If your visit to Sweden is limited to Stockholm (or anything other big city, for that matter), renting a car is much more trouble than it’s worth due to excellent public transportation as well as difficulties with parking in the city centers. However, although there is a comprehensive rail network throughout the country, it’s good for a weekend away to more remote locations, or if you want to come and go at your leisure.
There are several car rental agencies, ranging from major international chains to small local agencies. Some of the larger companies include Avis, Europcar, OK, Hertz and Statoil. Prices should range between USD 400 and 600 per week, depending on make and model. Check out BootsnAll’s list of cheap rental links or try Scandinavian Car Rental for a local option.
The minimum age for driving is 18. You must have a current valid drivers license that you have held for 2 years.
Rules of the road
Drive on the right and yield to traffic approaching from the right unless road signs indicate otherwise. Seatbelts are mandatory and children up to age 7 must wear an age appropriate restraint.
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Be aware of the high gas prices. As of February 2007, unleaded 95 octane cost SEK 10.86 (USD 1.70) per liter and unleaded 98 octane cost SEK 11.16 per liter (USD 1.75). Since 1 US gallon = 3.8 liters, that’s close to USD 7 per gallon.
If you are in the city, it’s a good idea to leave your car in one of the many parking garages. Street parking can be extremely difficult to find and you may end up walking quite a distance to your destination anyway. (However, if you are planning a trip to the world’s largest IKEA outside of Stockholm, don’t worry, there is plenty of space to park your rented Volvo).
Eurail Global Pass ‘n Drive
The Eurail Global Pass ‘n Drive provides another option to the traditional train tour around Europe. It gives you four days of train travel and two days of Hertz rental car in or between Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, Portugal, the Republic of Ireland, Romania, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
Thinking about moving to Sweden?
For expats thinking about relocating to Sweden and and turning in your American license (which you’ve probably had since you were 14) for a Swedish one, read “Driving me crazy,” the harrowing tale of an American woman trials and tribulations with the Swedish National Road Administration.