15 Nights Iceland, Jan Mayen & Greenland Expedition

15 Nights Iceland, Jan Mayen & Greenland Expedition

$14,850.00Price

It may be called Greenland but expect ice. Lots of it. Home to the largest – and least visited - National Park in the world, the country is absolute paradise for those who want their travel experiences raw and unfiltered. Begin first with Iceland (expect green – lots of it), and its melodic folk music before you cruise into the deafening silence of Greenland’s magnificent Scorseby Sound. We guarantee you’ll be left speechless.

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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 Vestmannaeyjar, Iceland

    The name Vestmannaeyjar refers to both a town and an archipelago off the south coast of Iceland. The largest Vestmannaeyjar island is called Heimaey. It is the only inhabited island in the group and is home to over 4000 people. The eruption of the Eldfell Volcano put Vestmannaeyjar into the international lime light in 1973. The volcano’s eruption destroyed many buildings and forced an evacuation of the residents to mainland Iceland. The lava flow was stopped in its tracks by the application of billions of liters of cold sea water. Since the eruption, life on the small island outpost has returned to the natural ebb and flow of a small coastal fishing community on the edge of the chilly and wild North Atlantic.

     

    Day 2 Sudureyri, Iceland

    Sudureyri is a typical small fishing village in Iceland’s Westfjords at the entrance of Sugandafjord. Unlike most other fishing villages that date back hundreds of years, Sudureyri was only started in the early 20th century and has some 270 inhabitants. As the Sugandafjord is surrounded by high mountains, the only way to safely reach Sudureyri used to be by boat. Since the village has been connected to the outside world by tunnel (opened only in 1996) it has been visited by those interested in angling and fishing for cod and halibut in the fjord and open water. Just east of the village is the Lagoon, an area that has been dammed off. Cod has been released into the lagoon and visitors are encouraged to feed the fish -this actually is considered the village’s main attraction. The cod can easily return to open waters via a pipe place under the dyke’s road, but many seem to like being fed.

     

    Day 2 Bolungarvik, Iceland

    Although the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve is further north across the Isarfjardardjup, Bolungarvik is Westfjords’ and Iceland’s northernmost town. Despite its relative isolation, Bolungarvik has been settled for hundreds of years and is already mentioned in the settlement period of Iceland. Located next to rich fishing grounds and the cove of the same name, Bolungarvik has always been a place for fishermen and one of the town’s attractions is a replica of an old fishing station. Just to the northwest is Bolafjall Mountain which blocks off the wind and swell from the Atlantic Ocean. The view from the top (at 638 meters above sea level) not only covers Bolungarvik and the surrounding valleys and mountains, but several fjords and the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve. Although only 950 residents call Bolungarvik their home, this is the Westfjords’ second largest town. There even is a nine hole golf course (par 71) with 18 sets of tees.

     

    Day 3 Siglufjordur, Iceland

    A tiny town in the scenic north of Iceland, cosseted away by a jagged wall of mountain peaks, Siglufjordur is an isolated gem. With just over a thousand residents, Siglufjordur takes its name from the glassy fjord that stretches out nearby. Iceland's northernmost town, only a single-lane road tunnel, bored through the snow-capped mountains, provides a land link with the rest of the country. This evocative remoteness appealed to dark Nordic Noir writers - and the town has found recent fame as the star of the TV show Trapped. A much warmer welcome awaits you in real life than in fiction - fortunately. Siglufjordur is a historic Atlantic capital of herring fishing, and you can learn of the industry that gave the town its raison d'etre, and powered Iceland's economy at the award-winning Herring Era Museum.

     

    The biggest maritime-themed museum in Iceland, it spreads across three buildings and covers every element of the town's relationship with its fishing waters - from expedition to preparation and preservation. While the industry has dried up since its heyday, wander to the harbour for views of the pretty town's cherry and lemon coloured former warehouses. Swirling seagulls look for offcuts, while fishermen sandpaper and varnish tiny vessels. Take a boat out around the scenic fjord, or embark on lengthy hikes out and above this romantically isolated outpost. The sounds of beautiful duo vocal harmonies and accordions are often heard echoing along the streets, and the Folk Music Museum is an enchanting look into quaint, rural Icelandic culture. The Folk Music Festival causes the town's population to swell dramatically, as visitors make for these picturesque shores to play and perform each year.

     

    Day 4 Husavik, Iceland

    There's simply nowhere better than Husavilk - the European capital of whale watching - for getting up close and personal with the majestic giants of the ocean. Feel the awe as whales breach the waves around you, before gulping in air and plunging away with almighty tale flicks. Pretty Husavik is framed by the majestic Húsavíkurfjall mountain, which swells up behind, creating a stunning backdrop for the town's tiny wooden warehouses, cherry red houses and undulating fishing ships. The little wooden church has been a beacon of light, guiding tired fishermen back to the shores of Iceland's oldest settlement, since 1907. Let the wind rip through your hair and the sea speckle your face, as you ride waves out among the region's almighty marine creatures, who throw their weight around so spectacularly. Sail among gentle giants in Shaky Bay, spotting humpbacks, minke whales and the world's biggest – blue whales.

     

    You may also see teams of smaller white-beaked dolphins skipping across the waves, displaying the full range of acrobatic skills. The town's whale museum is an interesting journey through Iceland's relationship with the sea giants, while its restaurants serve up local specialities – taste juicy reindeer burger and plokkfiskur, a buttery mash of local fish. Hikes and horseback rides into the surrounding countryside can take you up around Lake Botnsvatn, to views down from the slopes of the Húsavíkurfjall - where purple spired lupin flowers spill down amongst the emerald slopes. From the summit, look out over views of the bay, reaching out to the crumpled snowy peaks beyond. Or feel the full force of this land of natural power, at Dettifloss Waterfall, one of Europe's most powerful, thrashing flumes.

     

    Day 5 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 6 Jan Mayen Island, Norway

    Humpback and minke whales cavort and feed in the waters around the impressive volcanic island of Jan Mayen with its towering ebony peaks and broad black lava beaches. The primordial landscape is dominated to the north by the 7,500 feet high (2,300 meters) Mt Beerenberg, an active volcano covered in glacial ice that last erupted in 1985. With permission from the Norwegian authorities, a landing is possible at this rarely visited outpost. Visitors may walk to the research and weather station, or beyond, for birds-eye views of the meteorological station and the long black sandy eastern shore of the island. Birds to be seen here may include Atlantic Puffins, Northern Fulmars, and Snow Buntings.

     

    Day 7-9 Expedition Northeast Greenland, Greenland

    Remote, harsh, and breathtakingly beautiful, Northeast Greenland tales the breath way like nowhere else. Administratively, the area is split between Sermersooq and Avanaatta Municipalities and the vast Northeast Greenland National Park, the northernmost and largest national park in the world. So large is this protected wilderness that it is larger than all but the largest twenty nine countries on Earth, and only marine reserves are larger, in terms of protected areas. In the past, the area saw migration by waves of paleo-Eskimo cultures, all taking advantages of the rich hunting in the area, many migrating over the north of Greenland, and down the East Coast. Northeast Greenland is rich in archaeological sites as people followed the prey with the seasons.

     

    Today, the area has no permanent population, but hunters from Ittoqqortoomiit ('People who Live in Big Houses'), the only town in the area, often frequent the area by dogsled, hunting for musk oxen, polar bears, walrus and seals, all of which are common in the area. The non-native popultaion is scattered around a few remote scientific stations, and the legendary Sirius Patrol, an elite branch of the Danish military in charge of enforcing Danish Sovereignty and acting as a long-range reconnaissance unit, travelling by dogsled into the wilderness, often for weeks at a time.

     

    Day 10-13 Scoresby Sund

    Scoresby Sund is the largest and longest fjord system in the world, and exhibits all the natural wonders Greenland has to offer. This labyrinth of islands, fjords and ice boggles the mind at every turn. Named in honour of William Scoresby, the English explorer who mapped the area in 1822, Scoresby Sund today hosts only the small town of Ittoqqortoormiit, although it has been inhabited by many Paleo-Eskimo cultures in the past. The area is incredibly rich in Arctic wildlife, hosting musk oxen, arctic foxes and a wealth of marine life including whales, belugas, narwhals, walrus and seals, as well as several species of sea birds, including King Eiders, Atlantic Puffins and several species of geese which migrate to the area during the fleeting Arctic Summer. It is also one of the best places in the world to see polar bears in their natural habitat, an experience that can never be forgotten. But the scenery is the true highlight of Scoresby Sund.

     

    The area is very sheltered, and the waters of the fjords are often glassy and calm, save the vast icebergs which calve off the vast glaciers which drain from the Greenland Ice Sheet into the fjord. Staggering geological variation means no two mountain views are the same, some black, layers and covered with permanent ice, while some are jagged, pinnacled cliffs sweeping out to the fjord to eye-watering heights, crowned with ice that never melts.

     

    Day 14 Ittoqqortoormiit, Greenland

    In the 1920s the sparsely settled coast of East Greenland had too many families living in Ammassalik (today’s Tasiilaq) for the hunting grounds available and in 1925 Scoresbysund was chosen to start a new settlement with some 70 Inuit from Ammassalik and four families from West Greenland. Less than 10 kilometers from the entrance to the Scoresbysund system, Ittoqqortoormiit (“Big House Dwellers”) lies on the southern tip of Liverpool Land, a low and rounded area compared to the steeper mountains further south or into the fjord system. Some 460 inhabitants call Ittoqqortoormiit, one of Greenland’s most isolated settlements, their home. Not counting the military and civilian researchers at Daneborg, Northeast Greenland, their closest neighbors actually live in Iceland.

     

    Although Greenland’s hottest hot springs are located some 8 kilometers south of Ittoqqortoormiit, the village is frozen in some nine months of the year and access to other parts of the country can only be done via the Nerlerit Inaat Airport at Constable Point some 38 km to the north with flights to Iceland and West Greenland. The former village’s shop serves as a small museum and features historic photographs and costumes and shows what a typical hunter’s home from the 1960s looked like. Today hunting narwhals, seals, polar bears and muskoxen is still an important part of the life, but tourism is gaining importance.

     

    Day 15 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 16 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.

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