Information about Finland – Russia – Estonia – Sweden

Comparison of temperatures

 JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
St. Petersburg-6-3281720242024154-2
London68911152021201915107

State system:

Estonia: Republic, parliamentary democracy
Finland: Parliamentary democracy with elements of a presidential democracy
Russia: Presidential republic, federal state structure
Sweden: Parliamentary democracy with royal ruler

Capital:

Estonia: Tallinn | Finland: Helsinki | Russia: Moscow | Sweden: Stockholm

Religion:

Estonia: Evangelical – Lutheran and Orthodox, while Russian Orthodox predominates among the non-Estonian population
Russia: Christianity (Russian Orthodox), Islam, Judaism, Buddhism
Finland and Sweden: primarily Evangelical – Lutheran (approx. 65% in Sweden and 73% in Finland)

Language:

Estonia: Estonian (only official language), Russian (everyday language in regions with a predominantly Russian-speaking population, especially in the north east)
Finland: Finnish and Swedish, and also Sami in some places in the north
Russia: Russian
Sweden: Swedish; minority languages include Finnish & Sami

Climate:

Estonia: Maritime to temperate continental, very long winter, cool summer
Finland: Continental climate with warm summers and cold winters
Russia: From north to south there is a change from an Arctic to a continental climate (dry; very cold winter, warm to hot summer)
Sweden: Temperate climate with warm summers and cold winters

Electricity:

220 Volt AC, 50 Hz. A socket adapter will be required.

Telephones:

For telephone calls to the UK, the country prefix 0044 should be dialled first. For calls to Scandinavia, please dial the country prefix of the country first:
Estonia: 00372 | Finland: 00358 | Russia: 007 | Sweden: 0046
Omit the first zero in the area code.

Entry requirements for British citizens:

You don’t need a visa to enter Finland, Sweden or Estonia. As a British national, you can stay as a visitor for 3 months. Note regarding Russia: British citizens must hold a full British citizen’s passport at the time of entry. This must be valid for 6 months after the date of departure from the country. You should make sure you have signed your passport before you travel. Some British nationals who have not signed their new passports have been denied entry into Russia. British citizens require a chargeable visa for entry into Russia. But ferry and cruise ship passengers are able to enter the country and remain in the port area as part of the tourist group for up to 72 hours. Travel and personal details must be notified before arrival; the travel agent or shipping company will be responsible for this. Your ferry or cruise ship journey does not require a visa once your passport details form has been completed and returned, however. For British citizens, private medical insurance is mandatory when travelling to Russia. A list of accepted insurance companies can be obtained from the Russian foreign missions. Entry requirements for British citizens can change at short notice without the Foreign Office being made aware of this beforehand. Legal information and/or information outside the scope of these notes regarding entry requirements can only be obtained directly from the embassy or one of your destination country’s general consulates. Citizens of other countries are advised to enquire about the applicable entry requirements from their respective embassy. You are solely responsible for applying for, and presenting, any visa that may be required. RSD assumes no liability if you fail to do this. Please note that entry is dependent upon the approval of the immigration authorities. Whilst we endeavour to provide guidance where necessary, we can not be responsible for any problems encountered (whether at any point of entry or elsewhere) in the event that passport and visa requirements are not satisfied.

Tour guides:

Your expert tour guides will be able to provide you with detailed information about the country, people, history, culture etc., and offer advice and assistance for organising your trip. They can also help with room allocation and look forward to welcoming you with initial information and a welcoming drink. Here you will find out all you need to know and useful information about the trip. We have put together a varied programme including numerous highlights, enabling you to experience the culture and diversity of landscape that Finland, Russia, Estonia and Sweden have to offer, and learn all about the country and its people. Although your trip already includes a comprehensive package, you also have the option of choosing added extras on arrival. We recommend booking the following packages when you get there:
Cultural package: The package includes the three city tours of St. Petersburg, Tallinn and Stockholm accompanied by a professional, English-speaking guide: Just £159 per person
Gourmet package: On the ship there are red and white wine, beer, juices, coffee and tea. In the hotel: 3-course menu incl. coffee and tea: Just £229 per person
Cabin upgrade: Enjoy an outside cabin and its fantastic views for an additional £129 per person
Cabin upgrade Commodor outside cabin: Take advantage of a spacious outside cabin with a double bed, hairdryer, TV and minibar as well as the deluxe breakfast buffet with caviar and sparkling wine for an additional £280 per person

Curency / banks / credit cards:

Estonia & Finland: Estonia and Finland are part of the European Currency Union. The currency is the Euro. 1 Euro =100 cents. Exchange rate (November 2017): 1 GBP = 1.12 EUR, 1 EUR = 0.88 GBP
Russia: The currency is the Rouble (RUB). 1 rouble = 100 kopecks. Exchange rate (November 2017): 1 GBP = 75.91 RUB, 1 RUB = 0.01 GBP
Sweden: The currency is the Swedish Krona (SEK). 1 Swedish krona = 100 öre. Exchange rate (November 2017) 1 GBP = 10.76 SEK, 1 SEK = 0.09 GBP.
Estonia & Finland: Cash can be withdrawn without any problems from any cash machine displaying the Maestro logo when using an EC card and after entering the correct PIN. A transaction fee may be charged by your bank for using your card abroad. Most cash machines also accept common credit cards such as Visa or Mastercard. A fee may be charged by your credit card provider for withdrawing money abroad. Cashless payment is accepted virtually everywhere. Common credit cards from Visa and Mastercard, as well as EC cards, are accepted as means of payment.
Russia: Money can be exchanged at bank counters and in exchange kiosks. Banks are open from Monday to Thursday between 9:30 a.m. and 5 p.m., and on Fridays  from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. (variations may occur). In Russian cities such as St. Petersburg, cash machines are plentiful and money can be withdrawn from them using common credit cards such as VISA or Mastercard, as well as EC cards. Cashless payment is accepted in superior hotels, restaurants, supermarkets and at some petrol stations. Credit card payments (e.g. VISA, Mastercard) and increasingly EC cards (Maestro) are accepted. Be aware that your bank may charge you for using your debit or credit card abroad. Please check before you travel.
Sweden: Money can be exchanged at currency kiosks and in banks. Banks are open from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday to Friday. Many banks are also open on one day a week until 5 or 6 p.m. Sweden has a large network of cash machines from which common credit cards and EC cards can be used to withdraw cash in Krona, the national currency. Your bank may charge you for using your debit or credit card abroad. Please check with your card provider before you travel. In Sweden, even small sums can usually be paid for by card. We recommend taking an internationally accepted credit or debit card with you. Your card provider may charge you for using your credit or debit card abroad. Please check before you travel.

Customs regulations:

Estonia: The customs regulations for travellers are largely the same as the ones applicable in many European states. From non-EU states (be careful when arriving from Russia!), you may bring in 40 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 50 g of loose tobacco. The export of artistically or historically significant objects created before 1946 is subject to restrictions. Estonia is a members state of the Washington Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. The import of certain  species of wild animal and plant, as well as products derived from them, is therefore forbidden and a prosecutable offence. All types of weapon must be disclosed upon entry into the country. Presentation of the appropriate licence to carry weapons is required.
Finland: Personal luggage can be imported on trips within the EU without any customs duty. Drinks with an alcohol content of over 80% Vol. must not be imported. Adults arriving from the UK cannot bring in more than 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars, 100 cigarillos and 250 g of pipe or cigarette tobacco, even if the tobacco duty is paid.
Russia: Currency: Sums over US$ 10,000 must be declared on arrival (straightforward completion of a customs registration form, use the red customs lane, have the form stamped by a customs official). On departure, currency worth up to US$ 10,000 can be exported free of charge. For sums over US$ 10,000, as well as declaring the amount, the prior import of the sum must be demonstrated by presenting the stamped customs declaration or a copy of the transfer confirmation from a bank.
Sweden: People aged 20 and older are able to bring alcohol and tobacco into Sweden for their own, personal use. Food can also be brought in for personal use. Other customs information regarding the import of goods can be obtained from the embassy of the respective destination country. This is the only place from which to obtain legally correct and binding information. You are able to view the customs regulations for the UK on the UK customs and excise website at www.gov.uk/government/organisations/hm-revenue-customs or enquire by telephone.

Country-specific safety and security information:

Estonia: There is currently no country-specific safety information to be aware of for Estonia.
Finland: There is currently no country-specific safety information to be aware of for Finland.
Russia: Particular attention and care, especially when encountering large groups of people and when using public transport (especially the subway / underground system or bus) is advisable. Homosexuality is not a criminal offence in Russia. However the acceptance of same-sex partnerships in Russian society is low. The federal law against „propaganda of non-traditional sexual relationships to minors“ came into force on 30 June 2013. The law also threatens foreigners with fines, imprisonment and deportation from the Russian Federation for sharing information, publicly demonstrating and supporting homosexuality.
Sweden: Sweden has temporarily introduced border controls. Therefore you must bring a valid travel document with you. General travel information:
Estonia: Petty crime (handbag theft, etc.) is focused mainly around Tallinn. Any ID documents that you do not need with you at all times should be left in the hotel safe to prevent theft and so as not to endanger any onward travel plans. Photocopy all of your documents and cards and keep a list of telephone numbers for blocking your cards, but remember to keep this list separate from your valuables. Pedestrians and wheelchair users are obliged to carry or wear reflectors or a light source in poor visibility and during the hours of darkness both in and outside towns in order to make themselves more visible to car drivers. Pedestrians must wear these reflectors (also known as cats‘ eyes) on their outer clothing. On wheelchairs, a red reflector or red light must be situated on the rear left-hand side.
Finland & Russia: There is no specific travel information for Finland and Russia.
Sweden: Crime: In tourist hotspots, travel hubs (ferries, airports) and recently also more in the breakfast rooms of hotels, caution is advised regarding handbag theft. When using bank and credit cards, there have been reported cases of theft (data being copied at restaurants, and details being skimmed at cash machines). Confidence tricksters use every ruse imaginable (e.g. spreading a map over mobile phones lying on the table in a café, the hugging trick and the spraying of liquid that looks like pigeon poop and then helping the „victim“ to clean it off).
Smoking: In Sweden there is a general ban on smoking in restaurants and in public buildings.

Particular criminal law provisions:

Estonia: In Estonia, any handling of drugs (including cannabis and opium poppies) is prohibited and is punishable with significantly stricter sentences than in the UK. Even handling very small quantities (including consumption without a prescription) is classed as a criminal offence and punishable with a fine or prison sentence. The coercion of minors to perform sexual acts, child prostitution and sexual assault are criminal offences in Estonia.
Finland: The consumption of alcohol in public (except in restaurants, bars and other licensed drinking establishments and in private vehicles, taxis and limousines) is prohibited, however it is usually tolerated provided that public order is not disrupted as a result of it.
Russia: The export of antiques and objets d’art dating from before 1945 is prohibited. The export of objects designated as „cultural heritage“ without prior approval can result in fines or many years in prison. At some technical installations, photography is prohibited. Caution is advised, since not all installations display signs saying that photography is prohibited. Military installations should by default not be photographed. The import or export of drugs (including small quantities of class B drugs such as marijuana) can result in long prison sentences.
Sweden: Under the Swedish Weapons Act, the carrying, commerce and import of tear gas sprays is prohibited. Violations of this Act are punished by prison sentences or
fines. The carrying of blades in public places is forbidden. Pocket knives are generally tolerated. Prostitution is a criminal offence in Sweden. Clients face fines or prison
sentences. Possession of drugs – even in small quantities for personal use – is prohibited in Sweden, as is their consumption. Alcohol (consumption or visible possession) in public is not permitted. Bottles and cans must be carried in opaque bags.

Medical information:

Vaccination: There are no particular vaccination requirements for entry into any of the four countries being visited. The Foreign Office’s health service, however, recommends checking the standard vaccinations as per the current NHS vaccination schedule and completing all courses before travelling (see http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Travel-immunisation/Pages/Introduction.aspx). In Estonia and Russia, from April to October, there is a risk of tick-borne encephalitis being  ransmitted by tick bites. In Finland, this problem only occurs in parts of the country (such as the Åland Islands or in the Turku, Korkkola or Lappeenranta regions). Vaccination is recommended. During the summer months, mosquito protection is recommended for all countries. The risk of rabies from stray dogs extends into the towns and cities in Russia. A rabies vaccination is recommended if there is a risk of exposure.
Diarrhoea and gastrointestinal problems: Diarrhoeal diseases can be avoided by adopting appropriate food and drinking water hygiene:
• Only drink water from a known safe source, e.g. bottled water, never tap water.
• In an emergency, use filtered, disinfected and boiled water.
• While out on the road, use drinking water wherever possible to wash dishes and clean teeth.
• With food, cook or peel it yourself and keep it away from flies.
• Wash your hands as often as you can with soap, but always after going to the toilet and always before preparing and eating food.

Medical care:

Estonia, Finland and Sweden: Basic medical care is available and generally corresponds to European standards. In the event of an accident or acute illness, British citizens with an EHIC card are entitled to receive medical treatment. The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) must be presented along with your personal ID or passport. When visiting a doctor in Sweden, a self-funded contribution of at least SEK 200 (approx. £20) must be paid immediately (the actual amount depends on the treatment given).
Russia: Emergency treatment in state hospitals is essentially free of charge by law. The facilities and expertise at state hospitals, however, often do not meet British standards. In private hospitals, the costs of medical treatment can be significantly higher than in the UK. Even in an emergency, medical treatment is also often only provided upon payment of a deposit (either in cash or by credit card). Travellers should therefore carry enough cash with them to cover illness or make arrangements in the UK for money to be transferred quickly (by credit card or fast payment). It is strongly recommended that you take out health insurance cover for the duration of your stay abroad. This should cover the risks that are not covered by statutory health insurance (such as repatriation to the UK in the event of illness, treatment by a private doctor or in a private hospital). In this context, we would point out that the costs of any assistance that may be required will be charged.

All information is subject to change/Last updated: November 2017


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