Family cooking food outside

The right of public access

The right of public access ensures that everyone has access to our Swedish natural world. No matter whether you hike, cycle or ski, you are allowed to move freely everywhere. You are also allowed to pick flowers and berries, light fires, and camp for a couple of nights on privately owned land. The Swedish right of public access is unique.

This right brings with it a responsibility to use it carefully, such that our children and grandchildren will also be able to enjoy and use the natural world in the same way. It will only work as long as we use this right with respect. The basic principle is to avoid disturbing and to avoid destroying.

It is sometimes necessary that you take extra care. If you are out canoeing or fishing, for example, it’s a good idea to make sure that you know where any protected areas for animals are located. Many birds breed along the coastline during the spring and summer, and they should be left in peace.

Remember also that the right of public access is subject to restrictions in Sweden’s many national parks and nature reserves. This may mean, for example, that you are not allowed to light fires, camp where you choose, or bring your dog into the park. Signposts give details of the regulations in such areas.

Remember to act carefully when you are in forests and other parts of the landscape. If you stop for a rest while hiking, check one more time to make sure that you take everything with you when you continue. Rubbish does not belong in the natural world, and it’s easy to leave something behind through carelessness.

Remember:

  • Sand and gravel are good surfaces on which to build fires.
  • You may freely fish with a rod along the coast and in Sweden’s five largest lakes: Vänern, Vättern, Mälaren, Hjälmaren and Storsjön.
  • In the mountain world where reindeer husbandry is carried out, dogs must be kept on a lead at all times.
  • You may use private roads and walk across private beaches, but you must always respect the boundaries of housing plots, when close to where people live.
  • Paths are often soft in the spring, and it may be necessary to run or cycle a bit more calmly, to prevent damage to the ground and to avoid slipping and falling.