Sweden’s right of public access
Sweden’s right of public access gives everyone wide access to our countryside. However, besides rights, it also involves obligations. These include taking responsibility for flora and fauna as well as respecting land owners and other visitors.
Nature is very important to Swedish people. In Sweden, everyone is entitled to be out in the countryside, even in areas owned by someone else. We call this the right of public access. It is an essential part of Swedish culture. We make use of our right of public access whenever we walk in a forest, paddle a kayak, go climbing or simply sit on a rock to think.
The right of public access also entails exercising care and not disturbing other people or animals. Similarly, we must not damage the countryside or anything owned by another person. We summarise this as “do not disturb, do not destroy”.
The right of public access enables you to:
- Be out in the countryside regardless of who owns the land. This is the foundation of our right of public access. When we are out in the countryside, we must not disturb or destroy and we must respect “home protection zones”, i.e. the private land in the immediate vicinity of a residence. In protected areas (e.g. nature reserves), there are special regulations to protect nature and heritage.
- Pick flowers, berries and mushrooms. Provided they are not protected species or in gardens, plantations or fields. However, you must not damage or take home trees or bushes.
- Light a small fire if you are very careful. Do not light a fire directly on bare rock (it will crack). It is best to light fires where there is a place set aside for this. Throughout certain periods of the summer, lighting fires is often prohibited owing to dryness and the risk of spreading. See what rules currently apply to lighting fires outdoors in the municipality of Halmstad.
- Sleep out. You may set up a tent in the great outdoors for the occasional 24-hour period. Remember not to disturb the landowner or damage flora or fauna.
- Take your dog out into the countryside. However, remember that from 1 March to 20 August, you must keep full check of your dog at all times when out in the countryside. If you let it off the lead, it must never be more than a few metres from you. This is the time when animals have young. A loose dog can scare and injure animals. It is best to keep your dog on a lead at all times out in the countryside. If you want to take a dip with your dog, see where you can do this in Halmstad. We have also put together a guide on Halmstad’s dog-friendly places.
- Climb. Climbing is a natural part of outdoor life in Sweden. Our right of public access enables you to do it all year round.
- Cycling and walking. You may cycle and walk in the countryside and along private roads, but not across house plots, plantations or fields (if these latter may sustain damage from this). See our cycling tips for Halmstad. We have also collected tips on glorious nature reserves and lovely, day-long walks.
- Riding. You may ride freely in the great outdoors. However, as a rider, you must show extra respect when riding on someone else’s land.
- Fish with poles and rods along the coast and in the five largest lakes (Mälaren, Vänern, Vättern, Hjälmaren and Storsjön in Jämtland). Other lakes require a fishing permit. See Halmstad fishing tips in our guide.
- Enjoy sea and lakes. Our right of public access applies to land and water. You may go ashore, bathe, anchor and temporarily moor your boat. See our lake guide and, to find your favourite bays, our beach tips.
- Do not leave any litter in the countryside. This ensures that it is just as nice for the next visitor. Taking your litter home also ensures that it cannot harm or injure flora, fauna and people.
- Do not hunt, disturb or injure any animals. Do not touch bird eggs, the nests, lairs, etc. in which animals live or the young of any animals.
- In the great outdoors, do not drive cars or ride motorbikes or mopeds anywhere other than on designated roads. Similarly, do not drive or ride on paths, park tracks or exercise trails.
Enjoy the nature of Sweden
Respecting the right of public access means that we can all enjoy Sweden’s fantastic countryside. Read more about our right of public access on the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency’s website.
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