Freedom to Roam
Countries which have a‘right to roam’ law include Finland, Norway, Iceland, Sweden, Latvia, Austria, the Czech Republic and Switzerland.
Although a traditional right ro am called allemansratten has existed from ancient times, the freedom to roam has been part of the Outdoor Recreation Act since 1957. The rules are simple: you can sleep anywhere as long as you stay at least 150m away from the nearest residency, and if you sleep more than two nights in the same place, you must ask the landowner’s permission. Most important, though, is that those who practice allemansratten should have respect for nature, the wildlife and the locals.
What separates Norway from the rest, is fjellvettreglene. Fjellvettreglene, known as Norway’s ‘mountain code’, was introduced after a several accidents, the Norwegian Trekking Association and The Red Cross announced their campaign ‘Welcome to the mountains, but be responsible’. Fjellvettreglene encourages people to have a healthy and respectful relationship with nature.
Another phrase is friluftsliv which was coined in 1859 and is a philosophical concept that means ‘free-air life.’ Itis used to illustrate the raw dedication and passion Norwegians have for nature.
But while friluftsliv encourages people to practice allemansratten and allemansratten encourages the love for friluftsliv, fjellvettreglene is the education to preserve and protect nature.
The Åland Islands, or Åland, is an autonomous region of Finland. Comprising around 6,700 islands. Åland’s legal right of access to private land is not the same as its equivalent in Sweden and Finland.
You have the right to move around freely on foot, on a bicycle or in a kayak, but must avoid private plots of land and piers, and also cultivated land. Always close gates after you.
If you are staying overnight, we recommend campsites, holiday villages and guest harbours. You may sit down and have a rest.
If it is not possible for you to ask the owner of the land for permission, you may pitch an individual tent for one night provided you do so without invading the privacy of the owner’s home. This means pitching your tent at a reasonable distance from any buildings and having consideration for the place in general.
It is forbidden to damage the countryside, disturb those who own or occupy the land or to make excessive noise. Similar conventions apply to staying overnight in a boat.