A practical foreign exchange and currency guide on sending money and travel to Sweden
What's in this Sweden currency guide?
With almost ten million locals, Sweden is a small but lovely country. From the frozen lands up north to the rugged western coast to the picturesque islands in Stockholm, there is so much history in the country and the populace has preserved it wonderfully. The country isn’t cheap, and people often skip it until they have more funds, but it’s never too soon to see Sweden.
One of the best things about Sweden is its natural assets. Indeed, to really appreciate this country’s magnetism, take time to leave the city behind. Whether you’re sailing across an archipelago to a lonely island or trekking along a mountain trail flanked by snowcapped peaks, the sense of space, solitude and freedom is matched by few corners of Western Europe.
Sweden does not currently use the euro as its currency and has no plans to replace the krona in the near future. This is the same situation in all the Scandinavian countries – Denmark, Norway and Iceland. You may find some shops that will accept the Euro but watch out for the EUR/SEK exchange rates they offer.
ATMs in Sweden. Cirrus, Plus and other networks provide connectivity to ATMs across Scandinavia, so you can use your Mastercard or Visa debit or credit card to withdraw money. Banks in Sweden impose fees when non-customers use their ATMs, and the fee is usually higher for international cards.
Public transport is heavily subsidised and well organised. It’s divided into 21 regional networks (länstrafik), but with an overarching Resplus system (www.samtrafiken.se), where one ticket is valid on trains and buses. Timetables are available online.
Domestic flights link various towns and cities in Sweden and can be a fast, if not particularly cheap, way of getting around. There are 30-odd small regional airports located throughout the country. Flying domestic is expensive on full-price tickets, but discounts are available on internet bookings, student and youth fares, off-peak travel, return tickets booked in advance, and low-price tickets for accompanying family members and seniors.
There is a comprehensive network of buses throughout Sweden and you can travel on any of the 21 good-value and extensive länstrafik networks as well as on national long-distance routes. In general, travelling by bus is cheaper than by train.
Like most of Scandinavia, Sweden is an extremely bike-friendly country with a well-developed network of cycle paths in and around its towns and cities. There are also well-marked cycle routes around the country. Comprehensive cycling maps showing scenic trails are published by the Swedish Cycling Society and available in bookshops.
Rail passes are usually a great value in Sweden, often saving money over otherwise-expensive tickets while allowing you to hop trains at your convenience (though some longer-distance trains do require reservations. You’ll need seat reservations ($5–20) for many long rides and express trains, such as the “SJ-Highspeed” class of trains, as indicated in online train schedules. Some reservations aren’t available outside Europe, but they don’t generally sell out terribly far in advance. Private and shared sleepers on night trains are both available with second-class rail passes.
An extensive boat network and the five-day Båtluffarkortet (Boat Hiking Pass; 420kr) open up the attractive Stockholm archipelago. Gotland is served by regular ferries from Nynäshamn and Oskarshamn, and the quaint fishing villages off the west coast can normally be reached by boat with a regional transport pass – enquire at the Gothenburg tourist offices. Canals provide cross-country routes linking Sweden’s main lakes. The longest cruises, on the Göta Canal from Söderköping (south of Stockholm) to Gothenburg, run from late May to August, take at least four days and include the lakes between.
The northern end of Sweden is home to the Sami people. One of Europe’s few indigenous people, their rich and ancient traditions offer a very different take on the Swedish experience. To the Sami, northern Sweden is known as Sápmi and its wild wilderness is the best place to sample Sami culture. Spend a night or two in a Sami reindeer camp, take a dogsledding tour, or simply dig into local flavours at a Sami restaurant. All offer memorable, thought-provoking insight into an oft-overlooked side of the country’s cultural tapestry.
History is written large in Sverige. Ancient rune stones poke up out of grassy parks, while huge stone-ship settings and burial mounds recall long-gone kings and chiefs. Across the country, walled medieval cities, seaside fortresses, turreted palaces and revealing museums attest to Sweden’s long and complex backstory.
It’s the social, ecological, and financial norm to drink water straight from the tap. Sweden’s water supply is well filtered and incredibly clean, so the majority of the environmentally-conscious country’s citizens choose to pass on drinking water from plastic bottles.
The below comparison table makes it easy to find the best exchange rates and lowest fees when you want to make a Transfer or Spend Swedish krona.
One krona is subdivided into 100 øre.
Ordinarily, the Swedish krona is not of regular interest to market commentators or journalists, unlike the FX ‘majors’ – the euro, US dollar, Australian dollar, Swiss franc etc. The krona is, however, the world’s 9th most traded currency, according to 2016 data from the Bank for International Settlements, and it contributes more to total foreign exchange market volume (around 2.2%) than does the New Zealand dollar (2%), which is considered an FX major.
Sweden retains the krona despite its membership of the European Union. In a national referendum in 2003, a majority of Swedish voters opposed adopting the euro as the nation’s currency and currently none of Sweden’s major political parties are interested in revisiting the ‘euro vs. krona’ debate. In a survey of public opinion by the University of Gothenburg in 2013, only 9% of Swedes were in favour of adopting the euro.
Since 1995, the krona’s lowest valuation against the US dollar came in July 2001 when USD/SEK reached 11.05. The currency was strongest in April 2008 when USD/SEK fell to just 5.82. Against the euro, since the single currency’s introduction in 1999, EUR/SEK has traded between 8.02 and 11.79.
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