Camping out in Sweden
Camping out in Sweden is a great way to experience the scenic outdoors at first hand. For many people, it’s a serene and refreshing way of spending the night far away from city stress, and setting up camp in the middle of nowhere is a popuar way of finding cheap and adventurous accommodation. But it’s always important to inform yourself with what’s allowed and what’s not allowed in the wilderness, as well as how to prepare for making the most of your stay.
Where am I allowed to camp in Sweden?
In general, camping out for a few days is perfectly fine almost all over Sweden due to the Right of Public Access, or Allemansrätten. There are however a few restrictions and exceptions to the rule, for example; if you’re a larger group with several tents, or if you intend to stay for more than just a few nights, you are well-advised to get permission from the landowner. Otherwise, no permission or permit is required in most public natural areas.
National parks and other protected areas, such as nature reserves, often have their own rules regarding camping and other recreational activities so be sure to check local policies when visiting such areas. In general, camping in national parks is restricted to appointed camping sites.
It is never allowed to camp:
- Adjacent to residential houses, back yards or other inhabited areas. Avoid such areas also when you’re just passing through. If you’re unsure, it’s better to keep a safe distance and let local residents remain undisturbed.
- On farmlands, pasture land or other cultivated soil.
So does this mean I can set up my tent anywhere else?
Well, yes and no. Generally speaking, it’s ok to set up shop (for 1-2 days) in areas not mentioned above, as the right of public access gives you the right to do so. However, there are also regulations on a local level that can prevent you from camping and setting up your tent, for example in certain parks or in green areas intended for other use. Municipal tourist information should be able to clear things up if you’re unsure.
A few other things to keep in mind:
Off-road driving is prohibited (including RVs and camper vehicles) but it’s fine to utilize smaller forest roads as long as they’re not private and/or restricted in other ways. From there on, you’ll have to continue on foot and leave the ground unspoiled.
It’s forbidded to harm plants and trees, including cutting them down to use as shelter or firewood, and you may instead collect and use branches found on the ground. Generally, your camping site must remain exactly the way you found it so make sure to bring all your waste with you when you leave. Remember that littering is subject to a fine in Sweden, no matter where you are.
Collecting mushrooms and berries is allowed and it’s a very popular activity among Swedes. There are a few poisonous species, both berries and mushrooms, so make sure you’re familiar with those that are edible and those that are not. Different types of mushrooms can be found almost year-round in Sweden but the height of the mushroom season is late summer to early fall. The season lasts a bit longer in southern Sweden than it does in the northern parts.
Fishing usually requires a special permit that costs roughly 60-100 SEK per day. Since there are around 100.000 lakes in Sweden (not to mention all the rivers), you won’t have to look far for some great fishing opportunities. However, in some lakes and streams, or in certain parts of the lakes, fishing might be prohibited due to waterfront properties or because of fish stock preservation. This information should be available when you purchase your fishing permit.
The hunting season in Sweden varies between different parts of the country, but is typically ongoing between September and February. It is perfectly fine to be out in the nature and the Swedish forests during this time, and it is always the hunter’s responsibility to make sure that no one is put at risk. However, it is a good idea to wear bright and colorful clothing to make yourself extra visible.
Lighting a campfire
A campfire is for many people an essential part of life in the wilderness, but it’s always important to exercise utmost caution. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Sometimes during hot and dry periods there’s a complete fire ban in certain regions. This ban must be respected and information should be available through local news channels, on the municipality website or at tourist information centers.
- Always keep a safe distance between the tent and the campfire.
- Make sure you have access to water and never leave the fire unattended.
- Do not keep the fire on flammable ground such as grass or moss, but rather on gravel or sand. Either dig a small hole or put larger stones around the flame to act as a hearth and wind protection. Do not light the fire directly on bedrock as the heat might damage and crack it.
- Before putting out the campfire, let it burn out completely. Pour water over the ashes and make sure there are no remaining embers.
- If something catches fire or if you lose control over the flame and are unable to put it out – immediately call the emergency number 112.
Gear and equipment – here’s some great packing tips that helps you make the most of your trip.
When camping out in winter, it’s very important to read up and prepare well to avoid hazards related to cold weather. Read more about winter camping here.
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