Walkers' Code - Unique everyman's rights

Everyman's rights with regard to use of the countryside in Finland are based on generally accepted custom and are not embodied in law. Only Sweden and Norway have similar broad rights.
Everyman's rights mean that in principle the right to use the countryside is free, regardless of who owns or controls the land. These everyman's rights provide great freedom of use but carry obligations, too. The most important of these is to respect the rights of landowners and other users.

Everyman's rights in brief

You are permitted:
  • to walk, cycle or ski in all countryside areas, as long as you do no damage.
  • to stop briefly anywhere in !the countryside (e.g. camp overnight) at a reasonable distance from residences; for longer periods you need permission from the land owner.
  • to pick wild berries, mushrooms and non-protected flora
  • to fish using simple baited hook and line
  • to boat, anchor temporarily, swim, and wash in all waters, and land from boats along all shores
  • to make use of water and ice from lakes, rivers, or springs for cooking where such are not in regular use by the owner.
  • to use propane stoves or equivalent free-standing burners
  • to make temporary use of private roads on foot, cycle, or horseback
The following are prohibited:
  • to cause damage, or disturbance to others
  • to use areas such as gardens, yards, meadows, fields, plantations etc which can be damaged, e.g. walk around fields with crops in summer. Gates must be closed after use.
Note: there are stricter regulations in National Parks, where fires and camping are permitted only at! specified sites. All animals must be kept on leashes. Rules of the Parks can be found at


©2004 PK Media Service Oy