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Next Month — August 20-24Luleå, Sweden: 199.68 pounds round tripFly Norwegian from London Stansted to Luleå Kallax.

Remember your jacket when traveling to the lively university and port city of Luleå. As one of the northernmost towns in Sweden, it sits only 70 miles south of the Arctic Circle.

Start at the local tourist information office to pick up bus information, maps and to book any guided or independent wilderness treks you might want to take. Many of the treks offer chances to explore the forest around the Rane River where visitors are sure to encounter everything from roaring rapids and swampy grounds to elk and reindeer.

For those vacationers with skiing on the agenda, visit Mattsundbacken, which has three slopes between 1,150 and 1,640 feet long and a big jump for snowboarders. Beginners and families with children may want to head to the slope at Ormberg, where there is also a tobagganing slope, jogging trails and a fantastic view over Luleå.

Gammelstad, or Old Town, is a must for tourists to this gateway to the Lapland. This unique village with medieval church and more than 400 red-sided cottages was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The center of this attraction is the Neder Lulea Church, which is lavishly decorated and has an impressive altar screen worth seeing.

In the evenings Luleå’s nightlife offers many clubs and music locales for entertainment into the early morning hours. The gastronomically curious may want to try the local surstromming — fermented Baltic herring — for dinner.

Three months — Oct. 17-19Palermo, Italy: 98.74 pounds round tripFly Easyjet from Gatwick to Palermo.

With an overabundance of vehicles, a bit of a pollution problem, and many pickpockets, Palermo, on the Italian island of Sicily, may not be the easiest place to visit. But those who endure find much to appreciate.

Vacationers pressed for time should start at the Palace of the Normans. Visitors will first be directed to the Palatine Chapel, built in 1130 and adorned with mesmerizing Byzantine mosaics depicting the stories of the Bible. The Royal Apartments above can be explored on most days; however, on occasion they are closed to the public as the palace is still the seat of the regional government. Decorated with many spectacular candelabras, the Hall of Mirrors should not be missed.

The next stop on the itinerary ought to be the Catacombs of the Capuchins under the Capuchins Monastery. Visitors can wander through the catacombs among at least 8,000 mummified bodies, many dating from the 16th century. Visitors should keep in mind that although many of the corpses are still in remarkably preserved condition, others have seen the ravages of time.

Visit the Regional Archaeological Museum with artifacts from prehistoric times to the Roman era. The museum is spread out through several buildings with collections that include finds from the Phoenician, Punic, Greek and Roman periods.

Airfare prices include taxes and are courtesy of each airline’s Web site. Prices were verified as of Monday afternoon when Stripes UK went to press. Deals are not guaranteed to be available; restrictions may apply.


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