Sweden Rail Passes and Train Tips

By Rick Steves

Are rail passes a good value for Sweden?

Rail passes are usually a great value in Sweden, often saving money over otherwise-expensive tickets while allowing you to hop trains at your convenience (though some longer-distance trains do require reservations).

How do I see whether a rail pass makes sense for my trip in particular?

Train, Bus & Boat Fares: Scandinavia

Map shows approximate costs, in $US, for one-way, second-class tickets. For first-class fares, add 50 percent.

Use this map to add up approximate pay-as-you-go fares for your itinerary, and compare that cost to the price of a rail pass for the number of days you expect to spend on the train. Dotted lines show ferry routes, some of which are discounted if you have a rail pass. Dashed lines show bus connections, which aren't covered by rail passes.

Also, follow the links below for:

More tips for figuring out whether a pass makes sense for your trip
The basics on choosing among rail passes
More tips on how to save money by fine-tuning your rail pass
Advice on deciding between first and second class
Fare-estimate maps outside Scandinavia
Answers to frequently asked rail-pass questions

What are my options for rail passes that cover Sweden?

Sweden Eurail Pass

Scandinavia Eurail Pass (4 countries)

Eurail Global Pass (33 countries) → read more about this pass

Rail Europe shopping cart: Have an order underway? Review and complete it here.

Do I need to make seat reservations on Swedish trains?

You'll need seat reservations ($5–20) for many long rides and express trains, such as the "SJ-Highspeed" class of trains, as indicated in online train schedules. Some reservations aren't available outside Europe, but they don't generally sell out terribly far in advance. Private and shared sleepers on night trains are both available with second-class rail passes.

What do rail passes cover in Sweden?

Nearly all trains within Sweden (including most privately operated lines — but not the Stockholm–Gothenburg route operated by FlixTrain), as well as the following extras:

  • Any rail pass that covers Sweden also covers direct, Swedish-run (SJ) trains to/from Oslo or Copenhagen.
  • On international ferries where the train actually goes on the ferry, e.g. to Denmark, a rail pass includes the trip as long as it covers both countries.
  • Tallink-Silja Line and Viking Line overnight ferries between Stockholm and either Turku/Helsinki, Tallinn, or Riga offer discounts on ferry tickets with any rail pass that covers Sweden (or Finland, for Turku/Helsinki ferries; these discounts do not use up a travel day on your rail pass). For Tallink-Silja ferries, your rail pass grants you a 20–50 percent discount on trips booked in cabin categories A, B, or C (bookable online with code "Eurail"; ferry tickets for just deck passage, sans sleeping cabin, aren't an option on this route). On Viking ferries (Stockholm–Turku/Helsinki only), your pass gets you a 50 percent discount just on the deck-passage ticket price, and cabin accommodation costs extra (and passholder tickets for Viking Line ferries can only be booked over the phone, or in person once in Scandinavia). Note that, on either of these ferry lines, passengers under 21 must either travel with a parent or an official parent-consent form.

Passes also grant free or discounted travel on a few less-popular bus and ferry routes.

Any tips for buying point-to-point train tickets in Sweden?

If a rail pass doesn't pencil out for your trip, you may be able to shave off the cost of your train tickets with some local deals. Keep in mind that in Sweden kids generally ride for half the adult fare, and kids under 7 ride for free (but child-ticket deals vary across neighboring countries).

If buying tickets through the Swedish railway's site, you'll notice a big difference between fare choices: "Non-rebookable" (cheapest, and often sell out in advance), "Rebookable" (these are the rates shown on our train-fare map above), and "Refundable" (much higher fare, but unrestricted). Also, see our general tips for buying point-to-point tickets.

What if I need help with my Rail Europe order?

All orders for passes and tickets are fulfilled by Rail Europe (not by Rick Steves' Europe). For customer-service questions, contact them online (or call 800 622 8600, but expect long waits and periods of unavailability at the call desk) — and keep in mind that refund options are fairly limited.