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47by train, passing some of Sweden's highest mountains including famous Lapporten - a 'gateway' to Lapland. After dinner at Abisko Mountain Station make your way to the chairlift and the Aurora Sky Station. At the summit you'll be able to see a northern lights exhibition and hopefully, the real thing - record sightings have been seen during the 2011/12 season. Continue by train to Kiruna and keep a look out for reindeer and moose en route, often seen grazing in this area. Transfer to nearby Jukkasjärvi and the Icehotel, where you'll spend three nights, one in a Snow Room although it is possible to upgrade to a more elaborate Ice Room, Northern Lights Suite or an individually-themed Art Suite. The remaining two nights will be in a warm Kaamos Room - for room descriptions see page 23. The untouched forested surrounds can be explored at your leisure or by taking part in exhilarating winter activities - page 24 has some suggestions. If you're looking for a less energetic activity, try ice sculpting and get creative with some chisels and a block of ice harvested from the River Torne.Day 1 Fly UK to Tromsø via Oslo. Spend 3 nights at the Thon Hotel Tromsø or upgrade to the Rica Ishavshotel.Days 2-3 At leisure in Tromsø. Day 4 Transfer by coach to Narvik (4 hours), then travel by train through the mountains to Abisko (1 hour and 40 minutes). Check in at Abisko Mountain Station. Evening chair lift ride to the summit Aurora Sky Station.Day 5 Travel by rail to Kiruna and transfer to Jukkasjärvi. Check in at the Icehotel for a 3 night stay (one in a Snow Room). Days 6-7 Participate in optional activities or simply relax and enjoy your surrounds. Day 8 Transfer to Kiruna for your fl ight back to the UK. As fl ights operate via Oslo and Stockholm, it is possible to extend your stay in these two Scandinavian capitals. It is also possible to enjoy this itinerary in reverse, with a stay at the Icehotel fi rst. Alternatively you can fl y direct between London Heathrow and Kiruna - available on set dates only. See our website for details.Outline ItineraryScan with your smartphone for more holiday information on our website (see page 4) Talk to the experts 01737 214 257 47Abisko Sky Station a personal account"Last winter I was very excited to be able to visit Abisko National Park in the north of Sweden, 200km above the Arctic Circle. The highlight of the trip was a visit to the Aurora Sky Station, high up on Mt. Nuolja. The 20 minute chairlift ride took us up to the Sky Station just in time for a 3-course à la carte dinner. It was still a little early for the northern lights to appear, so we just sat back, enjoyed the delicious meal and the views over Lake Torneträsk and the twinkling lights of the villages beyond.After the meal we went outside to a sky full of stars and just a hint of fl ickering green lights. Half an hour later the tempting glimpse became the aurora in all its glory. Brighter now, dancing overhead, rapidly changing shape and direction - we just stood there in awe and enjoyed the show!Then almost as quickly as it began, the lights faded and we were left looking at the stars, speechless. After a while, some of us decided to take the chairlift back down to the Mountain Station where we were staying overnight - drinks in the bar and a crackling log fi re beckoned. On the way down those stars above gave us a full view of the amazing night time scenery. That on its own was stunning then all of a sudden the lights appeared for an encore - we would have happily stopped the chairlift to stay with the aurora a little longer. It was disappointing to come back down to 'Earth' although we felt hugely privileged, and the aurora continued to light our path all the way back to the Mountain Station. What a night!"Susan Watkins, Feb 2012 Aurora Sky Station ©

48 All our holidays are bound by our Terms & Conditions, which can be found on our websiteThe Great Nordic OdysseyThis is an epic journey through the heart of Sweden and Norway travelling by plane, scenic train, bus and the famous Hurtigruten coastal steamer. With an abundance of stunning sea and landscapes to soak up, historic towns and cities to explore and an Icehotel to marvel at, this is a very special trip indeed. And the northern lights could be a bonus! Fact File???? Independent voyage???? 12-nights (2 Stockholm, 2 Icehotel, 1 Narvik, 1 Harstad, 3 Hurtigruten, 2 Bergen, 1 Oslo)???? Breakfast basis half board on ship???? Who for? Those with a spirit for adventure!???? Price per person from £2,198 (based on two sharing, including flights)???? Departures January to MarchHighlights 2 nights at the Icehotel. 3 nights onboard a Hurtigruten coastal voyage. Train journey through Lapland. Train ride 'over the roof' of Norway. Two Scandinavian capitals. Spectacular Norwegian fjords.Trip DetailsOn this truly amazing holiday you'll appreciate the travelling and modes of transport as much as the places visited. Stylish Stockholm, a selection of historic Norwegian cities, stunningly beautiful scenery, the breathtaking Icehotel, time aboard a Hurtigruten coastal voyager and a scenic mountain railway make this a holiday to be remembered - sightings of the northern lights are simply the icing on the cake! Two nights in Stockholm give you a taste of this cosmopolitan city - charming, stylish and full of places to eat, drink, visit or shop. Then fly 200km above the Arctic Circle and spend NORWAY & SWEDEN© Nordic Photos/AWL-images.comBergen © Hurtigruten