What are the rules for sleeping in a car and wild camping in Norway?

Rules for wild camping in norway

Are you planning a trip to Norway? Are you nature enthusiast or do you just want to travel on budget? Or both? And did you know that Norway has thanks to a law called Allemansretten one of the least strict legislation on wild camping in the world? Take a look on what are the rules about sleeping in a car and wild camping in Norway!

Friluftsliv is one of those norwegian untranslatable words . It was coined by Norwegian poet Henrik Ibsen and it literary translates as “free air life”. Friluftsliv is a concept known to many people around the world, but as a specific philosophy, it is unique to Norway and Sweden.

Here in Norway, it is an important part of most people´s lives and way of living close to the nature. From an early age, children in Norway are taught and encouraged to spend time outdoors and therefore it is no big suprice that Norway has one of the least strict rules about wild camping in the world.

  • If you want to read more about the concept of Friluftsliv, then check this article. 
Friluftsliv Norway Tafjordfjella

Allemansretten: The right to roam

The right to roam freely in forests and open country, along rivers, on lakes, among the skerries, and in the mountains – irrespective of who owns the land has existed in many European countries for hundreds of years as a customary law. Allemannsretten (‘everyman’s right’ or ‘freedom to roam’) was codified into Norwegian law by the Outdoor Recreation Act of 1957.

Allemannsretten is however not unlimited. It is applied only to the use of of open land, which includes lakes, shores, bogs, forests and mountains and it is usually not fenced off. 

The right to roam applies to open countryside, where the following activities are permitted:

  • Free movement on foot and on skis
  • Resting and overnight camping
  • Riding and cycling on trails and roads
  • Swimming, canoeing, rowing and sailing
  • Picking berries, mushrooms and wildflowers
  • Fishing without a licence for saltwater species

Cultivated land is on the contrary defined by Norwegian law as “farmyards, plots around houses and cabins, tilled fields, hay meadows, cultivated pasture, young plantations and similar areas where public access would unduly hinder the owner or user.”  You can, however, have access to some cultivated land, such as fields and meadows. (It is allowed between October 15 and April 30 if the ground is frozen or covered in snow). 

Is hiking or skiing outside of trails allowed in Norway?

According to Allemansretten, hiking and skiing are freely permitted in open countryside in summer and winter alike. It is up to you, if you want to follow marked trails or strike on your own. 

In open country, you can stop and rest where you wish. You should, however, keep your distance from houses and cabins. You are also allowed to light a fire, but not in or near woodland between April 15 and September 15. Do not chop any trees though, use old, dry branches and twigs.

You are also allowed to cross fenced land as long as you keep your distance from houses and cabins.

Allemansretten Norway

What are the rules for wild camping in Norway? 

Norway has very liberal rules and laws when it comes to camping. In general, you can camp pretty much anywhere, as long as it is more than 150 metres (500 feet) of an inhabited house or cabin. 

If you plan to camp in open country in the lowlands, then you should not camp at the same spot for more than 48 hours without prior permission from the landowner. In the mountains and other remote, sparsely populated areas, you may camp for longer than 48 hours. 

Where do I go to the toilet while camping?

In the bushes! 🙂 Hikers often drink from streams, so do your business at least 50m away from water sources. Make sure you bury any solids and the corresponding paperwork.

Is it OK to build a camp fire when camping in Norway?

Campfires in or near forests are prohibited from 15 April to 15 September. You can still build a camp fire in places where there is no danger of a fire like on an approved campfire site or by the sea. 

Note that in extreme drought (like last summer), even grills, gas burners, and camping stoves can be prohibited. You should always check the local fire hazard forecast on yr.no.

Is overnighting in a car or campervan outside of designated camping areas allowed in Norway?

So far it is not prohibited by any law. You should keep the 150 metres distance from the nearest inhabited house or cabin, just like when you are camping. However, there is more and more signs at parking places and rest areas, that are prohibiting camping and sleeping in a car or camper van.

Places for emptying toilets are signposted and emptying them elsewhere is prohibited.

Sleeping in a car in Norway

Campgrounds in Norway

If the idea of wild camping is not for you, then worry not. There are lots of campsites all around Norway. The Norwegian Hospitality Association has clasified its camping sites and cabins with a rating system from 1 to 5 stars. 

One star camping sites are pretty basic with self catering facilities and hot and cool running water. The five stars ones usually come with washing machine, TV rooms, shops etc. All 4 and 5 stars campsites have toilets and showers for disabled people.

You can find campsites at:

Is it allowed to pick berries and mushrooms in Norway? 

Luckily yes! You can pick as much blueberries, raspberries or other berries as you want. Note that there are special rules about picking cloudberries in the northern Norway though, where some landowners might prohibit it. But even if it is prohibited, you are always allowed to pick cloudberries that you eat on the spot. 

For me, Norway is a paradise for picking mushrooms. It seems like people are not much into it (on the contrary to Czech people), or that they are usually picking different kind of mushrooms than we do in the Czech republic. I have found some of the biggest mushrooms I have ever seen in Norway!

cloudberries in northern norway
Norwegian cloudberries

Do I need a licence for fishing in Norway? 

Fishing in the sea

You don’t need to purchase any permit for fishing in the sea in Norway. It’s free!

There is however a limit to how many fish can you export from the country. When travelling from Norway, you may bring up to 10 kilos of fish or fish products from own fishing. If you have fished under the auspices of a registered tourist fishing camp, the export quota is a maximum of 20 kilos of fish or fish products, provided that the organized fishing can be documented.

There are some regulations about sea water fishing in Norway you have to follow:

  • Use hand held tackle only
  • Do not fish protected species:
  • Protected all year: Spiny dogfish, basking shark, porbeagle, blue ling, lobster, bluefin tuna, silk shark, eel, wrasse
  • Protected part of the year: Greenland halibut, halibut, lumpfish, redfish
  • Follow the regulations for minimum size of fish
  • Keep a distance of no less than 100 metres from fish farms when fishing

Fresh water fishing

If you want to fish in lakes, rivers or streams in Norway, then you need a fishing licence (“fiskekort” in Norwegian). You can buy fishing licence online at inatur.no or in selected sports shops, convenience stores, and at many campsites.

If you intend to fish in a part of a river system where there are salmon, sea trout or Arctic char then you must pay national fishing fee in addition to the local fiskekort.

If you want to fish for salmon, sea trout, or Arctic char, you must pay a small fishing fee in addition to your fishing licence. This requirement applies as far upstream as the first waterfall or other barrier that the fish cannot cross, or to a limit set by the county governor. There is a total ban on eel fishing in Norway.

The price for national fishing fee in 2019 is 272 NOK for individuals and 434 NOK for families (Married or cohabiting couple with any children aged 18 to 20, or single people with children in the same age group).

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Wild camping and sleeping in a car in Norway
Wild camping and sleeping in a car in Norway (1)

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Radka and Ivar

Friluftsliv Norway Tafjordfjella

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