Cheap seats: Umea, Sweden and Montpellier, France
January 2, 2008
Next month — Feb. 8-10Umea, Sweden: 172.99 pounds round trip
Fly Flynordic and Sterling from London Gatwick to Umea.
Start your visit on the Umeleden trail, which can be hiked, biked or taken by car as it follows along the Ume River. Starting in the center of Umea, the trail passes many sights along the way.
For example, visit the Umea Energicentrum exhibit, where guests can play and experiment with electricity. Tourists also can visit the Klabbole Power Plant Museum, home of Umea’s first power plant.
Another site along the scenic trail is the Umedalen Sculpture Park gallery, located in a former hospital boiler room. The gallery has an interesting collection of contemporary sculpture as well as changing exhibits of contemporary art from multiple mediums.
Other stops along the trail worth seeing include the medieval Backen Church with a military cemetery and the Norrfors salmon ladder, where salmon are seen leaping up the small waterfalls or using the ladder to bypass the dam. Stop for souvenirs at the Glodheta glass works, where glass is blown and sold.
Holidaymakers interested in cross-country skiing should have no problem finding a track. Umea offers many trails, including an illuminated artificial-snow track and a short, mostly flat, track. For more of a challenge, try one of the longer tracks with more difficult terrain at nearby Vannasby.
Three months — April 11-13Montpellier, France: 71.78 pounds round trip
Fly Ryanair from London Stansted to Montpellier.
Holidaymakers with only a weekend to spend in Montpellier may want to start at the city’s tourist information center, where visitors can choose from many local guided tours that will highlight the city’s numerous attractions.
Several of the tours start with Saint-Pierre Cathedral, a former Benedictine chapel that boasts a canopy-covered porch supported by two cylindrical pillars. Inside are various works of art. Another sight is the medieval Mikve, a 13th-century ceremonial Jewish bathhouse that draws its water from an underground well.
Another attraction is the Montpellier Botanical Garden, founded in 1593 and France’s oldest. The garden boasts a school, multiple greenhouses, an arboretum with many aging trees and a lush park.
Art enthusiasts may want to visit the Musee Atger, located in an old Benedictine monastery that holds a fine collection of works from Flemish, Italian, Dutch, German and French artists. Another popular museum is the Musee Fabre, exhibiting more than 800 works, many of which came from a large collection granted to the museum by Napoleon. Other collections in the museum were given by local painter Francois Fabre.
Be sure to make time to visit Place de la Comedie, the city’s central pedestrian square, where visitors can enjoy a break at one of the many outside cafes and watch street artists at work.
Airfare prices include estimated taxes and are courtesy of the Web site www.skyscanner.net. Prices were verified as of Monday afternoon when Stripes UK went to press. Deals are not guaranteed to be available; restrictions may apply.