Exploring nature in Sweden comes with a sense of freedom. You’re free to walk almost wherever you want, put up a tent for a night and go for a swim in a lake. You can go wherever you like, with the exception of private gardens, near a dwelling house or land under cultivation.

The Right of Public Access (Allemansrätten in Swedish) allows us to get close to nature. The right also means that we need to be responsible and respect nature and wild life, as well as land owners and fellow nature visitors.

With help from the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency guide, we’ve put together some frequently asked questions about the Right of  Public Access. You can access the complete guide here.

May I pitch a tent and make a fire?

You’re free to pitch a tent for a few nights, just remember to pick a site that is well away from people’s houses and not on farmland. If you want to make a fire, that’s fine as long as conditions are safe. Make sure that there’s no fire ban in place, and that you don’t build a fire on or next to rock. The heat will crack the rock, causing disfiguring scars that will never heal.

May I pick berries, flowers, mushrooms etcetera?

Absolutely, you’re allowed to pick berries, mushroom, flowers and growing on the ground. You are not allowed to cut down or otherwise injure growing trees. Keep in mind that some plants may be protected and not allowed to pick.

May I go fishing?

Hunting and fishing is not part of the Right of Public Access. However, Swedish citizens are allowed to fish without a licence in public waters. Foreign citizens may fish without a licence in those waters as long as they use hand gear. Fishing in other private waters is only allowed with a licence or other permit. 

May I take my dog with me?

Dogs are welcome, just keep in mind that they are not allowed to roam free from March 1 to August 20, when nature and wildlife is more sensitive. Also, make sure that your dog is under full control even outside the dates above.  

May I go swimming or take a boat out?

Yes, the Right of Public Access applies on land and water. You’re allowed to swim, sail and moor your boat almost anywhere, as long as it’s not on the grounds of a house or part of a nature sanctuary or similar.  

What about driving quad bikes or other motor vehicles?

The Right of Public Access does not apply to motor vehicles. That includes campers and caravans.  

What if I want to take my bicycle?

That’s fine! Just make sure you’re careful not to bike on sensitive land or land used for growing crops.

In closing, make sure to make use of all the freedom the Right of Public Access gives you to enjoy the beautiful nature of Gothenburg and its surroundings, and please be respectful and responsible while you do it.