Summary : How heroic were the earlier transatlantic voyages by Columbus’ predecessors: the Viking explorers? Follow in the wake of these fearless explorers and colonists to discover the dramatic landscapes and rich traditions of Greenland and Iceland––in particular, Iceland’s untrammeled western coast––and visit Greenland's fascinating Viking sites and settlements, each set against edenic backdrops. The history of Greenland is the history of life under extreme arctic conditions: an ice cap currently covers about 80 percent of the island, largely restricting human activity to the coasts. And, the fact that there is a human history makes this polar region extra-fascinating from an expedition perspective. And then, of course, there is the extraordinary beauty of the landscape. Discover wild coasts, remote villages & intriguing Nordic history.
All departures are photo expeditions, see end of page for details.
Activities : Child-Friendly, Culture, Hiking, Kayaking, Photography, Dedicated Solo Cabins, Triple/Quad Cabins
New starting 2017: Most beverages and crew tips included
Free Chronicle: Receive a free video chronicle of your trip, compliments of ExpeditionTrips!
$15,390 to $28,480
Depart home and board flights for Reykjavik, Iceland.
Arrive in Reykjavik, the world’s northernmost capital, which lies only a fraction below the Arctic Circle and receives just four hours of sunlight in winter and 22 in summer. Have a guided overview of the Old Town, including Hallgrimskirkja Cathedral with its 210-foot tower, and shed some light on Nordic culture at the National Museum, with its Viking treasures and artifacts. Embark National Geographic Explorer. (L,D)
National Geographic Explorer navigates Iceland’s wild western frontier, sailing past the immense Latrabjarg cliffs, the westernmost point of Iceland and home to a huge population of razorbills. The cliffs are an area once famous for egg collecting; the men were tied to ropes and lowered like spiders down onto the ledges. Continue to Flatey Island, a trading post for many centuries, for walks around the charming little hamlet that grew here. (B,L,D)
Cross the Denmark Strait and arrive at the mouth of Scoresbysund (the planet’s largest fjord system) in the afternoon. This area is marked by mountains that rise straight out of the sea, glistening tidewater glaciers and is also a major area to capture the ice calving off from the east side of the Greenland ice cap and depending on ice conditions you’ll explore the area by hiking, Zodiac and will keep an eye out for whales and other marine life. (B,L,D)
Explore north over the next two days using your tools for exploration to the fullest, taking Zodiac or kayak forays among the icebergs, deploying the ROV and setting out on foot to hike. Your ace spotters will help search for polar bears. If ice conditions are unrelenting, explore a bit further south, where there are spectacular fjords that are generally ice-free at this time of year. (B,L,D)
National Geographic Explorer heads south to follow in the wake of Eric the Red and Brendan the Navigator. Watch for whales and bird life. (B,L,D)
The Greenland Ice Sheet is the second largest ice body in the world, after the Antarctic ice sheet, roughly 80% of the surface of Greenland. The high arctic-like climate is dominated by ice floes. Among the options for exploration are landings at Skoldungen fjord. (B,L,D)
Prins Christian Sund is a major fjord on the southern coast of Greenland. Surrounded by mountain pinnacles and glaciers, the decks are perfect for viewing this landscape. Anchor off Nanortalik, Greenland’s most southerly town. Go ashore to the picturesque little town by the water’s edge. (B,L,D)
Today you’ll explore a remarkable site on the Viking Trail. Qaqortukulooq was settled by one of Erik the Red’s cousins in 986 AD. A UNESCO World Heritage site, it is the most extensive Norse site in Greenland. The ship then continues to Qaqortoq. Inhabited since Norse times, the Scandinavian influence is still apparent in the colorful wooden buildings and town museum, displaying Greenlandic kayaks, hunting equipment, art, and crafts. (B,L,D)
Eriksfjord is the area that Erik the Red chose for his farm when he settled here in 982 AD. You’ll explore Brattahlid, site of the first Christian church in the western hemisphere, built by Erik’s wife, Tjodhilde. This region is also the starting point of the first voyages to North America by his son, Leif Eriksson, 500 years before Columbus. (B,L,D)
Nuuk is the world’s smallest capital city with 15,000 inhabitants. Visit the National Museum with its famous 15th-century Qilakitsoq mummies, found near Uummannaq, and the subject of a National Geographic cover story. (B,L,D)
Today is left open for exploration of this rugged coastline. We may take a Zodiac cruise, kayak, or hike across the tundra. Our Undersea Specialist may launch the Remotely Operated Vehicle to see the marine life inhabiting the fjord floor. (B,L,D)
Disembark in Kangerlussuaq and after a guided overview of the city, fly to Reykjavík via privately chartered aircraft. Overnight at either the Natura Hotel or the Hilton Nordica. The next day have a guided overview of Reykjanes Peninsula and transfer to Keflavik Airport for flights home. (Day 15: B,L,D; Day 16: B,L)
This itinerary is subject to change. ExpeditionTrips.com is not responsible for itinerary changes.
Travel with a National Geographic photographer and certified photo instructor—at your side and at your service to inspire and assist you. And, take advantage of talks, presentations, slideshows and “laptop gallery” sharing events. All skill and interest levels are welcome; the expert photographers and instructors can meet you wherever you are on your journey. All you need to participate is a camera— point-and-shoot, smartphone, DSLR, whatever—and a sense of adventure. And you’re sure to return home with amazing photos.
Optional Pre-Trip Extension:
Iceland's Wonders: Explore the geological wonders in the heart of the Icelandic wilderness: towering glaciers and gushing hot springs, boiling mud pools, lava fields and thundering waterfalls. From $2,950 per person. (3 Days)
Optional Pre-Trip or Post-Trip Extension:
Reykjavik’s Golden Circle & Blue Lagoon: Extend your stay in Reykjavik, the world's northernmost capital. Enjoy the surreal Blue Lagoon, and have a guided in-depth experience along the famed Golden Circle. From $920 per person. (1 Day)
One hotel night in Reykjavík; ship accommodations; meals indicated; shore excursions and sightseeing as per itinerary; use of kayaks; gratuities (except to ship's crew; starting in 2017 crew trips are included); taxes and service charges; and services of your expedition staff. Subject to change without notice.
Air transportation; extensions; passport and visa/immigration fees; travel insurance; items of a personal nature such as alcoholic beverages (included starting in 2017), email, laundry, etc.; gratuities to to ship’s crew at your discretion (included starting in 2017); fuel surcharge may apply.