Sweden is the ultimate Winter Wonderland, formed of immense Arctic tundras, ancient forests, and lakeside mountains. Traveling through the unspoiled wilderness in a rented campervan is the best way to visit every corner of this Scandinavian treasure.
From the southern tip of Sweden to the northern borders of Lapland, you can find plenty of historic towns and villages, each filled with friendly locals happy to share their cultures and stories. Orebro, Lund, and Uppsala are old cities with Historic Centers in a classic European style, whereas the port towns of Gothenburg, Malmö, and Helsingborg have a unique Scandinavian design.
Sweden also has an overabundance of National Parks; there are over 30 to choose from! The parks range from the mountain regions of Sarek, Absiko, Fulufjället, and Sånfjället to the dark forests of Skuleskogen, Tivedens, Pieljekaise, and Björnlandet. There are even a few island and archipelago parks, including Ängsö, Blå Jungfrun, Djurö, and Gotska Sandön.
Sweden seems like it was made for campervans, with legal Wild Camping, endlessly stunning landscapes, and a large variety of friendly campsites. If you go on a friends and family vacation in Sweden, then an Intermediate or Budget-friendly Campervan is the safest bet for you. There’s enough space for everyone to relax in the back and the campervan comes equipped with all the basic amenities.
If you’re traveling solo or as a pair and want to get lost in the frozen wilderness, then a 4WD Camper should be your go-to option. While you don’t get as much space, the trade-off is a rugged vehicle capable of reaching the most remote destinations. A Luxury Class Motorhome is ideal for large groups who love home comforts, but these can be trickier to drive.
Sweden is the perfect country for a campervan vacation; here’s why:
The Vast Wilderness: Most of Sweden is made up of enormous stretches of untouched wilderness, and it’s difficult to see any of it without being able to drive.
Affordable Campsites: Compared to hotel prices in Sweden, the campsites are only a fraction of the cost.
Saunas at Every Stop: Traveling in Sweden can get cold after a while, which is why a heated Sauna can be found at most campsites.
Convenient Travel: With long distances between inhabited towns, it’s always easier to travel with everything you need already on board.
The Swedes are big fans of hot saunas, but, unusually, the people are also fond of Cold Bathhouses. These pier-like structures hang over lakes and seas, where people come for an invigorating dip in the freezing water. The Ribersborgs Kallbadhus in Malmö is open to everyone and features an additional sauna and massage center.
Sweden's extensive coastline consists of intricate inlets and lengthy fjords. Although you can effortlessly drive along many of the fjords, the most excellent way to view the scenery is by kayaking or canoeing in the tranquil waters. The Gullmar and Askims fjords are located near Gothenburg and are bordered by low pine forests. The Sundsvall Fjord is on the East coast of Sweden and showcases dramatic coastal mountains and protruding cliffs.
As most people who've visited an Ikea would know, the Swedes are big fans of Meatballs in a Lingonberry sauce, but that's not the only cultural dish. Herrings are very popular across Sweden and come in various forms: pickled, fried, and fermented. The Falukorv Sausage was originally made with ox and horse, although today's recipes involve a smoky mixture of beef and pork. For dessert, you have a choice of Våfflor (waffles), Pannkakor (pancakes), or the traditional Prinsesstårta, or Princess Cake.
This UNESCO World Heritage drive covers a 62-mile coastal stretch along the Gulf of Bothnia. Starting in Härnösand and ending in Örnsköldsvik, the route's highlights are the Skuleskogen National Park and the Högakustenbron Suspension Bridge. Additionally, you will pass by the region's famous Red Granite Cliffs, forged from the slow movements of glaciers over 10,000 years ago.
Famed for being the only city in Sweden with an abundance of Baroque architecture, Karlskrona also has a rich Naval history. The 17th-century UNESCO-listed Naval Port, a remnant of a bygone era, rests on the coast opposite the Karlskrona Lighthouse. Looking out to the ocean, you can spot the Kungsholm Fortress, a military base still in action after 300 years.
Lapland, or Sápmi, is home to the native Sámi people. Their 'villages' are vast areas where they breed reindeer and engage in cultural practices, such as making duodji crafts and singing traditional Yoik songs. Immerse yourself in Sámi history at Ájtte Mountain and Museum in Jokkmokk or visit the Giron Sami Theater in Kiruna to hear their stories.
If you travel to northern Sweden at the peak of summer, you are bound to experience the Midnight Sun. Time behaves differently here as the daylight can last for a full 24 hours, meaning a 3 am wilderness hike is on the cards. Winter visitors will have a better chance of catching the Aurora's emerald show. You can see the Northern Lights in most areas in the north, but head to Abisko National Park for a natural viewing.
The MidSweden 365 is the world's longest ski tunnel that runs through the inside of a mountain. The 0.87 mile stretch of slope is found near the town of Gällö, and it cuts through disused military tunnels left over after World War 2. Alongside the skiing opportunities, MidSweden is set up for biathlon practice, with six shooting lanes open inside the base.
Far above the Arctic Circle, the historically favored mode of transportation has always been Husky Sleds. In the Laplandian town of Jukkasjarvi, you can try your hand at Mushing or sledding through the frozen wilderness. Tour companies will charge an average of £80 a person for a 'Husky Safari', and it's worth it to experience this rare tradition.
Stockholm is packed with history and culture. A fascinating spot is the Vasa Museum, which encompasses a massive wooden 17th-century warship that sunk during her maiden voyage. You can also tour the Royal Palace, home to King Carl XVI Gustaf, the current Swedish monarch. Music fans will enjoy the innovative Abba Museum, while photography buffs can view contemporary works at the Fotografiska Stockholm.
To rent a campervan in Sweden, you'll need a Standard Type B Driver's License. Make sure your license is current and, if it's written in a non-European, non-Latin alphabet, accompanied by an official Swedish translation.
The lower age limit for renting a campervan in Sweden is 21, but keep in mind that you may be charged a small insurance surcharge if you're under 25. You'll also need to have at least one year of driving experience under your belt before you can rent a campervan.
Swedish law prevents motor vehicles from traveling on public land in a natural environment. This means wild/free camping in a motorhome is generally prohibited.
The country has over 400 campsites and these start at around 190 Swedish Krona ($19 USD) per night.
Sweden also has numerous rest stops which may allow you to stay for a night. Check the signposts or visit an information center for regulations regarding a specific area.