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.

Other useful information...

small bullet point  Trains from Stockholm to other European cities

small bullet point  Trains to Stockholm from other European cities

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

small bullet point  Stockholm Central Station information

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, Curve card, VPN

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

large bullet pointUseful 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 timesEurostar times & fares.

 

Ferries UK 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 12 Krona.   Currency converter

Tourist information:

www.visitsweden.com   Hotel search   Guidebooks

Page last updated:

3 December 2022. Train times valid 11 Dec 2022 to 9 Dec 2023.


large bullet pointLondon to Stockholm via Eurostar

London to Stockholm by train!

It's easy to travel from London to Stockholm by train, either using Eurostar and the new Hamburg-Stockholm sleeper train (option 1 below, starting 1 September 2022) or by daytime trains with an overnight stop in Hamburg (option 2) or in Brussels & Copenhagen (option 3).  Take a bottle of wine and a good book, and enjoy a 2-day train ride across Europe on modern & comfortable trains with not an airport security queue in sight.

Option 1:  London to Stockholm using the Hamburg-Stockholm sleeper...

A new Hamburg-Stockholm sleeper train started running from 1 September 2022, procured by the Swedish government and run by SJ (Swedish Railways).  It runs daily all year round.  If you're travelling to Malmö or Gothenburg look at one of 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 at London St Pancras (45-minute minimum in Paris, Brussels & Amsterdam) as all border formalities are carried out before you board the train.  More information about Eurostar including check-in procedureSt Pancras station guide.  Brussels Midi station guide & short cut for changing trains in Brussels.

Eurostar e320   Eurostar e320 first class seats

A Eurostar e320 at St Pancras.  More about Eurostar.

 

Standard Premier/Business Premier.  Larger photo.

Eurostar e320 2nd class   Eurostar e320 cafe-bar

Standard class seats.  Larger photo.

 

One of two cafe-bars, in 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 information about ICE3 Brussels Midi station guideCologne Hbf station guide.

ICE3M to Cologne & Frankfurt, boarding at Brussels Midi

An ICE3M to Cologne at Brussels Midi.  More information about ICE Advice on changing trains in Brussels.

2nd class on the Frankfurt-Brussels ICE3M train   1st class on the Frankfurt-Brussels ICE3M train

2nd class seats on an ICE3M.  Larger photo.

 

1st class seats on an ICE3M.  Larger photo.

Erdinger Weissbier on the Frankfurt-Brussels ICE train   Restaurant car on the Frankfurt-Brussels ICE3M train

Proper china, metal cutlery.  I recommend the Erdinger Weissbier!  See current month's menu.

 

Restaurant car:  This is the small 12-seat restaurant area on an ICE3M.  Larger photo.

3. Cologne to Hamburg by Intercity train...

Germany Intercity trains travel at up to 200km/h (120mph), with power sockets at all seats and a bistro car serving tea, coffee, wine, beer, snacks and hot dishes.  On the Cologne to Hamburg route you'll find some departures are operated by high-speed ICEs (usually ICE1) rather than Intercity trains, although the ICEs are no faster than ICs on this section of line.  Immediately after leaving Cologne Hbf, the train crosses the Hohenzollern bridge over the Rhine, then passes through the industrial Ruhr.  More information about Intercity trainsHamburg Hbf station guide.

A DB InterCity train

A German Intercity train.  More information about Intercity trains.

Beef ribs and Spatburgunder red wine on the Amsterdam to Berlin InterCity train   Inside the Amsterdam to Berlin bistro car

Dinner in the bistro.  The beef ribs were delicious...

 

Bistro car.  See current month's menu...

2nd clas seats on a DB Intercity train

2nd class seating is usually in open-plan saloons like this, most seats unidirectional, but with some tables for 4.  Sometimes you'll find 2nd class compartment cars with side corridor and ten 6-seat compartments  Larger photo.

3. Hamburg to Stockholm by SJ EuroNight sleeper train...

Run by SJ (Swedish Railways), this EuroNight train has one or two couchette cars with 4 & 6 berth compartments.  The couchettes convert from bunks at night to seats by day.  Each couchette is supplied with rug, sheets and pillow which you arrange yourself.  A carton of drinking water is supplied, and each compartment has two power sockets for laptops & mobiles.  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 can be ordered the night before for delivery at the time of your choosing next morning.  The train should also have several seats cars and one sleeping-car with 1 & 2 bed compartments with washbasin, these have been delayed by technical issues but should be added later.  Unlike most other European night trains, as this train is Swedish you are not permitted to consume your own alcohol.  More information about the Hamburg-Stockholm sleeper train.

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

The inaugural Hamburg to Stockholm SJ EuroNight train at Hamburg Altona, 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...

This is the recommended option.  You leave London in the morning of day 1, stay overnight in Hamburg, and arrive in Stockholm in the evening on day 2.  Option 3 below takes longer as it involves two overnight stops not one, but it's worth considering as it can be more time-effective, depending on your needs.

London ► Malmö, Gothenburg, Stockholm

Stockholm, Gothenburg, Malmö ► London

How much does it cost?

  • London to Brussels by Eurostar starts at £52 one-way or £78 return in standard class, £115 one-way, £199 return standard premier (1st class).

  • Brussels to Hamburg starts at €27.90 each way in 2nd class or €59.90 each way  in 1st class.

  • Hamburg to Stockholm starts at €56.90 each way in 2nd class.

  • Fares work like air fares, rising as departure date approaches.  So book as early as the booking horizon allows and shop around for the cheapest date & departure.

  • UK to Sweden using a 4-day Interrail pass costs around £295 adult return, £245 return if you're under 28, £275 return senior over 60, children under 12 around £85 return.  That includes the passholder fares on Eurostar and reservation fees for Copenhagen-Stockholm.

How to buy tickets

  • Step 1, go to www.raileurope.com and book from London to Hamburg, looking for a journey with just 2 changes, in Brussels and Cologne.  Add this to your basket.  If you are returning, book this as a round trip.

    Step 2, now book from Hamburg to Malmo, Gothenburg or Stockholm for the following day, looking for a journey with just 1 change.  Add to basket & check out.  If you're returning, book this as round trip, making sure you enter the return date as the day before your Hamburg to London booking.

    Anyone from any country can use www.raileurope.com, it allows you to book all your tickets together in one place in plain English, international credit cards accepted and fares shown in multiple currencies. There's a small booking fee.

  • Booking tips:

    Booking for Eurostar & onward trains to Germany & Sweden opens up to 180 days ahead, but significantly less than this when the mid-December timetable change intervenes, see more about when booking opens.

    Fares are dynamic like air fares, for the cheapest prices book early and avoid busy days such as Fridays or Sunday afternoons.

    Eurostar return fares are significantly cheaper than two one ways, so any return journey involving Eurostar is best booked as a round trip.  However, with the Brussels-Hamburg & Hamburg-Stockholm tickets a round trip is simply two one-ways, so makes no difference.

    You print your own tickets, or you can load the Eurostar ticket into the Eurostar app, and show the DB ticket on your laptop or smartphone.

    After booking you can use the Eurostar Manage Booking system to select an exact seat on Eurostar.

  • Seat reservations...

    A seat reservation is automatically included with every ticket on Eurostar and on Swedish X2000s.  However, seat reservations on the trains between Brussels & Copenhagen are usually optional, if you want a reserved seat it can be added during the booking process for fee of around €4.50 each way.  A reserved seat is a good idea, especially at busy periods, so I'd add one when prompted.

  • About those tight 20-minute connections at Brussels Midi...

    The slick 20-minute connection in Brussels between Eurostar and an onward ICE, sometimes less than this, is usually a recognised connection which lots of people make.  It's not usually a problem, especially if you use the Brussels Midi short cut between platforms.

    Even though the system sells you separate tickets either side of Brussels, you are protected by the Railteam Promise/HOTNAT so if there's a delay and you miss the connection you will be allowed to travel on later onwards trains at no extra charge.  Just make sure that if you did miss that 20 minute connection in Brussels, there are later trains that would still get you to Hamburg by close of play that day.

    Alternatively, nothing stops you booking an earlier Eurostar than the one which directly connects with your chosen onward ICE, if it has cheaper fares or if you want a more robust connection.  To do this using www.raileurope.com, click More options, then enter Brussels (any station) as a via station with a stopover duration of (say) 1 or 2 hours.  There are plenty of places for a meal, coffee or beer between trains in Brussels!

  • If you don't see any cheap Hamburg-Stockholm fares...

    Availability of Hamburg-Stockholm through tickets is limited, so if you don't find any cheap fares between Hamburg and Stockholm using www.raileurope.com, split the booking like this:

    First book Hamburg to Copenhagen at German Railways www.bahn.de and print your own ticket.

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

  • How to buy a connecting ticket from other UK towns & citiesSee the advice on special add-on tickets here.

Another way to buy tickets...

  • This is more work as it involves two websites, but it can be slightly cheaper for two reasons:  First, you don't pay a booking fee.  Second, you can use the Stopover feature at www.bahn.de to book a Brussels to Stockholm through ticket with an overnight stop in Hamburg programmed in.  This is cheaper than buying separate Brussels to Hamburg & Hamburg to Stockholm tickets from Raileurope.

    Obviously, do a dry run on both sites first to check availability & prices.  I'd also check that your outward Eurostar and ICE are indeed a recognised connection by checking that they appear together when you run a London to Cologne enquiry at www.bahn.de - read the paragraph in the previous section about the 20-minute connection in Brussels.  In fact, if you're booking like this I'd pick an earlier Eurostar and spend a couple of hours in Brussels.

  • Step 1, book the Eurostar from London to Brussels (and back, if returning) at www.eurostar.com and print your own ticket, or load it into the Eurostar app to show on your smartphone.  Eurostar return fares are significantly less than two one-ways, so if you're coming back, make sure you book this as a round trip.  After booking you can use the Eurostar Manage Booking system to select an exact seat on Eurostar.

  • Step 2, book from Brussels to Stockholm at the German Railways website www.bahn.de, but click Stopover, enter Hamburg Hbf and a stopover duration of (say) 10-12 hours.  Look for journeys with just 3 changes, in Cologne, Hamburg & Copenhagen.  You'll need to fiddle with the departure time and stopover duration to get the trains you want either side of Hamburg, it takes a bit of trial and error, which is why it's easier booking one way first, then if you're returning, book the return journey separately as another one-way.  On German trains that makes no difference to the price.

    This will get you a Brussels to Stockholm through ticket with an overnight stop in Hamburg included, which is what you want.  If you have problems, by all means just book Brussels-Hamburg and Hamburg-Copenhagen separately.

    You print your own ticket, or load it into the DB Navigator app to show on your smartphone.  I recommend registering when prompted so you can log in and check your bookings or re-print tickets at any time.  An advantage of booking direct with www.bahn.de is that you can select an exact seat on many German trains from a seating plan.

Using an Interrail pass, cheapest for a round trip at short notice...

  • If you can book well in advance, advance-purchase tickets are the cheapest & easiest way to make this journey.  But at short notice regular fares become expensive and it can be cheaper to use an Interrail pass for a round trip from the UK to Sweden & back.  The pass will also cover your UK domestic train between your home station & London.

  • Step 1, buy a 4-days-in-1-month Interrail pass from www.interrail.eu.  You can load the pass into an app on your phone immediately after buying it.  See Interrail pass prices and learn more about how Interrail passes work on the Interrail page.

  • Step 2, in addition to the pass you need to pay for a Eurostar passholder fare from London to Brussels and back on the dates you want.  See prices & how to make Eurostar passholder reservations online.  You print these tickets out.  Tip:  As passholder availability is limited, I recommend that you check Eurostar passholder availability before buying a pass.

  • Step 3, seat reservations between Brussels and Hamburg are optional, you can just sit in any empty unreserved seat and show your pass when asked.  However, it's a good idea to make seat reservations for long journeys, you can reserve seats for around €4.50 each way at www.bahn.de by entering Brussels to Hamburg and clicking the Seat only (no ticket) link at the bottom of the page, to the left of the red search button.

    Seat reservation between Hamburg & Copenhagen is usually optional, but it's compulsory in summer (June-September).  You can make Hamburg to Copenhagen reservations using the Danish Railways website as shown here.

    Seat reservation between Copenhagen & Stockholm is always compulsory, the passholder reservation fee is around €6.60 each way.  Reservation can be made online at Swedish railways www.sj.se - the trick is to run an enquiry as if buying a ticket, but under customer card' select Pass 2 cl (Interrail/Eurail) or Pass 1 cl (Interrail/Eurail) as appropriate.

Have your trip arranged as a package...

  • Railbookers are a train travel specialist who can put together a UK-Sweden trip for you as a package, including rail travel, hotels & transfers.  You'll find a range of suggested tours & holidays on their website which can be varied or customised to your requirements.  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.

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

    US flag  US call free 1-888-829-4775, see website.

    Canadian flag  Canada call free 1-855-882-2910, see website.

    Australian flag  Australia call toll-free 1300 971 526, see website

    New Zealand flag  New Zealand call toll-free 0800 000 554 or see website.

  • Byway (Byway.travel) is a UK-based eco-holiday firm with a 5-star TrustPilot rating.  If you're nervous about booking train travel yourself, book a one-way or return UK-Sweden train trip through Byway as a package, including hotels and starting from any British station you like.  Byway includes package protection, a 100% Covid refund guarantee, free disruption and re-planning and on-demand WhatsApp support while you're away.  They can build a trip to your requirements if you email them or use this contact form.  When you book, please say you heard about them from Seat 61.

How to buy tickets by phone...

  • It's better to book online to avoid additional phone booking fees and so you can see for yourself which departures are cheapest for each stage of the journey.  Most ticketing agencies only work office hours on weekdays, but online booking is possible 24/7.  However, if you want to book by phone, see my list of UK ticketing agencies with phone numbers & opening hours.

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 at London St Pancras (45-minute minimum in Paris, Brussels & Amsterdam) as all border formalities are carried out before you board the train.  More information about Eurostar including check-in procedureSt Pancras station guide.  Brussels Midi station guide & short cut for changing trains in Brussels.

Eurostar e320   Eurostar e320 first class seats

A Eurostar e320 at St Pancras.  More about Eurostar.

 

Standard Premier/Business Premier.  Larger photo.

Eurostar e320 2nd class   Eurostar e320 cafe-bar

Standard class seats.  Larger photo.

 

One of two cafe-bars, in 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 information about ICE3 Brussels Midi station guideCologne Hbf station guide.

ICE3M to Cologne & Frankfurt, boarding at Brussels Midi

An ICE3M to Cologne at Brussels Midi.  More information about ICE Advice on changing trains in Brussels.

2nd class on the Frankfurt-Brussels ICE3M train   1st class on the Frankfurt-Brussels ICE3M train

2nd class seats on an ICE3M.  Larger photo.

 

1st class seats on an ICE3M.  Larger photo.

Erdinger Weissbier on the Frankfurt-Brussels ICE train   Restaurant car on the Frankfurt-Brussels ICE3M train

Proper china, metal cutlery.  I recommend the Erdinger Weissbier!  See current month's menu.

 

Restaurant car:  This is the small 12-seat restaurant area on an ICE3M.  Larger photo.

3. Cologne to Hamburg by Intercity train...

Germany Intercity trains travel at up to 200km/h (120mph), with power sockets at all seats and a bistro car serving tea, coffee, wine, beer, snacks and hot dishes.  On the Cologne to Hamburg route you'll find some departures are operated by high-speed ICEs (usually ICE1) rather than Intercity trains, although the ICEs are no faster than ICs on this section of line.  Immediately after leaving Cologne Hbf, the train crosses the Hohenzollern bridge over the Rhine, then passes through the industrial Ruhr.  More information about Intercity trainsHamburg Hbf station guide.

A DB InterCity train

A German Intercity train.  More information about Intercity trains.

Beef ribs and Spatburgunder red wine on the Amsterdam to Berlin InterCity train   Inside the Amsterdam to Berlin bistro car

Dinner in the bistro.  The beef ribs were delicious...

 

Bistro car.  See current month's menu...

2nd clas seats on a DB Intercity train

2nd class seating is usually in open-plan saloons like this, most seats unidirectional, but with some tables for 4.  Sometimes you'll find 2nd class compartment cars with side corridor and ten 6-seat compartments  Larger photo.

4. Hamburg to Copenhagen by Intercity train

Hamburg-Copenhagen trains are operated by Danish IC3 trains like this, shown in the timetable as IC for Intercity See more photos, tips & information about the Hamburg to Copenhagen journeyCopenhagen station guide.

Hamburg-Copenhagen train at Copenhagen station

An IC3 Intercity train at Copenhagen.  More information about the Hamburg-Copenhagen journey.

2nd class seats on an IC3 train from Hamburg to Copenhagen   1st class seats on an IC3 train from Hamburg to Copenhagen

2nd class seats on a IC3 train.  Larger photo.

 

1st class seats on an IC3 train.  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 information about X2000.

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 option takes longer than option 1 above as it involves two overnight stops not one.  But it can be more time-effective, because you leave London in the evening after a full working day, and arrive in Stockholm at lunchtime on day 3, effectively taking only 1½ days out of your schedule rather than 2.  Indeed, on the westbound journey you can have a full working day in Stockholm before hopping on 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.  If you like, you can use a sleeper train between Copenhagen & Stockholm instead of the overnight hotel stop.  This means you can travel London to Stockholm in a night, a day and a night, the most time-effective option of all.

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 07:21 arriving Stockholm Central at 12:36 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

How much does it cost?

  • London to Brussels by Eurostar starts at £52 one-way or £78 return in standard class, £115 one-way, £199 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 work like air fares, rising as departure date approaches.  So book as early as the booking period allows and shop around for the cheapest date & departure.

 How to buy tickets...

  • Booking for Eurostar & onward trains as far as Copenhagen can now open up to 6 months ahead.  Copenhagen-Stockholm trains usually open 92 days before departure, but SJ loads blocks of dates at a time, so it varies.  You book in stages, so 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 www.bahn.de and book from Brussels to Copenhagen.  It should now book this journey as one transaction.

    Northbound:  Use this special link for the 08:23 Brussels to Copenhagen.

    Southbound:  Use this special link for the 07:35 Copenhagen to Brussels.

    Tip:  It's sometimes cheaper to split the booking, and book Brussels-Hamburg and then Hamburg-Copenhagen.  But a through ticket gives a cast-iron right to later onward travel if there are any missed connections due to delays.

  • 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 smartphone, 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 call 0207 864 4600, www.railbookers.co.uk

    US flag  US call free 1-888-829-4775, see website.

    Canadian flag  Canada call free 1-855-882-2910, see website.

    Australian flag  Australia call toll-free 1300 971 526, see website

    New Zealand flag  New Zealand call toll-free 0800 000 554 or 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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large bullet pointLondon to Stockholm via Harwich

Rail & Sail, a useful alternative to Eurostar...

It takes a bit longer than the Eurostar option shown above, but with inexpensive fares even at short notice, daily departures, quality private cabins with shower, toilet & satellite TV, the integrated Rail & Sail train-ferry-train service between London & Amsterdam is a useful alternative to Eurostar.  It's shown in orange on the route map above.  Rail & Sail is a good option if you need to travel at short notice when all the cheap Eurostar fares have sold out, if you live in East Anglia, or want to avoid the Channel Tunnel for some reason.  Indeed, you may simply prefer this relaxing journey, cruising overnight to Holland on the Stena Line superferry in an en suite cabin (see the video), then on to Sweden by daytime trains with a comfortable overnight hotel in Hamburg and an evening at leisure to explore.

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 Britannica 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 a fully-integrated train & ferry service with special fares from London to Any Dutch Station which cover the train to Harwich, the ferry and onward train to anywhere in the Netherlands, see the Stena Line Rail & Sail page for full details.  The same special fare from London 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.

Stockholm, Gothenburg ► Harwich, Cambridge, London

How much does it cost?

How to buy tickets online...

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...

Captain's class cabin on the ferry   Stena Line ferry from Harwich to Hoek van Holland

Captain's Class cabin on the Harwich-Hoek ferry with double bed, complimentary minibar with sparkling wine, tea & coffee making facilities, hairdryer.  Larger photo.

 

Boarding the Stena Britannica at Harwich.  She's a floating hotel to Hoek van Holland, with easy rail connections on either side of the Channel.  Restaurants, bars, shop, kennels, cinema...

Metropolitan restaurant on the Stena Line ferry   Standard outside cabin on the ferry

Dinner before bed?  Metropolitan à la carte restaurant.

 

Standard outside cabin.  Larger photo.  360º photo.

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large bullet pointScotland & the North to Sweden

By ferry from Newcastle or Hull...

Naturally, you can take a train up to London then travel to Sweden as described 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 DFDS Seaways (www.dfds.co.uk) run an excellent overnight ferry from Newcastle to Amsterdam, and P&O Ferries (www.poferries.com) have an overnight ferry from Hull to Rotterdam, both with comfortable private en suite cabins.  Take a train to Hamburg, stay overnight, then take a train to Malmo, Gothenburg or Stockholm.

Scotland & the North ► Sweden

Sweden ► Scotland & the North

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

    Travel overnight by cruise ferry from Rotterdam Europoort to Hull with P&O Ferries or 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.

Fares & how to buy tickets...

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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large bullet pointOther 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...

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 en suite toilet & shower, 2nd class 1, 2 & 3 bed sleepers with washbasin, 6-berth couchettes, ordinary seats, bar and even cinema.  Note that you may need to transfer from a sleeper to a seat at Boden, depending on the service and type of sleeper you want.  The online booking system will tell you this.

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 Central...  Photo 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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large bullet pointHow to use www.sj.se

  Screenshot of the Swedish Railways (SJ) website

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

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 smartphone.

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large bullet pointGuidebooks...

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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large bullet pointEuropean 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 for £9.67 at www.amazon.co.uk (UK addresses).

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large bullet pointHotels in Stockholm & Sweden

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

www.booking.com is my favourite hotel booking site and I generally prefer booking my hotels all in one place here.  You can usually book with free cancellation - this allows you to confirm your accommodation at no risk before train booking opens.  It also means you can hold accommodation while you finalise your itinerary, and alter your plans as they evolve - a feature I use all the time when putting a trip together.  I never book hotels non-refundably.  I have also come to trust their review scores - you won't be disappointed with anything over 8.0.

Tip:  It can pay to compare prices across multiple hotel sites:  HotelsCombined.com is a price comparison site which compares hotel prices on Booking.com, Hotels.com, Expedia, Accor, Agoda and many others.  Though if there's not much in it, I prefer keeping all my bookings together in one place at www.booking.com.

Tripadvisor hotel reviews...

www.tripadvisor.com is the place to find independent travellers' reviews of all the main hotels.

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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large bullet pointTravel insurance & VPN

 

Staysure travel insurance

 

Confused.com 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 use an annual policy 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 flagwww.staysure.co.uk offers enhanced Covid-19 protection & covers you even if the FCDO advises against non-essential travel.

UK flag

If you have a pre-existing medical condition or are over 65, see www.JustTravelCover.com.

UK flagYou can use www.confused.com to compare prices & policy features across major insurance companies.

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

 

Curve card

Get a Curve card to save on foreign transaction fees...

Banks often give a poor exchange rate, then charge a currency conversion fee as well.  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 balance 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 app for iPhone or Android.  2. Enter your details & they'll send you a Curve MasterCard - they send to most European addresses including the UK.  3. Link your existing credit & debit cards to the app.  4. Now use the Curve MasterCard to buy things online or in person or take cash from ATMs, just like a normal MasterCard. Curve does the currency conversion and puts the balance onto whichever of your debit or credit cards you choose.  You can even change your mind about which card it goes onto, within 14 days of the transaction.

I use a Curve Blue card myself - I get a little commission if you sign up to Curve, but I'm recommending 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, too.

 

Express VPN

Get a VPN for safe browsing.  VPNs & why you need one explained...

When you're travelling you often use free WiFi in public places which may not be secure.  A VPN means your connection to the internet is encrypted & always secure, even using unsecured WiFi.  In countries such as China where access to Twitter & Facebook is restricted, a VPN gets around these restrictions.  And lastly, you can select the geographic location of the IP address you browse with, to get around geographic restrictions which some websites apply - for example one booking site charges a booking fee to non-European visitors but none to European visitors, so if you're not located in Europe you can avoid this fee by browsing with a UK IP address using a VPN.  VPNs & why you need one explainedExpressVPN is a best buy and I use it myself - I've signed up as an ExpressVPN affiliate, and if you go with expressvpn.com using the links on this page, you should see a special deal, 3 months free with an annual subscription, and I get a small commission to help support this site.

 


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