In My Heart

The Right of Public Access Gives You
the Right to Roam, Walk and Camp on Almost Any Land

The Right of Public Access Is Something You'll Love

In Lapland you'll learn about the Right of Public Access which gives you the chance to enjoy nature quite freely.

You'll have the freedom to roam the vast forests and mountains of Lapland, and the many lakes and rivers. The same applies to the Arctic Coast. There are very few restrictions. And public access to private land is much wider here than in almost any other country.

The right of public access gives you as a visitor the right to access, walk and camp on any land - with the exception of private gardens and land under cultivation.

The right of public access is something quite unique to the Nordic countries of Finland, Norway and Sweden. This right is the most important base for recreation in these countries. It gives you the possibility for you and me and everyone to visit somebody else's land, to take a bath there and to travel by boat on somebody else's waters, and to pick the wild flowers, mushrooms and berries as you go.

But it is your responsibility to find out about the rules concerning the Right of Public Access just were you intend to go. But as a general rule you can freely roam everywhere as long as you keep away from peoples gardens and cultivated land in summer.

Here are the most important rules in short

You can do this
  • You can walk, cycle, ride a horse or to go skiing on all land that is not cultivated. You can walk on cultivated land when it is frozen and covered with snow.
  • You can always walk and ski on frozen lakes, rivers and the sea
  • You can pick wild flowers (not those protected by law), berries, and mushrooms (not in gardens or plantations).
  • You can bathe or swim everywhere.
  • You can go by boat on most natural watercourses.
  • You can take water from rivers, lakes and springs.
  • You can put up a tent, or park your caravan, or motor home, for twenty-four hours. For a longer stay You have to have the permission of the owner.(In a very few places there are some local restrictions as to the lenght of your stop).
  • You can make a fire, as long as you do not cause any damage. There are restrictions during periods of drought when there is immediate liability for a forest fire. You may use fallen branches and or twigs as fire wood. Never light a fire on bare rocks as they will crack and split, resulting in ugly irreparable scars.
  • You can let your dog loose as long as you have full control. Beware of local restrictions!

  • You are prohibited to these things
  • You cannot cause any damage to the land. Nor can you pollute it.

  • You cannot cause any damage to crops, forest plantations and fences
  • .

  • You cannot cross or stay on a private property without permission. The property may not always be hedged or fenced in. But if you just keep away from the the area closest to dwelling houses, you are on the safe side.
  • You cannot drive a motor vehicle on private property or on a private roads if the owner has forbidden this for example by signs. Nor can you drive in restricted areas like gardens, and cultivated areas
  • .

  • You cannot camp near people's homes or make too much noise or leave litter.
  • You cannot pick wild flowers protected by law.
  • You cannot park a caravan or a motor home where the land may be damaged.
  • You cannot make a fire if that means that the environment could be damaged or endangered.
  • You cannot let dogs run freely on private hunting grounds.
  • You cannot disturb reindeer or other animals.

  • Berry picking
    In Norwegian Lapland (Finnmark county) there are restrictions concerning cloudberry picking. As a tourist you can eat them as you go, but not take any with you.

    In Enontekiƶ, in Finnish Lapland, all berry picking is excluded from the public right of access. You'll need the landowner's permission.

    In Sweden you need the permission from the land owner to fish. You can fish freely on the five biggest lakes and around the coast.

    In salt water areas there is free access to sports fishing using boats or from the shore line.

    Regardless of who owns the land, fresh water fishing activities may only be conducted with the permission of the landowner or by those in possession of a fishing licence. All fishing has rules regarding gear, seasons, size limits and more.

    In Norway the fishing rights belong to the landowner in freshwater areas such as rivers and lakes. You'll need a permission from the landowner.

    The Tourist Offices will help you with the fishing licences. They also know the local regulations.

    On the Arctic Coast in Norwegian Lapland (Finnmark county) you can fish as much as you like in the sea (salt water). But you can only bring 15 kilos filleted fish out of Norway.
    Hunting rights belong to the landowner, and thus hunting is not included in the right of public access. To hunt you need a permission from the land owner all over Lapland.

    The Tourist Offices will help you with the fishing licences. They also know the local regulations.

    What does each country officially say about their right of public access?

    Read about the Right of Public Access in Swedish Lapland

    Here's what the Finns say about their Everyman's Right

    The Norwegians have only a short official description Public Right of Access in Norway in English.

    Where the Reindeer Roam