Getting around in Sweden
Published: 03 May 2006 18:54 GMT+02:00
Updated: 03 May 2006 18:54 GMT+02:00
Sweden is a big place. The north of the country is home to Europe's least-densely populated regions and, they say, if you spun the country 180 degrees around its southern tip then it would reach down as far as Naples.
So the distance between things of interest rapidly increases as soon as you leave the main cities. But how you travel between destinations is not necessarily governed just by time.
Getting there in Sweden, wherever 'there' happens to be, can be half the pleasure, with stunning scenery the length and breadth of the country.
The country has a reputation for efficiency (notwithstanding the confusion of reputations with Switzerland) which is largely deserved and much information is presented in English as well as Swedish.
Here are a few links to get you started with your journey planning.
SJ is Sweden's state-owned rail network. Their web site is packed with information and the booking services are also available in English.
One service not run by SJ is the Inland Railway, Inlandsbanan. It's a meandering 1,300 km journey from Kristinehamn in the south to Gällivare in the north – or the other way around - through some of Sweden's most stunning countryside.
Be prepared for some unscheduled stops for reindeer - or photos at the arctic circle boundary.
Sweden is well-served by internal air routes, and competition is helping to bring the prices down.
If you're planning to stay travel around the south of the country, then hiring a car can give you more flexibility than train or plane. But if you're going much further north than Stockholm, the country seems to have been stretched and you may find you spend more time in the car than you'd like.
The usual international car hire companies are represented in the big towns:
However, the country's two largest petrol stations also offer car rentals and are sometimes cheaper and more flexible, although your choice of car may be limited and you'll have to put up with being a wandering advertisement for their services. Their web sites are only in Swedish, but telephone bookings can be made in English:
OKQ8 - 020 850 850
Statoil - 0770-25 25 25