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, the fact is that we still have a 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 17 February 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

• 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?

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

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. However, as of January 15 2021, all passengers 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.

Also note that visitors who are in possession of valid documentation that proves prior infection or vaccination against covid-19 are exempt from all border measures. From May 1st, 2021, this also applies to approved 'third countries' from outside of the EU/EEA area.

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. Also, Danish, Norwegian and UK citizens and residents are under a temporary entry ban due to the new covid-19 variant in those countries. There are currently no quarantine requirements for other EU nationals and residents.

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

Denmark

All non-residents entering Denmark must show a worthy cause for travel (leisure travel not included) and provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than 24 hours before departing for Denmark. Additional entry restrictions apply to residents from the UK.

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

Currently, only domestic flights are operating between the Faroe Islands and Denmark. As no international leisure travellers are able to enter Denmark, they also won't be able to fly to the Faroes.

All domestic travellers are expected to be tested for COVID-19 three days before departure, self-isolate for 6 days and then get re-tested.

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. However, 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.

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

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

Russia has suspended flights from the UK until March 16, 2021. 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.

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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