Discover the history of Greenland with explorations of the ruins of ancient Thule settlements and learn about the Inuit life in Ittoqqortoormiit.. Experience how this incredible environment is ever-changing while cruising through freshly birthed icebergs in Scoresbysund.. Cruise between the mountains of Skjoldungen to view glaciers deep within the fjords surrounding this island.. Visit the Ilulissat Ice fjord on a Zodiac, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with sights that cannot be fully appreciated without getting up close.
From abandoned Arctic ghost towns, to snow-capped mountains and colourful Arctic tundra, this expedition of Greenland is the perfect mix of culture and natural wonders. Experience the east, south and west coasts of Greenland – all with their own unique experiences and features. In the east you can view glaciers deep within the fjords, the south is steeped in Norse history and the west has icebergs and mountainous landscapes aplenty. Meet locals in small sheep-farming communities as well as exploring the quaint Old Town of Nuuk, the charming Greenlandic capital.
Breakfast Included: 14 Lunches Included: 11 Dinner Included: 12
Welcome to Iceland! Your Arctic voyage begins in Reykjavik Iceland’s artistic capital city. You can arrive in Reykjavik any time today and make your way to your included hotel. You will have the day to explore the city on your own so you may want to visit one of the many museums, cathedrals or galleries – or perhaps seek out one of Iceland’s famous hotdogs from a popular street stall.
Embarkation in Reykjavik
After a free morning to continue exploring the city, you’ll make your way to your ship in the afternoon to board your vessel and begin your expedition. After you board the ship and set sail you’ll be able to enjoy a range of activities on board – but don’t forget to keep an eye out for Arctic animals in this wildlife-filled water.
Today you’ll cruise across the Denmark Strait, and you’ll have the opportunity to learn about the wildlife and storied history of Greenland, from your Expedition Team. Hear about the fascinating geology, ecology and climate of the area and get a taste of the incredible sights you will soon explore. Staff will also keep watch for the seabirds you’ll likely see soaring above your ship, as well as the whales that can be encountered here.
Exploring East Greenland
Your exploration of Greenland begins with East Greenland, one of the least visited and most remote parts of the island. Your days sailing along the coast will be guided by weather and ice conditions, with each day and each excursion presenting new adventures. The region is a sight to behold, boasting a mesmerizing maze of vast glaciers, steep mountains and breathtaking fjords. One location we hope to visit if conditions allow is Skjoldungen, where you’ll cruise between the mountains to view glaciers deep within the fjords surrounding this island. The narrow part of the fjord provides an ideal place to put our Zodiacs in the water for a more in depth exploration.
If conditions allow, you may also visit the site of an abandoned Inuit settlement, whose inhabitants were relocated to larger, more accessible towns around 1961. Exploring ashore, you’ll experience a true Arctic ghost town, complete with abandoned buildings, furniture and even shoes. Take a hike across the rugged terrain for impressive views of snow-capped mountains, deep green waters and the surprisingly colourful Arctic tundra. If you’re feeling even more adventurous perhaps you’ll treat yourself to an optional paddling excursion (extra cost), an unforgettable opportunity to glide past icebergs and glaciers and capture some photographs from a unique perspective.
Another possible destination is Lindenow Fjord, a great spot for Zodiac cruising, if conditions are right. This rarely visited deep fjord is fed by a number of glaciers and offers ample opportunities for your camera to get a workout. You’ll also want to keep watch for bearded seals, as they’re known to haul out on the ice floes.
Exploring Southern Greenland
Sailing on, you’ll explore Greenland’s fertile southern coast. Nicknamed Arctic Patagonia, this region is as rich in spectacular scenery as it is in history and culture. Here, it’s easy to see why Erik the Red gave Greenland its name: everywhere you look rewards you with vistas of icy waters set against a backdrop of soaring mountains, crystal-clear waterfalls and unbelievably lush, green valleys. Scattered around the shores of the fjord systems that dominate the area are several small settlements, both ancient and present day, making South Greenland an ideal place to explore.
The magical Prins Christian Sund, a complex maze of narrow fjords and channels, is a great place for cruising. You’ll explore this stunning sound, home to calving glaciers, jagged mountains and sheer cliffs that plunge dramatically into the water. Sailing this coastline from the vantage point of your ship or a Zodiac is an exhilarating experience. If conditions allow, venturing ashore provides opportunities for all levels of hiking. Steeped in Norse history, the southern coast of Greenland provides plenty of places to learn about this ancient culture. One such landing you’ll hopefully have the chance to make is at Hvalsey, the site of Greenland’s largest and best-preserved Norse ruins. Exploring the remains of the circa 14th century church will feel like stepping back in time, as the building appears much as it did when it was abandoned in the 15th century and the surrounding fells and fjord remain similarly untouched. The little village of Igaliku, home to about 30 inhabitants, is Greenland’s oldest sheep-farming settlement. Together with four other historic farming communities, Igaliku is part of a newly established UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s a charming place to go ashore, as sheep peacefully graze on the grass, surrounded by bloom-covered rolling valleys and snow-capped mountains. The area is also known for its storied past, as evidenced by the remarkable red sandstone ruins of the Gardar cathedral (the largest church in Greenland in the Middle Ages) and bishop’s residence, which date back to the early 12th century, when Greenland’s first bishop was appointed. Wandering the foundations that were excavated in 1926, you’ll get to see a bit of history firsthand as you learn about this interesting relic of the Viking period.
Exploring Western Greenland
Boasting spectacular glaciers, mountainous landscapes, and vibrant communities, the west coast of Greenland will leave you awestruck. Heading north, each day we hope to take Zodiac excursions from the ship to explore local bays, channels and landing sites, discovering some of the quaint villages dotting the islands and fjords in the region and cruising in some of Greenland’s most picturesque places.
The west coast is home to Nuuk, the charming Greenlandic capital. You’ll have time to wander the streets of the historic Old Nuuk neighborhood and see the Hans Egede Church and Hans Egede statue near the waterfront, both named after the missionary who founded the settlement. History buffs will want to visit the national museum to view the famous Greenlandic mummies, found under a rock outcrop in 1972 by two brothers who were grouse hunting. Sisimiut is another interesting place to go ashore, as there are more dogsleds here than humans. You’ll have time to wander the town’s historic area, where several 18th-century colonial buildings still stand, including Greenland’s oldest surviving church. You’ll also be treated to a traditional kayaking demonstration. The kayak is Greenland’s national symbol and can be traced back over 4,000 years to the Inuit, who used the vessels for hunting and transportation.
Another beautiful locale, and one of west Greenland’s highlights is the Ilulissat Ice fjord, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Home to one of the world’s most active glaciers, Jakobshavn Glacier or Sermeq Kujalleq in Greenlandic, this is a great place to enjoy a Zodiac excursion to experience icebergs from a unique perspective not afforded by land. Venturing ashore at the nearby town, Ilulissat (which means iceberg), rewards with its own spectacle: young bergs floating out to Disko Bay. A hike from the town to the ice fjord will allow you to view this unforgettable river of ice from the rocky shore. Given that it’s known for having more sled dogs than people, it’s not surprising that Ilulissat is the birthplace of the first European to traverse the Northwest Passage by dogsled, explorer Knud Rasmussen.
Surrounded by sea and mountains, the fishing community of Itilleq (meaning crossing place) is situated in a scenic hollow on a small island, about 2km above the Arctic Circle. Explore traditional wooden houses painted in a rainbow of colours, chat with the locals and join a customary football match between visitors and residents, and you’ll be experiencing Itilleq’s famous friendly vibe in no time.
Disembark and fly to Reykjavik
Today you’ll say goodbye to your ship and Expedition Team before enjoying one more Zodiac ride to the shore of Kangerlussauq to board your charter flight back to Reykjavik, Iceland. Upon arrival in Reykjavik, you’ll be transferred to your included hotel, where you can rest for the remainder of the day. Otherwise, if you’re feeling energetic you can head back out to explore more of Reykjavik and perhaps enjoy a final dinner with your fellow travellers.
Today marks the end of your Arctic journey. If you have booked post-expedition accommodation, you’ll be provided with a transfer to a central downtown location, otherwise, you can make your way onward.