Vaasa museum, Stockholm.  It's easy to reach Stockholm by train!

The fabulous Vasa Museum, Stockholm:  The warship Vasa sank in Stockholm harbour in 1628, was rediscovered in 1956 & raised in 1961.  Worth the journey to Stockholm on its own!

 

 

Book hotels with Booking.com

London to Stockholm by train

It's easy to travel from London to Stockholm, Gothenburg, Malmö or anywhere in Sweden by train, a wonderful journey with lots to see on the way, a civilised alternative to a soulless flight.  On this page you'll find a step-by-step guide to planning, booking & making a journey from the UK to Sweden by train or ferry, with timetables, fares and how to buy tickets.  Incidentally, there are now no ferries between the UK and Sweden or anywhere else in Scandinavia.

Which route to choose?

Option 1, London to Stockholm by Eurostar & the Hamburg-Stockholm sleeper.  This is the most time-effective option, with daily departures using the route marked in red on the route map below.  Leave London in the evening, stay overnight in Brussels.  Next day, travel to Hamburg and board the SJ EuroNight sleeper to Stockholm, arriving in the morning.  A night, a day, a night.

Option 2, London to Stockholm by Eurostar with overnight stop in Hamburg.  If you prefer daytime trains to sleepers, this is the option for you, also the route shown in red.  Travel from London to Hamburg on day 1, stay overnight, then travel Hamburg to Stockholm on day 2.  Day, night, day.

Option 3, London to Stockholm by Eurostar with overnight stop in Brussels & Copenhagen.  A variation on option 2, leaving London in the evening, stop overnight in Brussels, take comfortable trains to Copenhagen on day 2, stop overnight in Copenhagen, then take a morning train to Stockholm arriving lunchtime on day 3.

Option 4, London to Sweden by Stena Line Rail & Sail.  The ferry alternative!  As time-effective as option 1, it's the route shown in orange on the route map below.  Sleep in a cosy cabin with shower, toilet, satellite TV & free WiFi on the overnight Stena Line superferry from Harwich to Hoek van Holland, then take daytime trains to Hamburg and the sleeper to Stockholm.  A night, a day, a night.

Option 5, UK to Sweden by ferry from Newcastle or Hull.  By-pass London!  Sail overnight from Hull or Newcastle to Holland in a cosy cabin with shower, toilet, then take a train from Amsterdam to Hamburg and the SJ EuroNight sleeper to Stockholm.

London to other destinations in Sweden:  Malmö & Northern Sweden.

Other useful information

small bullet point  Trains from Stockholm to other European cities

small bullet point  Trains from other European cities to Stockholm

small bullet point  How to buy Swedish train tickets at www.sj.se

small bullet point  Stockholm Central Station guide

small bullet point  Hotels in Stockholm & Sweden

small bullet point  Useful country information: currency, dial code...

small bullet point  General information about European train travel

small bullet point  Luggage on trains &  Left luggage at stations

small bullet point  Taking your bike   Taking your dog

small bullet point  Travel insurance, mobile data, VPN & other tips

Interactive map: UK to Scandinavia

...click on a route for train times, fares & tickets.

Route map, London to Sweden by train Key - Finland via ferry from Germany Key - via Harwich-Hoek Key - via Hull and Newcastle Key - by Eurostar Via the Harwich-Hoek ferry Train travel in Sweden Train travel in Norway Train travel in Finland Travemunde to Helsinki by ferry Helsinki-St Petersburg by train Ferries to Tallinn Stockholm-Riga by ferry Stockholm-Helsinki by ferry London-Norway via Hirtshals London to Oslo by train London-Sweden by train London-Copenhagen by train

Useful country information

Train operator

in Sweden:

SJ, www.sj.se for train times & fares.  Book Swedish train tickets online at either Omio.com (formerly GoEuro.com, small booking fee, happily accepts overseas credit cards, you can pay in Swedish Kr, £, € or $) or www.sj.se (in Swedish Krona, no fee, may struggle with some foreign credit cards).  Private operator MTRX also runs Stockholm-Gothenburg in competition with SJ, see mtrx.travelAll-Europe online train times.

 

Ferries to Sweden:

 

The DFDS Seaways Newcastle-Gothenburg ferry was withdrawn in 2006.

Railpasses:

 

Beginner's guide to European railpasses    Buy a rail pass online

Time zone:

GMT+1 (GMT+2 from last Sunday in March to last Saturday in October).

Dialling code:

 

+46

Currency:

£1 = approx 13 Krona.  €1 = approx 11 Krona.  Currency converter

Tourist information: 

www.visitsweden.com   Hotel search   Guidebooks

Page last updated:

18 June 2024.  Train times valid 10 December 2023 to 14 December 2024.


Option 1, London to Stockholm using the Hamburg-Stockholm sleeper

The most time-effective option!  A new Hamburg-Stockholm sleeper train started running on 1 September 2022, running daily all year round.  If you're travelling to Malmö or Gothenburg, look at the other options as the sleeper passes through Malmö bright & early (well, early...) at 04:24.

London ► Stockholm

Stockholm ► London

How much does it cost?

How to buy tickets

What are the trains like?

1. London to Brussels by Eurostar

Eurostar trains link London & Brussels in just 2 hours, travelling at up to 300 km/h (186 mph).  There are two bar cars, power sockets at all seats and free WiFi.  Standard Premier and Business Premier fares include a light meal with wine (or breakfast, on departures before 11:00).  There's a 30-minute minimum check-in as all border formalities are carried out before you board the train.  More about Eurostar & check-in procedureSt Pancras station guide.  Brussels Midi station guide & short cut for changing trains in Brussels.

A Eurostar e320 train at London St Pancras   Eurostar e320 first class seats

Eurostar e320 at St Pancras.  More about Eurostar.

 

1st class:  Standard Premier or Business Premier.

Eurostar e320 2nd class seats   Eurostar e320 cafe-bar

Standard class.  Larger photo.

 

One of two cafe-bars, cars 8 & 9.  Larger photo.

2. Brussels to Cologne by ICE3

Germany's superb ICEs have a bistro-restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.  In 1st class, bistro orders are taken at your seat.  50 minutes after leaving Brussels the ICE calls at Liège, where you can admire the impressive station designed by celebrity architect Santiago Calatrava.  As you approach Cologne Hbf you'll see the twin towers of Cologne Cathedral on the right, next to the station.  More about ICE3 Brussels Midi station guideCologne Hbf station guide.

ICE3neo at Brussels Midi

An ICE3neo at Brussels Midi.  ICE3neo photos courtesy of OM the rails.

ICE3neo at Cologne   ICE3neo at Cologne

1st class seats on an ICE3neo.  Larger photo.

 

The restaurant car.  See current month's menu.

ICE3neo at Cologne   ICE3neo at Cologne

An ICE3neo at Frankfurt Flughafen.

 

2nd class seats on an ICE3neo.  Larger photo

3. Cologne to Hamburg by ICE4

ICE4s have a restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi, and are capable of 265 km/h (165 mph).  Immediately after leaving Cologne Hbf, Cologne-Hamburg trains cross the Hohenzollern bridge over the Rhine, then pass through the industrial Ruhr.  More about ICE4Hamburg Hbf station guide.

ICE4 at Hamburg Hbf

An ICE4 at Hamburg Hbf.  Click on the images below for larger photos.

1st class on an ICE4 train   Restaurant car on an ICE4 train

1st class on an ICE4.

 

Restaurant car on an ICE4.  Sample menu.

Bar counter car on an ICE4 train   2nd class on an ICE4 train

Bar counter at the other end of the kitchen.

 

2nd class seats on an ICE4.

4. Hamburg to Stockholm by SJ sleeper train

Run by SJ (Swedish Railways), this EuroNight train normally has one or sometimes two sleeping-cars, two or sometimes three couchette cars and two seats cars.  Each sleeping-car has 14 narrow standard compartments with washbasin which can be sold as single or double, plus two deluxe compartments with shower & toilet which can be sold as single, double or triple.  The couchettes come in 6-berth compartments.  The seats cars have 6-seat compartments, but you should always book a couchette or sleeper if you can.  The sleepers convert to private sitting rooms for evening or morning use, the couchettes convert to seats.  Limited food & drink (including beer & wine) can be ordered from the train staff, you can see the menu at www.sj.se/en/travel-info/sj-euronight.html.  A simple breakfast box with jam, butter, rolls, yoghurt and a tea or coffee is included in the sleepers and can be ordered the night before in the couchettes.  Unlike most other European night trains, as this train is Swedish you are not permitted to consume your own alcohol.  More about SJ's Hamburg-Stockholm sleeper train.

AB32 sleeping-car

A sleeping car on the SJ EuroNight from Hamburg to Stockholm.  Photo courtesy of @ayranundspeck.

Standard sleeper, set up as a double   Standard sleeper, set up as a single   Deluxe sleeper, set up as 2-berth   En suite in deluxe sleeper compartment

Standard sleeper with washbasin set up as a double.

Standard sleeper with washbasin set up as a single

Deluxe sleeper with shower & toilet set up as a double.

Deluxe sleeper, en suite shower & toilet.

Hamburg-StockholmSJ EuroNight at Hamburg Altona   6-berth couchette on the Hamburg-Stockholm SJ night train

The inaugural Hamburg to Stockholm SJ EuroNight train in Hamburg on 1 September 2022. The author rode this first departure.

6-berth couchettes.

Larger photo.

Couchettes in day mode on the Hamburg-Stockholm train   Hamburg-StockholmSJ EuroNight at Padborg

Couchettes in day mode, en route to Stockholm.  Larger photo.

The inaugural train from Hamburg to Stockholm calls at Padborg, just after entering Denmark.

Scenery from the Hamburg to Stockholm train

Typical Swedish scenery on the morning run into Stockholm.

Option 2, London to Sweden with overnight stop in Hamburg

If you prefer daytime trains and a hotel to sleepers, this is the option for you.  You travel from London to Hamburg on day 1, stay overnight in Hamburg, then travel from Hamburg to Malmö, Gothenburg or Stockholm on day 2.  Option 3 below involves two overnight stops rather than one, but it's also worth considering.

London ► Malmö, Gothenburg, Stockholm

Stockholm, Gothenburg, Malmö ► London

How much does it cost?

How to buy tickets

Another way to buy tickets

Using an Interrail pass

Have your trip arranged as a package

How to buy tickets by phone

What's the journey like?

1. London to Brussels by Eurostar

Eurostar trains link London & Brussels in just 2 hours, travelling at up to 300 km/h (186 mph).  There are two bar cars, power sockets at all seats and free WiFi.  Standard Premier and Business Premier fares include a light meal with wine (or breakfast, on departures before 11:00).  There's a 30-minute minimum check-in as all border formalities are carried out before you board the train.  More about Eurostar & check-in procedureSt Pancras station guide.  Brussels Midi station guide & short cut for changing trains in Brussels.

A Eurostar e320 train at London St Pancras   Eurostar e320 first class seats

Eurostar e320 at St Pancras.  More about Eurostar.

 

1st class:  Standard Premier or Business Premier.

Eurostar e320 2nd class seats   Eurostar e320 cafe-bar

Standard class.  Larger photo.

 

One of two cafe-bars, cars 8 & 9.  Larger photo.

2. Brussels to Cologne by ICE3

Germany's superb ICEs have a bistro-restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.  In 1st class, bistro orders are taken at your seat.  50 minutes after leaving Brussels the ICE calls at Liège, where you can admire the impressive station designed by celebrity architect Santiago Calatrava.  As you approach Cologne Hbf you'll see the twin towers of Cologne Cathedral on the right, next to the station.  More about ICE3 Brussels Midi station guideCologne Hbf station guide.

ICE3neo at Brussels Midi

An ICE3neo at Brussels Midi.  ICE3neo photos courtesy of OM the rails.

ICE3neo at Cologne   ICE3neo at Cologne

1st class seats on an ICE3neo.  Larger photo.

 

The restaurant car.  See current month's menu.

ICE3neo at Cologne   ICE3neo at Cologne

An ICE3neo at Frankfurt Flughafen.

 

2nd class seats on an ICE3neo.  Larger photo

3. Cologne to Hamburg by ICE4

ICE4s have a restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi, and are capable of 265 km/h (165 mph).  Immediately after leaving Cologne Hbf, Cologne-Hamburg trains cross the Hohenzollern bridge over the Rhine, then pass through the industrial Ruhr.  More about ICE4Hamburg Hbf station guide.

ICE4 at Hamburg Hbf

An ICE4 at Hamburg Hbf.  Click on the images below for larger photos.

1st class on an ICE4 train   Restaurant car on an ICE4 train

1st class on an ICE4.

 

Restaurant car on an ICE4.  Sample menu.

Bar counter car on an ICE4 train   2nd class on an ICE4 train

Bar counter at the other end of the kitchen.

 

2nd class seats on an ICE4.

4. Hamburg to Copenhagen by EuroCity train

As from June 2023, Hamburg-Copenhagen trains are operated by former German Railways intercity cars like this, now shown in the timetable as EC for EuroCity.  This is only temporary, as brand-new trains being built for DSB will be delivered in 2024.  These ex-DB intercity cars have power sockets at all seats (although no WiFi).  There's no catering car, so bring your own food & drink.  More about the Hamburg to Copenhagen journey.

Hamburg-Copenhagen train at Copenhagen

On 17 June 2023, the first Copenhagen to Hamburg train to use the 'new' German intercity cars is boarding at Copenhagen.  Photo courtesy of Peter Kincey.

2nd clas seats on a DB Intercity train

2nd class seats in are almost all open-plan like this.  There are a handful of 6-seat 2nd class compartments in one of the coaches.

1st class comparment on a Berlin to Amsterdam train   1st class 6-seat compartment on a Berlin to Amsterdam train

The 1st class car has 6-seater compartments like this. Larger photo Larger photo.

Hamburg to Copenhagen train approaches the Great Belt fixed link

Crossing the Little Belt (Lillebælt in Danish) from Jutland (mainland Denmark) to Funen, the island on which Odense is located.

5. Copenhagen to Stockholm by X2000

These Swedish 200km/h (125mph) tilting trains link Copenhagen & Stockholm in just a few hours, centre to centre.  They cross from Denmark to Sweden over the Oresund Link, a combined tunnel and bridge.  On the bridge section you seem to be flying just feet above the water. More about X2000 trains.

An X2000 train at Stockholm Central

Copenhagen to Stockholm by tilting 200km/h X2000, seen at Stockholm CentralMore about X2000 trains.

1st class seats on a Copenhagen-Stockholm X2000 train 2nd class seats on a Copenhagen-Stockholm X2000 train

1st class on an X2000.  Larger photo.

 

2nd class on an X2000.  Larger photo.

Bistro seating area on a Copenhagen-Stockholm X2000 train   Bistro seating area on a Copenhagen-Stockholm X2000 train

Bistro seating on an X2000 train. Larger photo.

 

Bistro on an X2000 train. Larger photo.

On the Oresund link!

Crossing the impressive Öresund bridge from Denmark to Sweden.

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Option 3, London to Sweden with overnight stop in Brussels & Copenhagen

This involves two overnight stops not one, but it can be more time-effective:  Leave London in the evening after a full working day and arrive in Stockholm at lunchtime on day 3, taking only 1½ days out of your schedule rather than 2.  Indeed, in the westbound direction you can have a full working day in Stockholm before taking an early evening train to Copenhagen, spend just one whole working day travelling (a chill-out day with your feet up, or getting some work dome on the train) and arrive in London on a morning Eurostar in time for the start of the following working day.

London ► Stockholm & Gothenburg

  • Day 3, travel from Copenhagen to Gothenburg or Stockholm by train.

    For Gothenburg, Öresund trains run from Copenhagen to Gothenburg every hour.  The first train usually leaves around 05:27 arriving 09:20, but by all means have a leisurely breakfast and take any later one.

    For Stockholm, travel from Copenhagen to Stockholm by 200km/h tilting X2000 train, using any departure you like.  The first train usually leaves Copenhagen at 09:19 arriving Stockholm Central at 13:34 but times vary so check for your date at www.sj.se or Omio.comTip:  Trains to Stockholm often leave from platform 26 which is a 200m walk from the main station concourse, so arrive in good time, see the info here.

Stockholm & Gothenburg ► London

  • Day 2, travel from Copenhagen to Brussels by train.

    Leave Copenhagen at 07:26, change at Hamburg Hbf & Cologne Hbf, arriving Brussels Midi 19:35.

    You travel from Copenhagen to Hamburg by EuroCity train with free WiFi when in Denmark, power sockets at all seats & refreshment trolley, then Hamburg to Cologne by superb German ICE4 and Cologne to Brussels by ICE3, with restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.

    A later 09:26 departure is possible from Copenhagen to Brussels but with no wiggle room for delay, I'd stick with the 07:26.

  • Stay overnight in Brussels.  I recommend the excellent Pullman Hotel Brussels Midi which is an integral part of Brussels Midi station itself, or the inexpensive Ibis Brussels Midi just across the road.

  • Day 3, travel from, Brussels to London on any morning Eurostar you like.

    The first train leaves Brussels Midi at 07:56 weekdays arriving London St Pancras 08:59, or 08:52 weekends arriving London St Pancras 09:57.

How much does it cost?

  • London to Brussels by Eurostar starts at £52 one-way or £78 return in standard class, £97 one-way, £140 return standard premier (1st class).

  • Brussels to Copenhagen starts at €49.90 each way in 2nd class, or from €79.90 each way in 1st class.

  • Copenhagen to Stockholm by X2000 starts at 195 SEK, around £18.

  • Fares vary like air fares, so book ahead.

 How to buy tickets

  • Booking for Eurostar & onward trains as far as Copenhagen opens up to 6 months ahead.  Copenhagen-Stockholm trains open several months ahead, but SJ loads blocks of dates at a time so it varies.  You book in stages, do a dry run on each stage first.

  • Step 1, book from London to Brussels at www.eurostar.com.  If you're making a return journey, book London-Brussels & back as a round trip.

  • Step 2, go to the German Railways website int.bahn.de and book from Brussels to Copenhagen.

    Tip:  Click Stopovers and enter Brussel Noord with length of stay left as zero.  The system then ignores the Brussels-Cologne Eurostar (formerly Thalys) trains as these don't call there and finds DB-run ICEs instead.  Through fares & prices only appear if the Brussels-Cologne bit is by ICE.

  • Step 3, book from Copenhagen to Stockholm or Gothenburg and back at either Omio.com (formerly GoEuro.com, quick & easy to use, happily accepts overseas credit cards, you can pay in Swedish Kr, £, € and $, small booking fee) or www.sj.se (in Swedish Krona, you can usually choose a specific seat from a seating plan, no booking fee but it can sometimes be fussy with overseas credit cards).  You simply print out your own ticket or show it on your phone, or you can choose to collect tickets from the SJ ticket machines at Copenhagen station.

    Tickets on the X2000 trains to Stockholm or Gothenburg have airline-style variable prices and require prior reservation, but tickets for the hourly Öresund trains between Copenhagen & Gothenburg don't need to be pre-booked, the price is fixed and no reservations are necessary or even possible, you can just buy a ticket at the station when you reach Copenhagen and hop on the next train.

How to buy tickets by phone

  • It's better to book online.  But to buy tickets by phone, call International Rail on 0844 248 248 3, lines open 09:00-17:00 Monday-Friday.  Overseas callers call +44 844 2482483.  They charge a £10 booking fee for bookings under £100, £20 for £100-£300, £30 above £300.  In many cases tickets can be emailed to you as e-tickets, so there's no postage fee or delay.

  • Alternatively, call Deutsche Bahn's English-speaking telesales line on 00 49 (0)30 311 68 29 04  (lines open 08:30-20:00 Monday-Friday, 09:00-13:00 Saturday & Sunday UK time, 1.5% fee for phone bookings).  Click here for a list of agencies and other useful information on how to book.

Custom-made travel & hotel arrangements

  • Railbookers are a train travel specialist who can put together a tour or holiday for you as a package, including rail travel, hotels & transfers.  On their website you'll find a range of suggested tours & holidays which can be varied or customised to your own requirements.  And as you're booking a package, they'll take care of you if anything happens to one part of the itinerary such as a strike or delay.  They get very positive reviews.

    UK flag  UK 0207 864 4600, www.railbookers.co.uk

    US flag  US 1-888-829-4775, see website

    Canadian flag  Canada 1-855-882-2910, see website

    Australian flag  Australia 1300 971 526, see website

    New Zealand flag  New Zealand 0800 000 554, see website

What's the journey like?

The trains are the same as those used in option 1, see the photos above.

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London to Stockholm by ferry from Harwich

The ferry alternative, shown in orange on the route map above.  You travel from London to Amsterdam overnight using the excellent Stena Line Rail & Sail service, sleeping in a cosy private cabin with toilet, shower & satellite TV on the Stena Line superferry from Harwich to Hoek van Holland (see the video!).  Next day, take a comfortable train from Amsterdam to Hamburg and the SJ EuroNight sleeper to Stockholm - or stay overnight in Hamburg and travel to Malmö, Gothenburg or Stockholm next morning.

It's as time-effective as option 1, taking just a day (and 2 nights) out of your schedule.  Stena Line Rail & Sail usually offers affordable fares even at short notice when Eurostar is expensive, it's also handy if you live in East Anglia or want to avoid the Channel Tunnel. 

London, Cambridge, Harwich ► Gothenburg, Stockholm

  • Day 1, travel from London to Amsterdam overnight by Stena Line Rail & Sail.

    You leave London Liverpool Street at 18:45 Mondays-Fridays, 19:36 Saturdays or 20:00 Sundays by direct train to Harwich International.

    You leave Cambridge at 19:47 Mondays-Saturdays or 19:45 on Sundays by direct train to Harwich International.

    At Harwich, the station is right next to the ferry terminal and you walk off the train into the terminal, check in at the Stena Line desk and walk straight onto Stena Line's luxurious overnight superferry Stena Hollandica to Hoek van Holland.

    The ferry sails at 23:00 and arrives at Hoek van Holland at 08:00 next morning, Dutch time.

    All passengers travel in cosy private cabins with en suite toilet & shower & satellite TV.  Deluxe Comfort class & Captains class cabins are also available, and there's free WiFi in the lounges, restaurants & bars on 9 deck.  You can get on board the ferry around 9pm, have a late dinner in the restaurant and settle into your cabin.

    This is an integrated train & ferry service, see the Stena Line Rail & Sail page for full details, photos & travel tips.  The special fare from London to Hoek van Holland is valid from any Abellio Greater Anglia station, for example Norwich, Cambridge, Romford, Ilford, Ipswich.

    Next morning, take the frequent metro train from Hoek van Holland Haven to Schiedam Centrum and a Dutch Intercity train from Schiedam Centrum to Amsterdam Centraal arriving 10:25.  See the Stena Line Rail & Sail page for full details.

    At Amsterdam Centraal, have a coffee at the delightfully retro Cafe 1e Klas and give my regards to the cockatoo on the bar.

  • Day 2, travel from Amsterdam to Hamburg by train, leaving Amsterdam Centraal at 11:59, change at Osnabrück & arrive Hamburg Hbf 17:14.

    You travel from Amsterdam to Osnabruck by comfortable Intercity train with power sockets at all seats & refreshment trolley, then Osnabruck to Hamburg  by ICE4 with restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi.

Stockholm, Gothenburg ► Harwich, Cambridge, London

  • Day 2, travel from Hamburg to Amsterdam, leaving Hamburg Hbf at 08:45, one easy change at Osnabrück arriving Amsterdam Centraal 14:00.

    On Sundays when the sleeper from Stockholm arrives later, leave Hamburg Hbf 10:45, change at Osnabrück arriving Amsterdam Centraal 16:00.

    You travel from Hamburg to Osnabrück by ICE4 with restaurant car, power sockets at all seats & free WiFi, then from Osnabrück to Amsterdam by Intercity train with power sockets at all seats & refreshment trolley.  You can check times at int.bahn.de.

  • Day 2, travel from Amsterdam to London overnight by Stena Line Rail & Sail.

    You leave Amsterdam Centraal at 18:35 by Dutch intercity train to Schiedam Centrum and change onto the frequent metro to Hoek van Holland Haven.  At Hoek, the metro station is next to the ferry terminal.  Check in at the Stena Line desk and walk up the gangway onto the luxurious Stena Line superferry Stena Britannica and sail overnight to Harwich in a cosy private cabin with shower, toilet & satellite TV.

    The ferry sails from Hoek van Holland at 22:00 and arrives at Harwich International at 06:30 next morning (day 3), UK time.

    Day 3, Take a train from Harwich to London Liverpool Street arriving around 08:56, or from Harwich to Cambridge arriving 09:41 (10:39 on Sundays).  See the Stena Line Rail & Sail page for full details.

How much does it cost?

  • London or any Greater Anglia station to Hoek van Holland starts at £62 per person each way, plus cabin.

    Cabins start at £34 for a single berth cabin or £45 per cabin for a 2-berth, and are compulsory on the night sailing.  For full details of fares and cabin types and costs, see the Stena Line Rail & Sail page.

  • Hoek to Schiedam by metro costs around €4.  Schiedam to Amsterdam by train costs €17.20.

  • Amsterdam to Hamburg starts at €32.90 in 2nd class or €43.90 in 1st class each way.

  • Hamburg to Stockholm by sleeper starts at €44.90 with a couchette in 6-berth, €69.90 with a couchette in 4-berth, €79.90 with a bed in a 2-bed sleeper or €164.90 with a single-bed sleeper all to yourself.  All prices per person per bed.

  • Hamburg to Gothenburg or Stockholm by daytime trains starts at €56.90 each way.

How to buy tickets

  • Step 2, buy train tickets from Amsterdam to Hamburg at the German Railways website int.bahn.de

    Booking opens up to 6 months ahead.  I recommend registering on bahn.de when prompted, so you can log in and re-print your tickets at any time.  You print your own tickets or can show them on your phone.

  • Step 3 if using the SJ sleeper from Hamburg to Stockholm, book this at the Swedish Railways website www.sj.se.

    Booking opens several months ahead.  You print your own ticket or can show it on your phone.

  • Step 3 if using daytime trains from Hamburg to Malmö, Gothenburg or Stockholm, book at the German Railways website int.bahn.de

    Booking opens up to 6 months ahead.  I recommend registering on bahn.de when prompted, so you can log in and re-print your tickets at any time.  You print your own tickets or can show them on your phone.  Gothenburg is listed as Göteborg Central.  .

    Tip:  You can in fact book from Amsterdam to Stockholm in one go, and this can be cheaper, from €59.90 - so give it a try.  To get the overnight stop in Hamburg, click Stopovers and enter Hamburg Hbf with a suitable length of stay, say 13 hours.  Adjust the departure time & length of stay to get the trains you want either side of Hamburg.  However, you may only find 2nd class fares this way.

What's the journey like?

A train takes you from London's Liverpool Street station directly to the ferry terminal at Harwich.  You walk off the train, into the terminal, get your boarding card & cabin key at the Stena Line check-in desk and walk straight onto the overnight ferry to Hoek van Holland.  The superferry Stena Britannica is the largest ferry of its kind in the world.  The journey from London to Holland is explained in detail on the Stena Line Rail & Sail page See the video.

Stena Line ferry at Hoek van Holland

The Stena Britannica at boarding at Harwich, a floating hotel with private cabins, restaurant, bar, lounges, shop & kennels.

Standard outside cabin on Stena Line ferry   Stena Plus lounge on the ferry to Hoek van Holland

Above left, a standard outside cabin.  Larger photo.  360º photoAbove right, the Stena Plus lounge with complimentary red & white wine, tea, coffee & snacks.

Bar on the Stena Line ferry to Hoek van Holland   London to Amsterdam via the Stena Line ferry

Above left, the bar on 9 deck. Above right, a Captain's Class cabin with complimentary minibar, toilet & shower.

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Scotland & the North to Sweden

You can of course take a train to London then travel to Sweden as shown in any of the options above.  You can buy special connecting train tickets from most British stations to London International, see my advice on buying connecting train tickets to London.

But you can also by-pass London using DFDS Seaways' (www.dfds.com) overnight ferry from Newcastle to Amsterdam or P&O Ferries' (www.poferries.com) overnight ferry from Hull to Rotterdam.  Both have comfortable private cabins all with toilet & shower.  Take a train to Hamburg and hop on the SJ EuroNight sleeper to Stockholm - or stay overnight in Hamburg and travel to Malmö, Gothenburg or Stockholm next day.

Scotland & the North ► Sweden

Sweden ► Scotland & the North

  • Day 2, transfer to the ferry port & sail overnight to Hull or Newcastle.

    Travel overnight by ferry from Rotterdam Europoort to Hull with P&O Ferries or from IJmuiden (near Amsterdam) to Newcastle with DFDS, whichever is most convenient for where you live, arriving next morning (Day 3).  Transfer to the station and take a train home.

    For details of timetables, fares & how to buy tickets from Amsterdam to the UK via these ferry routes, see the Hull-Rotterdam page or the Newcastle-Amsterdam page.

How much does it cost?

  • Check ferry prices at www.dfds.com for Newcastle-Amsterdam or www.poferries.com for Hull-Rotterdam.

  • Amsterdam to Hamburg starts at €32.90 in 2nd class or €43.90 in 1st class each way.

  • Hamburg to Stockholm by sleeper starts at €44.90 with a couchette in 6-berth, €69.90 with a couchette in 4-berth, €79.90 with a bed in a 2-bed sleeper or €164.90 with a single-bed sleeper all to yourself.  All prices per person per bed.

  • Hamburg to Gothenburg or Stockholm by daytime trains starts at €56.90 each way.

How to buy tickets

  • Step 1, book the ferry at www.dfds.com for Newcastle-Amsterdam or www.poferries.com for Hull-Rotterdam.

  • Step 2, buy train tickets from Amsterdam Centraal to Hamburg Hbf (or if arriving from Hull, Rotterdam Centraal to Hamburg Hbf) at the German Railways website int.bahn.de.

    Booking opens up to 6 months ahead.  I recommend registering on bahn.de when prompted, so you can log in and re-print your tickets at any time.  You print your own tickets or can show them on your phone.

  • Step 3 if using the Hamburg-Stockholm sleeper, book this at the Swedish Railways website www.sj.se.

    Booking opens several months ahead.  You print your own ticket or can show it on your phone.

  • Step 3 if using daytime trains from Hamburg to Malmö, Gothenburg or Stockholm, book at the German Railways website int.bahn.de

    Booking opens up to 6 months ahead.  I recommend registering on bahn.de when prompted, so you can log in and re-print your tickets at any time.  You print your own tickets or can show them on your phone.  Gothenburg is listed as Göteborg Central.  .

    Tip:  You can book from Amsterdam to Stockholm in one go, and this can be cheaper, from €59.90 - so give it a try.  To get the overnight stop in Hamburg, click Stopovers and enter Hamburg Hbf with a suitable length of stay, say 13 hours.  Adjust the departure time & length of stay to get the trains you want either side of Hamburg.  However, you may only find 2nd class fares this way.

  • Step 3, buy a train ticket from your local station to Newcastle or Hull at any train operator website such as tfw.wales.  Make sure you allow plenty of time for the transfer from station to ferry terminal and for the ferry check-in.

What's the journey like?

You sail overnight from Newcastle to Amsterdam (DFDS) or Hull to Rotterdam (P&O) by overnight cruise ferry, with private en suite cabins, restaurants, bars, cinema, a floating hotel.  If travelling with DFDS from Newcastle, a transfer bus takes you from IJmuiden ferry terminal to Amsterdam Centraal station next morning.  If travelling with P&O from Hull, a transfer bus takes you from Rotterdam Europoort ferry terminal to Rotterdam Centraal from where frequent Dutch trains run to Utrecht or Amsterdam.

Princess of Norway (now Princess Seaways) at Newcastle   A standard cabin on DFDS Seaways Newcastle-Amsterdam ferry.

DFDS Seaways Princess of Norway (now Princess Seaways) about to sail overnight from Newcastle to Amsterdam.  The ferry also has deluxe Commodore class cabins with minibar, satellite TV, shower & toilet.  See the video.

 

A standard Seaways class cabin with shower & toilet on DFDS Princess of Norway from Newcastle to Amsterdam.

P&O Ferries Pride of Rotterdam   Cabin on P&O Ferries Pride of Rotterdam

P&O Ferries Pride of Rotterdam at Rotterdam Europoort.  The ferry also has deluxe class cabins with minibar, satellite TV, shower & toilet.

 

A standard outside cabin with shower & toilet on P&O's Pride of Rotterdam from Hull to Rotterdam.

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Other destinations in Sweden

London to Malmö

Malmö is just opposite Copenhagen across the Öresund, and linked to Copenhagen by frequent local train running across the Öresund Link across the sea from Denmark to Sweden, opened in 1999.  The link is part tunnel, part double-decker road/rail bridge, and on the long bridge section your train seems to 'fly' across the sea to Sweden.

  • Travel to Copenhagen using any of the options shown on the London to Denmark page.  Book your tickets as shown on that page.

  • Then simply buy a local ticket from any of the ticket machines or staffed ticket office at Copenhagen station and hop on an Öresundtåg (Öresund train) from Copenhagen to Malmö Central.  These run every 20 minutes, journey time 39 minutes.  The Copenhagen-Malmö fare is about SEK 139 (£10) each way, a simple fixed price, see www.oresundstag.se.

Oresund train at Copenhagen

Öresund trains link Copenhagen with Malmö every 20 minutes, in under 40 minutes.

Oresund train 1st class seats   Oresund train 2nd class seats

1st class seats. Larger photo.

 

2nd class seats.  Larger photo.

London to Northern Sweden & Narvik

First travel to Gothenburg or Stockholm as shown above.  Overnight sleeper trains run from Stockholm to Northern Sweden, including Boden, Luleå, Kiruna and Narvik in Norway.  These sleeper train are now run by www.vy.se, a subsidiary of the former Norwegian State Railways which has won the most recent operating contract.  The trains have 1st class 1 & 2 berth sleepers with private toilet & shower, 2nd class 3 bed sleepers with washbasin, 6-berth couchettes, ordinary seats, and cafe car.

Daytime trains from Gothenburg and Stockholm to most cities in Sweden are run by national train operator SJ, see www.sj.se for times and fares.  If you have any problems booking with SJ.se, try Omio.com instead (small booking fee, happily accepts overseas credit cards, you can pay in Swedish Kr, £, € and $) but this only books seats or couchettes, not sleepers.

The Stockholm to Lulea sleeper train about to leave Stockholm Central   Narvik station

A sleeper train to Luleå waits to leave Stockholm CentralPhoto courtesy of Discoverbyrail.com.

 

Narvik station, inside the Arctic Circle.  Although it's in Norway, the railway to Narvik runs from Sweden.  Courtesy of Ayan Ghosh.

Sleeper train to Malmo at Stockholm   1 or 2-bed sleeper   The en suite toilet & shower

1st class sleeper with en suite shower & toilet, shown in day mode (above left) and night mode set up as a single with upper berth folded against the wall (above centre).  Courtesy of Discoverbyrail.com.  Click the images for larger photos.

Scenery from the Stockholm to Narvik train

Scenery from the train between Stockholm & Narvik.  Photo courtesy of Discoverbyrail.com.

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How to buy Swedish train tickets at www.sj.se

  Screenshot of the Swedish Railways (SJ) website

The best way to buy your train tickets within Sweden, or (in either direction) between Copenhagen & Stockholm, Copenhagen & Gothenburg, Copenhagen & Oslo or Stockholm & Oslo, is online at the Swedish Railways website, www.sj.se.  It's far cheaper than buying through a UK agency, and there are no booking fees or postage to pay.  You can simply print your own ticket or show it on your phone.

  • Go to www.sj.se.  For English, change Svenska/Swedish flag to English/UK flag top right.  Use the journey planner to make your booking.

    Booking doesn't open a set number of days ahead:  Instead, SJ releases tickets in blocks 4 times a year, for example in mid-May for the period from mid-August to mid-December.  You can see the exact dates on www.sj.se on their FAQ page.

  • It's pretty self-explanatory, but here are a few tips: 

    For Copenhagen, select Köbenhavn H which is Copenhagen main station and what you want for tickets to or from Copenhagen.

    For Stockholm, enter Stockholm C (the C is for Central station).

    For Gothenburg, select Göteborg C (the C is for Central station).

    If booking from Copenhagen to Oslo (Oslo S), beware of services that involve a bus, make sure you book an option involving all trains.  If necessary, book Copenhagen-Gothenburg & Gothenburg-Oslo separately to ensure an all-train journey with only 1 change.

    Swedish rail fares vary like air fares by date & train, so shop around for the cheapest tickets.  After selecting a departure and price, you may be given an option to upgrade to a rebookable ticket (which can be changed) or to a rebookable, refundable ticket.  If you don't select either of these extra-cost options, your ticket will probably be non-refundable & non-changeable.  Just stick with the base price if you want the cheapest fare.  You're then given a chance to choose your exact seat if you like, with a seating plan.

  • Enter your phone number with a plus symbol in front, as + [country code] [your number without any leading zero]

  • You print your own ticket or can show it on your phone.  Tickets as SMS is also an option for most European mobile phone numbers.

  • Credit card acceptance:  SJ.se's weak point is that it can sometimes be fussy with foreign, credit cards, especially non-European ones, but it does usually work with most cards so give it a go.  Please let me know if online booking works or doesn't work for you.

  • If it rejects your cards, try Omio.com which connects to SJ's ticketing system to sell SJ tickets at the same price, with the same print-your-own or show-on-phone tickers.  There's a small booking fee, but it happily accepts overseas credit cards and you can pay in Swedish Krona, £, € and $.  It'll book couchettes on overnight trains too, but not private sleepers.

  • You can also try alternative Swedish train booking site www.snalltaget.se and if you still have problems paying use agency site www.acprail.com.  Or book by phone calling SJ telesales on +46 771 75 75 75 (there's a phone menu option for English). 

  • Remember that most UK and overseas European train ticketing agencies (including Rail Europe) cannot access SJ's cheap fares, they can only sell the expensive full-flex 'TCV' rate advised by SJ to other European Railways.  To get cheap fares for trains within Sweden, you need to use one of the options I've just explained.

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Guidebooks

Definitely take a good guidebook.  For independent travel, I think this means either the Lonely Planet or the Rough Guide.  Both guidebooks provide an excellent level of practical information and historical background.  You won't regret buying one!Amazon logo

Click the images to buy at Amazon.co.uk

Lonely Planet Sweden - buy online at Amazon.co.uk   Rough Guide to Sweden - buy online at Amazon   Click to buy - Lonely Planet Scandinavia

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European Rail Timetable & maps

Thomas Cook European Timetable -  click to buy onlineTraveller's Railway Map of Europe - buy onlineThe European Rail Timetable (formerly the Thomas Cook European Timetable) has train & ferry times for every country in Europe plus currency & climate information.  It is essential for regular European train travellers and an inspiration for armchair travellers.  Published since 1873, it had just celebrated 140 years of publication when Thomas Cook decided to pull the plug on their entire publishing department, but the dedicated ex-Thomas Cook team set up a private venture and resumed publication of the famous European Rail Timetable in March 2014.  You can buy it online at www.amazon.co.uk (UK addresses) or www.europeanrailtimetable.eu (shipping worldwide).  More information on what the European Rail Timetable contains.

Rail Map Europe is the map I recommend, covering all of Europe from Portugal in the west to Moscow & Istanbul in the east, Finland in the north to Sicily & Athens in the south.  Scenic routes & high-speed lines are highlighted.  See an extract from the map.  Buy online at www.europeanrailtimetable.eu (shipping worldwide) or at www.amazon.co.uk (UK addresses).

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Hotels in Stockholm & Sweden

Hotels near Stockholm Central

  • For somewhere near Stockholm Central Station with good reviews, try the ProfilHotel Central or Scandic No.53.

  • But consider the Haymarket by Scandic, a modern hotel created within the former PUB department store building.

    The PUB department store existed from 1917 to 2015.  Hollywood star Greta Garbo worked here as a shop assistant in the 1920s and later as a photographic model for its advertisements.

    The hotel is a 700m 8-minute walk from Stockholm Central Station (see walking map) and gets great reviews.

Hotels in Stockholm's old town

Find hotels at Booking.comMy favourite hotel search: www.booking.com

Booking.com is my favourite hotel booking site and I generally use it to book all my hotels in one place.  I've come to trust booking.com's review scores, you won't be disappointed with any hotel that scores 8.0 or more.  Crucially, booking.com usually lets you book with free cancellation, which means you can confirm accommodation risk-free before train booking opens and/or you can hold accommodation while you finalise your itinerary and alter your plans as they evolve - a feature I use all the time when planning a trip.  I never book hotels non-refundably!

Backpacker hostels: www.hostelworld.com

www.hostelworld.com:  If you're on a tight budget, don't forget about backpacker hostels.  Hostelworld offers online booking of cheap private rooms or dorm beds in backpacker hostels in Paris and most other European cities at rock-bottom prices.

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Travel insurance & other tips

 

Staysure travel insurance

 

Columbus Direct logo

Always take out travel insurance

You should take out travel insurance with at least £1m or preferably £5m medical cover from a reliable insurer.  It should cover trip cancellation and loss of cash & belongings up to a reasonable limit.  These days, check you're covered for covid-19-related issues, and use an insurer whose cover isn't invalidated by well-meant but excessive Foreign Office travel advice against non-essential travel. An annual policy is usually cheapest even for just 2 or 3 trips a year, I have an annual policy with Staysure.co.uk myself.  Don't expect travel insurance to bail you out of every missed connection, see the advice on missed connections here.  Here are some suggested insurers, I get a little commission if you buy through these links, feedback always welcome.

UK flag  www.staysure.co.uk offers enhanced Covid-19 protection and gets 4.7 out of 5 on Trustpilot.

UK flag  www.columbusdirect.com is also a well-know brand.

US flag  If you live in the USA try Travel Guard USA.

 

Maya.net logo

Get an eSIM with mobile data package

Don't rely on WiFi, download an eSIM with a European mobile data package and stay connected.  Most newer mobile phones can download a virtual SIM including iPhone 11 & later, see device compatibility list.  There's no need to buy a physical SIM card!  Maya.net is a reliable eSIM data retailer with a 4.5 out of 5 Trustpilot rating and a range of packages including unlimited data.

 

Curve card

Curve card

Get a Curve card for foreign travel

Most banks give you a poor exchange rate then add a foreign transaction fee on top.  A Curve MasterCard means no foreign transaction fees and gives you the mid-market exchange rate, at least up to a certain limit, £500 per month as I write this.  The money you spend on your Curve card goes straight onto one of your existing debit or credit cards.  And you can get a Curve card for free.

How it works:  1. Download the Curve app for iPhone or Android.  2. Enter your details & they'll send you a Curve MasterCard - they send to the UK and most European addresses.  3. Link your existing credit & debit cards to the app, you can link up to two cards with the free version of Curve, I link my normal debit card and my normal credit card.  4. Now use the Curve MasterCard to buy things online or in person or take cash from ATMs, exactly like a normal MasterCard. Curve does the currency conversion and puts the balance in your own currency onto whichever debit or credit card is currently selected in the Curve app.  You can even change your mind about which card it goes onto, within 14 days of the transaction.

I have a Curve Blue card myself, it means I can buy a coffee on a foreign station on a card without being stung by fees and lousy exchange rates, just by tapping the Curve card on their card reader.  The money goes through Curve to my normal debit card and is taken directly from my account (in fact I have the Curve card set up as payment card on Apple Pay on my iPhone, so can double-click my phone, let it do Face ID then tap the reader with the phone - even easier than getting a card out).  I get a little commission if you sign up to Curve, but I recommend it here because I think it's great.  See details, download the app and get a Curve card, they'll give you £5 cashback through that link.

 

Express VPN

Get a VPN for safe browsing.  Why you need a VPN

When travelling you may use free public WiFi which is often insecure.  A VPN encrypts your connection so it's always secure, even on unsecured WiFi.  It also means you can select the geographic location of the IP address you browse with, to get around geoblocking which a surprising number of websites apply.  See VPNs & why you need one explainedExpressVPN is a best buy with a 4.7 out of 5 Trustpilot ranking which I use myself - I've signed up as an ExpressVPN affiliate, and if you go with expressvpn.com using this link you should see a special deal, 3 months free with an annual subscription.  I also get some commission to help support this site.

 

Anker Powerrbank

Carry an Anker powerbank

Tickets, reservations, hotel bookings and Interrail or Eurail passes are often now held on your mobile phone.  You daren't let it run out of power, and you can't always rely on the phone's internal battery or on being near a power outlet.  I always carry an Anker powerbank which can recharge my phone several times over.  Buy from Amazon.co.uk or Buy from Amazon.com.

Touring cities?  Use hill walking shoes!

One of the best things I've done is swap my normal shoes for hill-walking shoes, in my case from Scarpa.  They're intended for hiking across the Pennines not wandering around Florence, but the support and cushioning for hiking works equally well when you're on your feet all day exploring foreign cities.  My feet used to give out first and limit my day, now the rest of me gives up before they do!

 


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