Travel advice for the Nordic region in the age of the coronavirus

Although most of us have already began to talk about a time after COVID-19 and there are many positives to draw from, the fact is that we still have a little while to go. What this means is that we have to continue to live and travel in more flexible, cautious and smarter ways. This guide has been designed assist you with planning your travels to the Nordics in these unusual times.

UPDATED 11 May 2021

For the most part, the Nordic region (especially Iceland, Norway, Denmark, Finland, and the Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) has handled the coronavirus pandemic in praiseworthy ways and will be one of the forerunners of safer travel. This area is not only sparsely populated by most standards, but also has many other benefits, such as:

• Option to travel to more remote destinations (avoiding crowds)

• Very clean air and water

• Spectacular nature and lots of space

• Wide range of outdoor activities

• Well prepared and small accommodation options

• Easy to travel by road, rail or sea if wanting to avoid unnecessary flying

• Sustainable destinations

• World class hygiene and other safety standards

Below are some resources to aid you in planning and preparing for travel to the Nordic region in these unusual times.

What do I need to take into consideration when planning a trip to the Nordics?

Before you travel, you should check the details of your travel insurance with a fine-tooth comb to ensure that you are covered in the case of Covid-19 related delays or cancellations. We recommend that you purchase a 'cancel for any reason' (CFAR) travel insurance policy.

You should also check the travel advice and restrictions in place in your country of origin as well as your transit destination.

Other things to consider include:

  • Making sure you can access funds to cover emergencies and unexpected changes and delays. Do not rely on a single form of payment (e.g. just one credit card).

  • Being prepared to follow the advice from local authorities while abroad, e.g. being ready and willing to comply with local isolation or quarantine requirements.

  • Making sure you have enough medication with you in case your trip becomes longer than initially planned.

  • Being prepared for financial and logistical disruptions to your travel.

  • Arranging extra support for family members or pets who may need care if you are overseas longer than planned.

  • Remembering that if you are older or have pre-existing medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease), you may be more likely to become severely ill if you catch the virus.

  • Checking the latest public health advice in the destination (country-specific links are found further down this page).

  • For Australian travellers: Australia has a reciprocal health care agreement with Finland, Norway and Sweden, and therefore you are entitled to publicly funded medically necessary care in those countries.

  • Being prepared to fill out pre-registration forms when entering a country, detailing contact details, travel dates, all hotels and other accommodation during your travels, and information on where you have travelled recently, whether you have any potential symptoms, and whether you have been in contact with an infected individual.

What measures are airports and airlines taking to help protect passengers and staff?

Airlines are working hard to ensure your safety when travelling with them. Additional measures and requirements in place include:

• Additional flight screening at the airport to make sure you are fit to fly

• Contactless check-in options and self-serve bag drop

• Physical distancing reminders and markers

• Hand sanitation stations and kits (e.g. sanitation wipes) at airports and inside the planes

• Enhanced disinfection of surfaces, both at airports and inside planes

• Adjustments to food and drink service to minimise touchpoints for staff and passengers

• Depending on your airline, both passengers and staff are to wear facemasks or coverings

• Where possible, the middle seats will be left empty (however, this is subject to passenger numbers and may not always be possible). If you have a seat in the middle, you may be asked to move to a window or aisle seat instead.

Please see the article AIRLINES: Your Essential Post COVID-19 Health & Safety Guide for more information on each airline.

Please note that according to the World Health Organization (WHO) the risk of getting infected on board an aircraft, is lower than on the ground due to the carefully controlled air quality in aircrafts. Total air change takes place 20-30 times per hour and any recirculated air is passed through high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters also commonly used in hospital operating theatres and intensive care units. Iceland Black Mountain

Is it safe to travel to Scandinavia and the wider Nordic region right now?

Most countries in the Nordic region have opened borders between carefully selected nations, and you can feel confident that once you are allowed to go (according to your country of origin and the destination), it is safe enough to do so – provided that you continue to adhere to precautionary guidelines, such as frequent hand-washing and social distancing. Travellers also need to respect any local regulations in place.

What measures are in place to keep travellers safe while in destination?

These are some of the commonly adopted measures that are in place in the Nordics:

• Sick people are required to stay at home

• Recommended distance between people is 1-2 meters

• Good hand hygienic is a must

• Queues (at reception, toilets, activities) are usually organised so that each person is at least 1m apart from those behind and in front of them

• Preferred payment method is contact free, i.e. credit cards

• Group sizes are kept small

• All decorative items that can’t be washed will be removed from hotel rooms

• Employers will be cleaning between guests and during the day

• Rental equipment will be cleaned between guests

• Recommendations on busses: Handle your own luggage, use the back door. The first two seats are to be kept vacant to ensure the safety of the driver. Only 50% occupancy is preferred in order to keep appropriate distance between passengers

Norway Handstand

What travel related restrictions are in place in Scandinavia and the wider Nordic region?

Countries in the EU and EEA (European Economic Area) have agreed on a coordinated approach to the restriction of free movement in response to the coronavirus pandemic. This includes a colour code (green / orange / yellow / grey) for the classification of regions based on the coronavirus situation there. They have also agreed on common criteria that they should apply when deciding whether to introduce travel restrictions and a common approach for travelers from ‘red areas’ (testing and quarantine). Therefore, if you reside in a country outside of the EEA, one highly useful place to get an overview of the situation as well as checking the status of border restrictions and vaccination certifications is the European Union's Re-open EU site.

Currently, the EU recommends that member states should allow entry to the residents and citizens of the following "third countries" (non-EU/EEA):

  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • Rwanda
  • Singapore
  • South Korea
  • Thailand
  • China, Hong Kong and Macao subject to confirmation of reciprocity

Country-specific information and links are provided below.

Iceland

NEWS: As of March 18th 2021, all those who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will be allowed to travel to Iceland without being subject to border measures, such as testing and quarantine. This includes citizens outside the Schengen area, such as the UK and the USA!

Non-vaccinated travellers must undergo a free PCR test upon arrival in Iceland, followed by a 5–6-day quarantine and a second screening at the end of quarantine period. The first test is at the border and the second one 5 days later. Choosing a 14-day quarantine instead of taking PCR tests is no longer an option.

Testing and quarantine of children: Children born in 2005 or later shall be tested at the borders. A child who travels with an individual who is subject to stay in quarantine shall stay with that person and can leave the quarantine if the second test of its co-traveller is negative. When the co-traveller is not required to stay in quarantine the same shall apply to the child. A child travelling alone is not required to stay in quarantine. While waiting for the test results the child needs to follow the rules for quarantine.

However, before booking / travelling to Iceland, please check the latest regarding COVID-19 and travelling to Iceland.

Finland

Due to the situation in Europe, only citizens and residents of the Vatican, Australia, Rwanda, Singapore, Thailand, New Zealand and South Korea are currently welcome to travel to Finland. There is no mandatory quarantine or testing for the residents from these countries.

However, due to frequent changes in Finland's policies, please check Visit Finland's latest advice regarding COVID-19 and travelling to Finland.

Also, if you are travelling to Finland, the FINENTRY site provides travellers with information and instructions on self-quarantine and coronavirus testing (including a link to make a booking for a test).

Norway

Due to the outbreak of a more contagious variant of the coronavirus, new and much stricter entry rules are currently in place and will continue until the end of February. During this period, only Norwegian nationals and foreign nationals that reside in Norway will be allowed to enter the country.

See this map for more details on exemptions.

Also check the latest info regarding COVID-19 and travelling to Norway.

Sweden

Travel to Sweden from countries outside the EU has currently been suspended.

Foreign nationals must present a negative Covid-19 test result certificate, at the border, to be permitted into Sweden. The test must have been conducted a maximum of 48 hours prior to arrival.

All travellers, regardless of which country they are arriving from, are recommended to:

  • Get tested in Sweden as soon as possible after arriving
  • Quarantine for at least seven days
  • Get a follow-up test after five days
  • Avoid contact with others as much as possible

See the latest regarding COVID-19 and travelling to Sweden from Krisinformation
and Visit Sweden.

Denmark

Fully vaccinated persons who are permanent residents of orange EU and Schengen countries, and who can document that they have completed a course of vaccination in an EU/Schengen country, are no longer required to present a negative test or have a worthy purpose for travelling to Denmark, and they are exempt from the testing and isolation requirements on entering Denmark.

Foreigners who are not resident in Denmark or do not hold a Danish residence permit, travelling to Denmark from orange and red countries must have a worthy purpose to enter Denmark.We are waiting to hear for further changes to this rule at the end of May as there is an expectation Denmark will open for summer at this stage.

However, due to the frequent changes to allowed / banned nationalities, please check the updated entry rules for Denmark.

Also see the latest regarding COVID-19 and travelling to Denmark.

Greenland

Between 1 January and 18 April, all leisure travel to Greenland is closed.

See the latest regarding COVID-19 and travelling to Greenland.

Faroe Islands

The Faroe Islands’ authorities have anounced that travelers who have fully received an approved COVID-19 vaccine are no longer required to quarantine for 6 days upon arrival in the Faroe Islands. This applies to all travelers who have received a full dose of an approved COVID-19 vaccine and 8 days have passed since the second dose or first dose for single-dose vaccines respectively.

As of now the COVID-19 test upon arrival is still mandatory. However we are hopeful that this might also change as we progress further in the COVID-19 vaccination programme and keep learning more about the situation at hand.

Travelers are now only required to quarantine while waiting for the test results of the mandatory test upon arrival. Based on our experience so far the test results are usually communicated to all travelers within 4-8 hours (guaranteed test results 12 PM on the day after arrival at the latest).

See the latest regarding COVID-19 and travelling to the Faroe Islands.

Estonia

Tourists from most countries in the European Union, the Schengen area, the United Kingdom, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and Vatican can enter Estonia, provided they have no symptoms. Residents of Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Thailand, Singapore and Rwanda can also enter Estonia if they have no symptoms.

In both cases, a 10-day self-isolation is enforced if new COVID-19 cases in the country of origin exceed 16 per 100,000 people in the previous 2 weeks. However, Estonia will waive mandatory quarantine for travellers who can provide proof of vaccination or who can prove they have recovered from the virus in the previous six months.

See the full list of countries and restrictions.

Also see the latest regarding COVID-19 and travelling to Estonia.

Latvia

Only urgent and essential travel to Latvia is currently permitted and include a 10-day quarantine period.

Check the latest regarding COVID-19 and travelling to Latvia.

Lithuania

All leisure travel to Lithuania is currently banned.

See the latest regarding COVID-19 and travelling to Lithuania.

Russia

It is our understanding that citizens from Switzerland, South Korea, Turkey, Serbia, Japan, United Saudi Emirate, Egypt, and Cuba can travel to Russia, however they will need a tourist visa and a negative coronavirus test made under 48 hours before arrival.

See the latest regarding COVID-19 and travelling to Russia from the Russian Embassy in the UK and from the waytorussia travel guide.

Additional info

For an overview of the situation per country, especially the 14-day case average per 100,000 people per country (within Europe), please see the data at the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

Iceland Northern Lights

If I book a trip with 50 Degrees North, what would happen if my travel plans needed to change?

Rebooking can be done up to 18 months into the future if the postponement request is due to forced amendments (e.g. closed borders). In this case, the full deposit will be held in credit or transferred to a new booking, provided that we have not incurred any unrecoverable costs with some of the suppliers.

If the booking is cancelled by you for other reasons, the deposit is usually non-refundable and our normal booking conditions will apply. However, see our Book with Confidence page for more details on flexible booking conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Also note that some exceptions / special terms and conditions are also available in some cases. Please contact our team to find out more.

We recommend purchasing a "cancel for any reason" travel insurancy policy.

What happens if I test positive for Coronavirus after arrival?

If a passenger tests positive, they may be offered to undergo further tests to determine whether they have an active infection. In this case, the passenger must self-isolate and provide detailed information on who they have come in close contact with, up to two days before the onset of their symptoms.

Needless to say, you will not be able to travel home until you are fully recovered. However, medical care in the Nordics is first class and you would be in good hands should you require treatment.

What should I expect when returning to my home country?

In many cases, you are expected to provide contact details and quarantine / self-isolate for 14 days.

You should check the latest public health advice in your home country both before travelling and upon your return (links at the start of the page).


IMPORTANT NOTE - DISCLAIMER OF LIABILITY:
It is a requirement that you hold a valid passport and any required visas for your trip. It is your responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of the necessary documentation to comply with the laws and regulations of the countries to be visited. It is your responsibility to obtain vaccinations and preventative medicines as may be required for the duration of the trip.
The information contained on this page is provided in good faith, and is collated from various official sources. Every effort has been made to provide information that is accurate. However, materials contained above are subject change at any time by concerned authorities. We accept no liability or responsibility to any person as a consequence of any reliance upon the information contained above.

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