Thinking about travelling to Scandinavia in 2021? It is great to see that the Nordic countries are slowly opening up for more travellers, but it can be tricky to navigate all the different information out there. I have therefore compiled all the latest traveling restrictions and information for Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland and Iceland so you can be informed. I have listed specific info about each country below with relevant links so you can start planning some great Nordic adventures.
*For non-EU travellers, the EU maintain a white list of countries whose citizens are able to enter the EU for non-essential purposes, including tourism. At the current time, just a handful of countries are on the list including Australia, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and China (subject to confirmation of reciprocity.) The list is expected to be updated soon, so find the latest info here.
Current travel situation in the Scandinavian & Nordic countries:
Denmark’s COVID restrictions are currently easing and tourists from a number of countries can now finally enter Denmark. Denmark welcomes fully vaccinated visitors from EU, Schengen and OECD nations (which includes Canada, UK and USA). In most cases, for vaccinated visitors there is no mandatory quarantine period when arriving in Denmark, but please check carefully on the Danish Government’s info website, as there are some exceptions. If you are not fully vaccinated but have a negative corona test, restrictions vary according to which country you are travelling from.
Denmark operates with a ‘corona passport’ system, which allows you access to cafes, restaurants and cultural offerings based on vaccine status, previous infections or negative tests within 72 hours. Regular testing is easy and highly accessible, and all tests within Denmark are free. Find out more about their testing system, including where to get a test here.
When in Denmark, many attractions have now reopened with special requirements for guests who have had a COVID test up to 72 hours before their visit. All accommodation types, from hotels to holiday cottages and campsites, have strict hygiene and safety regulations in place. These range from more frequent cleaning to off-contact check-in and more. When it comes to restaurants, bars, cafes and similar these are open for outdoor dining. Indoor dining is open for those with a corona pass and a booking. On public transport, in taxis, in airports and on flights passengers have to wear a face mask. Find out more about travelling to and in Denmark here.
There is currently a travel ban on non-essential travel to Sweden from countries outside the EU. This ban is valid until August 31th. When traveling to Sweden, foreign nationals who are aged 18 or over must present a negative Covid-19 test result certificate at the border before being permitted into the country. The test must have been conducted a maximum of 48 hours prior to arrival. As of 31th of May, travellers from the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Norway) do not have to present a negative covid test at arrival.
All travellers except travellers from the Nordic countries are recommended to: get tested in Sweden as soon as possible after arriving, stay at home for at least seven days, get a follow-up test after five days and avoid contact with others as much as possible.
The above also applies to children in preschool class and older. Members of the household should also remain at home while awaiting the test results. Fully vaccinated people without any symptoms are exempted from the recommendation regardless of where they have been before arrival to Sweden. You can find more information about this here. These rules above supplement the previous temporary entry ban for non-essential travels to the EU via Sweden, which is in place until the 31th of August. You can find more information about this here.
Recommendations when staying in Sweden may vary from region to region which you can read more about here. As a general rule, businesses in Sweden are now open but physical distancing applies and all businesses must take precaution to reduce the risk of spreading covid-19. For public transport, masks are recommended nationwide for passengers on weekdays between 7–9 am and 4–6 pm (but local variations may apply). More travel domestic travel information here. As of 1st of June, restaurants, bars and catering establishments are allowed to be open until 10:30 pm.
Great news: The Norwegian borders are opening up! Travellers from ‘green’ European areas / countries and travellers who possess a valid corona certificate by EU standards, are allowed to enter Norway without having to quarantine, provide negative test results or register their entry. Here you can read more information about who can currently travel to Norway.
If you live in a ‘green’ area or country in Europe, you can also travel to Norway without having to quarantine. For this to apply, you need to have stayed in the ‘green’ area for the previous 10 days before entering Norway. You will also need to show proof that you live in a ‘green’ area.
As of 5 July, large parts of Europe are labelled as ‘green’ areas, including Germany, Denmark, The Netherlands, France, Italy and more. Most of Finland and Sweden are also labelled as ‘green’. Tip: The Norwegian Institute of Public Health’s official website has a colour-coded map and the latest information about which countries that are ‘red’, ‘yellow’ or ‘green’ showing what countries are allowed entry, as well as information on quarantine regulations and testing. The map is updated every Monday so worth checking out regularly for the latest info.
From the same date onwards, EU and Norway will gradually start lifting the travel restrictions for some residents of some ‘third countries’, including USA, Serbia, Albania, Thailand, Japan and several more. Currently, if you live in an area which is not ‘green’, or arrive from most other countries outside EU/EEA/Schengen/UK, you cannot travel to Norway, unless you possess a valid EUDCC-certificate or one of the exceptions on this page applies to you.
To help with disease detection and tracking, some travellers will be required to register their entry to Norway on the Government’s website before arrival. If you do not wish to register online, you can submit a form to the police at border control.
If you travel from or have visited an area requiring quarantine during the last 10 days, please see more detailed information about the rules for quarantine and testing upon arrival here. (The cost of staying at a quarantine hotel is NOK 500 per night).
As of 21th of June, leisure travel to Finland is possible from EU and Schengen countries when certain health requirements are met. This means you can travel to Finland if:
- You can present a certificate of having received the full COVID-19 vaccines 14 days prior to arriving in Finland.
- You can present a certificate showing that you have had the COVID-19 disease and have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine shot at least a week prior to arriving in Finland.
- You can present a certificate of having had the COVID-19 disease under 6 months prior to arriving in Finland.
The certificate presented needs to be in either English, Finnish or Swedish. There is no mandatory testing or quarantine for people traveling for leisure from EU and Schengen countries who fulfil the above mentioned health requirements.
Finland also welcomes residents of countries where the COVID-19 incidence level is less than 25 cases per 100 000 inhabitants to travel to Finland for leisure: Iceland, the Vatican, Malta, Australia, Israel, New Zealand, Rwanda, Singapore and South Korea. Residents of Poland, Romania, San Marino and Monaco are also welcome to travel to Finland for leisure starting 21th of June.
There is no mandatory testing or quarantine for residents from the above mentioned countries on arrival in Finland. However, all travellers arriving in Finland from corona risk countries are tested for the coronavirus.
Finnish health authorities is reviewing countries’ infection rates regularly. The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare publishes up-to-date health information related to traveling to Finland during the COVID-19 pandemic so this is worth checking out.
While in Finland, general health and safety measures regarding coronavirus include avoiding physical contact, maintaining a safe distance from other people and observing good hand and respiratory hygiene. Finnish health authorities require using face masks in public transport in large cities and recommend using it in other situations where it is difficult to maintain 1-2 m distances from other people.
As of July 1st, the Icelandic border is open to everyone. This means measures at Iceland’s borders have been relaxed and the testing of those who present a certificate of vaccination or prior infection with COVID-19 will cease. Travellers must register with Icelandic authorities by filling out a pre-registration form before arrival, indicating their arrival and departure dates. You can find more information on restrictions on traveling to Iceland here.
Passengers travelling to Iceland that do not have a certificate of vaccination or a certificate that they have had COVID-19 need to follow different rules when arriving depending on where they travel from. In addition to that, the Chief Epidemiologist defines certain high-risk countries that are divided into two categories based on infection rate (list I and II). It is important to note if the area you are travelling from is on list I or II for high-risk areas. (Unnecessary travelling of people without vaccination or previous infection of COVID-19, who do not live in Iceland, from high-risk countries (list II) is prohibited.)
Upon arrival in Iceland, all travellers must provide an address where they will be spending their quarantine. If unable to demonstrate a quarantine location, local authorities may require the traveler to quarantine at an official Red Cross quarantine centre. The stay in a quarantine facility is free of charge.
I hope this post helped you find the information you need in terms of traveling safely to Scandinavia and the Nordics in 2021.
NB: this is the latest updates, but as this kind of information may change quickly, I can’t guarantee it is correct at the time of your travel. I will keep this information updated as quickly as I can, but I advise you to double check what applies with relevant authorities before travelling to each country.