Backpacking around Scandinavia can be expensive, it’s one of the most expensive locations around the world, but in my opinion can be the most enjoyable.
I love Scandinavia, somewhat obsessed with it.
But that’s only after my adventure around this area in 2006 and discovering it myself.
I can only highly encourage others to follow in my footsteps and do the same.
But Isn’t it expensive and out of reach for backpackers? Yes, extremely!
But by being Frugal and sticking to a budget, it’s still totally possible.
Backpacking around Scandinavia on a Budget
I was 17 at the time and on an extremely low budget, pretty much pennies and I was able to complete a 3 month tour of Scandinavia visiting: Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland.
The cost does put backpackers off visiting the Northern region of Europe, but it doesn’t have to be this way armed with a little knowledge.
Camping in Scandinavia is Free! Perfect for backpackers on a budget
One of my biggest tips that I can recommend is to make the most out of the endless amount of free camping which is on offer.
They have a rule called Allemansrätten in Swedish, allemannsrett in Norwegian.
In Finland they call it, jokamiehenoikeus (Which is part of the Nordics not Scandinavia, just wanted to clear that up)
What does this mean?
“The freedom to roam, or everyman’s right is the general public’s right to access certain public or privately owned land for recreation and exercise. The right is sometimes called the right of public access to the wilderness or the right to roam.” – (Wikipedia)
So yes, you can freely travel around the Nordics, Pitch your tent in public areas where you seem fit.
Or with permission from the land owner if it’s private land.
If you’re brave enough, you can even collect wild berries to eat, but please make sure you know what you’re doing before venturing into this.
But you have to bare in mind this method is based on two points:
1) You will have to lug your own tent and extra equipment around
2) It’s weather permitting. (so manly restricts your travel to the Summer when the sun finally comes out, yes it does come out!)
Camping Scandinavia can be a very rewarding way to sleep around Scandinavia whilst on your travels.
Scandinavia has stunning outdoor trails worth exploring
Make the most out of the great outdoors and the beauty that this area has to offer.
The Summer Time in the Nordics is a great way of experiencing the midnight sun (The sun hardly goes down) and green woodland areas.
As long as you respect this common rule and clean up your spot after you’ve packed down your tent, you can save yourself a lot of money.
Hotels can cost you can arm and a leg for a nights stay, and sometimes you will even have a tough time even locating a hotel in remote areas.
Some areas only have hotels for business reasons, so they can cost a bomb.
Camping can be a wonderful option indeed.
Negative points to Camping around Scandinavia?
You will have to lug around extra equipment and some areas are still rather cold in the Summer time.
As you can see from the picture, backpacking around Scandinavia can be tough around the winter time, you will have to pack different gear such as warm layers compared to the Summer, which is a better environment for camping.
But mostly its the mosquitos you have to worry about, which can be upsetting, especially in the Lapland area.
Check if the area is of high risk by asking a local before you pitch your tent, otherwise you could be in for a nasty surprise when you get ambushed by them in the morning.
But what about private land? Is it still tricky?
Generally, private landowners don’t mind you camping on their land as long as you have a polite word with them first and don’t hang around for too long.
Nordic people are very friendly and if you have a chat with them mostly they will be delighted to have you for a day and might even offer you a coffee if your lucky.
There are many reasons why they might say no, due to cattle, for example, so best to ask them to avoid getting into trouble.
Scandinavians are Very hospitable people indeed, It has a very low populated area so a friendly conversation is most appreciated and getting permission to pitch your tent on private land might not be so difficult.
But I have to say, It was one of the most magical highlights when travelling around this area, just pitching your tent up by a fjord on a hill top and cooking dinner on your stove, it’s just an out of this world experience.
I pitched my tent all over the Nordic area and found it extremely fun, a real fuel filled adventure.
The whole time no one bothered me or told me to move into the public areas, seemed to be a mutual respect and understanding for this rule.
I feel that this area of the world really appreciates the nature and as long as you choose to respect it, then locals are happy for you to make the most out of it.
For me it made Scandinavia turn into a complete adventure, every day was exciting and it was hardly costing my daily budget any damage.
I was free to roam and explore the very best of what Northern Europe had to offer and enjoy the great outdoors.
It was my first sense of freedom and my first big solo adventure, I can highly recommend that you at least consider taking up this incredible backpacking experience.
Bacpacker eating and drinking in Scandinavia on budget
Another point to highlight is its very safe and secure as Scandinavia has a very low crime rate, you have little to worry about when camping out in the great outdoors.
Also food costs can be expensive, bring a cook stove and shopping at the supermarket can save a lot compared to eating out.
Scandinavia on a budget can be possible as long as you avoid drinking alcohol as much as possible as its highly taxed within this area of the world. Might be a good trip to finally say goodbye to that beer belly!
Transportation options for backpackers travelling Scandinavia on a budget
Think Scandinavia can be expensive for backpackers on a budget? Think again, introducing the European InterRail Pass, that perfect works in Scandinavia.
Have you ever considered getting a Interrail pass?
The InterRail pass covers all your travels across Scandinavia.
It covers the Nordic areas of Finland, Denmark, Sweden and Norway and if you plan to move every day to a new location, using this pass can save you a fortune compared to buying daily tickets.
Scandinavia does have high rail costs compared to the rest of Europe, but this means you will fully be making the complete use out of the pass if you plan to travel every day or within the time period you select.
Cabins in the woods, another great affordable budget option for backpackers in Scandinavia
Another option you might consider is making the most out of the endless use of public cabins that can be found on popular trail routes.
These are normally reached by walking or by bus but if you plan to do a bit of hiking this is a wonderful alternative to consider.
Normally they work on a “first come first” trust system where you leave what you want to pay in a jar before you clean up after yourself.
This can be very fun in many places such as Iceland, where it’s very popular doing this method.
A fun alternative for a place to stay as they are normally rather cheap and in unique locations.
So the next time you consider exploring scandinavia on a budget, it doesn’t have to be expensive, you can enjoy the best of what it has to offer and backpack on a low budget.
Have you camped around Scandinavia for free? Did you InterRail? Like to ask any question? Feel free to post below in the comment section: