Sweden Road Trip

Driving in Scandinavia & the Nordic countries

If you’re looking to extend your road trip and visit some of Sweden’s neighboring countries, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with their roads and traffic situation as well. A road trip through Scandinavia and the Nordic countries is actually quite popular and as being a part of the Schengen Area, crossing the borders is very convenient and simple.

For the most part, driving in Scandinavia and the Nordic countries is very similar to driving in Sweden, at least when it comes to traffic regulations, valid driver’s licenses and car rental requirements (even if some requirements may differ between rental companies). Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland and Iceland are all generally very safe and easy to drive in, but there are a few differences that may be important to keep in mind.

Here’s a quick summary of the traffic situation, road regulations and the most basic information you’ll need for getting around in Scandinavia.

Trollstigen
Trollstigen (The Troll’s Path) serpentine road wriggling up the mountainside in Norway
 

Driving in Norway

The Norwegian nature and scenic landscape is something everyone should get the chance to experience. Occasionally, it is refreshingly different from the rest of Scandinavia with high mountains, deep fjords, blue straits and lush forest areas (and even glaciers). Always changing, never dreary. At times it’s difficult to believe you are still in the same country.

Driving is great in Norway, but be prepared for windling roads upphill, downhill and around the majestic fjords that cuts far into the land. Make sure you don’t miss The Troll’s Path serpentine road or the amazing views from the Atlantic Ocean Road.

  • The age limit for driving in Norway is 18.
  • DUI-limit is 0.02 %.
  • In some parts of Norway the roads may be very steep; be careful not to overheat your brakes on the way down (putting in a lower gear helps). On narrow roads wide enough for only one car, vehicles heading downhill have priority over those heading uphill.
  • Some roads are closed during winter and harsh weather in Norway. Call (+47) 815 48 991 (or 175 within Norway) for 24 hour road condition information.
  • Emergency contacts in Norway are 110 for fire department, 112 for the police and 113 for medical emergency.
  • Call Viking Redningstjeneste 06000 for roadside assistance.
  • Norway uses road tolls. Most of them are automatic but some manual tolls still exist. Read more about them here.
  • The currency in Norway is the Norwegian krone.

atlantic-ocean-road
Atlantic Ocean Road in Norway (Photo by: Håvard)
 

Driving in Denmark

Denmark is a very flat country and driving around is certainly a smooth ride. It’s easy to get there from Sweden – just drive across the Öresund Bridge between Malmö and Copenhagen, or the take the ferry between Helsingborg and Helsingør.

  • The age limit for driving in Denmark is 18.
  • DUI-limit is 0.05 %.
  • Emergency number is 112.
  • Driving conditions in Denmark are very similar to Sweden.
  • The currency in Denmark is the Danish krone.

 
 

 
 

Driving in Iceland

As Iceland is located in the midst of the Arctic Ocean and the North Atlantic, bringing your own vehicle will prove to be difficult. If you’re looking to rent a car (which is very popular amongst Icelandic visitors), we suggest trying Rentalcars.com to find the best possible rates and vehicle selection.

Driving youself favor some well-needed freedom on Iceland, and it’s an excellent way of discovering the most remote and isolated places on the island in your own pace. Driving regulations are similar to the other Nordic countries, but as the landscape on Iceland is very different there’s a few additional things that are important to keep in mind when out on the roads:

  • The age limit for driving in Iceland is 17.
  • DUI-limit is 0.05 %.
  • Road conditions in Iceland are quite different. There are many narrow gravel roads and you will need to drive a lot slower on some routes. Plan for trips taking a bit longer time than what you’re used to.
  • Having a four-wheel-drive (4WD) vehicle is highly recommended on Iceland or you’ll miss out on some very interesting detours.
  • Some roads may be closed due to harsh conditions, call +354-1777 for road information or visit The Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration for updates.
  • Due to the high latitude, the sun may be very close to the horizon. Bring a pair of sunglasses for a more comfortable road trip and to avoid glare accidents in the direct sunlight.
  • Emergency number is 112.
  • The currency on Iceland is the Icelandic króna.

Iceland
The peaceful, tranquil landscape of Iceland
 

Driving in Finland

Finland’s physical geography and climate is very much the same as in Sweden, and driving around is quite similar. You can get there by taking a ferry, either from the Stockholm region to Helsinki or from Umeå in northern Sweden to the city of Vasa in Finland. And yes, you can easily bring you car on the boat.
Another option is to drive around the northern tip of the Baltic Sea if you’re in the mood for a longer drive.

  • The age limit for driving in Finland is 18.
  • DUI-limit is 0.05 %.
  • Emergency number is 112.
  • For roadside assistance, call +358 0200 80 80 or +358 0100 2400.
  • Driving conditions in Finland are very similar to Sweden.
  • The currency in Finland is the Euro.

 
 

 
 

What else do I need to know?

Winter driving
As in Sweden, driving during the winter in Scandinavia might be a bit different depending on the weather, where you are and where you are going. Keep in mind that your trip may take a bit longer time than expected and be extra cautious of potential hazards.

What’s the difference between Scandinavia and the “Nordic countries” anyway?
Quite generally, Scandinavia includes the countries on the Scandinavian peninsula (Sweden, Norway and Finland) plus Denmark. The Nordic countries on the other hand is a cultural merger, or association, that in addition to Scandinavia also includes Iceland and the autonomous regions of Greenland, Åland and the Faroe Islands.

In practical terms however, there is essentially no difference and people often uses both designations interchangeably.
 

Read more:

Driving in Sweden

Driving in winter

Driver’s license in Sweden

Car rental in Sweden

 
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