Virtually Visiting offers world first four-day virtual holiday to Arctic Sweden

Virtual travel company Virtually Visiting is offering the world’s first four-day virtual ‘holiday’ through Arctic Sweden, according to reports online.

Starting this Saturday, April 18, each day of the ‘trip’ will offer new experiences taking guests on a wintery tour of Swedish Lapland. The holiday is free of charge.

Virtual holidays and virtual travel has provided an alternative after most countries grounded passenger flights and imposed travel restrictions looking to mitigate the health risks due to COVID-19 outbreak. The Arctic Sweden tour provides guests an opportunity to join local expert guides on some of the regions iconic Arctic experiences as well as visit the world famous ICEHOTEL and Treehotel. To join the adventure, visit https://virtuallyvisiting.com/360-journeys/

Jonny Cooper, founder of Virtually Visiting, said: ‘We wanted to put you right in the action, allowing you to experience tours as though you were there. This is about keeping the travel experience real; we meet some of the best local guides who walk us through local life to give guests the real-life experience – from their own homes.’

On the first day, guests will arrive 144km north of the Arctic Circle to the famous ICEHOTEL in Kiruna. ICEHOTEL guide Matilda will give guests a personal tour around the hotel and into four of the intricately carved ice rooms.

On Sunday, April 19, guests will head 250km south to Lassbyn to meet local guide and founder of the Aurora Safari Camp, Fredrik Broman who will take guests on a snowmobile adventure through the Swedish wilderness. On Monday, April 20, guests will meet the founder of the luxury Treehotel, Kent Lindvall who will take visitors on a tour of seven tree-top hotel rooms. On the last day, Tuesday April 21, guests will join Erik Hordijk from Yellow Snow Husky Tours in Kroktask to learn about harnessing huskies for the journey across the frozen landscape and set off on a dog-sled adventure.

‘As well as our new virtual holiday, we’re also working hard in the background to add further capabilities allowing us to run live VR tours in the future, adding even more real time interaction with guides,’ Cooper added.

bmi commences new route from Bristol to Gothenburg

bmi has announced the launch of a new flight service from Bristol to Gothenburg, the airline’s first Swedish route from Bristol.

The service will operate twice weekly, with fares starting from £99 one way. The route flies out of Bristol on a Monday and Thursday, departing Bristol at 13.40, and arriving in Gothenburg at 16.50. The return flights depart Gothenburg on Tuesdays at 14.40 and arrive in Bristol at 16.00, and on Fridays departing Gothenburg at 11.40, arriving in Bristol at 13.00.

Gothenburg is a centre for global trade and is the location of Scandinavia’s largest port. It is also a popular mini break destination for culture and nightlife, as well as access to the coast of West Sweden. The new route brings the number of destinations served by bmi from Bristol Airport to nine, joining the existing network of Paris, Milan, Munich, Brussels, Frankfurt, Dusseldorf, Hamburg and Aberdeen.

Commenting on the launch, bmi’s Chief Commercial Officer, Jochen Schnadt said: ‘As part of our on-going strategy to connect key business regions, it was a natural choice to increase our service offering to and from Gothenburg, connecting Sweden’s second largest city to our largest UK base in Bristol. Given our experiences on the UK to Gothenburg market so far, we believe this new route will prove attractive to business as well as leisure customers alike, who enjoy bmi’s fast and convenient air-services.’

Nigel Scott, Business Development Director Bristol Airport said: ‘We are delighted with the launch of the new Gothenburg route operating twice weekly from Bristol Airport. This extends the choice of destinations available to passengers from the South West and Wales, whether travelling for business or leisure. The route also provides inbound visitors, using Bristol Airport, ease of access, whether it is for a city break, visiting the various tourist attractions and conference venues the region has to offer.’

In addition to the 23kg of hold baggage, the bmi ticket price includes complimentary in-flight drinks and snacks, 30-minute check-ins or online check-in and allocated window or aisle with leather seating on its all-jet fleet.

bmi launches new route from Bristol to Gothenburg

bmi has announced plans to launch a new route from Bristol to Gothenburg, starting January 22, 2018, according to a release by Bristol Airport.

Gothenburg is bmi’s first Swedish route from Bristol, and the airline will operate a twice weekly route between the two cities. The route will fly out of Bristol on Mondays and Thursdays, departing Bristol at 13.40, arriving Gothenburg at 16.50. The return flights will depart Gothenburg on Tuesdays at 14.40 and arrive in Bristol at 16.00, and on Fridays departing Gothenburg at 11.40, arriving Bristol at 13.00.

Flights are on sale now at flybmi.com. Fares on the route start from £99 one way. Besides the 23kg of hold baggage, the bmi ticket price includes complimentary in-flight drinks and snacks, and 30-minute check-in or online check in.

Commenting on the launch, bmi’s Chief Commercial Officer, Jochen Schnadt said: ‘As part of our ongoing strategy to connect key business regions, it was a natural choice to increase our service offering to/from Gothenburg by adding a further Gothenburg Route to our network connecting Sweden’s 2nd largest city to our largest UK Base in Bristol. Given our experiences on the Birmingham to Gothenburg market so far, we believe this new route will prove attractive to business as well as leisure customers alike enjoying bmi’s service of fast and convenient air-services.’

Nigel Scott, Business Development Director Bristol Airport added, ‘We are delighted with the announcement of the new Gothenburg route operating twice weekly from Bristol Airport. This extends the choice of destinations available to passengers from the South West and Wales, whether travelling for business or leisure. The route also provides inbound visitors using Bristol Airport, ease of access, whether it is for a city break, visiting the various tourist attractions and conference venues the region has to offer.’

With the new route, the number of destinations served by bmi from Bristol will increase to nine. The bmi network from Bristol includes Paris, Milan, Munich, Brussels, Frankfurt, Dusseldorf, Hamburg and Aberdeen. With onward connections at Munich, Brussels and Frankfurt, bmi also enables customers from the South West to travel further into Europe and other global destinations, the airline said.

bmi regional announces three new European routes from Birmingham Airport

bmi regional has announced three new destinations – Graz, Austria; Nuremburg, Germany; and Gothenburg, Sweden – from Birmingham starting early 2017 as the European regional airline plans to launch a new base at Birmingham Airport.

Featured in the list of UNESCO world heritage sites, Graz lies on the River Mur and will be bmi regional’s first destination in Austria. Besides being a cultural hotspot, Graz also presents key attractions for motorsports and golf enthusiasts.

bmi regional’s seventh destination in Germany, the Bavarian city of Nuremberg is the second largest city in the region after Munich. Nuremberg has vast arts and culture sites for tourists and features a host of museums dedicated to design, painting and modern art.

With its diverse culture and vibrant nightlife, Gothenburg is a popular mini break destination. Just two hours’ flying time from Birmingham, Gothenburg will be bmi regional’s fourth destination in Sweden.

The Graz flight will commence on February 27, 2017, initially with a twice weekly service on Mondays and Fridays, increasing to four times weekly in March. Fares will start from  £99.00 one way. The Nuremberg and Gothenburg routes will start on May 8, 2017, with six return flights per week. Fares start from £79.00 one way and £89.00 one way respectively.

Commenting on the new routes, Jochen Schnadt, Chief Commercial Officer from bmi regional, said: ‘bmi regional has always offered customers an array of up and coming destinations to explore and enjoy, and we anticipate all three routes to be popular. Given the many issues we are facing in different parts of Europe and the world these days, many people are looking for new experiences in more familiar regions and our new destinations have an abundance of interesting and exciting experiences to offer to customers. We’re also happy to once again be bringing the bmi regional level of quality, convenience, service and professionalism to travellers from the Midlands.’

William Pearson, Aviation Director of Birmingham Airport said: ‘It is great news that bmi regional will be offering flights to Nuremberg, Gothenburg and Graz this year. All three routes are currently un-served from Birmingham, so we thank bmi regional for filling these gaps and offering leisure travellers the chance to visit these vibrant city break destinations in Sweden, Austria and Germany with an airline that offers excellent service, efficiency and value.’

The fares include complimentary in-flight drinks and snacks, 23kg of hold luggage, allocated seating and 30 minute check-ins. Flights on all-routes are available for booking at www.flybmi.com.

easyJet announces new ski route to Sweden from London Gatwick

easyJet, the UK-based low-fares airline, has announced a new route from London Gatwick to Are Ostersund Airport, Sweden, particularly aimed at skiers and snowboarders.

The new route, which will commence on December 11, 2016, will be easyJet’s first service from the UK to Sweden. The winter only service will operate once per week on Sundays on an A320 aircraft. The airline is expecting to carry 4,800 passengers in its first Winter of operation, with fares starting from £30.49.

Neil Slaven, easyJet’s UK commercial Manager, said: ‘Are Ostersund, which is located in Sweden’s Jamtland province, is a great skiing destination and we are sure it will prove a popular service for both skiers and snowboarders looking to explore the region.

‘High profile sporting events such as the Alpine World Championships coupled with the ever increasing quality of ski resorts across Europe are helping to inspire first time skiers and contributing to the rise in popularity we are seeing amongst our customers for ski breaks.’

‘The Are Ostersund area is also famous for both its location to nearby nature as well as winter activities such as horse and dog sleds and snowmobile safaris which make it a fantastic family destination. We are sure that our travellers from Gatwick will find the range of winter activities on offer very appealing.

VisitSweden’s Ami Hovstadius, managing directorof VisitSweden UK, said: ‘We are very excited to be working with easyJet on this new direct route to Are Ostersund Airport and Sweden’s top alpine ski resorts. More people are travelling to Sweden from the UK than ever before with the Swedish lifestyle, Scandi food and Nordic Noir proving irresistible. Sweden’s mountain region of Jamtland Harjedalen boasts not only with the country’s best ski resorts, like Are and Vemdalen, but also has an abundance of winter outdoor activities and delicious food. We really look forward to welcoming the British holidaymaker to experience our winter lifestyle.’

Last year over 16 million passengers flew easyJet in and out of London Gatwick. easyJet started flying from the airport in 1999 and now has 60 aircraft based there, operating on 107 routes.

In addition to this new route, the airline operates to Lyon, Saltzburg, Turin, Innsbruck, Grenoble, and its largest gateway, Geneva in Switzerland to which it carries 190,000 passengers every week all through the season.

easyJet operates to ski destinations from 14 UK airports – Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Belfast, Newcastle, Leeds Bradford, Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Bristol, London Luton, London Gatwick, London Southend, and Bournemouth – including 10 daily flights between London Luton and Geneva, and a further 11 daily flights between London Gatwick and Geneva, its two largest UK airports operating ski flights.

bmi expands Scandinavian connections

bmi regional, the UK-based airline, is looking to expand its services in the Scandinavian market with the launch of scheduled services from Stavanger to Kristiansund and Gothenburg.

The new services will start from January 23, 2014 with Stavanger – Gothenburg operating a daily service Sunday to Friday, and Stavanger – Kristiansund operating daily Monday to Friday. The two routes are to complement bmi regional’s established services from Aberdeen to Oslo and Kristiansund and the new routes announced from Stavanger to Harstad-Narvik Airport (Evenes) and Tromso starting January 23, 2014.

Cathal O’Connell, chief executive of bmi regional, said: ‘The additional connectivity that we are providing out of Stavanger will further enhance our offering to the people, communities and businesses that we serve in Norway and Sweden. We anticipate that the new routes will attract both business and leisure traffic and support socio-economic development in the region.’

Airport Director, Stavanger, Leif Lorentzen, said: ‘Improved connectivity between Stavanger and Kristiansund has been on the regions wish list three years in a row – we know that the increased schedule will be welcome by the Stavanger and Kristiansund business community.

Ole Kristian Pettersen, Airport Director, Kristiansund Airport, said: ‘Increased connectivity for the oil and gas industries in Stavanger and Kristiansund has been on the agenda for several years. The introduction of bmi regional on this route will give both the business and leisure markets in both regions new and improved opportunities. We look forward to welcoming bmi regional with a second route from Kristiansund in less than 6 months.’

bmi regional has recently made other major route announcements in Norway, with Aberdeen to Kristiansund launched in August and Stavanger to Harstad-Narvik Airport (Evenes) and Tromso as well as Aberdeen to Oslo launched in October. The airline will commence a Newcastle – Brussels service in March next year.

bmi regional operates an 18-strong, all jet fleet serving 21 destinations in eight countries. It was named Silver Airline of the Year at the annual European Regions Airline Association (ERAA) awards in October.

Bmi Regional Announces Three New Routes to Europe

Bmi Regional, a UK based airline, has launched three new routes from Birmingham Airport in the UK to continental European destinations.

The airline has launched new routes between Birmingham and the three European cities of Gothenburg (Sweden), Lyon (France) and Toulouse (France). The services commence on May 13, 2013, with six flights per week for each route.

Cathal O’Connell, the airline’s chief executive officer, said, ‘The launch of these routes to Gothenburg, Lyon and Toulouse is a continuation of bmi regional’s promise to serve key economic and tourism hubs across Europe.

Launching our first services from Birmingham Airport is an indication of our commitment to UK regions and a significant investment to position the airline for growth.

These new routes are incremental to the four new routes rolled out since bmi regional established itself as an independent airline in 2012 (Bristol to Aberdeen, Hamburg, Frankfurt and Manchester to Antwerp).

bmi regional’s choice of destinations is based on business and leisure customer demand. Toulouse is a significant base for the aerospace business, Gothenburg and Lyon are home to major car manufacturing sites as well as high-tech industries. The three great European cities are great destinations for leisure customers as well, boasting Unesco Heritage Sites, amazing foods and great outdoor activities nearby.

With fares starting from £59 each way, we also expect to see a boost in both inbound visitors to the Birmingham and the Midlands.’

Welcoming the decision, William Pearson, the aviation development director at Birmingham Airport, said, ‘It is fantastic news that bmi regional has chosen to launch these routes as its first services from Birmingham.

These three new routes, operated on an Embraer, are currently un-served from the Airport, meaning passengers have even more choice from their airport to visit these fantastic destinations.’

Blizzard freezes travel plans in Sweden

A Baltic blizzard in Sweden has affected travel plans, with the cold spell also strengthening in several other parts of Europe.

Travellers have had to battle against wind and snow, and residents are having a difficult time coping with the conditions in Stockholm. The first week of meteorological winter brought continued cold and snow to many areas of central and northern Europe. In some places, conditions are said to be severe and lasting.

Sweden appears to be the worst affected, with the strong Baltic storms bringing up to 40cms of snow to the nation’s streets. Blizzards broke out in central and eastern parts of the country on Wednesday, and figures show that at least eight inches of snow fell in Stockholm. The end result was that the downfall seriously affected public transport in the Swedish capital and grounded most of the air traffic in and out of the country’s busiest airports. Power was also disrupted, and it is believed that about 6,000 people lost electricity in the Stockholm region as temperatures failed to climb above zero throughout the day.

Travel plans have been seriously affected, even those of high-ranking delegates and Nobel Prize laureates, who have been delayed because of the unexpected turn of events. The heavy snowfall prompted Sweden’s Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI) to issue a class 2 storm warning on Wednesday. The department said that it has recorded gusts of wind that reached between 35-40 mph in east-central Sweden.

The department said that the meteorological development that brings arctic air into central Europe would push daytime temperatures below freezing in Stockholm and southern Sweden throughout the weekend. The effect is also expected in France and Germany and parts of Eastern Europe.

Wrap yourself up for the Swedish weather

While Sweden is undoubtedly a very beautiful country that can boast many beautiful cities, it can also get very cold. Wrapping yourself up in some warm clothes is thus a necessity no one gets around.

Travelers to Sweden need this knowledge so as not to get distracted from the beautiful sights and locations by shivering and trying to constantly warm themselves up again. It would be very unfortunate to visit Stockholm, which is spread out across 14 islands, and Gothenburg, which is Sweden’s biggest port, and not to see anything of the stunning architecture. Not only the cities, but also the various World Heritage sites situated in Sweden, like the just recently added Decorated Farmhouses of Halsingland, would certainly lose their charm under such circumstances. To get around the slight chill why not wrap up in some knitwear so the sights keep their special attraction.

Fight against the chill

Wrapping yourself up is not the only thing one can do to make one’s trip to Sweden especially enjoyable. After touring the cities and seeing the amazing World Heritage sites it is a particular delight to get out of the cold air into one of the many excellent Swedish spas.

The Swedish spa traditions are grounded in a long history that has led them to develop into what they are today. Some spa resorts have been around for as long as 300 years. A special treat is the Loka Brunn, which is said to have healing powers and has become famous since a King proclaimed his blazing headache to be gone after taking a bath in the natural spring water.

Travelling to Sweden can be a beautiful experience especially during the winter months, when the snow turns the whole country into a winter wonderland. Just never forget to wrap yourself up tightly.

Travel back in time for a traditional Easter in Sweden

Easter week is celebrated at Skansen, Sweden in different ways. On Maundy Thursday children all over Sweden dress up as witches to deliver Easter letters and receive candy.

On Skansen they can make their own brooms and pretend they’re taking off for Blåkulla. In some of the houses the Easter feast is prepared and traditions explained and on the Bollnäs square there is an Easter market selling birch twigs with the traditional feather decorations, sweets and food.

During Easter, you can visit some of our houses and farmsteads to see what Easter was like a hundred years ago or more. In Skånegården, you can experience how Easter was celebrated in the 1920s and what a Passover dinner table could look like then. In Oktorpsgården, Easter is celebrated like in the 1870s but be careful – the gun is in place to shoot off trolls and gnomes!

In Väla School it is Maundy Thursday and teaching family has decorated their house, in 2012 the Easter celebrations starts with Maundy Thursday on the 5th of April, and ends on the 9th of April.

The tradition

Easter is a movable feast as it follows the path of the moon. It can come as early as March, which presents an opportunity for winter sports in the northern parts of Sweden, and it can be as late as the beginning of April, which makes it easier for all the flower growers who delivers the traditional yellow daffodils – the commonest Easter ornament in people´s homes.

Yellow is the colour for Easter, reflecting the part which eggs and chicks have come to play in this festival. At Eastertime, Christians of every denomination the world over consume millions and millions of eggs. At no other festival is there such a general agreement on what should be eaten. The original reason for this vas that six weeks of Lent prevented the faithful from eating the eggs which the poultry, and wild birsd, were beginning to lay in copious quantities at that time of year. By the time Easter came round, eggs were so plentiful that the menu was fairly obvious. As an additional festive touch for the Easter meal time, it has been the custom everywhere in Europe to paint eggs, an art which in Sweden is mainly practised in the south parts of the country.
In other ways too, food at Easter has a religious background. The salmon consumed on Good Friday reminds us that, long after the Reformation, the Swedes were still keeping this as a fast, and, accordingly, fish day.

Whereas the fish diet of Good Friday has an ancient history, the “paschal lamb” – roast leg of lamb for dinner on one of the days of Easter – is a novel custom. The idea comes from the Bible story of the Passover first celebrated by the Israelites in Egypt, and in the Mediterranean countries the paschal lamb is in many places a regular custom.
One ancient, grisly aspect of Easter celebrations has now been turned into a children´s amusement. Little girls, and sometimes boys too, wearing head scarves and long skirts, go from door to door with a coffee pot which they expect to get filled with small change or sweets. Known as Easter crones or Easter witches, they recvall the old superstition in Sweden that Easter was the time when the witches flew to the devil on the “Blue Mountain”, a belief which, even in the 18th century, could still mean capital punishment for those who were denounced.
Other relics of past belief in witchcraft are also unwittingly perpetuated by the Swedes. In the west of Sweden especiallly, firecrackers are let off on Easter night to scare avay evil forces lurking in the dark. At Skansen the farmer at the Oktorp farmstead has his rifle ready and loaded during Easter.
Source: Maypoles, Crayfish and Lucia by Jan-Öjvind Swahn, The Swedish Institute