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Flag of Sweden Sweden
Language: none (Swedish de facto)
Capital: Stockholm
Population: 9,234,209
Currency: Swedish krona (SEK)
Hitchability: Good.png (good) to Bad.png (bad)
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<map lat='63' lng='17' zoom='4' view='0' width='270' height='350' country='Sweden'/>
A big van driven by a group of Germans, and Israeli hitch-hiker Erga (on the left) on a petrol station on the E4 towards Stockholm

Sweden is a member state of the European Union as well as the Schengen Agreement. Many say that hitching in Sweden sucks. But it works very well! As anywhere in Western Europe, the motorways are the holy temples of car driving religion and someone standing on them is committing blasphemy. But you can hitch on the motorway ramps as well as on local roads. Better bring a good map, though, so that you won't end up in an unexpected place.

Especially in northern Sweden there are only few main roads, which means that you might have a shorter time waiting and longer lifts. Be careful to stand somewhere where there is some sign of civilization. As especially in the north the roads are no real motorways and accessible for pedestrians, you can stop all the traffic, especially if you stand on something like a bus stop. When the streets are real motorways you have to take care a little on which petrol station you end up, as there are too much of them, with sometimes only little traffic on each of them, and as most of the petrol stations are one or two kilometers away from the motorway. On the other hand, cars can go faster on motorways than on small local roads and you can expect lifts to be faster.


Crossing the border

Sweden is in the Schengen treaty. This treaty is rather well respected at the Finnish and Norwegian borders but has stricter regulations at the terminals where ferries from Denmark port, or at the bridge uniting Copenhagen with Malmö. Stricter control and special attention is usually applied to those who look like "being of another race". If you are unlucky, you might be made to strip during their search. The reasons of such strict control derive from the Sweden's specific economic situation (incl. high taxes on alcohol, tobacco, etc.) which attracts a number of smugglers, and a high-standard social security system which is a target of illegal immigrants. Keep in mind, though, that the personality check is not applied to everyone but only to some at random order so you have more chances to quickly cross the border than get stuck explaining to the officials that you are neither an illegal immigrant nor a smuggler.

Language & Communication

There is no special need of practicing your Swedish since almost everyone speaks English there. Although it can still be useful to speak a couple of words of Swedish for the few people who don't speak English – some immigrants for example, who are more likely to pick up hitchhikers even so. Check out the Swedish phrasebook. Hitchhiking means liftar.

Also, when asking for lifts at petrol stations, some people don't understand that you are hitchhiking and start to explain you the way as if you had an own car.

Ready to sleep – a pitched tent outside the road in northern Sweden.
Petrol station by the lake, north from Gävle.


In Sweden, the wonderful Allemansrätt has existed for many centuries only as a customary law, but since 1994 it is part of the Swedish constitution. As in other Nordic countries, the Swedish right to roam comes with an equal emphasis being placed upon the responsibility to look after the countryside; the maxim is "Do not disturb, do not destroy".

The Allemansrätt gives a person the right to access, walk, cycle, ride, ski, and camp on any land - with the exception of private gardens, the immediate vicinity of a dwelling house and land under cultivation, and with restrictions for nature reserves and other protected areas. This means that you could put up a tent for free almost anywhere as long as it doesn't disturb anybody. Make sure to not leave any garbage in the nature – we should really take the responsibility for those future generations will have the same democratic right to the nature as we have, and of course have any nature at all.. Very welcome to enjoy the Swedish nature!

Useful things

Internet you can normally get at the public or university libraries for free. Sometimes you have to ask for a guest account.

There's a quite useful map ("vägkarta") which you can get at OKQ8 petrol stations. It's for whole Sweden and has all OKQ8 petrol stations on it, which can be quite handy when hitchhiking and looking for a good place to be dropped off.

You might come across the "Swedish mile" (also Scandinavian mile). This unit of length is used in informal speech an measures 10 km. So 8 mil would be 80 km.

It is quite usual to send a thanksaying-message the day after a party or after a meeting − saying something like "Thanks for yesterday". When you enter a flat or an apartment, it is a must to take off ones shoes!