Everyman's Rights - Freedom to Access

Everyman's Rights - Freedom to Access

Enjoy Free Access to Nature

When visiting the Nordic countries, you have the privilege of enjoying nature just like the locals do. However, 'Everyman’s Rights' bring you also responsibilities.

You may have already heard about Everyman’s Rights which gives you the freedom to explore and use nature regardless of who owns or controls the land. However, it is essential to notice accompanying responsibilities. Your activities and exploration in nature should not cause more than minimal possible harm to the landowner and nature. In this blog, we aim to familiarize you with these golden rules. 


middle aged couple climbing a hill in the finnish archipelago, helping each other



Respect Nature, People, and the Property of Others

It is good to start with an excellent quote from Visit Finland, a National Tourism organization, as published on their website:  
In Finland, nature is both wild and free. The law allows anyone living in or visiting Finland the freedom to roam the countryside, forage, fish with a line and rod, and enjoy the recreational use of natural areas – respectfully, of course. This is known as “The Everyman's Rights,” or Jokamiehen oikeudet.

These same principles are known in Norway as ‘Allemannsretten’ and in Sweden as ‘Allemansrätten’. Comparable customs and rules also apply in Iceland, the United Kingdom, and the Baltic, with some local variations. 

At the end of this article, we have provided links to the Access Rights guidelines for each country, as well as additional resources for sustainable travel and nature preservation for those interested in further study.

But first, let’s summarize the principles of the Golden Rules for outdoor enthusiasts, which are particularly applicable in the Nordic countries.


sunny closeup of a person's hands and the fishing rod

Photo by Samantha Deleo via Unsplash


Avoid Disturbing or Leaving Traces

These Golden Outdoors rules focus on preserving and protecting pristine nature (flora and fauna) as well as respecting people (both residents and other visitors in the area), and safeguarding property (whether it is private or public).


1. You are permitted to engage in the following activities, with certain limitations:

  • You can walk, cycle, or ski freely - But avoid passing too closely to local residential or other private buildings and farm fields (land under cultivation) or nursery plantations.
  • Temporary camping in the wilderness is allowed - but you must act respectfully toward people, property, and nature. Keep a reasonable distance from private dwellings, gardens, and cultivated land.
  • You can pick wild berries, mushrooms, and flowers in the forest - As long as they are not protected species and avoid damaging flora and fauna by ripping or cutting them down. 
  • Fishing with a simple rod and line is allowed, but refrain from using nets, traps, reels, or lures.
  • Accessing beaches, using boats, swimming, or bathing in inland waters (lakes and rivers) and the sea is permitted, but show respect by keeping a reasonable distance from private buildings and yards.
  • Walking, skiing, or driving a motor vehicle on frozen lakes, rivers, and the sea is allowed, but maintain a reasonable distance from private buildings and gardens. But in wintertime, you should be extra careful if you go to frozen waters. 
  • Driving on private roads is permissible unless forbidden by a road sign. Avoid driving off roads without the landowner's permission.

However, it's important to note that all the activities mentioned above may be restricted or prohibited in national parks and other nature reserve areas at certain times or throughout the year to protect sensitive areas and endangered plant or animal species. Please pay close attention to any restrictions published by a local authority and do not hesitate to ask for guidance from a local nature visitor center or a tourist office. 


person snow shoeing in finnish lapland on top of the fell



2. Remember your Responsibilities and Restrictions for Actions:

It is important to acknowledge your responsibilities and follow certain restrictions when enjoying outdoor activities:

  • Avoid disturbing residents with loud noise and refrain from camping too close to private buildings and gardens. Additionally, ensure that you do not cause any damage to private property or yards.
  • Show respect to other visitors in the park by not reserving public camping spaces, huts, or fireplaces exclusively for yourself. Always seek permission before photographing others.
  • Please do not feed any wild animals and observe them from a distance. 
  • You should be cautious around reindeer, which are privately owned animals, as well as other wildlife, especially during nesting seasons such as spring and early summer. 
  • If you encounter an elk with a calf, avoid approaching them as mother elks can behave protectively. They typically give birth to one or two calves in May.
  • Keep your pets on a leash at all times. Pet are not allowed to roam freely in any national park or nature reserve areas. 
  • Do not cut down trees or damage undergrowth in the forest.
  • Avoid collecting green moist moss or lichen, as most species are protected and would require the landowner's permission for collection.
  • Please do not pile or knock down the rock piles as they may hold cultural or historical significance.
  • You should not light up an open campfire without permission. Utilize designated campfire spots unless their usage is restricted or prohibited due to grass or forest fire warnings. Stay updated on weather and warning information provided by the local Meteorological Institute.
  • Please do not litter. Whatever items you bring into the forest, make sure to take them back with you and dispose of them in public waste bins. Remember to separate plastic, glass, metal, and cardboard for recycling when possible.
  • Do not drive off roads without the landowner's permission.
  • Obtain official national hunting permits before engaging in hunting activities. When fishing, do not use nets, traps, reels, or lures unless permitted.
  • Flying drones are prohibited in key bird nesting areas, restricted areas such as borderlines, military zones, and airports, and may be subject to other local limitations. In national parks, it is advisable not to use drones to respect both people and animals in the area.

Whether you embark on a short nature trail adventure with your children or a longer hiking trip, it is essential to remember that everyone has an equal right to enjoy the tranquility of nature. Let's not leave any trace behind and relish our time in the relaxing and rejuvenating surroundings.

Please read more country-specific information from the links below. Our next blog in July will share more in-depth guidance on outdoor etiquette. 


middle aged couple nordic walking in finnish archipelago



Links to local authorities and guidelines







United Kingdom

Man and dog hiking in norwegian fjords

Photo by Till Daling


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Whether you need any additional guidance on booking your motorhome holiday in Finland, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Estonia, or England, please do not hesitate to contact our international sales office (service in English) by phone, email, or online chat. 


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Touring Cars reserves the right for any mistakes in the text. Sources utilized to write this blog article:

  • Visit Finland / Visit Sweden / Visit Norway / Visit Britain / Visit Estonia / Visit Iceland website
  • Nationalparks.fi / website of Finland's Environmental Admistration / Ministry of the Environment / Metsähallitus
  • Norgesnasjonalsparker.no / biodiversity.no 
  • Sverigesnationalparker.se / natruvardsverket.se / skyddadnatur.naturvardsverket.se 
  • The Environment Agency of Iceland EAI ust.is / Icelandic Institute of Natural History nis.is / Government of Iceland government.is
  • RMK Sagadi Forest Centre loodusegakoos.ee / The Environment Agency
  • National Parks UK /  Government of UK gov.uk


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