Welcome. The North is open. Feel free to roam.
I am not a big camper, in fact over the past ten years the times I’ve been out camping is probably less than I can count on my two hands. I have travelled a lot, but as a light traveller I’ve never seen a point of carrying heavy load on my back all the time. For me the ideal rucksack can fit into the airplane luggage holder and the destination has, however basic, bed for the night.
But recently I have been wondering what it’s like to get away from it all and explore the wilderness in more open way than just by making day trips to nearby nature sights. Perhaps also, living in Estonia means you find very quickly the flights are much more expensive than in central Europe and you have to start planning differently.
When I was younger I always wanted to travel south because of the sun and exotic destinations or to cities for the buzz and excitement, but now I start to be fascinated of the north and the opportunities it has for the nature traveller. As many I’ve been cutting back my long-haul travels and decided to travel more locally. North has plenty of options and openness.
Comparing to South and Central Europe North is still lot wilder and more forested, with less cultivated land. When in southerns countries wild camping is illegal as there is always a danger to trespass on someones land, in most north countries wild camping is legal by law. It’s called the ‘right to roam’ as long as visitors are respectful to people and environment.
However, depending on the countries, the rules vary and if Sweden is welcoming the visitors with open hands, Iceland has a rule you can camp in the wild only if there’s no camping site nearby. Most countries have one night stay rule and Scotland does not allow camping in popular national parks. Wherever you go, check with local visitor information.
The right of access also means you are free to walk and hike in nature or forage mushrooms, berries or herbs. Imagine setting your tent up by a beautiful lakeside, listening the nature and picking your own wild food such as lingonberries. I’d be careful with mushrooms unless you are expert, but a nettle tea sounds quite nice doesn’t it?
I don’t think I’d be going wild camping any time soon – it’s a skill to acquire as anything else and I may start with more regular campsites.. But I like the idea of the open wilderness that still exists in this part of Europe. It’s good to know the nature of the North is open for everyone, if you are brave enough to face the wilderness. ⛺