Stockholm – Copenhagen via Gothenburg by train

There is a direct train service between Stockholm and Copenhagen that takes five hours.

However, due to track work, I had to pass through Gothenburg to get to the Danish capital. An unexpected detour that turned out to be much more interesting than the usual route!

My train journey Paris – Stockholm – Copenhagen – Paris

I’ve lived in Stockholm in the past and it’s a city I love because of its fantastic natural setting, at the crossroads of a lake and the sea, and the lifestyle of its people. I’ve been going back regularly ever since, with great pleasure.

Until now, I’ve always flown there, but this time, I wanted to try to get there by train, to have the opportunity to visit Hamburg and Copenhagen en route, and also for ecological reasons, as this is the mode of transport that emits the least CO2.. So I was curious to try out train travel between the two capitals.

Traveling by train requires a different approach to time. The aim is no longer to get from point A to point B as quickly as possible, but as pleasantly as possible. For this reason, I decided to make two different routes between the outward and return trips, with tourist stops of varying lengths.

On the outward journey, I passed through Hamburg and took the night train from Hamburg to Stockholm. I tell the story in my first article, ” Paris – Stockholm by train “.

On the way back, I wanted to try another route via Gothenburg and Copenhagen, taking only day trains. I tell it in two parts:

– The Stockholm – Copenhagen route via Göteborg, Helsingborg, and Helsingør in this article.

– The Copenhagen – Paris route via Hamburg and Frankfurt is the topic of a second article, in which I also give my overall feedback of my Scandinavian rail journey.

Stockholm to Paris by train

The distance between Paris and Stockholm is 2000 km. Naively, I thought it would be an easy trip to organize, as we’re in the part of the world with one of the most developed rail networks.

We’ll see, however, that you need to be well-prepared and flexible during the journey. But if you follow my advice in the article ” Going from France to Scandinavia by train: a practical guide ” that I wrote on the subject, it’s within everyone’s reach.

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Stockholm 8:34am – Göteborg 11:40am

I had planned to take the direct train from Stockholm to Copenhagen for my return trip. SJ, Swedish Railways, operates the line with the flagship of its fleet, the X2000 tilting trains, in around five hours. Its aerodynamic design and special bogies are designed to increase speed on conventional lines.

But it’s Sunday, and the SJs are taking advantage of the opportunity to carry out maintenance work on the tracks, as traffic is lighter on this day.

At the time I want to make the booking, no direct train is scheduled: “not available: track work is planned” is what is displayed on the SJ website opposite the trains I want to take!

I’ll have to find other ways of getting there, and I figure it’s a good opportunity to do a bit of sightseeing, since I don’t have any time constraints for getting to Copenhagen, as long as I get there the same evening. I’ll get to Copenhagen in four stages, including one by boat!

  • Stockholm – Göteborg
  • Göteborg – Helsingborg
  • Helsingborg – Helsingør by ferry
  • Helsingør – Copenhagen

The X2000: the flagship of Statens Järnvägar (SJ)

My first train takes me to Gothenburg, Sweden’s second-largest city, and as luck would have it, I’m able to catch the famous X2000 I’d been hoping to take on the direct Stockholm-Copenhagen route.


Although sold as a high-speed train, the X2000 takes three hours to cover the 398 km line at a maximum speed of 200 km/h. With fewer than 11 million inhabitants in a country barely smaller than France, Sweden has a low population density. As a result, it cannot afford to invest in very high-speed lines like France. Profitability would be far too low.

Since I left Paris, I’ve been lucky enough to have exceptionally fine weather, but I left Stockholm in the pouring rain. Is it a sign of sadness to have to leave my beloved city behind?

Rain in Sweden

A warm and inviting cabin

The train is very comfortable, with soft seats covered in a pretty gray fabric with a hint of green. The partitions are made of light-colored wood, creating a warm atmosphere. In terms of cabin harmony, the X2000 is the winner of all the trains I took on my trip to Sweden.

First class aboard the X2000 SJ

In Première, the armchair is wide, soft, and reclines generously.

The only drawback is that some seats are blind, as there are very large overhangs between each window. Fortunately, SJ offers the possibility of choosing a seat from a plan, but you have to be a bit of an expert and do some research on the internet to find them!

1st class seat on board the X2000

A charming stewardess offers me breakfast, which is included in the price of my reservation. It’s perfectly correct and I don’t understand why SJ don’t offer the same on their Hamburg – Stockholm night train?

Self-service hot drinks and fruit are available throughout the journey.

1st class breakfast on board the X2000

The buffet car: an example for the SNCF, the French railways!

The buffet car offers a wide range of catering options, and it’s great to be able to choose what you want on a self-service basis.

Seating is available for on-site refreshments. It’s time to enjoy a fika, a Swedish tradition of a coffee break with a snack, often accompanied by informal discussions. It’s a moment of conviviality and relaxation that’s very important in Swedish culture.

The whole thing is a success, and I’d like to see the same thing on French TGVs.

Buffet car on board the X2000

Gothenburg: Sweden’s second-largest city

Arriving in Gothenburg, the rain stops. I’m glad because I’ll be able to stroll around town before catching my next train.

Göteborg station

Gothenburg is the country’s second-largest city and Sweden’s largest port. I’ve got just under two hours to explore the city center, where most of the streets are pedestrianized.

It’s Sunday and the stores are packed. I’m pleased to wander around and take a few photos. I pass by the central market and the former moat, now a peaceful river running alongside a park.

With its highly functional architecture and less spectacular setting, Gothenburg is less attractive than Stockholm, but the city is pleasant and quite green.

I end my mini-tour of the city at the huge Nordstan shopping mall, right next to the station.

Gothenburg is also the gateway to its picturesque archipelago. Ferries take you there, but you’ll need to stay for two or three days to enjoy it. I’ll keep it in the back of my mind for my next trip!

Göteborg Center
Göteborg Central Market
Göteborg pedestrian center

Göteborg 1:24pm – Helsingborg 3:18pm

To get from Gothenburg to Copenhagen, I have two options:

  • Or go straight through Malmö and take the Öresund bridge-tunnel.
  • Either go via Helsingborg, Sweden and take the ferry to Helsingør, Denmark, then the train to Copenhagen.

Gothenburg to Copenhagen

In terms of travel time, it’s all the same, as passing through Malmö means a long detour. The advantage is direct transport with the Öresundståg regional train in 3 hours 50 minutes.

I choose the second option, as it seems more fun with the boat crossing. It also allows me to visit the Danish town of Helsingør, which is renowned for its beauty.

My only regret is that I won’t be seeing the huge Öresund bridge-tunnel, which is said to be spectacular.

The SJ3000

To get from Gothenburg to Helsingborg, I take the SJ3000 train. This is the Swedish company’s second flagship for routes connecting the country’s largest provincial cities.


I’m traveling in First Class and I find the same successful decoration as on my first train. I’m surprised to discover that the seats are narrower and four abreast, as in second class, instead of three. I don’t understand this SJ choice?

First Class SJ3000

The only real difference between the first and second classes is that we can get self-service hot and cold free-of-charge beverages, and the option of ordering meals in advance, served instead by a hostess or steward. The one I’m offered is an open-faced sandwich with shrimp for ten euros. It’s pretty good.

First class meal SJ

The landscape is slightly undulating and more agricultural than in the center. There are regular glimpses of the sea and a wild coastline.

Landscapes from Gothenburg to Helsingborg

Level crossing in Varberg

I leave my train in Helsingborg. This town has little tourist appeal, so I don’t linger and head straight for the seaport.

Helsingborg 3:40pm – Helsingør 4pm

Forsea operates no fewer than 55 crossings in each direction every 20 minutes between the two ports of Helsingborg and Helsingør!

The seaport is adjacent to the station, and connections are ultra-easy. The advantages of the Schengen area mean that we can change countries without even noticing. It’s something we should all think about because only three decades ago I would have had to go through customs and immigration checks. Traveling by train today makes it easier to realize the benefits that the European Union has brought us.

I’ve always loved boat trips, which are synonymous with great escapes. This time the journey only takes twenty minutes, but it’s enough to start dreaming!

Crossing with the Aurora electric boat

My boat, the Aurora, is electrically propelled. This is a rare occurrence in the shipping industry, and it’s worth noting. This was made possible by the very regular rhythm of the crossings, which are themselves short.

Just before arriving in Helsingør, the walled castle of Kronborg comes into view. In its history, it was a royal palace built by Frederick 2, as well as a prison and military fortress. The strait between Denmark and Sweden played a key role in the past, controlling access to the Baltic Sea.

Port Helsingborg
Helsingborg port exit
Ferry Forsea

Helsingør: Hamlet’s town

If tourists come to Helsingør, it’s mainly to visit its castle, but the town is also charming and offers the opportunity for a pleasant stroll.

As in Helsingborg, the station is adjacent to the ferry port. After checking in my bag, I set off to discover Helsingør.

The town center features many 17th and 18th-century houses. It’s small but pleasant to walk around.

I continue towards the port, the old docks, and Kronborg Castle, which I can only admire from the outside, as I arrive too late to visit it. The same goes for the maritime museum, which is said to be surprisingly housed in a disused dry dock. I’m thinking that maybe I should have planned an extra night in Helsingør. I feel like I’m going too fast on my already slow journey! That’s a good sign because it’s better too little than too much!

For theater fans, it’s interesting to know that Kronborg Castle is the setting for Shakespeare’s play “Hamlet“.

My stroll through Helsingor takes about two hours. I could have stayed longer, but I’m getting tired and want to get to my final destination.

Marina Helsingør
Göteborg pedestrian center
Helsingør map
Kronborg Castle

Helsingør 6:03pm – Copenhagen 6:49pm

The last leg of my journey takes just 46 minutes to reach the Danish capital. It’s a regional train which, at the end of a Sunday day, is almost empty. I’m the only passenger in First Class!

Öresundståg in collaboration with Danske Statsbaner (DSB)

It’s the same train I could have taken from Gothenburg to Copenhagen, operated by Öresundståg in collaboration with DSB, the Danish railroads. For a journey of almost four hours, I would have found the comfort and lack of catering services a little limited, but for a regional connection, it’s just fine.

The seat, with four abreast as in second class, but with a wider pitch, is very well designed and offers good comfort.

First class Oresundstag

On this sunny June day, the landscapes we drive through, with the turquoise sea in the distance, have an almost Mediterranean air compared to Sweden.

Danish Riviera

Danish rating

My train makes several stops, including one in Humlebæk, home to the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art.It is considered by some to be one of the finest museums in Europe. It makes me regret doing the Stockholm – Copenhagen route in just one day instead of two! Just goes to show that it’s always better to travel as slowly as possible!

From Stockholm, it took me ten hours and fifteen minutes instead of the usual five hours and five minutes for the direct X2000 route.

If SJ hadn’t had the maintenance work to cancel direct trains that day, I wouldn’t have thought to stop in Gothenburg and Helsingor and take a boat. But thanks to this unforeseen event, what should have been a simple transfer between the two capitals turned into an excursion full of discoveries. Thank you, SJ!

Copenhagen: the capital of bicycles

My memories of Copenhagen go back to the 80s, when I worked in sleeping cars on the Paris – Copenhagen night train. They’re a long way away, so I decided to stay for three days to get to know the city better.


In numerous studies, Denmark stands out as one of the happiest countries in the world. I was curious to find out why by visiting its capital. It was a fascinating stopover, but also one of contrasts, which I’ll soon be recounting in a dedicated article. Be patient!

Bicycles in Copenhagen

I describe the rest of my return journey in the article ” Copenhagen – Paris by train “.



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