Fall in Sweden – Everyman’s Right to Roam

Sweden is super cool. Yep, you heard me. I know, I know. I live in Denmark. But our Scandi neighbor really is. Cool. In a completely different way than Denmark. I mean Copenhagen is cool. VERY COOL. Sometimes, maybe possibly – a little too cool for school. Don’t get me wrong. I love it here. In all it’s tatted, skinny black panted, chunky white trainer wearing, oversized trench coated, giant scarf wrapped, top-knotted or bearded, coffee drinking, Tuborg swilling, design toting, bicycling glory. I said I loved it – remember?

But today – it’s all about Sweden. Denmark’s tall leggy blond and blue eyed cousin -Sweden. Maybe that’s an exaggeration. Not all Swedes are tall, blond or blue eyed. But… Sweden’s flag is blue and yellow. Coincidence? I don’t think so. And so is IKEA. All blue and yellow. (P.S. – you pronounce it ee-KAY-uh here. Not EYE-kea.) And every time you step inside one of those enormous Swedish box stores and think – jeesh, I just came in for cheap candles and a couple picture frames – do I really have to wind through all of these displays? Just think of how big Sweden is! Compared to Denmark anyway. It’a all relative. But Sweden is pretty big! Have you looked at a map? Much larger than Denmark. In fact, Sweden is the third largest country by area in the European Union. And it’s all kind of tall and long. Another coincidence? I don’t think so. (*wink, wink.)

SWEDISH FACTS:

AREA:  450,295 square kilometers (173, 860 square miles)
POPULATION:  9.9 million
DENSITY:  21 people/square kilometer (54 people/square mile)

And of all those 9.9 million people living in Sweden, 85% of them live in urban areas – mostly Stockholm, Gothenberg and Malmö. That means there is a lot of land with nobody on it. Lots of space for all the moose. And farms. And trees. And nature. Lots of nature. Want to know the coolest part about Sweden? All of that land and all of that nature is available to everyone.

You heard me. It’s open to EVERYONE. Sweden has a law called Allemansrätten that gives the right of public access to everyman. It literally translates to everyman’s right. Also known as outdoor access rights or freedom to roam, it means that you have the right to walk, hike, bike, ski or camp on any land in Sweden. The only exceptions to the rule being that you can’t tromp through someone’s private garden, across cultivated land or hang out near homes. Because that would be just rude and really kind of creepy. But everywhere else – open. Yep. It’s awesome.

As an Oregon girl – this resonates with me. In the state of Oregon we border the Pacific Ocean. It is a beautiful stretch of coastline. But when we visit, we don’t say we’re going to the beach or the shore – while both are there. We go to the coast. The Oregon Coast. It is also known as the “people’s coast.” And for good reason. Every inch of the Oregon Coast belongs to the people and because of that you have access to it. Where it is safe to do so – of course. My inner Oregon-ness appreciates Sweden. In fact – it feels a little like Oregon over there. Especially when you start throwing in evergreen trees across the landscape the further north you travel.

Come on over to Sweden. But bring your passport. You’ll be checked. Even if you’re Danish. Maybe especially if you’re Danish. Just kidding. Maybe. But once here – roam where you want to. Roam around the land. Explore Sweden. That is cool. Sup-ah cool. And Swedes take advantage of it. We’re lucky to have Swedish-American friends living in Sweden while we’ve been here who were willing to share one of their favorite places to hike and explore.

Today, we’re going to Skåne, the beautiful region at the tip of southern Sweden. Think rolling green hills, tall beech forests, farms full of brilliant yellow rapeseed, old castles, rocky coastlines, little inlets and islands all await you in Skåne. (Pronounced “skona.”) From Copenhagen – you can drive across the Øresund Bridge to Malmö and head north or take the short 20 minute ferry from Helsingør, Denmark to Helsingborg, Sweden. Then take the E20 north in the direction of Gothenberg. Need a place to stay? Try super charming little Torekov or nearby Båstad. It’s not a bad word. It’s pronounced BO-stah and is the home of the Swedish Open. And unless you’re a huge Björn Borg fan or are just really into tennis, steer clear of this place for two weeks in July every year. Otherwise it is a charming little outpost to base your outdoor exploits.

Now that you’re here. Let’s get outside! Only about 10 minutes outside Baståd heading east on route 115 is the gorgeous Naturreservat Osbecks. Officially you are now in Halland County, but just right on the border of Skåne County. If coming from the E20 motorway, take the exit towards Hasslöv. After 2 kilometers there is a sign saying “Hiking area”. There is should be a football field on your left. Turn right onto the gravel road and follow the road up to the car park. A forest of beech trees cover this open nature preserve. Parking here and pick a trail. Autumn is an amazing time to visit as the leaves are turning, coloring the landscape  and there is a crispness to the air.

Map to Osbecks Naturreservat, Halland Sweden

The trees here at Osbecks are mostly deciduous with many beeches, birches and old oaks, which is why it gleams in autumn. Some of the trees here loom overhead nearly 200 years old. History rocks at this nature reserve in the form of stone age and bronze age cairns. Literally piles of rocks that farmers of yore piled to the side of their plot – both marking their territory and allowing cultivation. See if you can find them! But remember, the general rule when accessing allmansrätt is:

Do not disturb – do not destroy.”

Look out for tree snails and song birds, ferns and funghi. Sweden is proud of the diversity that has taken root here. Plan ahead and pack a picnic. There are several spots where you can make a fire in the pits available. Firewood is available free for your use. We grilled hotdogs and roasted marshmallows while soaking in the views. It was a perfect end to a perfect afternoon.

Can you believe all this lovely is just over two hours from Copenhagen. Cross the big bridge or take the ferry. Go for a hike. Pick ligonberries. Hunt mushrooms. You can. It’s allowed. It’s allemansrätten. Tack Sverige! Thanks Sweden!

More inspiration to be found at Visit Sweden.

Danish ferry to Sweden on Øresund
Drive from Copenhagen north to Helsingnør and take the 20 minute ferry to Helsingborg, Sweden. Head north on E20.

Happy Fredag! Cheers from Copenhagen, Erin

Happy to link this post and introduce a new collaboration of travel bloggers today. Join myself, Katy of Untold Morsels and Clare of Suitcases and Sandcastles in a new supportive and inspiring linkup community we’re calling #FarawayFiles. Read more here about how we started it, what we want it to be and how you can engage. We’d love to see you there!

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Faraway Files – A new travel blog community with weekly linkup hosted by Katy @UntoldMorsels, Clare @suitsand and Erin @OregonGirlWorld

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47 thoughts on “Fall in Sweden – Everyman’s Right to Roam

  1. Clare Thomson

    How wonderful that it’s so doable to just drive over That Bridge (yes, I’m a fan), hop on a ferry and be in the gorgeous Swedish countryside. I just love your photos of trees. I think there may be a tree hugger in me itching to come out one day…

  2. I’m on a woodsy kick these days, so I particularly enjoyed all your forest hiking and tree pictures. The whole place looks amazingly outdoorsy – how great that it is so easily accessible for you!

  3. Martha

    That looks so special….recognize two of the kids;) Oregon is really showing its fall colors and this looks a lot like it…wish we could be enjoying it with you.

  4. We took a two-week fly-drive around Sweden four years ago, starting in Stockholm. We spent a few days in Angelholm and also in Ystad and adored the region. Blessed with wonderful weather, we became quite smitten with everything Swedish.
    Very happy to be joining in the new #FarawayFiles linky.

  5. Countries that have right to roam laws are super cool! We once roamed in central Sweden, making a campfire under a shelter in a forest in the pouring rain. It was a wonderful experience. I’m dying to go back and explore more. Good luck with your new linky!

    1. Thank you kindly Phoebe! Yes – I adore Sweden (and Oregon! 😉 That sounds like an amazing experience and love that the rain didn’t drench your perspective! Thank you kindly for joining our emergent community – we look forward to more collaboration with LouMessugo.com! Cheers from Copenhagen #FarawayFiles

  6. Gina Caro @ Gypsy Soul

    I’d love to go to both Sweden and Denmark, both our on my travel bucket list. Beautiful photos 🙂 #FarawayFiles

    1. All of Scandinavia is gorgeous and each country has unique things to offer. I highly recommend visit each one! Thank you for linking up with our new blog community – happy to have you along! Cheers from Copenhagen, Erin

  7. I love a lot of things about Sweden and the respect for woodlands and forests that the Swedes have is one of them. Love the concept of Allemansrätten. Haven’t been to south Sweden yet… perhaps during my next visit to the country.

  8. I do love the fact that the land is open to everyone! I don’t think I’ve ever been to a place like that ever. That’s really cool if you think about it.

    Also, I’ve been pronouncing IKEA right all along. Lol.

  9. I think I would love Sweden. We’re currently on a trip to a national park in Ohio and I’ve rediscovered my love of the outdoors and hiking. After living in Illinois for the last five years where it is completely flat, it has been so nice to go hiking. I’m sure Sweden would be awesome. #farawayfiles

    1. We used to live in Cincinnati and loved visiting Chicago. What National Park are you headed to? Believe me – I get the flat here too in Denmark. Great for cycling for commutes, not so great for landscapes! Thanks for sharing and engaging with #FarawayFiles! Happy Fredag from Copenhagen!

  10. Autumn is the most wonderful season ever! I LOOOOVE IT soo much we’re getting married at the end of the month! 🙂 I cant wait for fall faoliage to be in full bloom here in Germany! Denmark certainly looks like its also beautiful during this time of year! I’ll have to keep that in mind! #FarawayFiles

    1. OOOOH an October wedding sounds wonderful – we were in Gernany for our fall school holidays last and it was lovely with all the colors! Thanks for joining our budding blogging community #FarawayFiles – we’re happy to have you! ❤️ from 🇩🇰

  11. Great post! It’s funny because although I knew both the Swedish and IKEA flags were blue and yellow I hadn’t given that much thought to it, in terms of them both being for the same country. I feel a bit silly not to have realised before! #farawayfiles

  12. I love your summation of free use of natural spaces in Sweden. I’ve been wanting to visit more of Sweden, perhaps it should be a camping trip!

    #farawayfiles

  13. Pingback: Faraway Files #24 - oregon girl around the world

  14. Marianne Lenkiewicz

    I just absolutely love your writing! If I may take you back to Oregon, are there places along the Oregon Coast you would recommend? I’ll be in Portland in June and would like to drive to the coast and explore for a day or two.

    1. oregongirlaroundtheworld

      Ooh – yes! Gorgeous stretch of the West Coast! I would head directly west out 26 towards Cannon Beach and see the famous and epic Haystack Rock and Ecola State Park. Then drive south towards Tillamook and down to Pacific City – check out Cape Kiwanda natural area and eat on the beach at Pelican Brewing. Then drive back to Portland through McMinnville and check out Oregon wine country. Stoller is amazing. If you don’t want to stay out there, you can do the loop in a day, but it will be a lot. Look for places to stay in Seaside, Cannon Beach, Manzanita and Pacific City. I would also recommend doing a day trip out the gorge to see Multnomah Falls and Bridal Veil falls. There are tons of great hikes out that way and you can slake your thirst at one of the fab breweries in Hood River. We love Pfreim. Let me know if you need more details – happy to help! Cheers from Copenhagen, Erin

    1. oregongirlaroundtheworld

      I know! I love that too – Sweden has it right when making it easy for people to get outside!

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