Is It Safe in Sweden?

Nightfall on Stortorget Square in Stockholm's Old Town

Daniel Haug / Getty Images

Sweden is considered one of the safest countries in the world for both residents and tourists alike. In fact, most travelers don't have to consider any safety issues in Sweden as long as they're taking basic precautions and using common sense to avoid scammers, petty criminals, and thieves. Depending on where you're going in Sweden—whether it's a trip to Stockholm or if you're heading out to a farm for a vacation in the countryside—you should research your specific destination before you travel to make sure there aren't any unexpected hazards to your health or safety.

Travel Advisories

  • Due to COVID-19, Sweden has banned U.S. citizens from entering and the U.S. State Department is discouraging Americans to travel internationally.
  • Before COVID-19, the State Department simply advised practicing normal precautions.

Is Sweden Dangerous?

Crime rates in Sweden are much lower than in most other European countries, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't prepare yourself for the possibility of a confrontation or accident on your trip. Violent crime is extremely rare, but tourists do fall victim to petty crime and scams every so often.

In large cities, pickpockets in crowded areas pose the biggest hazard for tourists, but if you are traveling through rural Sweden, you should be wary of varying weather conditions that might impact your safety on the road. The roads in Sweden are typically well-paved, but the weather is unpredictable in this Arctic country and headlights must be turned on at all hours. Additionally, snow tires are mandatory between December 1 and March 31. Wildlife, like moose, also poses a threat on the road, especially if you're driving at night.

Is Sweden Safe for Solo Travelers?

Sweden is a very progressive country and incredibly safe for solo travel, and cities like Stockholm are easy to explore on your own. If going out in the city, solo travelers should abide by their common sense, avoid drinking too much, and have a plan for how they should get home.

Home to many beautiful national parks, you may want to go on a solo hike in a beautiful locale like the King's Trail or the Sörmlandsleden Trail. If so, be sure you stick to the well-marked trails and national parks, so you don't get lost in the woods, which is the natural habitat of Sweden's predatory bears.

Is Sweden Safe for Female Travelers?

Women should feel safe traveling in Sweden, a country where the government defines itself as "a feminist government." This term simply means that the Swedes govern with gender equality as a top priority. While this makes Sweden a progressive place to live, female travelers should still use their common sense as crimes against women do occur. Among other European countries, Sweden does have higher rates of sexual assaults, however, this statistic is commonly attributed to the fact that Sweden has tougher legislation and a wider definition of sexual assault.

Safety Tips for LGBTQ+ Travelers

According to the LGBTQ+ Danger Index, Sweden is the safest country in the world for LGBTQ+ travelers and it has a long history of LGBTQ+ rights that dates back to the decriminalization of homosexuality in 1944. LGBTQ+ travelers can feel very comfortable traveling in Sweden and showing their affection in public, as incidents of homophobia are rare. There is a lively LGBTQ+ club scene in Stockholm and events like Stockholm Pride and the Cinema Queer International Film Festival take place annually.

Safety Tips for BIPOC Travelers

BIPOC tourists can generally feel safe while visiting Sweden, and even though racist and xenophobic incidents do occur from time to time, they are rarely violent. Sweden is very homogenous with over 80 percent of the population being white, but there are some immigrant communities that typically hail from Africa and the Middle East. Generally, BIPOC travelers in Sweden staying for short trips and frequenting popular tourist routes do not report issues, and incidents of hate speech more typically victimize immigrants and refugees residing permanently in Sweden.

Safety Tips for Travelers

  • Stockholm may be one of the safest capital cities in the world, known for its friendly residents and relatively crime-free neighborhoods. However, while there are no "bad" districts of the city, it is recommended that you avoid the Stockholm Central Station at night as vagrants do tend to congregate around this transportation hub.
  • If you get lost in the city, you'll quickly find out that most Swedes speak English and are happy to help you on your way.
  • While driving, keep your headlights on at all times and check for possible ice and snow forecasts before you leave.
  • At dawn and dusk, moose tend to run across rural roads, and might even charge at pedestrians, so drive carefully and keep your eyes peeled for moose during these times of the day.
Article Sources
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  1. U.S. Embassy in Sweden. "COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Information." October 19, 2020.

  2. "Sweden 2020 Crime & Safety Report." Retrieved December 31, 2020.

  3. Government Offices of Sweden. "A Feminist Government."

  4. Government of Sweden. "Chronological Overview of LGBT Persons Rights in Sweden." July 12, 2018.

  5. Index Mundi. "Sweden Demographics Profile 2019." December 7, 2019.

  6. European Network of Equality Bodies. "Sweden: Racist and Xenophobic Hate Speech on the Rise Despite Considerable Preventive Efforts." February 20, 2019.