Renting a car in Sweden: All you need to know in 2024


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Renting a car in Sweden opens up a world of stunning natural beauty and charming towns beyond the major cities. 

If you dream of exploring Sweden’s picturesque landscapes at your own pace, a rental car is the key. But, navigating rental procedures in a foreign country can be intimidating. 

This guide will cover everything you need to know about renting a car in Sweden in 2024, from the essentials to navigating the roads, understanding local laws, and even tips on dealing with winter driving and wildlife, ensuring a smooth and unforgettable road trip.

Is it a Good Idea to Rent a Car in Sweden?

Why Renting a Car in Sweden?

Renting a car in Sweden? It’s a great idea. You get to see more than just the cities. 

Sure, Stockholm, Gothenburg, and Malmo are must-visits, and they’re beautiful cities. I totally recommend you visit them. 

But there’s more. Sweden’s nature is breathtaking. 

A car allows you to explore at your own pace and reach small towns and hidden gems. 

Public transport doesn’t always get you there. With a car, you’re in control. You can decide where to go next and where to stop to admire the surroundings for a while. Swedish roads are well maintained, and the country is said to have some of Europe’s best highways and secondary roads.

Families enjoying a sunny day by a calm lake with a large slide and greenery in Sweden, depicting the leisure activities accessible by renting a car and traveling through the Swedish countryside. Pin
Great place to have a break on the road

🚙 When I book a Sweden car rental online, I recommend and use Discover Cars because they always seem to have the best rates.

Why Not Rent a Car in Sweden?

On the other hand, car rentals in Sweden may not suit everyone. For example, visitors who prefer urban adventures might see little need for a vehicle in cities like Stockholm, Gothenburg, or Malmö. 

These cities offer top-notch public transport systems that are both efficient and eco-friendly. 

Finding and paying for parking can be difficult and expensive, especially with Stockholm’s congestion charges. 

So, if city exploration is your goal, leave the car behind. Relying on Sweden’s public transportation could be a wiser, more eco-conscious decision.

Can I rent a car in Sweden?

As far as what’s required to rent a car in Sweden, there are four things you need to have for a Sweden rental car: 

1) a valid driving license, 

2) a credit card, 

3) to be of age (20 or older), and 

4) insurance.

Important documents

When you pick up the car, you need a valid driver’s license held for at least one year and an ID or passport. 

Licenses from countries not in the Geneva/Vienna Convention on Road Traffic agreement need an English translation. 

No photocopies, digital licenses, learner’s permits, or restricted licenses are accepted. Your identity documents will be verified when you collect the car. Renters from outside Sweden must also show a valid passport.

International Driving Permit

Bring an International Driving Permit to supplement your national license if your license isn’t in the Roman alphabet (e.g., Arabic, Japanese, Cyrillic, etc.).

An aerial view of a traditional Swedish red cabin with snowy patches around it, featuring a car with open doors, illustrating the ease of travel and lodging access when renting a car in Sweden for a winter getaway. Pin
Ski trip to Romme – just two hours from Stockholm

Age Restrictions

Though you can drive at 18 in Sweden, car rental requires you to be at least 20. Some car categories have a higher minimum age.

If you are younger than 21, you will have to pay additional fees to the rental company.

Renting a Car in Sweden as an American

For U.S. citizens, your home country’s license works in Sweden. If you plan to stay in Sweden for over a year, you must get a Swedish driver’s license. 

Best Car Rental Companies in Sweden

Major Car Rental Companies

There are many car rental companies in Sweden.

You can find private dealers, but the most common way (and the most reliable) is to book a car from a major rental company. These companies have car rental locations across Sweden, especially at airports.

My favorites are:

  • Europcar
  • Avis
  • Enterprise
  • Hertz
  • Sixt
  • Alamo
A quaint red Swedish farm shop, 'GÅRDSBUTIK,' surrounded by lush greenery and a clear blue sky, highlighting the type of local gems accessible with the freedom of renting a car in Sweden. Pin
You need a car to visit some places

Online Price Comparison Sites

When it comes to booking rental cars, my go-to is DiscoverCars.  I’ve had excellent experiences with them and their customer service.

So, how does DiscoverCars work? It’s simple yet effective. DiscoverCars compares car rental deals from many companies so that you can choose the best one for your trip.

Their goal? To offer transparent pricing, they include all mandatory fees, taxes, and extras in their quotes while negotiating deals directly with car rental companies to lower prices.

I saved money and time with DiscoverCars. Their prices are hard to beat.

How to Reserve Your Car Online with Discover Cars?

Step 1: Go to

Step 2: Select your pick-up/drop-off location and pick-up date and click “Search Now.”

Step 3: Browse through the search page. 

Each vehicle has a summary box where you can check the reviews and rental documents before clicking “View.”

Step 4: Once you’ve selected your car, you’ll be taken to a booking page where you can review the details. On this page, you can choose full coverage and optional extras such as additional drivers, GPS, baby seats, etc.

Step 5: Then the right car is chosen – time to book. After your booking confirmation, you’ll be sent a voucher, which you’ll need to show when you pick up the car. 

Please make sure to look at it, as it contains the most important information about your upcoming trip.

Tips to consider when renting a car online with Discover Cars

Choose suppliers with 8.0 or higher ratings

Choosing car rentals wisely is key. I always go for options with ratings of 8 out of 10 or higher. Why? To avoid hidden fees and poor service. 


This method has a simple logic. Paying a little more often means better service, which is a trade-off I’m willing to make when traveling with my family. 

So, when booking, prioritize service ratings over the lowest price by filtering results by ratings.

Always check rental conditions

Always read the rental conditions. They have all the crucial information you must know before renting a car. 

The rental conditions list information such as what kind of card you need, which documents to bring, details about fuel, and more.


This is a vital step you cannot skip. Make it a point to read the rental conditions to avoid surprises and ensure a smooth rental process. 

Book your rental car with Full Coverage

Booking your rental car with Full Coverage is a smart move for a stress-free road trip. 

Full Coverage from Discover Cars covers the deductible for damage and theft. It also covers repair costs, towing, taxi fares post-accident, lost keys or lockout situations, and specific fees related to damage or loss of use.


I always choose Full Coverage with Discover Cars, and I’m in good company. On the Discover Cars website, it’s noted that 85% of renters opt for their Full Coverage Policy.

For a daily rate of about $7-10 USD, Discover Cars provides coverage for damage to the rental vehicle up to 33600.00 SEK (approximately USD 3,300).

Car Rental Tips: Tips for Booking a Sweden Rental Car

Pay in Local Currency

When renting a car, it is recommended that you pay in Swedish krona instead of your card’s currency to avoid extra fees or conversion rates. 

Upon receiving the car, instruct the rental company to charge you in Swedish krona. The machines might automatically switch to your currency, so be sure to specify your preference.

One-Way Rentals

It’s important to note that if you’re considering a one-way rental, meaning you pick up the car in one city and return it to another, you may be charged an extra fee for this service. 

Make sure to include this in your budget

🚙 When I book a Sweden car rental online, I recommend and use Discover Cars because they always seem to have the best rates.

Hold Charges / Deposits

It’s important to know that when you rent a car, the rental agency will put a “hold” on your credit card for the total rental amount plus a deposit. Therefore, it’s essential to ensure that you have a sufficient credit limit on your credit card to cover this before renting a car.

Car Insurance

In Sweden, third-party liability insurance is mandatory. It covers damage to others or their property. 

Check if your credit card offers insurance for renting cars. It can save you a lot on insurance costs.

Crossing Borders

Researching rental companies’ fees for crossing borders before traveling abroad is essential.

Hello Norway!

Adding Baby and child seats as Extras

Adding a baby or child seat to your reservation instead of bringing your own can be really helpful, especially because it means you have fewer things to carry with you.

But it comes at a high cost – literally!

Not only that, but rental companies usually have limited availability, and even though you book your car with a baby seat, the right seat might not be available, and the seat might not be very clean or easy to install. 

It’s good to consider these things when deciding whether to add a child seat to your car rental.

We generally prefer to bring our own child seats. It gives us peace of mind that we won’t start our vacations with a headache of looking for a seat for our kids.

A child sits on a green park bench shaped like a serpent, facing a serene lake surrounded by trees in Sweden, capturing the peaceful outdoor activities accessible when renting a car to explore the country. Pin
Taking a short break on our road trip

Inspect and Take Photos/Videos

Before leaving the car rental office, thoroughly inspect the vehicle inside and out. Take photos or videos of any pre-existing damage to prove that you did not cause it.

Fill Up the Tank Before You Return the Car

Fill up the rental car’s gas tank before returning it. Rental agencies tend to charge high fees for partially filled tanks. 

Also, it is advisable to fill up the tank near the return station, usually within 10km. When picking up the car, you can ask the rental agency about the nearest gas station and save it in your phone’s GPS to locate it quickly when returning the car. 

Be sure to keep the receipt as proof of refueling.

After Returning

Check your credit card statement two weeks after returning the car. Dispute any unjust charges with the rental agency first. If unresolved, then contact your credit card company.

Travel Tips for Driving in Sweden

Scandinavia’s driving regulations are similar to those in the U.S., with few exceptions. The Going Abroad app is an excellent resource for specific traffic laws, including seat belt requirements, traffic lights, speed limits, alcohol limits, and rules against distracted driving.

Foreign License Validity

You can drive in Sweden with a foreign license. You’ll also need a valid photo ID if your license doesn’t have a photo. Licenses not in English, German, or French may require a certified translation or an international driving permit. 

Generally, a U.S. driver’s license is valid for one year in Sweden.

Child safety / Seatbelt laws

Seatbelts are mandatory for all. 

Children under 12 or shorter than 135cm must use an appropriate child restraint. The parent, guardian, or vehicle renter is responsible for ensuring the child seat is correctly installed.

Visiting Barnens Gård in Karlskrona

Speed Limits

In Sweden, speed limits are measured in kilometers per hour (kph) and vary according to location. 

The standard speed limit in urban areas is 50 kph (about 31 mph). This speed limit is reduced in more densely populated city centers to ensure pedestrian safety. 

When driving on open country roads, the limit typically increases to 90 kph (around 55 mph), allowing faster traffic flow across less congested areas. 

Highways permit even higher speeds, usually capped at 110 kph (approximately 68 mph), facilitating efficient long-distance travel.

The quality of the road surface determines speed limits in Sweden. Drivers should rely on widely available road signs.

Speed Cameras in Sweden

In Sweden, speed cameras are often grey with a hint of blue, making them difficult to detect and not always flagged by navigation systems such as Google Maps. 

But there are signs signaling an approaching speed camera, so watch out for these.

If you’re caught speeding, the fine will be processed through the rental car company, which may add extra fees for handling. 

Drunk Driving

In Sweden, the rules against drunk driving are very strict. 

The legal limit for blood alcohol content (BAC) in your system is only 0.02 percent, much lower than the 0.08 percent limit in the United States. 

If you drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) above the legal limit, you can be charged with a crime, even if you don’t cause an accident. If your BAC is very high, the consequences are more severe, and you could face significant fines or even going to jail.

Swedish police can check any driver’s alcohol levels without a specific reason. This shows how serious Sweden is about stopping drunk driving and keeping the roads safe.

Parking Laws

In almost every town and city across Sweden, you’ll either have to pay for parking or use a parking disc to show when you have parked your car. 

Many parking spots have strict time limits, so tracking how long you’ve parked is essential. This guide explains parking rules in Sweden.

Parking regulations often require a parking disc, a simple yet effective way to monitor parking time in free zones with limits. 

Parking disc

Drivers must display this disc, set to their arrival time, to avoid fines for overstaying. You can get a fine if you don’t display the parking disc correctly or exceed the allowed parking duration. 

Generally, a parking disc is provided within your rental car, but to be sure, you can ask for one before leaving the rental lot.

It is important to park your car correctly and pay the required fees to avoid getting big fines. 

Your rental car company usually processes the fine, and they may charge an extra fee for handling the issue.

If you are fined for parking, you can pay it directly. Instructions for payment, especially from abroad, can be found on the Swedish Transport Agency’s website.

Winter driving

In Sweden, winter tires are a legal requirement when driving in the winter, from December to March. So your rental car will have these tires. 


Driving on snow might seem complicated if you’re not used to it, but the right tires help, and the roads are generally clear. Having ABS, a system that helps you brake safely, is good to have in snowy conditions.

Snowy roads can sometimes be less slippery than wet roads.

Keeping a blanket, warm clothes, and snacks in your car is a good idea if you get stuck in the snow. Hopefully, that won’t happen to you, but it’s better to be prepared than sorry!

This time we chose Hertz for our trip to Romme


When you rent a car for a trip in Sweden, you might see many wild animals, especially in the countryside. 

This includes animals such as moose, reindeer, and deer. They are most active during sunrise and sunset. You might unexpectedly encounter smaller animals like badgers and foxes, even in cities.

Hitting a heavy animal such as a moose at high speeds is extremely dangerous for passengers and the car.

To minimize these risks, it’s very important to always drive carefully and slow down near water,  forest, or park areas.

Be extra careful on high-speed highways and when driving at night.

You won’t be in trouble if you accidentally hit an animal, but you need to call 112 and report the accident. This helps take care of the situation appropriately.


✈️ Buy flight tickets in advance

Always buy flight tickets in advance! The place to find the best prices for flight tickets is

🏠 Book your accommodation is easy to use and has many options and filters you can use to book in advance and check availability.

🚙 Renting a Car

I recommend Discover Cars because they always have the best rates and great customer service.

🎡 Plan tours and activities

Viator is an excellent place to start looking for activities. They provide a huge selection and great prices.

Photo of author

Astrid Chacon

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