The Right of Public Access gives you a wonderful way to experience Sweden’s countryside, whether you are hiking, running, bicycling, riding or even skiing. But be sensible. Show that you care about nature so that we all can continue to enjoy and access the outdoors.
Your rights and responsibilities are:
1. I will stay clear of private dwellings.
You are entitled to roam almost anywhere you like in Sweden’s countryside and forests. But access rights do not extend to houses and gardens. In some cases, it might be difficult to judge the extent of a garden. Things to look out for:
- a fence, wall, hedge, or a natural boundary like a river or a stream
- a lawn in close proximity to private dwellings
- planted flowers, fruit trees or vegetable gardens
- sheds, greenhouses and cottages
2. I will only pitch a tent where I am permitted to.
You can pitch a tent for up to two nights as long as you don’t bother the property owner or cause damage to the natural environment. Remember; do not camp on environmentally sensitive land, grazing land, farmland and fields with planted crops. Also keep well away from buildings, roads or historic structures. If you wish to camp close to a house or building or are a larger group seek the owner’s permission.
3. I will not light fires on, or near, rocks or on sites where there is a risk of a fire spreading.
When choosing a spot for your campfire, make sure there is no chance it will spread or harm the area around you. The best solution is to use or make a campfire pit and keep it small, under control and supervised.
Do not light a fire on or near rocks, as rocks can crack from the heat and remove all traces of an open fire before you leave. Never light an open fire when there is a fire hazard or during prolonged dry periods. National parks and reserves usually have strict rules governing the making of fires. A campfire ban could be imposed in the event of a fire risk.Check with the local municipality to find out if a campfire ban is in place.
4. I will not litter and take all my rubbish with me.
Littering is strictly forbidden. But the solution is fairly simple. Take your litter home with you. Naturally, if garbage cans are there, use them.
5. I will not leave any signs of human waste.
Remember that unless you are at a formal campground there is usually no access to toilets. Please stay away from open water or rivers, as well as buildings and farm animals. Bury faeces in a shallow hole and cover it. Don’t leave any visible toilet paper.
6. I will not cause any damage to forests or countryside.
Access rights extend to forests, woods and countryside’s but remember that crops, replanted forest, cultivated land or other vulnerable land should not be damaged. Keep to suitable paths and tracks in order to minimize any damage especially if you are cycling or horse riding. Also, keep in mind that a group of people is more likely to cause damage than a single person.
7. I will always close gates.
You are entitled to cross through a gate or climb over a fence to reach areas where the Right of Public Access is applicable, provided you do not trespass on someone’s private garden or disturb the property owner. Keep a safe distance to farm animals. Avoid climbing over gates, fences, dykes or hedges unless there is no reasonable alternative nearby and close the gate. If you have to climb over a fence, avoid causing any damage.
8. I will not pick endangered flowers.
You are allowed to pick wild berries, flowers and mushrooms, and to pick up fallen branches and dried brush. But some plants are protected by law, so you cannot pick them. You are not permitted to pick twigs, branches, bark, leaves, acorns, nuts or resin from growing trees. And it is illegal for you to remove bushes or to cut down trees.
9. I will stay aware of the rules that apply in protected areas.
In protected areas such as national parks and nature reserves certain rules apply that can limit, or perhaps even expand, the Right of Public Access. Find out what applies in the areas you are, or will be, visiting. And make sure to read the rules and regulations printed on signs throughout the parks.
10. I will keep my dog under proper control.
Dogs are permitted to accompany you throughout the Swedish countryside, but between March 1 and August 20, you are required to have your dog under proper control. Ideally, you should keep the dog on a leash and avoid entering fields with for instance calves and lambs. Wildlife is at its most vulnerable during spring and summer and even the friendliest dog can cause problems and damage just by its very presence. But, during other times of the year as well, it is a good idea to keep track of your dog so that it does not cause damage or disturb wild animals. And please dispose of dog droppings.
11. I will be conscious about humans and wild animals.
Of course, it‘s fun to blast down forest trails on your bike and ride your horse. But keep in mind that you could be disturbing other people, and animals for that matter too, who are doing something else entirely. The Right of Public Access applies to everyone. Also, take extra care during early summer because this is when birds are hatching and animal life is at its most sensitive.
12. I will only take a swim where it's allowed.
You are allowed to swim just about anywhere in Sweden, except adjacent to private property, or where access is prohibited in order to protect birds or seals. The same rules apply when tying up your boat temporarily. You are allowed to tie up to someone’s dock provided you are not close to someone’s house or bother the owner.
You are permitted to sail your boat on the ocean, in lakes or other waterways, provided there are no bans or restrictions in place. You can only use water scooters in certain areas. Contact the local provincial administration for more information.
13.I will only operate a motor vehicle where permitted.
The Right of Public Access does not permit you to drive a vehicle through Sweden’s country and forest terrain. Terrain, or off-road driving, is, with few exceptions, banned in Sweden. Always park your vehicle immediately next to the road, provided it does not damage the ground, bother the landowner or obstruct the road in any way.