12 Practical tips for vanlifing in Sweden

by Jasper and Lonneke
7 July 2021
Comments 0

After spending 2 months traveling through Sweden all the way from the south to the north. We discovered some handy things in this country that is so perfectly tailored for living and traveling in a van. Some might be a bit obvious but couldn’t be left out, but others might be the perfect tips for traveling this country on a low budget. If you have a good one that we forgot to mention here, do not hesitate to leave a comment.

  1. Allemansrätten. This is the easy one, everybody that is planning to travel Sweden in a van has probably heard of it, but it couldn’t be left out. It is also known as the freedom to roam, and it allows you to swim in lakes, access any land, put up a tent and more (read more on it here). It is really the perfect thing when traveling in a van and makes camping on the most beautiful places for free super easy.
  1. No launderettes. Although camping in the wild is super easy, you sometimes need the campgrounds. In Sweden there are almost no launderettes, except for in Götenburg and Stockholm and you need campings to do your occasional laundry.
  2. Water. Topping up your water (or vatten in Swedish) is actually very easy and free. All manned gas stations have a special box with a tap, which you can use for free. If you have a fixed water tank you might need to bring your own connector and hose, but otherwise you are good to go.
  1. Gas-bottles. In Sweden there are a lot of places where you can let your propane bottles be refilled. In a lot of countries you need to swab out the bottles, but here you can just have your bottles be topped up. If you are using LPG for cooking you might find it harder to get as most cooking here is done on propane due to the colder climate. You can find the station closest to you on mylpg.com.
  2. Emptying the toilet. Not the most fun job off course, but it needs to be done and in Sweden you are just able to pull off from the highway and during your break from driving, you can empty your toilet. Most of the rest areas with toilets have a special place for your chemical toilet.
  1. Headlight. In Sweden you always need to drive with your headlight on, even when the sun is out.
  2. Diesel. Although you cannot change a thing about it, it is good to know that diesel is expensive in Sweden. It is even more expensive than normal gasoline.
  3. Mosquitos. We underestimated the amount of these buggers big time. Everybody warns you when going to Sweden and especially when going to lapland that there are a lot, a lot of mosquitos. So be prepared, get all the insect repellent and other remedies, like mosquito headnets, you can get. You can also buy a Thermacell, which uses heat and some substance to repel the mosquitos and it actually works.
  4. Hiken in Lapland. Speaking of lapland, when you want to come here especially for hiking during summer months, don’t make the mistake we did and arrive to early in the season. The time for hiking in most of lapland National parks starts after the 1st of July. Before this time, the staff in the information centers advice you not to go hiking, due to all the melting ice, the very wet conditions, bridges that are not installed yet and boats taking you in and out not running. After the first of July your chances of keeping your feet dry are significantly better.
  5. Tourist Season. The season for touristic places to open up fully is relatively late and in most places start at the end of June. The town of Smogen, a lovely sea side village, only opens on Friday, Saturday and Sunday outside of the high season. So, if you are traveling outside the regular high seasons, check if the places you want to visit are actually open.
  1. Supermarkets. Something where you do not need to worry about opening hours are the supermarkets in Sweden. Most of the supermarkets have very long opening hours, a lot from 7 am to 10 pm or longer and are open every day of the week.
  2. Fika. The very Swedish traditions of having coffee and some sweets somewhere in the morning is in my opinion a wonderful traditions. In most places you can get unlimited refill of your coffee. There are also a lot of vegan or vegetarian options where ever you are going. And most restaurant will have a lunch special that safes you some money.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *