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 vaccination has been developed. What this means is that we have to learn to live with its existence and travel in more flexible, cautious and smarter ways.

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)
• 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, sea if wanting to avoid unnecessary flying
• Sustainable destinations
• Hygiene and other safety measures

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 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
• No buffet meals allowed (for the time being)
• 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 June 15th, travellers have had the option to have a COVID-19 test upon arrival rather than isolate for two weeks.

The island nation was due to open for the rest of the world on July 1st, however this has not been confirmed. Regardless, all travellers to Iceland must complete a registration form before arrival and either have a COVID-19 test or quarantine for 14 days once in the country. The cost for the test is 15,000 ISK per test (approximately £90 / ‎€100 / AU$160 / US$115). Children born in 2005 or later are exempt from both testing and quarantine.

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

Finland
As of 13th of July, border control and restrictions have been lifted for travel between Finland and Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Ireland, Lichtenstein, Malta, the Netherlands, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland and the Vatican. Leisure travel to Finland from Denmark, Iceland, Norway and the Baltic countries was opened already earlier.

Essential, work-related travel is also possible from the UK and all Schengen and EU countries. Besides the countries named above, a two week self-isolation period upon arrival is recommended.

As of 13 July, work-related and essential travel is also possible from Algeria, Australia, China, Georgia, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay.

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

Norway
Travellers from Denmark, Finland and Iceland have been able to enter Norway from June 15th onwards.

From 15 July, travellers from EEA/Schengen countries that have acceptable levels of infection are able to travel to Norway. People from countries outside the EU and the EEA/Schengen who have family or a boyfriend / girlfriend in Norway, can now also travel into the country, however must self-quarantine for 10 days upon arrival.

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

Sweden
Citizens from EU/EEA countries, UK, Switzerland, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and the Vatican can currently enter Sweden. This will be re-evaluated by August 31, 2020.

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

Denmark
Denmark’s borders were opened to most European countries from 27 June 2020, with the exception of Sweden and Portugal. On July 4th, citizens from Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, and Thailand are allowed to enter the country.

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

Greenland
Travellers with residence in the following countries have had permanent permission to travel to Greenland from June 15th, 2020: Denmark, the Faroe Islands, Iceland, Norway and Germany.

Travellers with residence in other EU Member States, Schengen countries and the United Kingdom, excluding Sweden and Portugal, have had conditional permission to travel to Greenland since June 27th.

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

Faroe Islands
Travellers from EU Member States, Schengen countries and the United Kingdom can enter the Faroe Islands, however the infection rate in the traveller's country of residence must be low, between 20 and 100,000. Everyone that enters the islands (including residents) must be tested for COVID-19.

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

Estonia
Tourists from most countries in the European Union, the Schengen area, and the United Kingdom can enter Estonia, provided they have no symptoms. However, quarantine requirements may apply.

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

Latvia
Travellers from an EU member state, the EEA and Switzerland are allowed to enter Latvia without the need to self-quarantine (provided the infection rates in the country of origin are low). All other nationals are required to self-quarantine for 14 days.

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

Lithuania
Currently, citizens and residents from the countries of the European Economic Area (EEA), Switzerland and the United Kingdom are allowed to travel to Lithuania, however face masks should still be worn in crowded places, including public transport.

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

Russia
Some of Russia's lockdown restrictions have begun easing, with most stores and services reopening. Other restrictions remain in place, such as the need to wear gloves and masks in public areas. Russia's borders remain closed.

See the latest regarding COVID-19 and travelling to Russia from Russia Tourism and Visit Russia UK twitter page (more up to date). 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 ahead if the postponement request has been sent at least 70 days before departure date and the change is due to forced amendments (e.g. closed borders). In this case, the full deposit will be transferred to the 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, deposit is non-refundable and our normal booking conditions will apply.

See our full booking conditions on this booking conditions page.

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 most 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 and 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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