It's winter time and therefore I'm thinking about how to spend the days between Christmas and New Year's Eve. We have the plan to build an igloo somewhere in the mountains and spend some nights there. But is this allowed? For example in Switzerland wild camping is forbidden. If this is the case am I allowed to build an Igloo?

  • 3
    Each country or region will have its own law. In Spain, for instance, each region has a different law that goes from "no, you can't stay at mountain at night" until "if it's not strictly forbidden you are allowed to camp"
    – Ivan
    Dec 9 '11 at 19:46
  • 2
    ah sorry i forgot the switzerland and liechtenstein tag. Dec 9 '11 at 20:02
  • 3
    Do you know HOW to build an igloo?
    – Ankur Banerjee
    Dec 10 '11 at 2:58
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    It seems pretty implausible that sleeping in a tent would be considered "camping" but sleeping in an igloo would not. Dec 10 '11 at 13:40
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    It depends on the local laws and the individual resorts policy. I know certain resorts in Austria that allow it. However you need special permission for this. What does this mean for you? Well from the resorts i know of in Switzerland and their laws you will be very hard pressed to see somewhere that you are able to actually camp like that over night. Many resorts especially in the Jungfrau region actually have a policy of no loud noises at night! Dec 11 '11 at 22:04

From Dictionary

camp 1 n. 1. a. A place where tents, huts, or other temporary shelters are set up, as by soldiers, nomads, or travelers. b. A cabin or shelter or group of such buildings: gathered branches and grasses for a makeshift camp; had a fishing camp in Vermont. c. The people using such shelters: a howl that awakened the whole camp.

Since you are a traveler and igloo is basically a temporary shelter, I believe Igloo-ing is another form of camping, thus it's not allowed.

However there will an occupy movement in Swiss next year from 24-28 January 2012 which the activists threat to igloo camp in Ski Resort Davos. On the same time, there will be a World Economic Forum in the resort. You can try to camp here (with risk to be hurt by the police). Read the full news.

  • 3
    Then again when it comes to rules and regulations the body in charge generally provides their own definitions, which usually differ from any given dictionary in some regard or other. Dec 12 '11 at 8:52
  • You're correct, igloos are also considered camping and therefore it is theoretically not allowed. Dec 14 '11 at 9:51
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    Whether or not an igloo counts as camping in Switzerland and Liechtenstein depends on what the two governments define camping to be, not on what dictionary.com defines it to be. Jul 5 '14 at 8:06

I was really curious now and that's why I just had a call with a woman from the Bundesamt für Umwelt, the official federal office that is responsible for tourism in Switzerland. The woman was a little bit suprised about my question but was very kind. She told me that generally wild camping is not allowed in Switzerland (and Liechtenstein). But this law is not enforced really strictly. It heavily depends on the region, the situation and the individual police officer that will encounter you. This means, if you do wild camping where you don't disturb anybody, and where you don't litter the environment, or in very remote area, it is very unlikely that you will be traced down by the police. This is even more through for an igloo. As the woman of the office said, also igloos are theoretically camping. But it is very very unlikely that the police will get you out of it. Even so, if this would happen, and you really have to pay a fine, it is not very high, something around 80 to 100 Swiss francs.

  • Tents are also often tolerated (for a short stay) for mountaineers high in the mountains (above the trees and meadows) except perhaps some verybusy locations.
    – Vladimir F
    May 20 '19 at 12:11

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