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Bus Travel in Sweden Posted by on Jun 22, 2009 in Geography

To continue with our theme of summer travels in Sweden, today let’s talk a little about different modes of transport that are available to you when vacationing in this lovely country. I know I covered air travel once before, and because not that much has changed since then (except perhaps for a few airlines going under), we’ll leave that for now and continue with a more budget-friendly option – such as traveling by bus. Hey, we’re in the midst of a global recession, and I don’t know about you, but for me “cheap” is the word of this summer season.

When it comes to travel, you can’t get any cheaper than going by bus.

Well, yes, I suppose there are even cheaper ways to travel – like buying your own donkey, but somehow I can’t imagine it would work very well in a country like Sweden. Though again, you never know. I think a couple of years ago there was a guy who traveled across Scandinavia on a mule. Anyway… let’s stick to buses for now. The crisis is bad but not THAT bad just yet.

I admit it, I like buses. And it’s not just because I’m a cheapskate. If you ride a bus during the day, you get to see a whole bunch of places and amazing scenery that otherwise you wouldn’t even know existed. One summer, just for the heck of it, I rode buses all the way from Kiruna to Stockholm.
As a bus traveler, I am partial to länstrafik buses. Those are the massive, mostly blue, mostly doubledeckers plowing the Swedish “outback”. Needless to say, I like to sit upstairs and watch the world go by as we zoom to Mo i Rana in Norway, or to Haparanda on the Finnish border. In many places in northern Sweden, those länstrafik buses will be your only choice, and unfortunately, their prices will also reflect this fact.

The further south you go, your options in bus travel increase tremendously. Here are a few bus companies ready to take you almost anywhere in Sweden and beyond.

Yes, this is “bus” with only one “s”. From Stockholm, this company can take you to Göteborg, Oslo, Malmö and many other destinations in between. Unfortunately, their website is only in Swedish.

I know this provider very well, I’ve spent many a long night (and day) on their buses going between Umeå and Stockholm. This is probably the cheapest option on this particular route, and those buses are always filled up with student crowds commuting to and from UMU. What’s nice about Ybuss is that they also stop at Arlanda airport, and hence provide a very attractive alternative for those in Norrland connecting to charter flights.

Not exactly a summer photo, I know, but this just goes to show you that buses in Sweden run year-round, even in conditions that would cripple traffic in most other countries.

is in cahoots with Ybuss these days, and thanks to that you can have a more or less seamless travel experience all the way down to Köpenhamn and beyond. What’s good about Swebus is that their website is multi-lingual.

is a company previously known as Säfflebussen and you will frequently hear folks refering to it by its old name. No worries, it’s one and the same.

Covers southern Sweden, as well as Oslo and Kastrup (that’s the international airport in Copenhagen).

again mostly southern Sweden, but it goes as far north as Sundsvall.

This is another one of my favorites.

This one is a long-distance institution in its own right. It can take you all the way from Haparanda (or rather Torneå – as its Finnish twin is known in Swedish) to Stockholm for only 570 SEK one way (no student discount on this route).

One thing to keep in mind when trying to book bus tickets on-line. Some bus websites accept search queries without Swedish letters å, ö, and ä, but many do not (the ones that don’t have a drop down box with destinations), so don’t get frustrated when the search results look like total nonsense. Just type in your search parameters again using Swedish letters and you will be on your way in no time.

Happy travels (by bus)!!!

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Comments:

  1. Sean Schneider:

    The average price of a donkey is around 30.000 kr. I think the bus is cheaper.

  2. Kenia:

    ha ha. Sean, but you buy the donkey just once and you can use it in serveral trips. Eventually it will be more economic. LOL!

  3. Majlis Hanson:

    We had a little great experience with urban buses. We took the bus from Bjorketorp to downtown Gothenburg (Goteborg) -about 50 kms. or so for the first and only time and noticed that there was a clock on the bus. Doesn’t that give one an impression that bus service in Sverige must be very on time to dare display the clock? Also, I still not 100% understand the way we paid our fares! In preparing for our alone adventure -without a citizen from the host country -, we boaded the bus coins and bills in hand-like we could use to pay here in Canada -besides prepaid tickets or monthly or day passes. The drive took some money and gave us a card -like credit card, which we understood that it was like a gift card over here that we could reload and use it again and again… The seats were comfortable, and there were even curtains on windows…

  4. Anna:

    hahaha Sean! 🙂 But just imagine what riding a donkey would do for reducing your carbon footprint! No ethanol powered bus could even come close. 😉

    Kenia,
    I will have to ask some math students to calculate it for me – when that donkey would pay for itself and become more economical. LOL!

    Majlis,
    you are absolutely right, buses in Sweden are generally very clean and comfortable. And personally, I am not so keen on the rechargeable bus card system. In many (if not all) places you pay a deposit to have that card issued and if you are like me, chances are you’ll never turn it in to get your money back when you’re leaving that town for good. I preferred the old style paper card for a set number of rides. However, this is not really applicable to private bus companies. With them you just buy a regular single ride ticket and that’s all.

  5. Sean Schneider:

    Methane is the most potent greenhouse gas in the world! I hate to imagine how much a donkey would produce. That being said, you would have that cool Sancho Panza look (http://ellibrodegeno.files.wordpress.com/2007/06/sancho-panza.jpg).

  6. ketu:

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