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Icebreakers become Lapland's most popular tourist attractions

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By Euronews  with EBU
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The Goermitz is underway as an icebreaker on the northern Peene River between the mainland and the island of Usedom near Karlshagen, Germany, Friday, Feb. 12, 2021.
The Goermitz is underway as an icebreaker on the northern Peene River between the mainland and the island of Usedom near Karlshagen, Germany, Friday, Feb. 12, 2021.   -   Copyright  Jens Buettner / dpa-Zentralbild / AP

The powerful icebreakers have become one of the most popular tourist attractions in Lapland, as only these ships, with their ultra-reinforced hulls, can cut through the Baltic Sea, frozen by the polar cold for four months a year.

At daybreak, about 50 people can embark on a unique adventure that will take them into the icy water.

"You don't feel the sensations, you just hear the noise of the ice breaking. And it's thick ice," one of the tourists said.

"It's like a knife cutting through ice. A very hard hull. Here you have the helix control. We can adjust both our propellers. It's the angle of propulsion. The higher the angle the faster it will go," explained Frank Hammero, captain of the "Polar explorer".

The more hardy of tourists can even venture into the water for a swim, but with temperatures outside hitting as low as minus 20 degrees Celsius, they are definitely not advised to bring their own swimwear.

Survival suits, provided by the organisers of the cruise, can maintain one's body temperature for several hours.

"It's not cold at all," one woman participating in the trip said. She was echoed by another tourist who added he felt "like a whale".

The trip comes at a cost — around €255 per person for a three-hour cruise, but despite this, Lapland is quickly becoming the new winter holiday hot spot.