Enjoy Everyman’s Rights in Finland
Everyman’s rights are a set of legal regulations in Finland which let you do a wide range of activities in the countryside and can be immensely liberating and fun! They allow freedom of movement, camping, collecting wild foods, boating and certain types of fishing but also encourage an awareness of every individual’s responsibility towards keeping nature and the environment healthy and tidy. Everyman’s rights are free and apply to everyone in the country, both locals and visitors, as long as they do no harm to the environment.
Rights and responsibilities within everyman’s rights
Everyman’s rights allow you to walk, ski, swim or cycle freely around natural areas although other forms of travel which can damage the countryside, such as horses and quad bikes, are limited to specific trails. You can cycle the routes along Saimaa’s lakeshore, boat around its inlets, walk under sun-dappled forests, or even walk or snowmobile on the frozen lakes in the winter without any fees or permits. This freedom of movement even applies to private property, such as forests, as long as it’s not disruptive; for example it doesn’t apply to homes or their yards and gardens, nor can you walk across farmed fields during the growing season.
When out and about, you should just use your common sense and respect Finland’s nature and people’s privacy. You can roam anywhere that isn’t expressly forbidden, keeping a reasonable distance away from homes, and can generally camp for a couple of nights in any of the same places. While Finland has very affordable campsites for when you want them and their facilities, the chance to set up your tent or tarp anywhere out in the wilderness is an incredible one that is well worth taking advantage of.
Pick wild berries and mushrooms
Everyman’s rights in Finland also let you gather wild foods such as berries and mushrooms, as well as fish with rudimentary hook and line. Be careful not to harm wild plants or disrupt animals, but otherwise indulge your inner glutton and enjoy the buffet of berries and wild edibles that Finland’s nature provides; just make sure you correctly identify what you’re collecting! On the shore or on the water, fishing with reels, lures, traps, nets or other fishing equipment requires both a national permit and a local one to any region you intend to fish in, and hunting similarly requires licenses.
Respect the Finnish nature
Nature conservation areas and national parks will tend to have stricter rules, there to safeguard protected species and areas. Follow the guidelines and enjoy their natural beauty!
Wherever you are, control your pets, don’t leave litter and make campfires only in the designated fireplaces to prevent the fire spreading. These simple courtesies, along with everyman’s rights, let everyone enjoy Finland’s nature, keep its countryside clean and healthy, and preserve it for the future. Now get out there and have fun!
For detailed information on everyman’s rights in Finland, please download the free booklet.
Summer and winter holiday activities in Saimaa