Sweden // Sports and outdoor activities //

The countryside – some ground rules

In Sweden you’re entitled by law to walk, jog, camp, cycle, ride or ski on other people’s land, provided you don’t cause damage to crops, forest plantations or fences; this is the centuries-old Allemansrätten or Everyman’s Right. It also allows you to pick wild berries, mushrooms and wild flowers (except protected species), fish and swim, where there are no nearby houses. But this right brings with it certain obligations: you shouldn’t get close to houses or walk across gardens or on land under seed or crops; pitch a tent on land used for farming; camp close to houses without asking permission; cut down trees or bushes; or break branches or strip the bark off trees. Nor are you allowed to drive off-road (look out for signs saying “Ej motorfordon”, no motor vehicles, or “Enskild väg”, private road); light a fire if there’s a risk of it spreading; or disturb wildlife.

It’s common sense to be wary of frightening reindeer herds in the north of Sweden; if they scatter it can mean several extra days’ hard work for the herders. Also avoid tramping over the lichen – the staple diet of reindeer – covering stretches of moorland. As you might expect, any kind of hunting is forbidden without a permit. National parks have special regulations which are posted on huts and at entrances.