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 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?

Choose one of the passes below to check prices and to buy your pass (orders are fulfilled by Rail Europe).

Single-country Sweden Eurail Passkey details

Scandinavia Eurail Passkey details

Eurail Select Pass (2,* 3, or 4 countries) → read more about this pass

Eurail Global Pass (28 countries) → read more about this pass

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

*The only two-country Select Pass to include Sweden is the Germany–Sweden pass (there is no Denmark–Sweden, Norway–Sweden, nor Finland–Sweden pass, although any of these combinations are available on a three- or four-country Select Pass).

Extra tip: The Scandinavia Eurail Pass covers all four countries in this region and is cheaper than a Eurail Select Pass covering these same countries.

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), 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.
  • Silja Line and Viking Line overnight ferries between Stockholm and Turku/Helsinki offer 20–40 percent off ferry tickets with any rail pass that covers Sweden or Finland, though cabin accommodation costs extra (discount does not use up a travel day, passengers under 21 not allowed without parent or official parent consent form; reserve directly with ferry companies once in Scandinavia).
  • Passes also grant free or discounted travel on a few less-popular bus and ferry routes (as described here).

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. For example, up to two kids ages 4–15 travel free with each ticket-buying adult on most Swedish trains (though not the SJ-Highspeed); otherwise kids generally ride for half the adult fare (and keep in mind that 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.

Sweden Rail Passes: Key Details

Single-country Sweden Eurail Pass: Valid for one month, not two, after you've activated the pass (whereas Eurail Select and Global passes offer a two-month window of travel).

Scandinavia Eurail Pass: Covers nearly all trains in Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden. Valid for one month, not two, after you've activated the pass (whereas Eurail Select and Global passes offer a two-month window of travel).