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The world’s first virtual holiday is here – and it’s taking us to the Arctic for four days. Welcome to the future. Culture Trip shows you how to get involved.
Praise be for technology during the Covid-19-induced standstill the world finds itself in. The familiar faces of friends and family are but one tap away, and we can do our food shopping from the couch. We can also stay curious about the world around us and the experiences that are yet to come.
Pushing the possibilities of technology even further, visual travel experts Virtually Visiting are now inviting people to join a four-day holiday to the Arctic region of Swedish Lapland. And it’s completely free. As it’s high-quality, unedited, 360-degree, 5K footage, virtual-reality (VR) goggles are the best way to immerse yourself in the experience. If you don’t have VR goggles, then a computer or phone will work equally as well. Just try not to get distracted.
It all begins 144km (89mi) north of the Arctic Circle at Kiruna. Guests will arrive at the Icehotel – the first and largest property, complete with art exhibition, made from ice and snow. Before it closes its doors for the season – in other words, when it melts, as it does each year in April – a guide will talk you through the various designs of the carved-ice rooms and explain how it all comes together using the frozen water in the river beside the hotel. Once your tour is over, you’re free to roam around at your leisure.
On day 2, travel 250km (155mi) south to Lassbyn. Here you’ll meet a local guide behind the Aurora Safari Camp to join on a snowmobile adventure through the Swedish wilderness. You’ll visit two spectacular frozen lakes and learn all about the region’s fauna and flora as you wander through the forests. Using your imagination to smell the flowers is key to the experience.
On day 3, the pace is a bit more relaxed, with a personal tour of the world-famous Treehotel. Built among the towering pine trees of northern Sweden, this hotel is usually booked up well in advance, but on this occasion, you can jump the queue. The tour will teach you the history of this architecturally stunning build, before guiding you around four of the seven treetop rooms.
The trip wraps up with a bit of adventure. Head east 90km (56mi), to the wilderness around Krokträsk. Your vehicle? A team of huskies from Yellow Snow Husky Tours. You’ll be able to take away the knowledge of how to harness a team of huskies in preparing for the journey across the frozen landscape – if you should so need it.
The first trip starts on Saturday, 18 April and end on Tuesday, 21 April, with experiences lasting up to 23 minutes. However, there will be more. Visit www.virtuallyvisiting.com to stay up to date.