A stop in the capital, Stockholm, is a must when you rent a car in Sweden. The old town, also known as Gamla stan, is the centre of this city on an archipelago, and packed with sights and attractions such as the Royal Palace, Stockholm Cathedral, and the Riksdagen parliament building. Walk Gamla stan's charming cobblestoned streets, lined with houses that have stood here since medieval times. Two of the most vibrant cities in Sweden, Gothenburg and Malmo, are located in the southern region of Götaland. The former is packed with historical buildings and cultural pursuits such as the Gothenburg Art Museum, while the latter's quaint pedestrianised streets and castle gardens give the city a more tranquil ambience.
The striking landscapes and remote natural pursuits are what makes it a necessity to rent a car in Sweden. The majority of the country remains blissfully untouched by human development, and there are over 30 national parks and countless nature reserves. Store Mosse National Park boasts the largest open moorland south of Lapland and is wild and rugged, ideal for those with an intrepid spirit. Haparanda Archipelago National Park is located in the far north of the country, with large sand dunes and a number of islands. During the winter months, skiing in Sweden is a popular activity. Åre is one of the largest resorts in the country and consists of three different areas with their own style and character, as well as slopes catering to varying abilities. For another popular winter pursuit, Abisko National Park is a premium spot for catching a glimpse of the spectacular northern lights.
Regular flights from the United Kingdom depart for both Stockholm and Gothenburg. While the majority of flights depart from major British airports such as Heathrow, Gatwick, and Manchester, a selection of direct services also operate from smaller airports such as Edinburgh and Bristol. Flights to Sweden's smaller cities and remote regions require a stopover in one of its two major cities. Sweden operates on Central European Time, and is one hour ahead of the United Kingdom. Owing to its latitude, Sweden experiences limited daylight hours in the winter, so driving routes should be planned accordingly. Despite the sometimes challenging driving conditions between November and March, this is also one of the best times to see the breathtaking northern lights, otherwise known as the aurora borealis.
The roads in Sweden are maintained to a high standard, so driving in the country will rarely cause any issues. Vehicles travel on the right side of the road, and seatbelts must be worn at all times. Sweden's drink driving limits are much stricter than many other countries in Europe, with the legal blood alcohol level set at 0.2%. You may be stopped randomly, even if the authorities don't suspect you of being under the influence; this is normal procedure in Sweden. Speed limits vary across the country, ranging from 30 to 120 kilometers per hour. While signs clearly indicate the legal speeds, be especially aware of any changes as you drive through remote towns and villages. Winter tyres are required by law between December and March, as the roads are usually wet or snowy during this period.