SAN DIEGO -- A new holiday shopping tour to Sweden's Crystal
Kingdom will mark the first time that Legend Tours will run an
off-season package to the country's southern region.
The escorted program, called Four Nights in the Crystal Kingdom,
explores the area that is home to renowned glassworks such as
Orrefors, founded in 1898, and Sweden's oldest, Kosta Boda, founded
"The appeal of getting away from the city to the small towns is
what we're trying to tap here," said Janet Nowell, chief operating
officer at Legend Tours.
She said a 16% sales increase in Scandinavian tours this summer
compared with the same period last year, along with the popularity
of the Tivoli Gardens Christmas Market package introduced last
year, prompted Legend to expand in the Swedish countryside.
The Crystal Kingdom tour is obviously "a chance to get some
shopping done," Nowell said, "but also [to] experience another
culture around the holiday period.
"Even though the focus is on the Christmas market, it's
tradition vs. commercialism."
In fact, a series of traditions is presented, including Swedish
glass crafting, cuisine, music and even the national holiday
ambassador, Lucia -- a young girl who heralds the coming of the
spring during the shortest day of winter.
Land-only prices start at $1,098 per person, double, with
guaranteed departures from Copenhagen, Denmark, on Nov. 19 and
The commission is 12%, and discount air is available.
The Crystal Kingdom package features accommodations in country
inns and small hotels -- its most appealing feature, Nowell said --
as well as four dinners, breakfasts and all transfers.
The holiday shopping tour begins with a motorcoach picking up
clients at a central Copenhagen location, and then driving across
the Oresund bridge and tunnel link to Sweden and the southeastern
province of Smaland.
Clients spend the first evening at a manor house, where a
Swedish smorgasbord is served.
On the Nov. 19 departure, the evening is spent at the 14th
century, 45-room Toftaholm Manor House in Alvesta.
A former country estate, Toftaholm is situated on the shores of
For the Nov. 26 departure, the first evening's accommodations
are at the 90-room Hooks Manor House -- highlighted by Lake
Hookasjon, which sits in the middle of its golf course -- located
about 12 miles from Jonkoping. The original buildings date from
The second day of the tour features visits to furniture retailer
IKEA and the hand paper mill in Lessebo, where the Swedish Royal
Family has their personal stationery made.
The evening is spent in Lessebo at Flustret, a 13-room manor
A traditional Swedish meal with herring, pork, sausage, baked
potatoes and a curd cake dessert is served at the Kosta
The buffet, referred to in Swedish as a hyttsill, is part of the
tradition of the glassworks -- serving not only as a workplace but
as a social point for meals and meetings.
Musical entertainment provides a backdrop for the second
evening's dinner, and guests keep their drinking glass as a
go on to visit the Orrefors and Boda glassworks as well as the
Kosta site on the third day of the tour.
Staying with a traditional Swedish theme, clients are greeted
with Christmas carols sung by "Lucia" and a choir of other girls
and boys upon check-in to the Hotel Amigo in Emmaboda, before
dinner is served.
The feast of St. Lucia is celebrated Dec. 13, regarded as the
longest night of the year.
Lucia, a role played throughout Sweden by the oldest daughter of
the house, traditionally dresses herself in white, dons a crown of
lighted candles and awakens her family in the morning by singing
The final day of the tour is spent at a Christmas market,
offering folk art and traditional handicrafts, food and
After the last overnight, clients depart for Copenhagen the next
If fewer than 10 people are confirmed for the tour, transfers
across the Oresund Fixed Link will be via rail instead of
Several other departures of the Crystal Kingdom program can be
made available for dedicated groups, Nowell said.
For more information on Four Nights in Sweden's Crystal Kingdom,
contact Legend Tours at (800) 333-6114, fax (800) 621-1988. To
learn more about Sweden's Crystal Kingdom, visit www.glasriket.se.