People of all nationalities have the right to enjoy the Finnish countryside freely under the traditional Finnish legal concept known as everyman’s right. But together with these wide-ranging rights comes the responsibility to respect nature, other people, and property. Special regulations in national parks and many nature reserves additionally limit activities such as camping, hunting, the use of motor vehicles, and access to sensitive areas during the nesting season. Such restrictions are listed separately for each area.
The list below summarises the main rights and responsibilities within everyman’s right:
- walk, ski or cycle freely, except very near people’s homes, or in fields and plantations which could easily be damaged.
- camp out temporarily, a reasonable distance from homes
- pick wild berries, mushrooms and flowers, as long as they are not protected species
- fish with a rod and line
- use boats, swim or bathe in inland waters and the sea
- walk, ski, or drive a motor vehicle or fish on frozen lakes, rivers and the sea.
You may not
- disturb people or damage property
- disturb reindeer, game, breeding birds, their nests or young
- let pets off lead
- cut down or damage trees
- collect moss, lichen or fallen trees from other people’s property
- light open campfires without permission, except in an emergency
- disturb people’s privacy by camping too near them or making too much noise
- leave litter
- drive motor vehicles off road without the landowner’s permission
- hunt without the relevant permits
- fish with nets, traps, or a reel and lure without the relevant permits