Scandinavia road trip: Route through Sweden to the Lofoten including tips
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With our road trip through Scandinavia we have realized a big dream this year. To kick off my Scandinavian blog series, I'll tell you our route today* and give you tips on how to plan the perfect, individual Scandinavian trip.
- The route at a glance
- All costs
- Tips for your road trip
- With a dog through Sweden and Norway
- Sights of the route
- Our favorite pitches
- Wild Sweden in two weeks: Alternative route
1. Road trip Scandinavia: route at a glance
On this route you will experience all the highlights of Sweden in combination with the spectacular Lofoten. The outward and return journeys are also more relaxed and faster via Sweden than via Norway, and cheaper, since there is a toll in Norway but not in Sweden (or only a city toll in Stockholm).
Duration and travel times
We had four weeks for the tour. With some caveats, this route is also possible in three weeks. We usually drove 3-4 hours a day, significantly less in Lofoten.
Arrival via mainland (Denmark and Øresund Bridge). Departure by ferry Travemünde-Malmö. Alternative ferries: Puttgarden-Rødbyhavn, Kiel-Gothenburg, Rostock-Trelleborg.
Arrival via the mainland (E6). Departure via ferry Lodingen-Bognes (particularly dog-friendly), alternative ferries: Moskenes-Bodø or Svolvaer-Skutvik.
Sweden northern route
Malmö, Tivendens National Park, Stendörrens Naturreservat, Stockholm, High Coast (Skuleskogen National Park), Jokkmokk, Kiruna, Abisko Natonalpark.
Lodingen, Svolvaer, Henningsvaer, Reine, Ä, Bodø, Nordland National Park. (See below for details on Lofoten.)
Sweden southern route
Jäckvik, Wilderness Road from Vilhelmina, Stekenjokk, Storuman, Fulufjället National Park, Glaskogen Nature Reserve, Fjällbacka, Smogen, Gothenburg, Malmö.
2. How much does a Scandinavia road trip cost?
Fuel: We paid a little over 1000 euros for 8 liters consumption. The price per liter was EUR 2.00-2.20 in Sweden and EUR 2.30-2.40 in Norway.
Ferry: We paid 160 euros for the ferry on the return trip from Malmö to Travemünde including vehicle, cabin and dog. There are also occasional charges for parking.
Toll: For the bridges on the way to Sweden (Storebaelt Bridge and the Øresund Bridge) there are costs of around 60 euros. You pay directly at the bridge (direction Sweden after crossing) at a toll station. There is a congestion charge in Stockholm. You are automatically recorded by a reader and receive the invoice automatically by post. The same applies to the toll in Norway, which is charged for motorways and tunnels. If you stay for a short time, you don't have to do anything else, because the license plate number is scanned here too and you get an invoice sent home after a few weeks. If you want to save, you can register in advance and apply for a transmitter. This puts you in a lower tariff.
Camping: Here it depends on whether you want to be mostly free or use campsites. On average, places without electricity cost 25-30 euros, with electricity 28-35 euros. Stugas are available for 40-50 euros a night.
Groceries: The cost of groceries is slightly higher than in Germany. You can save a lot by bringing basic groceries with you. In addition, Sweden is significantly cheaper than Norway, so it's better to shop and fill up before the border.
Eating out: In Norway you rarely pay less than 20-30 euros for a main course. Eating out is slightly cheaper in Sweden. Alcohol is particularly expensive. You have to reckon with 8 euros for a glass of beer and double-digit amounts for wine.
3. Tips and information about road trips through Sweden and Norway
travel time and weather
Our trip took place in the summer of 2022. The weather was changeable. On average, temperatures of 20-28 degrees are common in southern Sweden in summer, but temperatures above 30 are quite possible. In the north, temperatures are usually around 15-20 degrees. We often only had 8-15 degrees. Until shortly before our stay, it was still over 30 degrees in Lofoten. In short: you should be prepared for anything on this route. Warm clothing and rainwear are essential, especially in Lofoten.
mobility and accommodation
We made the trip with a roof tent and just started with the outlined route, without any bookings. We found pitches and campsites at Park4Night. On the Lofoten we rented an Airbnb for a few days at short notice.
Accommodation tip: Rent stugas (huts) on campsites
If you are not traveling with a camper or roof tent, you can save costs by booking so-called Stugas instead of hotel or hostel rooms. These are small huts that are offered on almost every campsite for 40-50 euros a night. Incidentally, it is common in both hostels and cottages that bed linen is either brought with you or rented. Here further costs can be saved.
Mosquitoes in Scandinavia: how bad is it really?
One of the most frequently asked questions before and during the trip was quite clear: How do you deal with the mosquitoes? To our surprise, mosquitoes were not an issue in the southern part of Sweden (everything south of Lapland). We sat by the lake for a long time in the evening and it wasn't until after sunset that it was time to retreat to the roof tent. There were occasional horseflies in the national parks. All in all, really not worth mentioning. It was completely different in Lapland. Not only mosquitoes and midgets are active here almost all day, but also horseflies and hornets. I have to admit, that made some days difficult for us.
Sweden Roadtrip: Tips on how to deal with mosquitoes
Campfire: There are fireplaces almost everywhere, so it's good to have some wood and kindling with you. Attention, please never build fireplaces yourself or use self-made fireplaces (these are simple stone circles on the ground). Secure fireplaces are jacked up and permanently installed. The risk of forest fires is particularly high in summer.
Mosquito spiral: We had mosquito spirals in a small tin box with us and had them smoked in the evening. That worked surprisingly well.
Long clothing: Light-colored clothing protects better than dark-colored clothing.
Sprays: Mosquito sprays with deet are the most effective (Nobite, Anti Brumm). There are also good sprays to buy in Sweden.
Keep walking: When hiking in areas with horseflies and mosquitoes, it is fatal to stop (e.g. to take photos. Horseflies also bite through clothing without any problems.
Cool down: We noticed that mosquitoes were particularly active when we got out of the car. As soon as we parked, it buzzed around us. This was mainly due to the heat radiation from the car. It can already help to remain seated for a short time. If the temperatures allow it, you should also hop into the lake (or under a cool shower) from time to time. The cooler your skin, the less mosquitoes will bother you.
4. Sweden and Norway: Roadtrip with a dog
Both Sweden and Norway are countries where you can easily travel with your dog. You should know that in Sweden and Norway there is a general leash obligation in public places. From March 1st to August 20th, leashes are compulsory in Sweden, including outdoors. In addition, dogs are not allowed in restaurants and cafés (interior), as allergy sufferers are to be protected. In practice we experienced it differently, we were also allowed to take our dog to restaurants.
Most campsites are dog-friendly, and there are numerous holiday homes and hotels where you can bring your dog. Frieda was always allowed to go to the beaches on the Lofoten in Norway, but it can also happen that you (especially in Sweden) have to go to official dog beaches. There are no restrictions at lakes.
Entry requirements for dogs in Sweden and Norway
Important: In both Sweden and Norway, a dog must be declared at customs upon entry. If you enter Norway via Sweden, you must also have a tapeworm treatment carried out in the five days before entry. We did this at the veterinary clinic in Gällivare, where we were able to secure an appointment online in advance.
5. Sweden and Norway: Highlights and sights on this Roadtrip
- Copenhagen and Malmö: Typical Scandinavian cities. Casual, young and relaxed. If I had to choose, I would recommend Copenhagen as the city has a little more to offer. Optional:
- Store Mosse National Park: hiking trails through vast moorland. Don't forget mosquito repellent.
- Tivendens National Park: Absolute heartfelt recommendation. Beautiful national park on a lake, characterized by large rocks, plateaus with a view over the lake and numerous bathing spots. Well-marked hikes of 2-20 kilometers possible.
- Stendörren's nature reserve: Archipelago islands south of Stockholm. You can walk from island to island over bridges. Don't forget your bathing suit.
- Stockholm: Should be seen. Parking tip: large and cheap parking spaces at Söder Mälarstrand (Södermalm).
- Höga Kusten: The highest coastline in the world, the highest point is almost 300 meters above sea level. Especially worth seeing: the Skuleskogen National Park. Hiking trails lead to the high plateaus. In addition, there is a dramatic gorge to hike through.
- Storforsen rapids: the largest rapids in Northern Europe.
- Jokkmokk: Cross the Arctic Circle. From now on the sun (in summer) will never set. 30 minutes north you will find Muddus National Park. Abisko National Park: Here you leave the endless forests of Lapland behind. Instead, mountains and canyons await you.
- Abisko is the starting point of the Kungsleden long-distance hiking trail. You can also take a cable car up the Nuolja, the highest mountain in the national park.
- Svolvaer: Considered the capital of Lofoten. It is the starting point of the spectacular hike to Tjeldbergtinden.
- Henningsvaer: Our tip, because this town combines the typical look of a Lofoten fishing village with casual cafés and bars. The place is also known for its soccer field.
- Unstad: Lofoten's surfing hotspot. Here you will find the best cinnamon rolls in the world. Of course we checked. Is correct.
- Haukland and Utakleiv Beach: Don't miss it. The two beaches are incomparably beautiful. With a hike on the Mannen you can also admire them from above.
- Other beaches: Skagsanden Beach, Rambergstranda, Rørvik White Sands Beach, Bunes Beach, Vik Beach
- Kvalvika Beach: This beach must not be part of a listing. Because he tops everything we've seen before. It can only be reached via a hike and is spectacularly nestled between two rock faces. You can also watch the midnight sun from here. We stayed here for one night in a tent.
- Hamnøy, Sakrisøy & Reine - the most beautiful 5km in the world: Hardly any other place in Lofoten takes as many photos as here. But here you will find the prettiest motifs on the island.
- Å: Many people are drawn to the fishing village because of the name, but you can find enchanting rorbuer, i.e. fisherman's huts, and one of the best bakers on the islands here.
- Bodø: Small but modern town in the fjord. There is also a lot of street art to see here.
- Nordland National Park: When driving to Sweden you will automatically pass the National Park Center. A short hike leads to a spectacular waterfall.
- Wilderness Road (Vildmarksvägen): The Wilderness Road lives up to its name. On the horseshoe-shaped route, which leads from central Sweden to the Norwegian border over a high plateau and back, you will see rapids, waterfalls, mountains and simply breathtaking nature. You should plan two days for the Wilderness Road.
- Fulufjället National Park: Here you will find one of Sweden's highest waterfalls, and you can also hike over a beautiful high plateau.
- Glaskogen Nature Reserve: Sweden like in a picture book. The park offers endless forests, crystal clear lakes, hiking trails and a nice café.
- Fjällbacka and Smogen: The two places are among the prettiest towns in Sweden. The contrast of colorful houses and smooth rocks make the places on the west coast of Sweden special.
- Gothenburg: The second largest city in Sweden is particularly popular because of the Haga district. Here you will find traditional wooden houses and pretty cafes. *Unfortunately, due to illness towards the end of the trip, we had to make minor adjustments to the route. Shown is the planned route, as I would still recommend it.
6. Camping tips for Sweden and Norway: Our favorite places
As is well known, the parking spaces are almost as important on a road trip as the sights. That's why I would like to tell you about our favorite pitches here. Please understand that I only name the official places, i.e. free parking spaces for campers and campsites, and do not want to share any wild spots here.
Dänemark: Taarup Strand Camping bei Nyborg
Campsite right on the beach. Clean sanitary facility. Well located for travel via Denmark and the bridges.
South of Sweden/close to Stendörrens Naturreservat: free Womo-Parkplatz im Nynäs Naturreservat.
The small, free car park is a hit if you are looking for a parking space near the beautiful Stendörrens nature reserve. Two toilets, asphalt parking lot, covered cooking area. Tip: Take a short hike through the magical forest from the car park.
Central Sweden (close to Hudiksvall/E4) Norra Dellen Familiencamping
Campsite in a typical Swedish landscape: pine forest, crystal-clear lake with a beach, jetty, etc. The pitches are in the forest and kept very naturally, some with a lake view. There is also a sauna and boat rentals. One of our favorite places, albeit a bit off the beaten track. The site offers pitches and cozy cottages.
Östersund: Camp Route 45
Campsite on the E45 near Vildmarksvägen. The place is run by a very nice Dutch family. Be sure to try the burgers (also vegan). Pitches by a river. In addition to the pitches with and without electricity, there are also stugas (huts) for cheap rent.
Jokkmokk: Gustafssons Camping
Campsite by the lake (amazing sunset) with a sandy beach. Sanitary facilities a bit outdated, but we still felt comfortable here for one night. Extremely many mosquitoes in the whole region. Summer in northern Sweden.
Kiruna: Camping Alta
Large-scale campsite on the lake with huts, camper pitches and sauna. Unfortunately, you can only use the kitchen if you rent a cabin. But we had a very nice place directly on the lake (without electricity). In the evening you noticed that there were only a few parking spaces in the area, it got pretty crowded.
Lofoten: Gullesfjord Camping
Guter Campingplatz für eine Zwischenübernachtung von Abisko kommend. Schöner Fjordblick, kleine Küche, alles, was man so braucht. Eher nichts für längeren Aufenthalt.
Lofoten: Rystad Lofoten Camping
For us the most beautiful campsite in Lofoten. Nestled in the fjord with its own small beach. Very centrally located near Henningsvær. Particularly beautiful pitches can be found in the rear area away from the large meadow.
7. Wild Sweden in two weeks: Alternative route
- Arrival by ferry via Malmö or Gothenburg Day trip to the Tivendens National Park Stockholm or Stendörrens Naturreservat, depending on whether you want to see nature or a city.
- High Coast: Hike in Skuleskogen National Park (or alternatively take the cable car up Skuleberg).
- Wilderness Road (2 days)
- Day trip to Fulufjället National Park to Sweden's highest waterfall
- Day trip to Glaskogen National Park, relaxed hike by the lake.
- Visit the pretty towns of Fjällbacka and Smogen
- Gothenburg, coffee in the Haga district
- Departure via Gothenburg or Malmo
Read also: More Sweden Adventure
The most beautiful national parks, a road trip through Scandinavia and many tips about traveling through Sweden and Scandinavia can be found in these blog posts.
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