Summary : Greenland beckons with its glittering icebergs and wildflower-bedecked tundra, while Iceland enchants with its mighty glaciers and geothermal hotspots—hike, sail by Zodiac, photograph, and commune with seabirds in these ethereal landscapes. Search for a variety of Arctic wildlife—puffins, seals, walrus, whales, Arctic foxes, musk oxen, and with luck, polar bears. Photograph dramatic landscapes, including chiseled fjords, glittering glaciers, sculpted icebergs, and lush tundra blazing with purple saxifrage and moss campion. Explore by Zodiac to discover thousands of breeding seabirds, including kittiwakes, murres, dovekies, and rare ivory gulls. Visit colorfully-painted villages and tiny fishing hamlets steeped in Viking history. Attend cultural performances and meet the hearty residents who share stories of survival in this harsh, yet ultimately beautiful land.
Activities : Birding, Culture, Hiking
Groups of 8 or more people save 10% per person off the cost of the expedition.
$12,980 to $24,480
Board your independent flight to Iceland.
Arrive in the Icelandic capital this morning and transfer to your hotel. Lunch and the remainder of the day are at leisure to enjoy this fascinating and colorful city. Gather this evening for a welcome reception followed by dinner and overnight at your hotel.
After breakfast, board your charter flight to Greenland. Board the Hebridean Sky in time for lunch. Enjoy an afternoon exploring the town, or take a hike for beautiful views over the fjord.
This morning visit Narsaq, built on a beautiful plain on the Narsaq Peninsula, and surrounded by waters rich with seals, salmon, Arctic char, and minke whales. Explore the small town with its brightly painted houses, museum, and local handicrafts market, and visit the remains of an old Norse settlement. Attend a performance by the local choir before lunch on board. In Brattahlid, visit the historic Norse site, named after Eric the Red’s wife who built the first Christian church in the New World.
This morning cruise along beautiful Arsuk Fjord, home to one of Greenland’s largest bird cliffs where thousands of kittiwakes, gulls, and guillemots breed. Zodiac excursions bring you close to the edges of the rugged cliffs, where in addition to the birds, you may also spot whales and seals. Ashore, nature hikes along the beach and to a nearby waterfall showcase the natural beauty of the area.
The 55-mile-long channel near the southern tip of Greenland offers breathtaking vistas as you cruise among a flotilla of ice. Volcanoes rise from the barren landscape, and icebergs, like tiny atolls, sit in pools of aquamarine waters. Steep, glacier-cut cliffs border the fjord with frozen waterfalls clinging to their edges like freeze-framed photographs. By Zodiac and aboard the ship, cruise the bays and finger-like offshoots of this truly spectacular display of geology and geography.
Today, cruise along the southeastern coast of Greenland. Now uninhabited, the region recalls its past civilization in skeletal sites of old Scandinavian and Inuit camps and settlements. Watch for seals, whales, and polar bears and, conditions permitting, go ashore in Napassorssuaq Fjord via Zodiac to explore this remote expanse of shoreline. Farther south, witness the portion of Greenland that fully lives up to its name. This is the most fertile part of the country; unlike the northern hunting and fishing villages, agriculture and farming are an important part of economic life.
This horse-shoe-shaped inlet offers breathtaking scenery and an abundance of wildlife. Humpback whales are often found feeding in the nutrient-rich waters and ringed and harp seals haul out on the rocky shores.
The small settlement of Ammassalik is part of the municipality of the same name which covers an area five times the size of Denmark. Ashore, enjoy a cultural performance and stroll through the town’s brightly-colored buildings to visit the excellent local museum. After this, there is free time to browse handicraft shops, or take a stroll around town. Those who wish may continue on a hike to Flower Valley, accompanied by naturalists who point out the varieties of local vegetation enjoying their brief seasonal bloom.
Cruise among enormous icebergs, calved by the numerous glaciers in this huge U-shaped fjord. Conditions permitting, hike along beaches scattered with glacial moraine and observe interesting geological formations, including the Skargaard Intrusion, where magma was forced through the earth’s crust.
Spectacular mountains surround Nansen Fjord, clad in tundra dotted with seasonal wildflowers. By Zodiac, cruise among glittering icebergs, sculpted by wind and sea into fantastical shapes, watching for harbor, harp, and hooded seals on the ice floes. Conditions permitting, take walks along pristine beaches and across tundra-carpeted landscapes, keeping an eye out for musk oxen, collared lemmings, and Arctic foxes.
Join naturalists on deck to search for seabirds and marine mammals. Lectures recap your time in Greenland and prepare you for the wonders you’ll witness in Iceland.
After breakfast take a walking tour of small, verdant Vigur, the summer home to vast numbers of puffins, black guillemots, Arctic terns, and eiders. The tiny community dates back to the late 1800s and boasts Iceland’s only windmill. During lunch on board, cruise northward to Ísafjördur, the trading and cultural center of the West Fjords. A cultural tour reveals the history and daily life of one of Iceland’s oldest fishing settlements and visits the region’s scenic highlights. This afternoon, enjoy free time in town to browse the local shops.
This morning sail past Iceland’s westernmost cape, the Látrabjarg cliff, a breeding ground for millions of seabirds including puffins, kittiwakes, northern fulmars, and thick-billed murres. By Zodiac, trace the coastline of Flatey Island before going ashore for a walking tour of the village. View the uniquely painted island church and the restored houses of islanders who earn a living fishing for cod and lumpfish.
After breakfast, disembark the Hebridean Sky and set out to explore Iceland’s classic scenic wonders known as the Golden Circle. Begin with Thingvellir National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site surrounded by mountains and encompassing a vast lava plain of green moss and wildflowers. Continue to Gullfoss Waterfall where the Hvita River drops 96 feet in two voluminous cascades. The Geysir Center is a huge geothermal field of both boiling and tranquil multi-hued hot springs and bubbling mud pools. After lunch, visit Fridheimar Farm, which produces tomatoes and cucumbers year-round in their impressive greenhouses and breeds Icelandic horses.
Transfer to the airport this afternoon for your independent homeward flight, arriving in the USA the same day.
Read this itinerary as a guide only; the exact route and program varies according to weather conditions and the wildlife you encounter. Flexibility is the key to the success of this expedition.
Optional Pre-Trip Extension:
Iceland: Take in the beautiful Goðafoss waterfall plus numerous others; visit the small village of Vik and take a stroll along the stunning black sand beach, backed by sheer cliffs and punctuated by dramatic columns of basalt; hike on the Breiðarmerkurjökull Glacier and through the Lake Mývatn region. From $8,480 per person. (9 Days) Contact ExpeditionTrips for details.
Accommodations and meals as per the itinerary, including soft drinks, beer, and wine with lunch and dinner; arrival and departure transfers on group dates; gear certificate; services of the expedition staff, including lectures; daily group activities and excursions as per the itinerary; landing and port fees; gratuities; limited emergency medical and evacuation coverage*. Subject to change without notice.
All air transportation; excess baggage charges; airport arrival and departure taxes; transfers for independent arrivals and departures; passport and/or visa fees; accident/baggage/ cancellation travel insurance; items of a personal nature such as laundry, bar charges and alcoholic beverages other than those listed as included, email/Internet/fax/telephone charges; fuel surcharge may apply.
*Emergency Medical & Evacuation Insurance:
Emergency medical coverage to a maximum benefit per paying passenger of $25,000 is included in the cost of this expedition, as well as evacuation coverage to a maximum benefit per paying passenger of $100,000. Insurance is underwritten by National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, PA. The policy will contain reductions, limitations, exclusions and termination provisions. All coverages may not be available in all states. Please note this coverage does not cover you against trip cancellation or for additional days of travel prior to and/or after the expedition trip dates. ExpeditionTrips strongly advises all clients to purchase travel insurance which includes trip cancellation and interruption coverage for the entire duration of your trip.