Before your trip

Before your trip

Northern Europe


  • Clothing: Choose clothing for the season when you travel. It’s indispensable to carry a warm jacket, comfortable walking shoes, raincoat or umbrella for all reasons. 
  • Time Difference from USA: Denmark, Norway and Sweden are in the same time zone. Summer Daylight Savings begins in March and ends in October. Scandinavian time (Denmark, Norway, and Sweden) is 6 hours and Finland is 7 hours ahead of EST (Eastern Standard Time). Example – New York 1pm is Oslo 7pm, Helsinki 8pm. 
  • Telephone: The charge of making phone calls from hotel room is expensive. It is suggested that you use the public telephone in the lobby instead. Contact your cell phone provider to check if your cell phone works in Northern Europe. Or renting a phone specifically designed for use overseas might be a practical option. Call from US to Denmark, dial: 011+45; to Sweden dial 011+46, to Norway dial 011+47, to Finland dial 011+358. 
  • Electrical Requirement: Scandinavia countries use electrical system operates at 220 volts, 50 Hz, with their respective plugs and outlet types. It is advisable to bring your own international voltage converter and universal plug adapters. Plug types: Denmark C / E / F / K, Finland, Norway and Sweden - C / F. 
  • VAT (Value Added Tax) Refund: Travelers from a country outside the EU and Scandinavia may claim a VAT refund when shopping. Please ask local tour guide or escort for details. 
  • Language: Most Scandinavians speak multiple languages and English is widely used in Nordic. 


  • Denmark is the smallest, flattest and most continental of the Scandinavian countries. It has liberal social-welfare system, that’s the most equal and competitive in the world. 
  • VAT rate is 25% and can be refunded at the airport. For VAT refund the minimum purchase per shop must be 300 DKK. 
  • Denmark is not part of the EURO-monetary system. Like Norway and Sweden, Denmark has Danish Krone (DKK) as its own currency. 


  • Almost half the length of Norway is north of the polar circle. It has short summers and long winters. In Northern Norway, there is 24 hours sunshine in the summer and no sun at all at mid-winter. Although Southern Norway cannot enjoy the midnight sun, at midsummer the night is very short even in Oslo - it doesn’t get really dark at all. The best time to travel there is from June to October.
  • Norway has three highs: high income, high taxes and high spending. As one of the richest countries in the world and with a strong currency, most visitors should be prepared for greater expenses than at home. Norway uses Norwegian Krone (NOK) as its own currency.
  • The standard VAT rate is 25% and the minimum purchase amount in one shop to get tax refund is 315 NOK on regular goods and 290 NOK on food. Goods must be exported in unused condition within 30 days from date of purchase.


  • Sweden is the largest country in Scandinavia. It borders Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark via the bridge of Oresund. The Baltic Sea lies to the east of Sweden, as well as the Gulf of Bothnia, which separates Sweden from most Finland. Sweden has long winters and light summer nights. In the Northern part of Sweden never get dark. 
  • Like Norway, Sweden also is the country with high income, high taxes and high spending. Sweden uses Swedish Krona (SEK) as its own currency. 
  • Sweden’s VAT rate is 25%. In order to achieve the VAT refund, the minimum purchase amount is 200 SEK. Ask the shop for a tax-free refund form after purchase and get your return at airport by showing your unopened items, receipts, tax form along with your passport to the VAT Refund window.


  • Finland is the only Scandinavian country that uses EURO. Credit cards, except American Express, Visa and Master cards are widely accepted. The standard VAT rate is 24%.
  • The traditional Finnish cuisine is quite simple, usually includes bread, potato, chicken or beef. Due to the harsh climate that fresh fruit and vegetables are hard to get and very expensive. Also because of the cold weather, Finnish people like to stove or baked food.
  • The Finnish sauna is a substantial part of Finnish culture. There are five million inhabitants and over two million saunas in Finland—an average of one per household. For Finnish people the sauna is a place for easing with friends and family, and a place for physical and mental relaxation. You might want to experience it while you are there.