Work and Travel in Sweden

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Sweden is known as one of the most expensive countries in the world to visit. For the humble backpacker, it can be difficult to really get a feel for this country if your budget only stretches to seven nights.

But volunteering opportunities in Sweden are available for those who want to jump into the wild. Here’s our travel guide for Sweden, designed for backpackers who want to work and travel.

1. Become a Bear Tracker in Northern Sweden

Most people don’t know that there are still bears in Europe. They’re endangered and if you want to work in Sweden you could help track their movements.

These volunteering projects are open to the total novice as you’ll receive full training, support, and all the materials you need to get started. It’s a chance to explore Sweden’s vast wilderness and to help protect the few remaining bears at the same time.

2. Help Out in a Sustainability Community in Gotland

Work and travel in Sweden can take you to some of the quietest parts of Europe. One of these places is Gotland, an area of stunning natural beauty.

You could spend your weeks there working in a sustainability community. These communities aim to be largely self-sufficient, which includes growing their own food, harvesting resources from the land, and protecting the natural greenery around them.

It’s an excellent way of making new friends and enjoying some of the best natural sights in Sweden.

3. Restore Old Buildings in Sweden

One thing you’ll learn about travel in Sweden is that the locals love to have a quiet place in the countryside. A great volunteering opportunity in Sweden is restoration of old buildings.

Do you have a strong work ethic and a desire to restore older structures to their former glory? Then helping out with construction can be a great way to do it.

You don’t need any prior experience and even some basic DIY skills is more than enough to win you a place with these private projects.


Sweden is part of the European Union (EU) and part of the Schengen Zone. That means your Schengen visa will apply to the whole of the area. You can spend a total of 90 days in the entire area, before you have to leave for a minimum of 90 days. This applies to all nationalities, apart from residents of the UK and EU, who can stay and work indefinitely.

North Americans, the Japanese, South Koreans, Australians, and Kiwis are able to obtain this visa for free when they arrive. However, Russians and South Africans have to apply for a Schengen visa in advance.



The short spring season from the end of March until the end of May is a great time to travel in Sweden because this is when many homestays are looking for volunteers.

These could be farms in rural communities that want some extra work getting the farm up and running. They could also be lodges and country retreats readying themselves for the summer season.

The work is varied at this time of year and it’s a good time to start connecting with the locals.


The long summer season, particularly the Midsummer holiday, is the ideal time to work and travel in Sweden. Depending on your skillset, you can find all types of work throughout the country.

In the cities you can easily find work as a volunteer in hostels. These jobs will usually give you a free bed and free food in exchange for just a few hours of work per day.

You can also join the many charities working with Sweden’s new immigrant arrivals. The country has received an influx of refugees and charities always need new volunteers to help them with education and finding their way around.

It’s also a good time to head up to the more remote areas of the country. Many of the retreats, lodges, resorts, and adventure sports groups are only open for a few months of the year, so you can experience some incredible things if you get off the conventional backpacking routes.


In autumn Swedes go back to school and university. If you love working with young children, it’s a great chance to teach English in Sweden. This is a country that prides itself on having such a high proportion of English speakers. The curriculum prioritises English learning from a young age, so native English speakers will be able to find work as tutors either in schools or through private contacts.

Sometimes this work can pay, but most of it is only available on a voluntary basis. Either way, you’ll make new friends, help set Swedish children up for the future, and be able to extend your stay in this beautiful country.


Winter in Sweden can be bitterly cold. Many travellers prefer to leave the area during this season. However, if you’re not scared of a little cold you can take advantage of Sweden’s winter sports industry.

Ski resorts like Klappen, Branas, and Are are just some of the places that could provide you with volunteer opportunities in Sweden. Qualified ski instructors can find work with good pay and accommodation included.

You don’t need to be a master to land this type of work. Even if you’re only taking beginner classes it’s possible to find work in Sweden if you apply a few months in advance.


Sweden is one of the most foreigner friendly countries in the whole world. It has opened its doors to immigrants from all over the world, which is why it’s become so cosmopolitan over the last twenty years. Over 90% of the population have a good to fluent grasp of English.

It’s not uncommon for young backpackers to want to work in Sweden, so you’ll experience no problems volunteering here. This applies both to urban and rural areas. It makes it one of the best countries for novice backpackers who want to get started with working and travelling.

Are you ready to work and travel in Sweden?

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  • Edited on May 23 2018 by

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