Wild camping in Sweden: this is what you should know
One of the things we really love about Sweden is that you can go wild camping. The Everyman’s Right (Right of Public Access) in Sweden, or the Allemansrätten, means that you roam freely everywhere. This therefore not only applies to camping, but also to hiking, horse riding and canoeing, for example. During our various road trips in Scandinavia in recent years we have made the best use of the possibility of wild camping in Sweden. Since there are a number of rules regarding the freedom camping in Sweden, we have written this useful article for you so that you can prepare for your Sweden trip the best way possible. Enjoy reading!
Wild camping in Sweden: what are the rules?
First of all it is important that you camp with respect for nature. In other words: leave nothing but footprints. If someone comes to that same spot after your overnight stay, it should not be visible that you have been there, whether with a tent, car or camper. Take your waste with you, do not destroy nature and leave everything as you found it when you arrived at your campsite.
You are allowed to make a fire, if not forbidden due to a fire hazard. For example, we were traveling in Sweden in the summer of 2018 and unfortunately it was one of the driest summers in years, so there was a general ban on open fires, which also included campfires. It was very unfortunate but there was nothing to do about it. Are you in doubt about being allowed to make a fire? Then don’t do it! In terms of firewood you can use branches and twigs that lie on the ground, it is not allowed to cut down trees or to break down branches. At many gas stations you can buy firewood to make a fire and buy starter kits that contain a block that you get burning within no-time. This kit burns for about an hour and only costs a few euros.
Also make sure that you are not on land that is owned by someone. If you are on someone else’s land, you can only camp here with the owner’s permission. Usually (but not always!) there are fences and / or there is a sign that camping is not allowed. Are you not sure if you can go wild camping in a certain place and / or in a certain area? Then ask the local tourist office for the exact rules. Quite often they also have tips for beautiful and peaceful camping spots in the area.
In addition, do not disturb other people. Do not play loud music, do not make too much noise and behave properly as you would like someone else to behave. Partly because of this, the Everyman’s Right in Sweden has been possible for centuries and it would be a shame if this was destroyed by wrong behavior of tourists.
Other activities such as picking berries, collecting mushrooms and putting together a flower bouquet are only allowed with the permission of the owner of the land if you are on private land.
Wild camping in Sweden with your tent
The easiest way is to camp freely in nature is with your tent. This is particularly common when making treks such as the Kungsleden. In some places you will find shelters, a kind of roof where sometimes there’s a fire place as well. These are also free to use. In national parks and other protected nature areas, bear in mind that there are often rules and restrictions in regards to wild camping. Always ask the local visitor center what is allowed or not. On hiking trips you are often not allowed to camp in the immediate vicinity of a mountain hut (unless you pay a fee), you can check this with the on-site hut warden.
Wild camping in Sweden with a car, campervan or other motorized vehicle
If you want to go wild camping in Sweden with a motorized vehicle, there are additional rules that you must know of. The ‘Terrängkörningslagen’ regulates everything that has to do with motor vehicles on land and has decided that it is forbidden to drive all motor vehicles on uncovered soil. In addition, you cannot drive a motor vehicle on private roads that are closed to traffic.
For both tents and motorized vehicles the rule is that you cannot stay in the same place longer than one night if you are wild camping.
Is wild camping in Sweden dangerous?
No, wild camping in Sweden is not dangerous. It is a common practice and you notice particularly in the high season that the Swedes themselves also regularly go out into nature. They are therefore used to encounter tents and / or motor vehicles in nature.
This does not alter the fact that it may feel a little awkward at first. After all, you are fairly vulnerable in nature. For example, last winter we camped in the wild on a mountain in Dalarna and we heard a moose walking around the tent at night. Flop … flop … flop … his or her heavy legs kept on digging into the snow next to our tent. These are exciting moments that make your camping adventure even more special in retrospect but may feel uncomfortable while happening.
The greatest danger is in you. For example, you should know how to deal with a gas set so that there is no sudden fire, close your tent or vehicle properly against the mosquitoes in the evening and make sure you have sufficient light sources (for example, a headlight and your mobile phone). In June and July it hardly gets dark at night, but in August the days get shorter quickly.
How to find a spot for wild camping in Sweden
By now we are quite skilled at finding wild camping spots in Sweden, but sometimes it takes a while to find a suitable place. We spend our nights either in a tent or in our Volvo V40 which is named Rudolph and we have converted it into a camper.
In practice we usually went wild camping on our multi-day hikes with our tent and in other places we slept in our car. Usually we would look for a place next to a lake. Sometimes you will find special camping spots at lakes, sometimes you just stand in a parking lot next to other campers. Which we never did, but we’ve seen other people do it.
You can find the most beautiful places just off the main road. We usually took the road map and searched a small road in the area of a lake. Nine out of ten times it was no problem to find a suitable camping spot. You’ll notice that it is more difficult in tourist areas. For example, we searched for an hour in the area of Tärnaby and Hemavan (the end of the Kungsleden trail), but all the roads turned out to lead to private land or to a house which felt rather uncomfortable. In the end we stayed at a local campsite. Finding a place can therefore take some time so allow yourself some patience while you are searching.
In some places you will find waste bins, a longdrop toilet and a fire pit, but these places are not many. You are often dependent on your own creativity and that makes wilderness camping in Sweden even more fun in our opinion!
Also read: driving to and in Sweden: our tips
Camping on a campsite in Sweden
If you do not find a suitable wild camping site, then staying at a campsite in Sweden is of course always an option. In almost every village there is a (small) campsite with a reception, a toilet facilities and sometimes a kitchen block. The average costs for one person are 10 euros per night. In tourist spots it can turn out to be higher in high season. Some of the nicest camping spots we had were for example at Camping Skabram in Jokkmokk, Tyngsjö Vildmark in Dalarna and Särna Camping near Fulufjället National Park.
At these types of campsites you can often rent a stuga, a small cabin that usually only contains a bed and a small kitchen. You bring your own sleeping gear such as a sleeping bag. This is a great alternative if the weather is bad, for example. You can also easily recharge all your electronics there and usually use the WiFi.
Conclusion and disclaimer
Hopefully you found this article about wild camping in Sweden helpful and will help you prepare for your trip to Sweden. This article contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase or make a reservation via such a link, we may receive a modest commission without extra costs for you.
In the beginning you state, that:
“If you are on someone else’s land, you can only camp here with the owner’s permission.”
But all other sources I can find says thats you can, indeed, camp on private land as long as its far enough away from the main house.
“You are allowed to access any land, except private residences, the immediate vicinity (70 meters) of a dwelling house and cultivated land.”
“In Sweden, you can walk, ride, cycle, ski and camp on any land you like, without the landowner’s permission.”
“While you are allowed to stay on another person’s land in Sweden, you shouldn’t disturb them in any way”
“Du må overnatte i skov og på mark, som andre ejer” (in danish, in english it is “You may sleep anywhere in a forest or field that someone else owns”)