Christmas in Scandinavia's winter wonderland

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LOS ANGELES -- Nordique Tours/Norvista created six new holiday packages for independent travelers looking to celebrate in Scandinavia.

The commission is 10%.

Matthew Klein, managing director, said he expects the tours to appeal to travelers seeking holiday tradition and "Old World" Europe.

The most family-oriented of the new holiday tours, Christmas in Lapland, stays four nights on the Arctic Circle at the newly opened Hotel Santa Claus in Rovaniemi, Finland, where snow, reindeer and Santa figure prominently into the storybook mix.

The Lapland tour "is obviously for families who want to experience a White Christmas," Klein said.

The tour departs New York Dec. 21. The following day, guests take a connecting flight from Helsinki to Rovaniemi, where they are greeted at the airport and escorted to the Hotel Santa Claus for dinner.

A Christmas market in the Old Town of Stockholm, Sweden.The first full day in Lapland is spent playing in the snow, with such activities as cross-country skiing, snowshoe walking, tobogganing, kick sledding and golf putting -- all followed by an evening music and dance performance.

On Christmas Eve, guests are transferred to Santa's Reindeer Farm, where the program includes an Arctic Circle-crossing ceremony, reindeer sled-riding, snowmobile driving and looking for a suitable Christmas tree in the forest.

That evening, guests decorate the Christmas tree at the hotel, where afterwards they are served a traditional Finnish Christmas buffet dinner and are visited by Santa Claus, his reindeer and elves.

On Christmas Day, guests transfer for Lutheran church services in English in the morning, followed by brunch at the hotel and an afternoon of snowmobiling.

Christmas in Lapland is priced at $1,679 per person, double, and includes roundtrip air, transfers, all meals and activities.

Children ages 2 to 11 can stay with their parents for $1,259 per child, or in a separate double room for $1,439 per child.

Lillehammer, Norway, site of the 1994 Winter Olympic Games, is another destination where snow is likely, and families traveling with children might find it an appropriate holiday getaway, Klein said.

Christmas in Lillehammer, $1,159 per person, double, and New Year's in Lillehammer, $1,299 per person, double, both include roundtrip air from New York to Oslo; four nights at the Radisson SAS Hotel Lillehammer; a horse-drawn sleigh ride, and breakfast, lunch and dinner daily.

In choosing Lillehammer as one of the holiday destinations, Klein said, "I wanted something not in a big or capital city, something that was charming and would bring back a feel of what Christmas and New Year's should be.

Lillehammer, Norway, where a horse-drawn sleigh ride awaits holiday celebrants. "I know Lillehammer does a wonderful Christmas and New Year's program of sleigh rides and carolers. It's really a true Scandinavian Christmas. And Lillehammer, which is so charming year-round, is especially so at Christmastime."

Also included in the Lillehammer packages are roundtrip transfers from Oslo's Gardemoen Airport to Lillehammer, and from Lillehammer's rail station to the hotel.

Comparing Lillehammer with Finnish Lapland, Klein said, "Lillehammer is better if you're the type of person who likes to stroll around in a quaint, little village. Lapland is great for people who are interested in outdoors fun."

The other holiday tours are to Stockholm, Sweden, and Copenhagen, Denmark.

The four-night Christmas in Stockholm is priced at $899 per person, double, at the Sergel Plaza and $1,129 per person at the Grand Hotel.

New Year's in Stockholm is priced at $799 per person at the Sergel Plaza and $1,249 per person at the Grand.

Either package includes roundtrip air from New York, a city tour of Stockholm and breakfast daily. Also included is either a traditional Swedish Christmas or New Year's gala dinner at the hotel.

The four-night Christmas in Copenhagen is priced at $1,099 per person, double, for the Hotel Kong Frederik and $1,299 for the Hotel D'Angleterre. It includes a traditional Danish Christmas dinner at the hotel.

New Year's at the Hotel D'Angleterre in Copenhagen is priced at $1,399 per person, double, and includes a five-course New Year's Eve banquet, a 2 a.m. buffet, live dance music until 3 a.m. and a champagne brunch.

Both the Christmas and New Year's packages to Copenhagen include roundtrip economy class air from New York, breakfast daily and a grand tour of Copenhagen.

For more information, contact Nordique Tours/Norvista at (800) 995-7997 or (310) 645-7527; fax (310) 645-1071; e-mail: [email protected], or visit the Web at www.nordiquetours.com

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