3 weeks camper van trip to Southern Sweden

With what is going on at the moment, travelling in a campervan is definitely a great option and Sweden is one of the most camper van-friendly countries in Europe. It has a very open policy with regards to camping and other outdoor activities and it is one of those countries which is not overcrowded even during the summer months. With its beautiful wide nature, its deep pine forests and its 100,000 lakes Sweden is an ideal campervan destination. This is our 3 weeks camper van itinerary in the Southern part of the country.

Day 1 – Road from Belgium to Bremen

We started our trip on a Friday afternoon. On our first day, we just wanted to go as far as possible towards the ferry and ended up on a parking lot close to Bremen. This is how most of our longer campervan trips start as we try to quickly change countries in order to discover new places.

Day 2 – Ferry from Travemünde to Malmö

We had booked a ferry from Travemünde in Germany to Malmö via Directferries. Even though several different connections were possible, we just took the cheapest option available and only paid 190€ for a round trip for 2 adults and a Camper. The Ferry left at 11 am and we arrived in Malmö at 8 pm. There will be a separate article about our ferry experience soon.

After arriving in Sweden, we spent the night at this place in order to visit Malmö the next morning.

Day 3 – Malmö, Lund, Ystad, Käseberga

We took our bikes to the center of Malmö, the third largest city in Sweden. The city center was only 2 kilometers away and the main Square is beautiful even though on a Sunday morning the streets were very quiet. We would recommend to visit the city during the week when shops are open in order to experience the real life in Malmö.

We then went back to our Camper and hit the road to Lund, a 30 minutes drive away. Lund is famous for its cathedral which is called “the most powerful representative of Romanesque architecture in the Nordic countries”. It was founded in the 11th century when the city of Lund still belonged to Denmark. The small and colorful streets of Lund’s Old Town also invite you to stroll around.

Next stop, Ystad, a medieval town on the South coast of Scania. We parked directly at the harbor and went to discover the city center with its beautiful old houses. The city is charming but there is no special attraction to see and we quickly went on as the region is mostly known for its beaches.

In the evening, we had quite some difficulties to find a place for the night as all the parking spots at the beach were prohibited for camper vans. This was not what we had expected when traveling to Sweden and its open nature policy. We did not want to take any risks and chose a paid Campervan parking area for 15€ per night in Käseberga. The spot was not bad at all as it was green and very spacious. In addition, the famous stones from the bronze age, Ales Stenar, were just a short walk away. We took advantage of this situation and visited the site at 10 pm, right on time for the Golden hour.

Day 4 – Karlskrona, Öland

The next day, we visited Karlskrona and its historic ships. We parked the campervan on the free campervan area outside the city and took our bikes to discover the city center. There are bike tracks all the way to the city, so we definitely recommend this place.

Unfortunately, the Naval Museum was closed but the harbour in front of the museum is still worth the visit as you can go on board of several museum ships such as the full-rigger Jarramas, the minesweeper Bremön and the Västervik missile ship. We also had lunch in the cafeteria of the museum where you can have a buffet with all kinds of Swedish specialties.

After the museum, we visited the red Admiralty church (Amiralitets Kyrkan) from the 17th century which today is famous for its statue of the old man Rosenbom known from Selma Lagerlöf’s book The Wonderful Adventures of Nils, a must-reed when travelling to Sweden. You can actually lift the hat of the figure and insert a coin and donate some money. The Old Town of Karlskrona is also definitely worth the detour. Its shopping street is animated and nice for a shopping spree.

In the afternoon, we arrived on Öland, an island in the South-East of the country. This is where we finally found what were looking for when travelling in a Camper van to Sweden: Our first dream spot and the possibility to camp with the most amazing view. We spent the rest of the afternoon discovering and enjoying this place and spent the evening around a camp fire with our neigbours.

Day 5 – Öland, glassware museum, lake

Öland is famous for its old windmills which you can find almost everywhere. In the 19th century more than 2000 wind mills decorated the island. Today, more than 300 of them are left and some can be visited for free.

We could have easily spent more time on the island but we wanted to see more parts of the country. This is why we went north by taking the so-called “glass road” all the way up to lake Vättern. The region is famous for its glassware as glass making has been a traditional craft in the country as from the 15th century. We visited the glassware museum with its exposition on “Six centuries of Swedish glassware” in order to know more about this part of the local economy.

After the visit, we continued our road towards lake Vättern but spent the night at a beautiful and quiet lake spot on the road where we enjoyed an amazing sunset at our own private beach.

Day 6 – Lake Vättern: Gränna, Alvastra Monastery and Vadstena Castle

The next day we went to explore Gränna, a beautiful small village famous for its candy. Even though the place is a bit too touristic for our taste, we did buy the local candy as a souvenir.

We then continued our way around lake Vättern and without a plan went to the different places next to the lake. We were a bit disappointed by this busy area until we found the Alvastra Monastery and were seduced by its charm. The monastery had been founded in 1143 by a French monk and after prospering for 400 years was dissolved by the Reformation. Today, you can visit its green ruins for free.

The last stop of the day was Vadstena and its beautiful castle. Unfortunately, we arrived too late to visit the inside of the castle but we enjoyed its outside view with a nice walk at the harbor. The colorful city center also invites you for a walk and some shopping.

Day 7 – Stockholm

We arrived in Stockholm before lunch time, parked at the University car park (only open during the summer holidays) and took our bikes to discover the city.

Stockholm is the capital of Sweden and with its 1 million inhabitants it is the biggest city of the country. However, there is something very special about Stockholm that makes it stand out from other European capitals: the city stretches over 14 islands that are connected by 50 bridges and is surrounded by the most beautiful Archipelago.

After a lunch in the Östermalm area, we visited the famous Gamla Stan, the beautiful Old Town of Stockholm which is also an island in itself. From there, we went to Södermalm, the former working class area of Stockholm, which is nowadays a very animated, young and alternative part of the city where restaurants, bars and design shops create a very special modern urban atmosphere. We then did some shopping in Normalm and visited Kungsholmen and Riddarholmen before getting back to our camper van.

Day 8 – Stockholm Archipelago – Grinda island

The next day, we visited the beautiful Stockholm Archipelago and more specifically Grinda island, a beautiful 2 hours boat ride from Stockholm away. If you want to discover the quiet nature around the city and discover the famous Stockholm Archipelago by boat, we definitely recommend this excursion.

You can read more about this experience in our dedicated blog post: Stockholm Archipelago: A day-trip to Grinda island

Day 9 – Falun Copper Mine, lake Siljun

By leaving Stockholm, we started our 5 days road trip to the north which you can discover in more detail in our blog post Reindeer watching in Sweden: 4 days camper van road trip into the wild.

We started the trip with a visit of the Falun Copper Mine, a Copper mine which run from the 10th century to the 1990s and which was designated UNESCO World Heritage in 2001, where we were able to visit the underground with a guided tour.

After this very educational visit, we enjoyed the afternoon at a most beautiful spot on Lake Siljan. When planning a camper van trip to Sweden, always plan some time to relax at these great and wild camper van spots in order to enjoy the exceptional nature that Sweden is offering.

Day 10 – Lake life in Sveg

This is why, we decided to take it easy the next day and enjoy different spots at lake Sveg. Always make sure that you respect the beautiful nature and don’t leave anything behind.

Day 11 – Road trip to the North – Reindeer Watching

Today, we saw the first Reindeers! What an incredible experience to just discover these wild animals with its big horns just next to the road. The whole day we went from one place to another visiting a local church, an open air museum and waterfalls.

Read our full story here.

Day 12 – Road trip to the North – Reindeer Watching

This day was probably the highlight of our trip. We took a walk in the middle of nowhere and drove on the highest road of Sweden, a road that belongs to the reindeers which we were able to observe extremely close by. Such a special experience.

Day 13 – Going back South

After some great days getting a glimpse of what Northern Sweden looks like, we had to start our way back to the South. As we wanted to quickly reach the Bohuslän coast in the North of Gothenborg, we basically sacrificed one day to drive most of the time but not without enjoying another evening with a beautiful sunset at one of Sweden’s 100,000 lakes.

Day 14 – BohuslÄn coast – StrÖmstad – Rock carvings

We finally arrived at the famous Bohuslän Coast in the North of Gothenburg. We started our 5 days road trip by visiting Strömstad, a quite luxury harbour town where wealthy boat owners spend their holidays. Even though the colorful typical buildings around the harbor are quite nice, the place was a bit too fancy for us and we decided to quickly go on.

The next stop on our trip was a bit more historic. The Tanum rock carvings are definitely a must-do in the area. It was already late when we arrived and initially we only wanted to spend the night on the big parking area. However, when we left the camper van after dinner we noticed that the area of the carvings is accessible 24/7. As it was still not dark, we visited the carvings without many other tourists and truly enjoyed trying to read the different kinds of figures which date back to the Bronze age (1800-500 BCE)!

The site is an UNESCO World Heritage and on more than 600 panels thousands of signs showing animals, boats and warriors. The main rock of the site is called Vitlyckehäll and shows almost 300 carvings. The carvings are painted red in order for them to be more visible for visitors. Even though this practice is often criticized, it definitely reaches its aim.

Day 15 – BohuslÄn Coast – Grebbestad – FjÄllbacka – Kungshamn

The Vitlycke museum offers further explanations on the history of the carvings. Unfortunately, the museum was closed due to the pandemic so we cannot say whether it is worth the visit.

We continued our road to Grebbestad, a small town with a marina, which is famous among Swedish tourists. Behind the marina, we took the stairs up the huge rock in order to reach its top that offers a beautiful view on the city and the sea.

Next stop, Fjällbacka, another idyllic town with a harbour and another walk up the rocks in order to enjoy the view. We would recommend to avoid visiting on week-ends during the summer months because the place quickly gets crowded.

In the evening, we arrived in Kungshamn where we spent the night at a beautiful spot just next to the harbour with dozens of red cabins. What an amazing scenery.

Day 16 – BohuslÄn Coast – SmÖgen -Fjord

Another day, another adventure. Today, we tried to visit Smögen, one of the most photographed spots in Sweden. Unfortunately, this was the first time that we had huge problems to find a place to park the van and we even damaged our camper when we tried to make our way through the narrow and steep streets the city center.

One of us still had a quick look to the place but we quickly left the small city center in order to reach a more quiet place. We were not really in the mood of visiting another city that day and we had to find a workshop to repair the damage. This is a typical story for what van life sometimes really looks like.

Day 17 – BohuslÄn Coast – Lake life and kayaking

The next day, after repairing our camper van, we had to relax from all that trouble and went on a hunt for the most beautiful lake spot to spend the night. And we were not disappointed. We found a beautiful and quiet area, not so easy to access but just next to a small lake. We spent 24 hours enjoying this lonely spot and kayaking all alone on the small lake.

Day 18 – BohuslÄn Coast – Marstrand

Marstrand is a small island not far from Gothenburg with the Carlsten Fortress on its top. We had to park our camper at the paid motorhome area on the mainland and took the ferry in order to reach the island. The ferry ride only takes a few minutes and the boats run basically all the time until late in the evening.

When arriving by ferry, you arrive in the colorful Old Town of Marstrand where you can find a few shops and restaurants. However, we would recommend to take a picnic and explore the back of the island with its small hiking trails. We did not expect to find such a beautiful quiet nature on an otherwise very touristic island and really enjoyed our walk.

Marstrand and its coast is also particularly interesting to see by kayak. This is why, in the afternoon, we went back to our camper van, took our kayak and explored the beautiful stony coast.

Day 19 – Kayaking and Road back to Malmö

Before leaving the country, we wanted to enjoy a last kayak experience and stopped at a fjord on our way to Malmö. We found this spot for the day. In the afternoon, it was time to get close to the ferry and we spent our last night in Sweden at this spot.

Day 20 – Ferry

We took the ferry to Germany in the morning. 9 hours later we arrived in Travemünde and were quickly looking for a spot to the night. We found a beautiful free camper van spot right in the center of the village of Sittensen next to a small park with a lake and a barbecue area. These spots offered by the village are always extremely appreciated and we took the advantage of shopping at the local shops.

Day 21 – Road back home

After a German breakfast from the local bakery, it was time to go back to Belgium in order to get back to work. We will keep great memories from our three weeks camper van trip to Southern Sweden.

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