10 Nights Greenland Expedition from Reykjavik

10 Nights Greenland Expedition from Reykjavik


Greenland – that ultimate traveller’s destination – is a combination of natural beauty laid bare, zero commercialisation and opportunities for extreme wildlife watching on Greenland’s eastern shore. Follow the ice’s edge on this voyage that sees the world’s most sparsely populated country in all her glory! Expect a lot of Norse history, natural hot springs ripe for bathing, never setting sun, and smatterings of colourful painted cottages flanking the shores.

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Departure Date
  • Day 1 Reykjavik, Iceland

    The capital of Iceland’s land of ice, fire and natural wonder, Reykjavik is a city like no other - blossoming among some of the world’s most vibrant and violent scenery. Home to two-thirds of Iceland’s population, Reykjavik is the island’s only real city, and a welcoming and walkable place - full of bicycles gliding along boulevards or battling the wind when it rears up. Fresh licks of paint brighten the streets, and an artistic and creative atmosphere embraces studios and galleries - as well as the kitchens where an exciting culinary scene is burgeoning. Plot your adventures in the city's hip bars and cosy cafes, or waste no time in venturing out to Iceland’s outdoor adventures. Reykjavik’s buildings stand together in a low huddle - below the whip of winter’s winds - but the magnificent Hallgrímskirkja church is a solid exception, with its bell tower rising resolutely over the city.


    Iceland’s largest church's design echoes the lava flows that have shaped this remote land and boasts a clean and elegant interior. The Harpa Concert Hall’s sheer glass facade helps it to assimilate into the landscape, mirroring back the city and harbour. Its LED lights shimmer in honour of Iceland’s greatest illuminated performance – the northern lights. Walk in the crusts between continents, feel the spray from bursts of geysers and witness the enduring power of Iceland’s massive waterfalls. Whether you want to sizzle away in the earth-heated geothermal pools, or hike to your heart’s content, you can do it all from Reykjavik - the colourful capital of this astonishing outdoor country.


    Day 2 At Sea

    Days at sea are the perfect opportunity to relax, unwind and catch up with what you’ve been meaning to do. So whether that is going to the gym, visiting the spa, whale watching, catching up on your reading or simply topping up your tan, these blue sea days are the perfect balance to busy days spent exploring shore side.


    Day 3 Skjoldungen, Greenland

    Located on Greenland’s relatively rarely visited rugged east coast, Skoldungen Fjord has enchanting scenery with towering mountains tipped with snow, ice-scraped valley sides and sculptured icebergs in shades of white and blue. At the top of the fjord one can easily see the retreating state of the Thrym Glacier. The U-shaped fjord offers spectacular scenery and as an extra perk, it is not uncommon to see whales in the fjord.

    Day 4 Cruise Prince Christian Sound, Greenland

    The transit through the Sound is one of this voyage’s highlights. Connecting the Labrador Sea with the Irminger Seat, Prince Christian Sound or “Prins Christian Sund” in Danish is named after Prince (later King) Christian VII (1749-1808). 100 km (60 miles ), long and at times just 500 m (1500 ft) wide, this majestic and spectacular fiord throws you back into a Viking era – flanked by soaring snow-topped mountains, rock-strewn cliffs and rolling hills, it is as if time has stood still and one easily forgets that this is the 21st century. As you marvel at the sheer size of the mountains that surround you, with the Arctic waters lapping deceptively at the hull, revel in the silence enveloping you. Icebergs float serenely by, carrying with them the ages of time. Be sure to wear warm clothing as this is one spectacle that you do not want to miss.


    Day 4 Aappilattoq (Kujalleq), Greenland

    If you’re looking for remote and remarkable then you have found it. Cruise through Prince Christian Sound to the western end and you’ll find Aapilattoq, a (very) small Greenlandic village of just 100 inhabitants. The name of the village means “sea anemone” in the local Greenlandic language, and the fact that the village has retained its Inuit name is a good indication of what you can expect; traditional village life much as it has been for the past 100 years. Hunting and fishing are the main occupations here, and it is not unusual when taking a stroll through Aappilattoq, past the small school (where 22 pupils from ages 3-16 are enrolled) and church, to come across a polar bear skin drying in the wind behind a local dwelling. The village is hidden behind a prominent red rock and towering mountains, which make the village virtually inaccessible by land.


    Naturally, the Aapilattoq and its surrounding area are phenomenally rich in Arctic wildlife: Arctic fox and Arctic hare live in the countryside around the village while marine mammals include ringed seal, harbour seal, hooded seal, bearded seal, harp seal, humpback whale (typically in summer), minke whale, fin whale, narwhal, and beluga.


    Day 5 Nanortalik (Kujallek), Greenland

    There is a wonderful legend that the Vikings named Greenland Green and Iceland Ice in order to confuse potential attackers. Because it is quite the opposite; if Iceland is full of emerald forest, then expect ice in Greenland. Lots and lots of ice. Thus one shouldn’t be too surprised to learn that the name Nanortalik means “place of polar bears”. Although, as Nanortalik is Greenland’s most southerly town, don’t be too disappointed if you don’t see any. In truth, Greenland’s polar bears typically live much further north. What you will see however is Mother Nature at her finest. Vertical cliff walls, sheets of floating sea ice and a plethora of Arctic wildlife that amount to an adventurer’s wonderland. As Nanortalik itself is located on a small island in the southern tip of Greenland, nature is never far away, wherever you find yourself.


    The optimistically named city centre is surrounded by the pristine waters of Tasermiut Fjord and dotted with the colourful houses you would expect this far north. Traditionally, artisans’ houses were painted different colours to showcase what they did, i.e. commercial houses were red; hospitals were yellow; police stations were black; the telephone company was green and fish factories were blue. Today it is more a case of anything goes! Nanortalik locals are warm and welcoming, and are known to extent the art of Kaffe-Mik to its visitors. This old tradition is where a family invites guests into their home to drink coffee and taste their famous Greenlandic cake.


    Day 5 Uunartoq Island, Greenland

    In the local Kalaallisut language, Uunartoq means 'hot', and there is no mystery why. Several warm springs exist in Greenland, but Uunartoq Island is the only site where the waters form a pool warm enough to bathe in. Although not as well known as the famous springs of Iceland, nowhere can challenge Uunartoq for scenery. The picturesque series of steaming pools are backed by some of the best scenery Greenland has to offer. Icebergs larger than city blocks drift through the labyrinth of fjords which make up Southern Greenland, passing as they drift towards the ocean. Mountains pierce the clouds, and the tundra blooms in the long summer days; and there is no better way to appreciate the spectacular wilderness of South Greenland than from the perfectly warmed natural comfort of the Uunartoq hot spring. The ancient crystalline rock of Southern Greenland is nearly two billion years old.


    A fault in the rock allows water to sink down into the ground, where Earth's internal heat warms it, causing it to rise again. Uunartoq Island is the site where this water escapes, forming a sandy pool heated constantly from below. Basic changing facilities and a grass walkway to the stone-lined pool allow visitors comfort, while reconnecting with nature. It is believed that the Norse settlers in Greenland knew of and made use of the pool, but the island has never been inhabited, excluding a few summerhouses belonging to local residents.


    Day 6 Qaqortoq (Julianehaab), Greenland

    The largest town in southern Greenland, Qaqortoq has been inhabited since prehistoric times. Upon arrival in this charming southern Greenland enclave, it's easy to see why. Qaqortoq rises quite steeply over the fjord system around the city, offering breath-taking panoramic vistas of the surrounding mountains, deep, blue sea, Lake Tasersuag, icebergs in the bay, and pastoral backcountry. Although the earliest signs of ancient civilization in Qaqortoq date back 4,300 years, Qaqortoq is known to have been inhabited by Norse and Inuit settlers in the 10th and 12th centuries, and the present-day town was founded in 1774. In the years since, Qaqortoq has evolved into a seaport and trading hub for fish and shrimp processing, tanning, fur production, and ship maintenance and repair.


    Day 6 Hvalsey, Greenland

    18 kilometers northeast of Qaqortoq, Hvalsey is part of Qaqortukulooq, one of the five sites of the UNESCO World Heritage Arctic farming complex Kujataa. Between Eriksfjord to the north and Einarsfjord to the south, the Hvalseyfjord branches off from Einarsfjord. Although Hvalsey is better known for the well-preserved ruins of one of the sixteen churches in the Norse’s Eastern Settlement, the church was in a farmstead known as Thjodhild’s Stead. This farmstead at the northeastern end of the fjord included a large building with living quarters, a hall and livestock pens, as well as other livestock pens, a storage building and a warehouse –the ruins of which can still be seen. The Norse farming laid the foundation for the Inuit farming in later centuries, leading to the UNESCO World Heritage status in 2017.


    In the 14th century account “Descriptions of Greenland” the abundant fish, a reindeer farm on Reindeer Island and Hvalsey’s name “Whale Island” clearly indicate that the Norse had ample food sources at that time. The church was built in the Anglo-Norwegian style of the 13th century, but is known to have been built over an older graveyard. The farmstead is mentioned in the Icelandic “Book of Settlements” as property of the Kings of Norway, and the last documented event of the Norse in Greenland is a wedding which took place in the church in September 1408. After almost 600 years of abandonment, conservation work had to be done to prevent the seaward wall from collapsing.


    Day 7 Qassiarsuk (Brattahlid), Greenland

    Green fields, farms and sheep are not the first thing people usually think of as typically Greenlandic, but in Qassiarsuk, agriculture has been the way of life for over a thousand years. Qassiarsuk is one of several settlements in Southern Greenland which subsist by sheep farming since the 1960s, and the rolling meadows could easily evoke Scotland or Norway, if not for the icebergs drifting past. Qassiarsuk lies in the heart of Norse Greenland, home of one of the most famous Norsemen of all, Eric the Red, who founded the colony in Southern Greenland around 985. Eric was fiercely pagan, but his wife Thjodhild was a devout Christian. The Sagas say that she demanded her husband build her a church; Eric refused, but Thjodhild refused to share his bed until he relented, unwittingly constructing the first church in North America, on the condition that it be out of view of his hall.


    Today, Eric's house and Thjodhilds church are outlines in the turf of the modern town, but extensive archaeological investigations have shown a once thriving community centred around the church. Today, one can visit faithful reconstructions of Eric's hall and Thjodhild's church, and gain a stunning view over the fjord from the bronze statue of their son Leif Ericson (the first European to visit the North American Mainland), as well as enjoying the hospitality of the locals, who are proud of their idyllic town and its epic history. Several sites in Norse Greenland including Brattahlíð are now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


    Day 7 Itilleq (Qeqqata), Greenland

    Three kilometers off Yukon’s north coast, only Workboat Passage separates Herschel Island-Qikiqtaruk from Ivvavik National Park. The low-lying treeless island of 116 k2 was Yukon’s first territorial park. Herschel Island-Qikiqtaruk has been declared a National Historic Site of Canada in 1972, was classified as a Nature Preserve in 1987, designated a Natural Environment Park in 2002 and as an example of the technologies and techniques used for living and construction over the past several millennia. It is now also on the tentative UNESCO World Heritage Site list! Itilleq is an important area for Ice Age fossils.


    Normally snow-covered during winter, the island shows abundant and diverse wildlife, with many migratory birds, including the largest colony of Black Guillemots in the Western Arctic, caribou, muskox, polar bear, and brown bear on land and bowhead and beluga whales, ringed and bearded seals, and occasionally walrus in its surrounding waters. The Inuvialuit community has used the area for hundreds of years. When Franklin arrived in 1826 he saw three of their camps. Remains of their old dwellings are still visible near Simpson Point. This is where in the late 1800s, American whalers established a now abandoned station. At the height of the Beaufort Sea whale hunting period there were 1,500 residents. Several of the historic buildings by whalers, and later missionaries, traders and the RCMP are still standing – although some had to be moved further inland to escape the rising sea level.


    Day 8 At Sea

    Days at sea are the perfect opportunity to relax, unwind and catch up with what you’ve been meaning to do. So whether that is going to the gym, visiting the spa, whale watching, catching up on your reading or simply topping up your tan, these blue sea days are the perfect balance to busy days spent exploring shore side.


    Day 9 Nuuk (Godthub), Greenland

    In the bustling capital city of Greenland, you could be forgiven for forgetting you are in such a vast and isolated country. Nuuk is Greenland's economic and social hub, home to more than a third of Greenland's population, and although it feels like a world capital, scratch the surface, and a uniquely Greenlandic character can be found underneath. Nuuk Cathedral overlooks the gorgeous old Colonial Harbour district and the Greenland National Museum, resting place of the legendary Qilakitsoq mummies, the true highlight of the museum's archaeological collection. Above the Colonial Harbour sits downtown Nuuk, with lines of Scandistyle apartments, a bustling shopping district, the Greenlandic Parliament, Nuuk City Hall (which welcomes visitors to see its artwork) and even outdoor cafes selling locally produced food and beer.


    These nods to modernity compete for space with local artisan boutiques, the meat market selling the catch from Nuuk's vast fjord-lands, and the stunning Katuaq Cultural Centre, where blockbuster movies, as well as local and foreign performers entertain the people of Nuuk. Although Nuuk has long been a melting pot of Danish and Greenlandic ideas, this is a city where Greenland displays its sophistication, with the Country's only traffic lights, roundabouts and University. Most of all, expect to find a multitude of friendly people who are proud of who they are, and equally proud of the city they call home.


    Day 10 At Sea

    Days at sea are the perfect opportunity to relax, unwind and catch up with what you’ve been meaning to do. So whether that is going to the gym, visiting the spa, whale watching, catching up on your reading or simply topping up your tan, these blue sea days are the perfect balance to busy days spent exploring shore side.

    Day 11 Kangerlussuaq, Greenland

    Kangerlussuaq is a settlement in western Greenland in the Qeqqata municipality located at the head of the fjord of the same name (Danish: Søndre Strømfjord). It is Greenland's main air transport hub and the site of Greenland's largest commercial airport. The airport dates from American settlement during and after World War II, when the site was known as Bluie West-8 and Sondrestrom Air Base. The Kangerlussuaq area is also home to Greenland's most diverse terrestrial fauna, including muskoxen, caribou, and gyrfalcons. The settlement's economy and population of 512 is almost entirely reliant on the airport and tourist industry.

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