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 the coronavirus, the fact is that COVID-19 may be here to stay - at least until a safe vaccination is in widespread use. What this means is that we may have to learn to live with its existence and continue to travel in more flexible, cautious and smarter ways.

UPDATED 25 November 2020

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

• Safe 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. You may need to consider a specialist policy.

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

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

• 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?

Iceland

Iceland's borders have remained open to other EU and Schengen states throughout the pandemic, with the condition that visitors quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. From 19 August 2020, all arriving passengers must choose between a 14-day quarantine or two COVID-19 tests 5-6 days apart (one upon arrival, followed by a quarantine for 5-6 days, and then another test).

The cost for the test is ISK 9,000 if booked in advance or ISK 11,000 if paid upon arrival (see xe.com for up to date conversion rates) with the second test being free of charge. Children born in 2005 or later are exempt from both testing and quarantine.

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

Finland

Due to the situation in Europe, only citizens and residents of the Vatican, Australia, Japan, Rwanda, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand and New Zealand are currently welcome to travel to Finland. There is no mandatory quarantine or testing for the residents from these countries. Also, citizens and residents of China, Hong Kong and Macao can travel to Finland, provided that reciprocity is confirmed by the Council of the European Union.

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

Norway

Citizens from other Nordic countries and EU/EEA/Schengen countries can arrive to Norway, but must quarantine for 10 days and provide proof of a negative corona test done within the last 72 hours before arrival.

Specific countries with sufficiently low transmission levels may be exempt from this. See this map for more details on exemptions.

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

Sweden

Citizens and permanent residents of EU/EEA countries, the United Kingdom, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland can travel to Sweden. There are currently no quarantine requirements.

However, from 24 November 2020, public gatherings in Sweden can include a maximum of 8 people.

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

Denmark

In mid-November, only citizens/residents of the Vatican, Finland, and particular areas of Norway are allowed to enter Denmark. Outside of Europe, also citizens/residents of Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and Uruguay are allowed to enter. However, due to the frequent changes to allowed / banned nationalities, please check the updated map of eligible and ineligible countries. A list of other eligible countries outside of Europe can be found below the map.

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

Greenland

Due to the frequent changes to allowed / banned nationalities, please check the updated map of eligible and ineligible countries.

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

Faroe Islands

Due to the frequent changes to allowed / banned nationalities, please check the updated map of eligible and ineligible countries.

Also 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, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Thailand, Singapore and Uruguay can also enter Estonia if they have no symptoms. However, in both cases, a 10-day self-isolation is enforced if new COVID-19 cases in the country of origin exceed Estonia's rate of cases per 100,000 in the previous 2 weeks (if the infection rate is below that of Estonia, the visitor is not required to self-isolate).

Foreigners can also have a COVID-19 test done for a fee of 67 euros in order to shorten their self-isolation obligation. They must self-isolate for 7 days and then do a second test. After the second negative test result, visitors can move around the country freely.

See the full list of countries and restrictions.

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

Latvia

Citizens and permanent residents of an EU member state, the European Economic Area, and Switzerland no longer face a 10-day self-isolation period when entering Latvia if the 14-day cumulative number of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 inhabitants does not exceed the rate in Latvia.

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

Lithuania

Currently, citizens and residents from the countries of the European Economic Area (EEA), Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Andorra, Monaco and the Vatican are allowed to travel to Lithuania, however they must bring a negative test result (done within the previous 48 hours), get tested for COVID-19 within 24 hours of arrival, or self-isolate for 10 days.

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

Russia

Currently, citizens from the UK, Switzerland, South Korea and Turkey 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.

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).


This information has been provided in good faith, but as you can understand, things are changing regularly, so please speak to us about further details at the time of booking.

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