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Campervan Camping in Sweden: What to Consider

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Evelina Hjortskog

07.03.2024

∼ 6 min. read

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Image by Småland Campers

To travel around Sweden in a campervan is a truly breathtaking experience where you can encounter the snow-covered mountains in the north, the open plains and meadows in the south and the countless shimmering lakes in between. The cities are a mix of modern infrastructure and gorgeous old architecture. The villages are quaint and historical. In other words, there are plenty of things to see and experience in Sweden. By travelling with a campervan, you’ll avoid the pricy hotels, and you’ll be able to get around more freely. However, there are some things to consider before you set off on your campervan adventure in Sweden. This article will go into some tips and tricks about sleeping in a campervan in Sweden. 

Parking, Camping and Regulations to Consider

When you’re about to embark on your Swedish adventure, you have the option to either go to a campground or do some wild camping and choose to stay somewhere in nature. The rules and regulations for wild camping in Sweden are not always easy to figure out. This is partially because the regulations are often national and local, and the concept of sleeping in your car is relatively new. 


Most municipalities in Sweden don’t have rules regarding sleeping in your car or wild camping, however some may, so we advise to check ahead. We will review the regulations below to help you make the right decisions. 

Different Types of Parking

When travelling to Sweden with a campervan, it's important to remember three different terms. There is a distinction between parking, wild camping, and “setting up.” 


Parking means stopping your van and following the regulations. Parking is usually restricted in cities, with time slots ranging from 10 minutes to 24 hours in the same spot. Cities also typically require that you pay for parking. 


Camping, also known in Sweden as setting up, is when you park somewhere but start bringing out levelling blocks, awnings, or outdoor furniture. In this way, you show that you’re not intending to only park in that area. This is often prohibited or highly regulated, and a campground is therefore recommended. 


Wild Camping means parking for free somewhere in nature. It’s a breathtaking experience that doesn’t cost a single krona. In many countries, wild camping has been banned or prohibited, but Sweden remains rather open to the concept. It’s important to clean up after yourself and take care of nature to ensure that wild camping will be allowed in the future, too. This is allowed in most places and won't be prohibited as long as you follow the parking regulations. 

Parking Regulations

Before you set off on your campervan adventure in Sweden, studying the different road signs and parking signs is essential. The parking sign with only a “P” means free parking in that area. However, many don’t know that that parking sign has a 24-hour limit on weekdays. On weekends you can stay until the next weekday. 


Some parking signs require payment, and you can stay for as long as you pay. Parking payments are often made through phone apps, and they will also show how long you’re allowed to stay. 


Overnight stays or parking are usually banned in or near urban areas. This includes camping and wild camping, and the rule applies to both planned areas and urban areas. If you plan to spend a night in the camper near an urban area, I suggest looking up the area specifically to make sure it’s not prohibited. 

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Credits: Apelöga/imagebank.sweden.se

Rest Areas

Rest areas can be found all over Sweden, often next to larger roads. In these areas, you can park and sleep overnight in your van. If you’re lucky, it might be a scenic spot. The rest areas are primarily designed for long-distance travellers to stop and rest on a long journey, anyone can stay there, though. You’ll often find an outdoor toilet, tables with seating, and garbage bins, but there could also be rest areas without additional facilities. The quality is usually not the best but it’s a good place to stop for a rest or an overnight if need be. You can stay for a maximum of 24 hours in these areas. 

Campgrounds and Facilities

Sweden hosts a lot of campgrounds with access to showers, washing machines, toilets and cooking facilities. Staying in a campground is, for that reason, a rather convenient and comfortable solution. However, there are different types of campgrounds, and depending on their offers on facilities, they will also vary in price. 

  • Traditional Campsites are larger with proper roads and can also provide cottage villages for rent. They typically offer electricity, warm showers, toilets, washing machines, and sometimes a shop and a restaurant. Staying in a traditional campsite can occasionally be necessary, especially if you are on the road for a long time. Due to all the facilities it provides, traditional campsites are often more expensive than other campsites. 

  • Nature Campsites are smaller, secluded natural areas where you can stay for a smaller fee. They differ from wild camping due to their access to simpler facilities such as outdoor toilets. In a nature campsite, you are also allowed to set up camping equipment, as opposed to wild camping. They are usually designed as a simple parking lot but designed for motorhomes. 

 

There are some helpful apps for finding suitable traditional and nature campgrounds. We have listed the three most popular here: 

  • Ställplatser (iPhone and Android)

  • Park4Night (iPhone and Android)

  • ACamp (iPhone and Android)

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Image by Småland Campers

Allemansrätten: The Right to Public Access

The right to Public Access is a rather unique concept, with only a few other companies having similar arrangements. This means that everyone has a right to freely roam the nature of Sweden. However, the fundamental rule is “do not disturb, do not destroy”. For that reason, it comes with some obligations to follow. It is not allowed to move around in places where we may risk disturbing the animals or people living there. Nature, farmland and properties are also protected. By this right, you are allowed to camp for a night or two, regardless of where you are, as long as you are not on someone's property or within sight of someone's house. 
However, Allemansrätten only applies to hiking, tenting, cycling, riding or running; it doesn’t apply to motor traffic or campervans. 

Nature Reserves and National Parks

One important exception to the right to public access is nature reserves, national parks, and other protected areas such as bird and beach protection areas. These areas have different rules, which might vary from place to place. In some places, it is allowed to park and sleep in your camper overnight, whereas in others, it is strictly forbidden. It is crucial to find out what applies to each protected area you pass through or end up in. 


Most nature reserves and national parks have information boards at the entrance, which show the rules and regulations that apply to that specific park. Therefore, read this information carefully and photograph it to keep a copy with you. If no information board is provided, you can find the rules online. 

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 Anders Ekholm/Folio/imagebank.sweden.se

Driving regulations 

Sweden has a strict Off-Road Driving Law that prohibits anyone from driving off-road. Even landowners are not allowed to drive off-road on their property. For this reason, driving on beaches, tractor trails, meadows, or any other natural area is strictly forbidden. You also aren’t allowed to drive or park off the side of the road. The purpose of the law is to protect nature, vegetation, and wildlife from disturbance and damage. Always make sure you stick to the roads, and you will be fine. 

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Image by Småland Campers

To summarize, here are some quick DO’s and DON’T’s for camping in Sweden:


DO’s: 

  • Be mindful of your sleeping arrangements and follow the regulations

  • Stay on the roads 

  • Book campgrounds in advance during peak season (summer)

  • Throw waste in proper waste collection places 

  • Enjoy all that Sweden has to offer with its free roaming and breathtaking nature 

DON’T’s: 

  • Litter or destroy the nature 

  • Take advantage of the freedom that is being provided

  • Sleep in your van in or near urban areas

  • Forget to smile and have fun

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