Allemansrätt - Right of public access

In Sweden, the Right of Public Access allows you to roam about freely or to go camping in the countryside. You are entitled to enjoy the fragrance of the flowercovered meadows, the singing birds and the peaceful silence of the deep forest. But please...


If you keep the following rules in mind you will be sure of keeping on the right side of Swedish laws and customs.

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Overview :

Respect other peoples privacy Be considerate on land as well Camping
No motor vehicles off-road Lighting fires More details on fires
Swimming and boating Take your litter with you Personal water crafts
Picking flowers and berries Bringing cats and dogs into Sweden  

Respect other peoples privacy

You are perfectly entitled to walk, jog, cycle, ride or ski across other people's land - provided you do not cause any damage to crops, forest plantations or fences. But you are not entitled to cross or stay on a private plot without permission - that would be a violation of privacy.
   The plot, which is not always hedged or fenced in, is the area closest to a dwelling house. The people who live there are entitled to do so in peace. This, after all, is their private area.

Be considerate on land as well

Do not trespass on homesites or farmland if you have to portage between waterways. Close gates behind you.
Respect signs prohibiting cars on private roads if you have to drive the canoe down to the water. And ask the landowner for permission before you park your car or caravan (house trailer) overnight on a private road.


You are allowed to pitch your tent for a day or two on land which is not used for farming, and which is not close to a dwelling. The closer to houses you wish to camp, the more likely you are to cause a disturbance, and the greater the need to ask the landowner for permission. How long you can keep your tent pitched in one and the same place depends on the circumstances. It would not be very wise or considerate, for instance, to pitch your tent even for only one night in the immediate vicinity of a private plot of land.

You should preferably spend the night on a designated campsite, where you will find a fireplace, a waste bin and a privy. Otherwise select a location where you will not risk disturbing people living nearby. You should not stay at the same location for more than one or two nights without permission from the landowner. If you come in a large group you should ask for permission even for one night. Leave no traces of your stay on the campsite when you depart. Take all trash and litter with you, no matter how little. Remember that many people will come after you. A little litter from each one adds up to a lot with time. Do not cram garbage bags into overfull waste bins. This will attract animals, who will spread it around. It is better to take your garbage back with you until you can dispose of it properly.
   Use the campsite toilets. If there aren't any, dig a small pit and fill it in carefully afterwards. Carry a small spade with you in the canoe for this purpose.

No motor vehicles off-road

You are not permitted to drive a car, motorbike, moped or any other motor vehicle off-road, or on roads that are closed to public motor traffic. Roads of this kind may be marked with signs "Ej motorfordon" (No motor vehicles) or "Enskild väg" (Private road). You may, however, often park on the roadside, but remember to leave your car and caravan so that they not cause an obstruction or endanger other road users. If you go horseback-riding across other people's land you must be particularly careful not to inadvertently cause damage of any kind. Do not ride, and be extra careful when cycling along marked exercise tracks and haiking trails, or anywhere else where you are likely to cause a nuisance. You are entitled to cross fenced-in areas provided you do not damage the fence, but make sure that you close all gates properly to prevent cattle from straying. It goes without saying that you may not climb over a fence into a private plot of land.

Lighting fires

You are allowed to light a camp fire only if there is no risk of the fire spreading. The lighting of fires may be generally prohibited during periods of drought. Be sure to put your fire out properly before you break camp. If the fire should spread, you may be held liable for damages. Never light a fire on bare rocks as they will crack and split, resulting in ugly irreparable scars.

Making fires is often forbidden during the summer. The risk of forest fire is great then, and you may not even make fires in the fireplaces at the campsites. You can find out whether fires are prohibited at the tourist office and at the canoe hire centre. Bring a small camping stove to cook on, you can always use that. If you have to make a fire, remember to select a suitable site: stone or gravel ground without nearby vegetation, near the water and with a wind direction that won't carry sparks over the forest. Do not make fires on the bare rock - it will crack! Twigs, branches and pine cones lying on the ground can be used for fuel. But it is forbidden to peel birch-bark or otherwise damage growing trees. Allow the fire to burn out and extinguish the embers thoroughly with water.

More details on fires ...

Swimming and boating

You are permitted to swim, tie up your boat for a day or two, or go ashore everywhere, except close to dwellings or where entry has been prohibited by an authority, for instance in a bird or seal sanctuary. How long you may stay ashore will depend on the situation. The same rules apply here as for camping. Driving your motorboat or rowing, sailing, paddling on somebody else's water is permitted. Bear in mind, however, that there may be certain restrictions, such as speed limits, no entry or no water-skiing. If you use a motorboat you must show extra consideration.

Take your litter with you

If you have been camping or picknicking in the woods or elsewhere in the countryside you must tidy up afterwards. Never put your rubbish bags down beside a full garbage can or rubbish sack as wild animals are likely to tear them to pieces and pull the rubbish out. Bottles, cans and bottle tops can also injure both people and animals, while plastic bags can cause extreme suffering to animals and livestock if ingested.

Personal water crafts

Personal water craft - jet skis, water scooters, etc. - can disturb humans and animals, cause harm to plants and wildlife and spread infectious animal diseases. Personal water craft may therefore only be driven in areas specially designated by the County Administration Board. For further information on these areas, contact the County Administration Board (Länsstyrelsen).

Picking flowers and berries

You are not allowed to take twigs, branches, bark, leaves, acorns, nuts or resin from growing trees. This is regarded as damage or theft. And of course you may not cut down growing trees, bushes or shrubs. You are entitled to pick wild berries and flowers, mushrooms and to take fallen branches and dry twigs from the ground. However, certain flowers, which are so rare that they are at risk of extinction, are protected by law and may not be picked. The country council Tourist Office can tell you which plants are protected in the area where you are staying.

Bringing cats and dogs into Sweden

As of 1 May 1994, new rules enter into force regarding the right to bring dogs and cats into Sweden from EU/Efta countries. To ensure that rabies, distemper and leptospiros are not brought in with the animal, your dog or cat must be vaccinated against these diseases. At the border checkpoint you must present a bill of health issued by a veterinarian, and your animal must be ID-marked. For further information, contact the National Board of Agriculture,
551 82 Jönköping, Sweden, tel. + 46 36 15 50 00.

From 1 March-20 August you must keep your dog under very strict control. Even at other times of the year dogs must be kept under such control so that they cannot injure or frighten wild animals.

Fishing - but no hunting

You are entitled to fish with a rod or other hand tackle along the coast and in the lakes Vänern, Vättern, Mälaren, Hjälmaren and Storsjön (in Jämtland). That does not apply to salmon fishing on the coast of Norrland however. In other waters, and if you want to fish with nets and similar tackle, you will have to buy a license. Always find out what regulations are in force in the particular place where you want to go fishing. Never throw fishing lines and hooks away out of doors - they could be lethal traps for animals. Hunting is not allowed. Needless to say, you are not permitted to take any species of bird's eggs. Avoid disturbing nests and young animals.  

Frequent ban on lighting fires during summer

During the summer, it is often forbidden to light a fire in the countryside because of the enormous risk of fire. Information about any bans on the lighting of fires is normally broadcast in conjunction with local radio news bulletins, in traffic reports and published in the local press. You can generally also obtain information at camping sites, tourist offices and from the municipal rescue services. Several municipalities have a telephone answering machine which provides information about the risk of fire. Refer to the green pages of the telephone catalogue under the headings Brandförsvar (Fire Brigade) or Räddningstjänst (Rescue Service). The fire-risk is given on a scale of 1 - 5, where 4 and 5 most often mean a ban on the lighting of fires! When there is a ban on fires, all types of open fire are strictly forbidden! This also applies to all prepared fireplaces which have not been approved by the municipal Fire Chief. You may, however, use small camping or primus stoves and charcoal grills.

If you light a fire

You should preferably use a camping stove, but if you do light a fire, it is important to choose the right place such as a gravel or sand patch with access to water, which can be used to extinguish the fire. Beware of the wind, which could carry sparks into the forest. Either dig a hollow or lay a circle of stones around the fire, and keep the fire itself small.

Do not light a fire if the wind is strong! Do not light a fire on peat or moss. There is also a huge fire-risk in earthy, forested areas. The fire could smoulder in the ground for a long time before suddenly flaring up. Avoid lighting a fire near to ant-heaps or tree stumps.

Do not light a fire directly on or next to flat rocks. They become discoloured and could crack.

The fireplace is not the place for refuse. Do not put any refuse which cannot be burnt up into the fire. Dispose of it in the right way.

You may use branches, twigs and pine cones lying on the ground as fuel for the fire. You must not damage live trees.

How to extinguish the fire

Let the fire burn down completely. Extinguish it properly with water, then poke it so that the embers die out. Dig up the earth under the ashes until there are no signs of glowing embers or smoke left. A small trowel and a container for carrying water are useful items to take along with you.

If the fire spreads

If possible, alert the fire brigade by phoning 112 if you lose control over the fire. Try to prevent the fire from spreading in the direction of the wind. Use bunches of branches from small pine or juniper trees which can be broken off up to about 1 metre from the top of the tree. These are better than leafy branches. It is best to wet the branches. Do not beat at the fire with large strokes as the sparks will fly around and spread the fire. Sweep burning pieces towards the fire, whilst at the same time pressing the branches against the ground to smother the flames. Throw brushwood and twigs out of the way, and pull up moss in the path of the fire.

If your clothes catch fire

If your clothes catch fire throw yourself quickly to the ground and roll around.

If someone else's clothes catch fire, lay the person on the ground. Smother the fire using a blanket or jacket. Cover from the head downwards so that the flames are prevented from reaching the face. Remember that nylon and similar fabrics can flare up or melt and cause even worse damage.

Cool down burning clothes and burn injuries with cold water. Do not remove clothes that are stuck to the skin. Continue cooling the injuries until the pain stops (about 10 minutes). Seek medical attention.  

Be careful when camping

Never have an open fire or glowing coals inside the tent or under the canopy. A tent can quickly catch fire, giving off highly toxic gases. Always have a knife handy so that you can cut your way out and escape quickly.

Never pour fuel into the camping stove's burner until you have made sure the flame has burnt out and the burner has cooled down, otherwise the fuel could flare up and you run the risk of severe burn injuries.

At the campsite it is important to keep a proper distance between tents, caravans and motor homes to reduce the risk of fire - if possible, at least 4 metres.

Grills, hot plates etc. should not be closer than 1 metre to the tent.

Check that all pipes and connections for the bottled gas are undamaged and properly tightened to prevent any leakage.

Take note of where fire fighting equipment and alarm systems are located.

This symbol denotes the location of fire fighting equipment.