Things You Should Know Before Moving to Sweden

| © Nattee Chalermtiragool / Alamy
Jozef Brodala

Sweden is a wonderful place to live with its kind people, excellent public services and corporate culture that encourages people to have a good work-life balance. It is no surprise that many people decide to move to Scandinavia’s largest country to enjoy all of the things that Sweden has to offer. However, there are some important things to know before moving to Sweden – useful and helpful things, the kind of knowledge that can make any move smoother. Here are the best of them.

Did you know you can now travel with Culture Trip? Book now and join one of our premium small-group tours to discover the world like never before.

You can save by shopping around and planning ahead

At first glance Sweden can seem like a very expensive place, with eating out particularly pricey. But there are some places that offer excellent value – you just have to do your homework. There are discount supermarkets, great lunch deals at restaurants, and sales at shops that can ensure you save a bundle. If you travel at slightly less popular times, you can also save and last-minute train tickets are very reasonable. You can do Sweden on a shoestring, you just have to be willing to shop around.

Pressbyran is your friend

Pressbyran is one of Sweden’s largest chain of shops with over 300 stores throughout the country. At first, it might seem like a simple convenience store that sells magazines, snacks and drinks. However, it is a very important source of knowledge. At the counter they can help you with transport tickets, posting things, topping up your phone, giving you directions, and they even sell items like paracetamol and toothpaste. It is a great one-stop shop and is also very reasonably priced. You can get a cup of coffee and a pastry there for just 25 SEK, which is a real bargain.

It really does get cold in winter

It can sometimes seem like people exaggerate about how cold it gets in winter in Sweden. Many people think that it is really only bad right up in the north of the country around the Arctic Circle. A lot of people who move to Sweden don’t consider just how tough and harsh your first winter can be. It gets dark very early and it does get very cold and snowy. At first, it can be beautiful but two weeks of temperatures being -10 degrees Celsius and having snow everywhere can get tiring. It does get better though, and by your third winter you begin to appreciate and love the cold. Most importantly, because Swedes are used to the weather, public transport usually functions fine and the roads are all well looked after.

It can be quite lonely

Sweden can be seen as one of the toughest places to make friends, with cities like Stockholm being particularly badly rated in terms of friendliness. But there are lots of solutions. Swedes know it can be tough to meet one another and thus there are usually clubs and sports teams to join where you can meet other people. You can find book clubs, chess clubs, ice hockey teams and more, which are always great places to meet new people with similar interests.

The major cities can get quite busy

Sweden, in terms of its population, is not a big country. Its entire population is around the same as London’s despite Sweden being around five times bigger than England in terms of area. Despite this, the major cities, and Stockholm in particular, can feel quite crowded and busy, especially during rush hour. Sweden might have a great deal of land but because the vast majority of people live in the south of the country, there is perhaps not as much space as you think. It’s not anything like cities such as Moscow or Mexico City, but it is worth noting that cities in Sweden can feel fast-paced at times.

It can be tough to find a place to live

The waiting list to get a first-hand apartment contract (where you rent directly from the building owner rather than subletting from an existing tenant) in big cities can get pretty long. There are all kinds of stories about people waiting for over a decade in the housing queues to finally find an apartment with a first-hand contract. But getting that contract is not the only way to secure a place to live in Sweden. You can buy as well as rent second-hand, which is what many people do. The important thing is not to turn up in Sweden expecting to find a place and make sure to do your research before you go.

You can see the world with SAS Youth Flights

Many people move to Sweden to study, whether for a bachelors or a masters degree. Swedish Universities are free for students who live in the European Union and offer top-quality teaching in beautiful locations. This means many people under 26 come to Sweden and there are several great travel benefits for them. One of them is that train travel comes at a reduced price. However, the best travel discount is with airline SAS, which offers Youth Flights to the United States and Asia for Under 26’s. It is possible with SAS to book a return trip to Tokyo or Chicago for under $300. It is well worth taking advantage of these deals.

Getting a personnummer is of the utmost importance

Everyone in Sweden has a special government issued number called a personnummer. It is what allows you to apply for a bank account or a phone contract, and you will use it often – be it when you’re online paying bills or on the phone calling the tax office. The process is quite easy but it can also take some time so it is worth putting it on the top of your to-do list when you arrive in Sweden.

Thinking of a Nordic trip? Our five-day epic adventure to Iceland is full of once-in-a-lifetime experiences, from snowmobiling across a glacier to soaking in hot springs. Alternately, choose another exciting destination from our collection of Epic Trips and Mini Trips.

culture trip left arrow
 culture trip brand logo

Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip

meet our Local Insider


women sitting on iceberg


2 years.


It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.


I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!

culture trip logo letter c
group posing for picture on iceberg
group posing for picture on iceberg

Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.

map of volcanic iceland trip destination points
culture trip brand logo
culture trip right arrow
landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.