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Eight berries and flowers you’re free to pick in Sweden’s forests

Foraging for seasonal berries during summer is a Swedish tradition that's as old as time. Ready to set off off into the forest, wicker basket in hand, and start scouring for some sweet treats? This guide from The Local should get you started.

Eight berries and flowers you're free to pick in Sweden's forests
Berry-picking in action. Photo: Gorm Kallestad/NTB scanpix/TT

With over half of Sweden covered in forest, there are plenty of spots to satisfy your foraging needs. And thanks to ‘Allemansrätten’, the legally enshrined right of public access, everyone has the right to roam freely through Sweden’s beautiful nature (with the obvious exceptions of homes and private gardens). Foraging in the forest is completely legal, provided you treat nature with respect and give consideration to the person or animal who will be next to roam through the area.

As summer arrives so does the season of wild berries, known to be much sweeter than shop-bought ones, not to mention 100 percent organic, and free! What’s not to love about being outdoors, at one with nature, seeing the beauty of the forest and eating sweet berries as you walk along?


Lingonberries are small red berries that are often quite bitter when eaten raw, but when combined with sugar they produce a jam that’s popular in Sweden to accompany meat and fish. The berries grow on small bushes in woodlands starting from late July through to September.

READ ALSO: How to make sweetened lingonberries

Lingonberries. Photo: Gorm Kallestad/NTB scanpix

Bilberries: European blueberries

The most bountiful berry in Sweden, the bilberry or European blueberry (different from but related to the larger North American blueberry), can be found almost anywhere from alongside roads to deep in the forest. They tend to grow in big patches on shrubs that are low to the ground and have dark, almond-shaped leaves. Bilberries are usually the earliest berry to harvest and come in season from mid-July to August.

Blueberries. Photo: Gorm Kallestad/NTB scanpix


If you’re hoping to harvest some raspberries then make sure to look out for a spot of open space in the forest, as the bushes grow best when in full sunlight. Similar to blueberries, raspberries are ample in mid-July through to August.

Raspberries. Photo: Paul Kleiven/NTB scanpix


Cloudberries look very similar to their cousin, the raspberry, but are smaller and orange. These come in season slightly later, from August until September, and are not as common. So if you come across some on your foraging travels, make sure not to pass the opportunity up to pick some.

Cloudberries. Photo: Lise Åserud/NTB scanpix

Wild strawberries

Wild strawberries are much smaller, sweeter, and harder to find than regular strawberries, but they are very much worth the hunt. They can be found on bushes in the forests between early June through to July.

READ ALSO: Sweet news for Sweden’s strawberry fans

Wild Strawberries. Photo: Hasse Holmberg/TT


The larger the blackberry, the sweeter the taste, so if you’re on the hunt for some then make sure to pick out the biggest of the bunch. They grow on thorny bushes and are in season from mid-July to early September.

Blackberries. Photo: Jurek Holzer/SvD/TT


Though elderberries aren’t the greatest tasting berry out there, the same cannot be said about their flower – it can be used to produce a traditional, fresh cordial. Elder often grows in hedgerows near ditches and is in bloom in early summer from late May until the end of June.

Elderflower. Photo: Maja Suslin/TT


Berries aren’t the only thing the forest has to offer in summer, as nettles are also a popular pick for those who come across them. Not many know that nettles are in fact edible, nutritious and lovely in a soup. When foraging nettles, it is suggested to pick the top four leaves of the plant when it is most in season, which tends to be in early spring. But make sure to put gloves on before touching them as they can sting and irritate your skin.

Nettles. Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

Apart from stinging nettles, there aren’t many plants that are dangerous to touch, most are only poisonous if you eat them. “Going out into the forest in Sweden is not a hazardous adventure. If you want to eat things you need to be certain that the plant or mushroom you pick is edible,” Sofia Blomquist from the Swedish Forest Agency (Skogsstyrelsen) told The Local.

It is important to remember when out in the forest to make sure you do not disturb the surrounding nature. When picking berries, make sure to leave enough berries for the next person or animal who comes along looking for them. It’s best to use scissors when collecting stuff rather than pulling at the root and potentially harming the plant.

Nature reserves and national parks will often have their own rules, so look out for signs that tell you whether or not you are allowed to pick wild berries and plants.

READ ALSO: Seven of the best places to wild camp in Sweden this summer

There are a few plants that are not free to take, such as spruce buds or birch-sap, so if you come across something you are unsure about, make sure to research and confirm that you are allowed to harvest it before you take it. Other than that, happy foraging!

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LISTED: The 14 sun creams Spain wants to take off the market

If you're looking for the right sun protection this summer, then you should be aware that the Spanish Ministry of Health has requested that 14 sunscreens be withdrawn because their SPF doesn't correspond to what is advertised.

LISTED: The 14 sun creams Spain wants to take off the market
The Spanish Ministry of Health requests the withdrawal of 14 sun creams. Photo: MYCHELE DANIAU / AFP

The Spanish Agency for Medicines and Health Products (AEMPS) and the Ministry of Health, requested on Tuesday the voluntary withdrawal of 14 sun creams because the sun protection factor (SPF) that they advertise does not correspond to the labelling.

The results were discovered during a recent trial AEMPS carried out to guarantee that the sun protection factor is the one announced by the manufacturers. The trials focused on sunscreens with SPF 50 or SPF 50+, especially those with very light creams, mists and sprays. The agency chose 19 products from companies in different countries, of different sizes and price points.

Only five of the 19 creams analysed provided protection that was consistent with its labelling.

Five of the sun creams had an SPF much lower than that indicated on their labels, always below an SPF factor of 29.9. These are:

  • Abelay Sunscreen SPF50 from Ab7
  • Mussvital Photoprotector Spray Ultra Light 50+ aerosol from Peroxfarma
  • Eucerin Sun Sensitive Protect Sun Spray Transparent Dry Touch SPF 50 High by Beiersdorf AG
  • Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydratation Solar Mist air soft SPF 50+ (High) by Wilkinson Sword
  • Australian Gold SPF Botanical SPF 50 continuous spray by Biorius

Nine of the sunscreens were found to have an SPF of between 30 and 49.9, instead of the advertised 50. These were:

  • Les Cosmetiques Sun Ultimate Sensitive SPF 50+ sun spray for sensitive skin from Carrefour
  • Belle & Sun Invisible Sun Mist SPF 50 by Perseida Beauty
  • Isdin Photoprotector Fusion Water SPF 50 from ISDIN daily use facial sunscreen
  • Farline sun spray SPF 50+ 200 mL Very High Protection
  • Babaria Solar Protective Mist SPF 50 by Berioska
  • Seesee Transparent Sun Spray SPF 50+ by Cosmetrade
  • Piz Buin Hydro Infusion Gel Sun Cream SFP 50 High Protection by Johnson & Johnson Santé Beauté
  • Ladival Sensitive Skin SPF 50+ from STADA Arzneimittel AG
  • Lancaster Sun Sensitive Luminous Tan Comfort cream SPF 50+ by Coty

No incidents of sunburn related to any of these products have been reported, however the Ministry of Consumption has started to investigate possible illicit advertising and unfair practices, and where appropriate, will sanction the manufacturers.

According to Weather Online, the UV Index in Spain and other Mediterranean countries is a lot higher than in northern European countries. Indices of 9 and 10 are common, whereas, in the UK, the UV Index rarely exceeds 8.

If you’re looking for extra protection this summer, a new app, UV-Derma has been released by professors from the University of Malaga, which calculates how long you can stay in the sun before burning. 

READ ALSO: Climate crisis: Spain records hottest year in 2020