Photography and Video
Due to the cold, dry conditions, the life of camera and video batteries is practically halved so it is advisable to carry spares and to take your battery charger for videos & mobile phones (most mobile phones work well from Scandinavia). In the winter time days are short and dark so it is advisable to use ISO/ASA 400 since the light is very restricted.
Contact Lenses and Glasses
As glasses have a tendency to steam up as temperatures change we suggest you use contact lenses if you have a choice. The lenses do not freeze in the cold and are much easier to use therefore.
Currency and Cards
Only Finland is part of the Euro monetary union, whereas other countries have not taken the euro currency. The currency in Sweden is Swedish Krona (SEK), in Norway Norwegian Krona (NOK), in Denmark Danish Krona (DKK) and Iceland Icelandic Krona (ISK). The currencies in the Baltic countries are Estonian Krona (EEK) in Estonia, Litas in Lithuania (LTL) and Lats in Latvia (LVL). Visa, Amex, Mastercard, Diners and Euro card are widely accepted.
Northern Lights and Activities
The Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) are a natural phenomena so we cannot guarantee that they will be seen on any of our tours. Although on this latitude it is a common occurance during the months of winter.
All Best Served winter activities are planned and operated subject to the prevailing weather conditions, which may change and are beyond our control. The order of activities and meal venues mentioned in our itineraries may vary depending on group size and departure date.
Winter in Scandinavia
If you are travelling to Scandinavia in the winter months (October-March), you can expect to experience real winter weather. The temperature often stays well below zero, sometimes reaching as low as -30 C degrees. When you are properly prepared, the cold air will not feel as cold as you might expect. Snow conditions are generally good in the northern parts of Scandinavia; however global warming has its effects in the north too and in past few years permanent snow blanket has fallen around December. Many activities and excursions are dependant on snow depth or thickness of ice on lakes; therefore if you are travelling early or late in the winter, some excursions may not be available or they are subject to changes.
There are several exciting safaris to try when in Scandinavia, not only in the winter time but also in the summer. Must dos are snowmobile, husky and reindeer safari which are widely available. Depending on where you're travelling, you may also try king crab fishing, ice rally driving, super jeep safari, Northern Lights hunting, ice fishing... It is advisable to check with your insurer that you have a sufficient cover for winter sports and activities.
Clothing for Arctic Conditions
To ensure a wonderful winter experience it is absolutely essential that you know how to dress correctly in extreme temperatures. You should work on 3 layer principle. A set of thermal underwear in synthetics, wool or wool mixture is perfect for the inner layer as it should transport humidity away from the skin. Long sleeved top and long johns are recommended. Avoid pure cotton if possible since cotton clothes cool down when they become wet. The middle layer should strengthen and regulate the warmth insulation, isolate air and hold the humidity that comes from the body. Good garments for middle layer are for example woollen sweater, fleece or thermal sweater or jogging bottoms. The outer layer consists of reinforcing garments such as thermal overall, a hat, scarf, mittens and warms boots. Many hotels and suppliers offer the outer layer for guests; please do check with us if it is included in your holiday. It is also a good idea to bring several pairs of socks.
English is widely spoken all over Scandinavia so you will be sure to find fluent English speakers in the smallest fishing villages and most remote fell hotels. Swedish, Norwegian and Danish (and remotely Icelandic) belong to the same language family and therefore they have some similarities, yet they are different languages rather than dialects. Finnish is in a league of its own, belonging to Finno-Ugric language family and considered as one of the most difficult in the world. English is usually the first foreign language children learn, so there will be no problems communicating with the locals in English.
Midnight sun creates the long and light summer days and nights. Summer days are longer anywhere in Scandinavia than in the UK or Ireland. The further up north you venture the longer the day gets. North of Arctic Circle the sun is up for at least 24 continuous hours at least once a year, the further up north you go the more constant day light you get. The visibility of the midnight sun depends on the latitude; as far as Spitsbergen there is no sunset between April and mid-August! If you’re not travelling that far north, good time to see the midnight sun is from June to early August in Norway, Finland, Sweden and Iceland.
Passports and Visas
British and Irish passport holders don't need a visa for any of the countries we feature on our web site. If you are unsure about passport requirements for non British and Irish Passport holders please contact your relevant embassy for guidance.