How to Travel by Train in Scandinavia

Practical Tips for Scandinavian Train Travel

Sweden, Stockholm, T-Bana central station with Reidarholmen and Riddarholmskyrkan church in background
Marco Bottigelli/Getty Images

It's easy to find train stations in all Scandinavian cities. But what do you do once you're there, and you want to travel elsewhere by train? Let's find out.

Before You Get on the Train in Scandinavia

  1. In the train station, keep an eye on your purse. Scandinavia is a safe region overall, but no region is entirely free of thieves and pickpockets.
  2. Look for the large timetables showing the train schedules. They're hard to miss and show train schedules divided into arrivals and departures. You'll want the departure train schedule.
  3. Write down the destination stop as well as the number of the train you want to take (and possibly a second option just in case all seats are booked.)

Buying Your Train Ticket in Scandinavia

  • If you want to be all set before your trip, get your EUrail train tickets online.
  • At Scandinavian train stations, you can easily purchase your train ticket from one of the automated machines found near the timetables (all take cash, some take credit cards.) Simply select "English" as the language first.
  • You can also go to the ticket windows to buy a train ticket. The train ticket vendors also speak English, but you may be waiting in line to wait for a counter person if you don't want to use one of the automated train ticketing machines noted above.
  • The last option, which we do not recommend, is to try to pay your fare directly to the train conductor. In some locations, that's OK - in others, it's not possible and you find yourself back on the platform, having to wait for the next train. You might even be fine for traveling without a ticket.

Do I Have to Reserve Seats?

For local trains and Scandinavian trains that do not go to a different country, the answer is generally that you do not have to reserve seats on trains. That is unless you expect to travel during the business rush, a busy holiday season, or if you want to make sure to get a certain train seat or sleeper car. International connections should always be booked before your trip, though. You can buy EUrail tickets online.

Is There a Limit on Luggage?

You can bring as much luggage as you want onto the train - as long as you can keep the aisles free. Overhead compartment space is available on all regular trains (except commuter trains/trams).

Are Pets Allowed on Trains in Scandinavia?

Yes, they are. Scandinavia is very pet-friendly and many trains have special seats or pet-friendly compartments for travelers with pets!

Types of Train Tickets for Scandinavia

What kind of train ticket you purchase depends on several factors. Are you traveling on a commuter train in a city, or are you traveling to another city? For short and long distances on regular trains, the automated machines in the local train station determine your type of ticket and ticket price automatically. Light rail or commuter trains (also called Metro trains, or trams) within a city also offer easy-to-use automated machines usually located where the train stops. So, no sweat when it comes to the type of ticket.

If you want to take the train from one country to another, you should get your ticket before you visit Scandinavia: through the EUrail Pass program, which offers flexible ticketing and online reservations in advance.

Is Smoking Allowed on Trains in Scandinavia?

No, it isn't. There are a few trains with dedicated smoking departments but even those are becoming rare.

Was this page helpful?