Summary : Cruise along chiseled fjords packed with icebergs for up-close views of glittering glaciers. Search for marine mammals, including beluga whales in Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park. Attend a cultural performance at Taiilaq and meet with friendly locals to learn more about life in the High Arctic. Take a hike through Gros Morne National Park; this UNESCO World Heritage Site is a geological wonderland that offers the world’s best examples of plate tectonics. Discover the bizarrely eroded sea stacks, arches, and cliffs of the Mingan Archipelago, a haven for seabirds such as razorbills, guillemots, terns, and kittiwakes.
Activities : Birding, Culture, Hiking
Groups of 8 or more people save 10% per person off the cost of the expedition.
$999,999,999 to $0
Board your independent flight to Iceland.
Arrive in the Icelandic capital this morning and transfer to the Reykjavík Hilton Nordica. 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 the hotel.
After breakfast, 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, before embarking Le Champlain.
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.
Attend lectures on the natural and historical highlights ahead.
The small settlement of Tasiilaq 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.
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.
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; frozen waterfalls cling 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.
Spend your time at sea attending informative lectures, searching for wildlife from deck with naturalists, and enjoying the amenities of Le Champlain.
L’Anse aux Meadows is considered by some to be the long-sought-after Vinland depicted in the Norse sagas and settled by Leif Ericson in A.D. 1000. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978, it remains the only authenticated Viking settlement in North America and represents the earliest evidence of a European presence in the New World. Visit the living history Viking trading settlement of Norstead.
In Gros Morne take a hike to the Tablelands, a landform that resembles the surface of the moon. Much of Gros Morne’s fame comes from this huge extrusion of the earth’s mantle thrust violently to the surface over 450 million years ago. The park is also rich in wildlife—caribou, Arctic hare, fox, weasel, lynx, and an occasional black bear. Alert spotters may observe fin, minke, humpback, and pilot whales in the offshore waters.
Be on deck as the ship approaches Gaspe to view stunning Percé Rock, an imposing limestone sea stack with a large arch “piercing” the rock. On nearby Bonaventure Island, step ashore for nature walks to observe interesting geology and over 300 species of birds, including black-legged kittiwakes, common murres, and a large colony of northern gannets.
Havre St. Pierre is the gateway to the spectacular Mingan Archipelago, a chain of islands, islets, and monoliths of element-sculpted limestone. Whales and seals are often spotted frolicking among these bizarre formations, and seabirds nest along the sheer rock cliffs.
Enjoy the passing coastal scenery, spend time sorting through your photos, and attend lectures recapping your experiences.
The Fjord du Saguenay offers some of Canada’s most breathtaking scenery. As the ship cruises along this narrow waterway, you are surrounded by cliffs that tower from 500-1,000 feet. Keep an eye out for resident wildlife, including peregrine falcons, black bears, seals, and beluga whales.
Transfer to the airport for your independent flights homeward.
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. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes.
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. Other conditions may apply based on pre-existing conditions. ExpeditionTrips strongly recommends at least $200,000 Emergency Medical/Evacuation coverage which includes coverage for cancellation, trip disruption, baggage and personal property. ExpeditionTrips can assist U.S. residents with travel protection options.
Gratuities; accommodations as per the itinerary; onboard meals and group meals ashore, including soft drinks, beer, and wine with lunch and dinner; entrance fees, taxes, and landing and port charges; arrival and departure transfers on group dates; $80 gift certificate for recommended expedition gear and reading materials; 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; travel insurance; items of a personal nature such as laundry, bar charges, alcoholic beverages (other than listed above), email/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.
Photos: © Rich Pagen, © Jim Wilson, © Newfoundland Tourism Board