Sweden is a good place to cycle tour as it is cycle friendly with good way marked cycle routes. There are not many large mountains compared to Norway but it is by no means flat. Our experience of cycle touring in Sweden however is confined to the west coast of Sweden when we toured the 'Cykelspåret' from Gothenburg to Lanskrona in 1999 and the 'Cykelspåret' from Gothernburg to Halden in 2002. Therefore we can only go on our experiences in the south west of the country and can't say for the north of the country , although I am reliably informed that there are a lot of trees, lakes and long straight roads that seem to go on for decades.
Sweden has quite a few National Cycle Routes which are reasonably well marked they use cycle paths and quiet roads generally but do take you on to the main roads occasionally but generally there is a small section of the road the other side of the broken white line that you can use. There are also good local routes in the more suburban areas and but they are not as widespread in the rural areas as they are in Holland and Denmark.
All the cycle routes are usually well marked although you sometimes have to keep your wits about you as they occasionally disappear and then reappear, a good map of the local is advisable at times. The routes in the town and cities are marked with black signs with the local destinations marked whereas the national signs merely give you the name of the route and no information of the destination.
Local signs in Gothenburg
A local district sign.
ANational cycle sign.
A local Skåne sign.
These can vary from basic sites with basic facilities to 4 Star sites with all the facilities you could wish for. They are not as numerous as in Denmark and you therefore have to be careful of your route choice. For most of the sites you will need a Camping Card Scandinavia which is valid in Denmark, Finland, Norway as well as in Sweden, the card can be obtained in advance through the Swedish camping web site www.camping.se, however to make it valid you will need to purchase a current year sticker at your first campsite and costs 90 SKr for a family card. More details of the card and campsites in Sweden can be found at www.camping.se.
Prices vary according to the facilities offered how ever the price is based on the pitch rather than per person. However most sites have a reduced rate for cyclist and indeed some have separate areas specially reserved for cyclists. The summer season in Sweden is generally shorter than ours and you might find some campsites close at the end of August or go onto a reduced service untill the end of October checkout www.camping.se which has full details of all campsite opening dates.
Again like Denmark all the campsites we visited had a kitchen for cooking your own meals in. This saved squatting around on the grass to cook and was brilliant for when it was chucking it down with rain, however they don't always provide anywhere to sit down and eat your meal! Oh well you can't ask for every thing.
Like Denmark most camping sites have cabins for hire these can sleep from 4 - 6 people depending on size. These can be hired by the night or at weekly rates and accommodation can vary depending on price, a one night stay in a 4 bed basic hut cost us 400SKr which for 4 persons is only a little bit more expensive than camping. A basic hut usually will have bunk beds (you will need your own bedding/sleeping bags), table and a small stove, pans, plates, mugs and cutlery. There is no sink, toilet or running water and any ablutions are done using the normal campsite facilities. Most sites offer the more basic cabins but some sites have cabins that are much more spacious and luxurious with fitted kitchens, proper beds, TV etc. obviously the price increases pro rata.
Another alternative to the main campsites are the ECEAT- Sweden(European Centre for Ecological Agriculture and Tourism in Sweden) ecotourist farms, these are small farms where farming is on a small scale and done in an environmental way. They offer B&B accommodation and some have small campgrounds. If you go to www.eceat.se there is information and details of all the farms and a link on how to get the 'Scandinavia Green Holiday Guide' which lists all the farms in Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland.
If you are stuck for a campsite, Sweden has 2 organisations that run hostel accomodation, the Sveriges Vandrarhem i Förening (SVIF) have 161 hostels most of them situated in the south, more information can be found on the SVIF website www.svif.se (pages in English) and the Svenska Turistföreningen (STF) which operates 315 youth hostels all over Sweden, with eight mountain stations, and about 40 mountain huts in remote countryside. More information can be found on the STF website www.svenskaturistforeningen.se (pages in English).
Unlike Denmark not all the local Authorities produce maps with cycle routes clearly marked. The Halland district produced a guide (which included sectional maps) to it's main cycle routes but these were only in Swedish and German. Skane district produces a reasonable cycle map which has all the cycle routes marked, however the scale is 1:150,000 and the detail isn't very clear. Maps can only be bought in the larger book shops in the towns and cities.
Geografiska Sverigedata National Lantmäteriverket 1:100,000 maps.
Cost @ SKr 108
These blue maps cover the whole of the country of Sweden and they are topologically very detailed indeed. However they lack detailed tourist information and things like campsites although marked are not picked out in a colour. Cycle routes are marked by a difficult to see green line and a small cycle symbol and there is no indication of the name of the route. There is also no translation in English of the information symbols.
Cycling in Skåne produced by the Skånes Turistråd 1:200,000 Map.
Cost @ SKr 50
This map shows all the cycling routes in the region of Skåne and it's available in English from local tourist offices. The map isn't very detailed and the cycle routes aren't clearly labelled, but it has a wealth of tourist information on the back (in English) giving details of all the places of interest.
Skåne med östra Själland map produced by Motormannens Riksföfbund 1:150:000
Price @ 118 SKr
Although not as detailed as the Blå Kartans this is the best map as far as clearly marking the cycle routes as it is clear and easy to read and of a reasonable scale. It covers the whole of Skåne region but lacks the wealth of tourist information of the tourist office map but if you have local guide you might not need that information.
Cycle trails in Halland
Free at Local tourist offices in Halland region. You can read or order the brochure at halland.se see this link.
This is now available in English or German and it includes some strip maps for the Ginstleden, Cykelspåret and Hylteslingan routes. These can be helpful to find your way if you have lost the signs.
For a online mapping service of Sweden you could use kartor.eniro.se. It is in Swedish but it isn't too difficult to work out It has a route planning and a place search facility.
For GPS users there is a Swedish OpenStreetMap for Garmin available here.
To obtain maps before you go touring try contacting 'The Map shop', they hold a good selection in stock and are very helpful.
Sweden The Rough Guide - Published by Rough Guides ISBN 1-85828-241-1 A very useful guide to all things in Sweden.
Shopping in Sweden is on a par with Denmark in that most shops open weekdays 9-5.30pm and close early on Saturdays at 12.00 or 1.00pm. How ever more food shops now seem open from 9-21.00 on weekdays and 9-19.00 on Saturdays. A few are open 9-21.00 everyday.
Although we haven't tried it, we understand that it is now possible to take your bikes on the Swedish trains. There are some limitations, including rush hour times and a limited to a period between 15th June and 17th August. There is some more information on the SJ site here.
As far as buses are concerned we understand that you can take bikes on most Swedish buses. Thanks to Tikky who lives in the Skåne region who sent us this quote:
Some Skånetrafiken busses are fitted with bike frames so that cyclists could take their bikes onto buses. I haven't done this myself but I have seen a kid with a huge bike on the bus in Lund. You can find more info about taking bikes on trains and buses here:
The high season in Sweden is quite short and lasts from the 26th June to the end of July, it's the school holidays and everyone takes their holidays then, after this time you might find that in coastal resorts particularly things start to close down.
You wont have too many problems with speaking Swedish, as English seems to be their second language with most people speaking reasonable English.
Drinks, cans & bottles
Remember that all drinks/beer bottles and cans whether plastic, metal or glass have a refund so don't throw them away, but return them to any shop that sells drinks. For small shops just hand them over at the counter and they will give you the money back. At most supermarkets there will be a machine (usually, but not always near the entrance) which you can put the bottles through and it will print out a ticket which you can then redeem at the checkout.
Under Swedish law all children under 15 years of age have to wear a cycle helmet there is no requirement for adults but it is actively encouraged.
- The Best Coast - Tourist information on the Bästkusten, The Best Coast in southern Bohuslän, the area Tjörn, Orust and Stenungsund
- Camping Sweden- Information on camping in Sweden. (in English)
- Gothenburg - the official visitor's guide to Göteborg, Sweden (in English)
- halland.se – tourist information for the region of Halland (in English)
- Camping Halland – information on camping in Halland (in English)
- Landskrona Tourist Board- General tourist information on the area around Landskrona. (in English)
- Skånes Turistråd- General tourist information for the region of Skåne. (in English)
- Tanum Turist - Tourist information on the area around Tanum. (in English)
- Swedish Cycling Page- Good links to information on cycling in Sweden. (in English)
- The Swedish Travel & Tourism Council- General tourist information on Sweden.
- Swedish Youth Hostel Association- General information about Youth Hosteling in Sweden. (in English)
- Gothenburg cycle routes - information on cycling in Gothenburg.
- Information on Cycling in Stockholm. (It is in Swedish but there is a link to a Google translation)
- Map and route planner for cycle routes in Stokholm. (in English)
- Pedalkraft - a little bicycle workshop for your needs in Gothenburg, Sweden
- Vaetternrundan bike race - The worlds largest exercise race for bicycles around the beautiful lake Vättern, with start and finish in Motala, Sweden. A challenge and experience, 300 km and nearly 16 000 participants yearly.
- Firstcamp - A chain of campgrounds in Sweden with camping and cottages all over Sweden.
- The Map shop, 15 High Street, Upton-upon-Severn, Worcs. WR8 0HJ England
Tel: 01684-593146 Fax:01684-594559