Sweden

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Flag of Sweden Sweden
Information
Language: none (Swedish de facto)
Capital: Stockholm
Population: 9,234,209
Currency: Swedish krona (SEK)
Hitchability: <rating country='se' />
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<map lat='63' lng='17' zoom='4' view='0' width='270' height='350' country='Sweden'/>


Hitchhiking in Sundsvall, Sweden in the Summer of 2008.We found a ride straight to Alta, Norway.

Sweden is a member state of the European Union as well as the Schengen Agreement. Many say that hitching in Sweden sucks. But it can work very well! Moreover almost everyone speaks English which will increase your chances of learning from the meetings along the way. As anywhere in Western Europe, the motorways are the holy temples of car driving religion and someone standing on them is committing blasphemy. ( I disagree, see Talk Sweden )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. If you travel along the biggest motorway, E4, you will make faster time, but not see that much of Sweden's beautiful landscapes. If your primary aim is to explore the country, you should stay away from E4.

Especially in northern Sweden there are only a 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 on large motorways you have to take care a little on which petrol station you end up on, as there are too many 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. You can find a map of some of the bigger service stations (Rasta) online: http://www.rasta.nu/english.htm Furthermore, some of the service stations are only built on one side of the lane, and drivers tend to remain on "their" side. If you do have the choice, you should therefore try and avoid crossing over to the other side, as only around 1/4 of the drivers there will continue in your direction. Trafikverket distributes a map of service stations (rastplatser) in Sweden. The map shows where the service stations are and what services are offered (usually toilets but sometimes food, petrol or playgrounds as well. The more services offered, the busier the service station is). You can download it here or get a paper copy from tourist information centres.

2022 : Please note that many if not all Swedish cities are operating a big change on the car accessibility to the center. The highways used to cross the cities and have been rebuilt or are being rebuilt around the city. That can make things tricky as a single highway can duplicate and "hug" a town but the configuration of the two roads' reunion can make it hard or impossible to hitchhike there and get the full trafic. A trick to solve that issue is generally remembering that most drivers use google maps / waze so you should sear for the route from you starting point and your destination on these app, then find the city where you are and see which road is indicated. This last update also means that lot of hitchhiking spots mentionned on this wiki might be outdated. Be advised.

Anick-Marie had no chance at all hitching rides on Öland in May 2005. Aurélien hadn't either from Copehnagen to Stockholm in August 2011. On the other hand, Ben had good experiences in 2010, going most of the way across the country up to Finland. In the summer of 2011 Harry Tattersall Smith and Viljami Laurmaa had an incredible time hitchhiking through the north of Sweden. Any memories of the delays have all but been eclipsed by the fantastic charcaters and experiences we had along the way. Their adventures have been documented here In October 2013 six students at Uppsala Unive rsity had a hitch-hiking race to Oslo from Uppsala. Splitting into three teams of two, two of the teams had a really straight forward journey arriving into Oslo after seven hours and three lifts along the E18. The final team took two days, staying overnight half-way thanks to the kindness of a local, but nonetheless they made it!

Counties

Cities

Landscape

Sweden is a rather large country, with very desolate areas in the northern part. Instead of knowing every little city, especially when hitch hiking in northern Sweden, it is more meaningful to have a sense of the different regions or landscapes:

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.

When people talk about the amount of miles they are doing with their car, it's actually Swedish Miles, which equals 10 kilometres.

File:Nannaliftarilappland.jpg
Öresund hitchhiker Nanna knows how to attract the locals in southern Lappland.
Ready to sleep – a pitched tent outside the road in northern Sweden.

Useful info

There's a quite useful map ("vägkarta") which you can get at OKQ8 petrol stations for 15 swedish crowns. 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. Here's another map that you can apparently order for free. {Link is dead - can someone who knows what this was renew/correct it?} At Statoil gas stations you get a free map with statoil gas stations. The OKQ8 one might actually also be free now?

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 one enters a flat or an apartment (or go further into a truck cab than the passenger seat), it is a must to take off ones shoes!

It is recommended to bring insect repellent if you hitch during the summer.

For the best chance of getting "lift", go to the petrol stations or were people stop for food along the road. Some Swedes can be quite reserved and for this reason it helps to introduce yourself (with a smile), instead of just being a stranger on the side of the road. Just a thumbs up will work, but might take longer. After 18.00 in the afternoon hitching is difficult here.

Links

Personal Experiences

Blackratsplo : I hitchhiked from <ref>Malmö</ref> to <ref>Nordkapp</ref> in july 2022. The hardest part was to get to <ref>Stockholm</ref>. if you can do it, you'd better do it from the ferry to <ref>Helsingborg</ref>. I had a rough time getting to the capital city because after a misunderstatement I accepted a lift to 50km away from <ref>Helsingborg</ref>. Only accept rides of 80km or more, in that area and for that destination. I had to get back and hitchhike at the exit of the ferry. An elder sweddish motor biker and traveller offered to let me in an hotel with his customer card so I could get a free breakfast and just after that and a relatively long wait, a lovely Swedish man drove me to Stockholm, bought me a piece of Princess cake and hugged me for saying goodbye. These are just examples of how kind people have been to me all along the way. Be relaxed, be kind, be open minded, speak a good english and Sweden will open its arms to you. After Stockholm, it's easy street. you can easily accept 50km rides. Some people will sometimes offer you to drive you 30km further to a better spot. Kindly ask if they can let you the time to check you map and accept if that's a good option -it often is. Most drivers who stopped were Sweddish. I'd say you shouldn't fear of getting lost in the northen part of the country, as long as you have adapted food and equipment. If you're still on the big roads, even with low traffic it's so easy to get a car that you should wait and walk a bit if you want to have a little dive into the beautiful scenery. My last car to Nordkapp was in the middle of nowhere, on the main road, with 2 or 3 cars every 5 minutes. He drove me for 733km right to Nordkapp. He was a German guy. But 10min before that, I had been dropped by a Swedish father driving his two kids home. He picked me in the most remote place and took me 50km further. So don't think too much about places and nationalities. I actually regretted getting so much big rides after Stockholm as I ended crossing the whole country in 3 days and some extra hours. Making lots of 50 to 100km rides and walking 30min in between is a lot of fun and lets yyou get a real feel of what Swedish people are like. (End of Blackratsplo personnal experience.)

Hi there! I had an amazing time hitchiking (and back) to Kiruna from the Netherlands. I went via the east side up and via the west side back. I would definitely say hitching at petrol stations is a lot easier as you get to approach the Swedes, if you are polite most of them are open to listen to what you have to say, some might brush you off but as already mentioned about everyone speaks English so they won't look at you weird for that atleast! Yes thumbing also works but expect longer waiting times, I would say maximum 2 hours (eventhough I was stuck in Storuman for 6 hours with the thumb). What worked best for me is to just go from petrol to petrol and sleep in the woods next to the station if it didnt work. The more north you go the more abonded roads tend, expect a lot less traffic the more north you go. Also most petrol stations are going to be around smaller towns instead of on the road when you reach the northern part of Sweden. Especially to the west. Going the west road up is definitely more beautiful in my opinion but will take you a bit longer (a lot less trucks), but it is more chill as you can get just get dropped off at every small town because the road (E45) goes through every town and the traffic needs to slow down. So when going west you can really land in beautiful little towns next to big lake and rivers withouth even compremising your travel time!

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