no Google Maps, but that’s probably also not what it’s supposed to be.
- Before we left, I created a Word Document with all the route details including scenic and touristic highlights, shopping possibilities and campgrounds. It may sound a bit over the top, but it saved us a lot of time as we could just select the route on our satnav and get driving.
We saw a lot of amazing things, so it was quite hard to pick only three. But I tried and here they are.
Out of all the things we did and saw, the drive along the Wilderness Road was by far my favorite part. If you want beaches, towns and restaurants, this won’t be for you. But if you, like us, are amazed by the beauty of nature and the peace that comes with mountains, lakes and no humans, than I’d recommend you do the drive. It goes all the way up to Stekenjokk, which is… I find it hard to describe such beauty, so you’ll have to see for yourself.
I wasn’t really enjoying our drive along the coast up until we made it to Bjuröklubb Naturreservat. We parked our car and followed a narrow path down to the beach where we had lunch. The wind was blowing, there were a few seagulls and the waves where washing up against the stones. But other than that (and a squirrel) there was nothing and no one. I could have stayed there for days.
You might already get my motto. I like everything that is untouched by man. 🙂 So when we arrived at Smitingen Naturreservat and hiked (or climbed) along the path, I felt free and like a child. We climbed over rocks and walked into caves. It was amazing. Plus, there is also something if you are really into beaches because there is one by the parking lot and it is everything you wish for: sand, blue waters, seagulls and a little shop to buy some ice cream.
Good to Know
With all the planning I did before we left, you’d think I would have been prepared for everything. But oh surprise, I wasn’t. 🙂 So here are five things I wish I’d known in advance.
If you go camping in Switzerland or any other country I’ve been to so far, you can buy CampingGaz pretty much in every big shop or at a gas station. Since we couldn’t take any with us on the plane, we only brought the fixture to put on the gas bottle. Well, we couldn’t cook in the end, as the Swedish have a completely different system. So I’d recommend you check your camping cooker’s compatibility with the Swedish system before you leave.
As we didn’t have any kind of freezer with us, we had to rely on UHT milk solely. Now in Switzerland and the surrounding countries you can buy this type of milk at pretty much every supermarket. The Swedish do not know UHT milk. So you have to go to a Lidl in order to buy some or just go and get fresh milk every morning. 🙂
I don’t know if it’s just me, but I’ve never been to a campground where there was a fully equipped kitchen. However, there was one at every campground we’ve been to in Sweden. Usually there was everything from stove and oven to microwave. Sometimes there was even a fridge. So if you cannot cook with your own equipment, just take a pot and use the stove in the campground kitchen.
The speed limit is always clearly stated, so it is always obvious how fast you can drive. Also, speed radars are always announced. You’d have to drive really fast in order to oversee those signs.
My travel guide said that people rarely drove faster than they were supposed to in Sweden. However, after driving on Swedish roads for 17 days, I have to disagree. Unless there is a speed radar announced, no one pays any attention to the speed limits. In Stockholm, people drove 120 km/h when the allowed speed was 80 km/h. Doesn’t mean that they drive dangerously, tough. It just seems, that speed limits in Sweden are more of a suggestion than they are here in Switzerland.
Now this is something I sort of knew. But for whatever reason, it still surprised me when we got to Sweden. The weather can be really cold. We had temperatures around 7° C in the night and I’m sure it can get much colder if you go even further north. I don’t want to complain here. I just want to let you know that I recommend investing in a really good sleeping bag and bringing some warm clothes, a hat, a scarf and maybe even a woolly blanket with you. Just to make sure that you don’t get sick after your first night in the tent.
So yes, that’s it for my general information about our road trip. It was certainly one of my best holidays so far and I cannot recommend it enough. If you love road trips and exploring the untouched countryside, then this trip is certainly one you’d enjoy.
Look out for a more detailed description of each day (incl. campgrounds, attractions etc.) in next Monday’s post. And until then: if you have any questions, fire away. 🙂
Part 1: Arlanda to Ristafallet
Part 2: Ristafallet to Storforsen
Part 3: Storforsen to Norrfällsviken