Sweden by rail
Travel by rail around Sweden, face glued to the window, on some of Europe’s most spectacular rail journeys. You can do it on a first class ticket, or on a second-class ticket on most trains. But there is nothing second-class about the scenery though – on most routes the natural surroundings are off-the-scale see worthy: how about speeding across the Arctic tundra under the midnight sun, or stopping off for nature walks and berry-picking on the Inlandsbanan service? Couchettes in second-class are available on many routes, for instance legendary bucket-list favourite the Stockholm-Kiruna-Narvik (Norway) line.
The main rail transport hubs in Sweden are in capital city Stockholm, Gothenburg on the west coast, and Malmö in the south. There are daily high-speed services with SJ between all three, and a high-speed train service between Stockholm and Stockholm Arlanda Airport called Arlanda Express. So as soon as you step off the plane you could be embarking on a fabulous rail journey around Sweden.
The X 2000 high-speed tilting train travels at up to 200 km/hour (125 mph) on all major routes and offers the highest standards of comfort. In full-fare business class, you will be served a meal at your seat, and in second class you have access to a bistro car, where hot and cold meals are available.
The Swedish rail network is operated by a few major train operators; SJ, Vy (previously Tågkompaniet), Snälltåget and Inlandsbanan. MTRX and FlixTrain operate between Stockholm and Gothenburg. Tickets can be purchased on each train operator's website.
Epic journeys and destinations
Depart Arctic Circle town Gällivare in the north, to Kristinehamn in the south, on the 1,288 kilometres or 800 mile-long Inlandsbanan; one of Scandinavia’s great rail journeys. There are various package deals available on the service, including an eight-day epic nature adventure in Swedish Lapland or an eventful trip to Jokkmokk Winter Market and other winter gems. Go here for details.
One of Europe’s great rail journeys is from Stockholm to Narvik in Norway. You embark in uber-cool capital Stockholm and disembark inside the Arctic Circle in Narvik, having travelled the Iron Ore line between Luleå in Sweden and Narvik in Norway. In between times, you enjoy the comfort, views and eats, as well as meets and greets with fellow explorers. What’s to see and do? The Northern Lights (winter-time) at Abisko National Park, the Esrange Space Center, Björkliden and Riksgränsen ski resorts, as well as a stay in the unique Icehotel.
Snälltåget (translates as the ‘Nice Train’) is a service that runs year-round between Malmö and Stockholm and in the winter months, there is an overnight train service between Malmö and the ski resorts of Åre and Vemdalen, 900 kilometres away in northern Sweden. Offers first and second-class tickets, photo ops, stop-offs for forest foraging and ‘The Pub’ restaurant carriage – what’s not to like?
And don’t forget – the most sustainable way of seeing Sweden is by train.
Dog on a night train, SJ-trains
On some of the SJ night trains it's possible to take also your pet with you. Naturally there are separate spaces for animals, so allergic travelers are equally welcome aboard.
Photo: Johanna Berglund