Summary : Discover Greenland’s grand, unspoilt scenery, then chart your course for the North Atlantic Coast, where you will explore Newfoundland and Labrador´s towering mountains, massive rock faces, deep forests and infinite supply of lakes and rivers. Starting in Greenland, you have a chance to discover this rugged, mountainous land with an enormous ice sheet at its center and welcoming people at its core. Visit lush settlements in the south and experience the culture and way of life first hand. Then you will cross the North Atlantic to explore the coastline of Newfoundland and Labrador in Canada. Visit a national park, several settlements and some intriguing cities. Immerse yourself in whaling history and great natural beauty in Red Bay, after seeing St. Anthony and remains from the 1000-year-old Viking settlement in L’Anse aux Meadows. Bonne Bay and Gros Morne National Park are two of the highlights of a Newfoundland trip. The landscape of deep valleys, steep cliffs, sandy beaches and the spectacular fjord system is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Moose, caribou, fox, black bears, ptarmigans and eagles are a common sight here. This ancient landscape is simply unforgettable. Then you will visit a slice of France! The island St. Pierre and Miquelon is only 25 km off the coast of Newfoundland, but is a part of the French Republic. Enjoy the typical French way of life with nice bistros, cafés, wine, cheese, baguettes, chocolates and pastries. Go back in time to experience what life was like in the bustling French fortified town of Louisbourg in 1744. The expedition concludes in the capital of Nova Scotia – Halifax.
Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Culture, Hiking, Kayaking
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This expedition starts with a flight from Copenhagen. Less than five hours later, you reach the settlement of Kangerlussuaq in Greenland. With the mouth of the fjord on the far western horizon and the ice cap knocking at the door, this small airstrip is the scenic main gateway to Greenland. On arrival your transfer to MS Fram will be waiting for you.
Since Maniitsoq is situated in an archipelago, intersected by small natural canals, the locals have dubbed the town the “Venice of Greenland”. Still, situated between the rugged peaks of the Eternity Fjord and huge glaciers, this is where all comparisons to Venice ends. The town name means “The uneven place” and refers to the many rocky knolls and small mountains shaping the structural layout of the town. Small roads and wooden stairs connect the colourful houses. The exhibitions at Maniitsoq Museum provide a good introduction to local culture and history. The town also has a supermarket, Brugseni, and a few smaller convenience stores. But it is the surrounding landscape that impresses the most, and the area is perfect for kayaking. In the ocean waters nearby, humpback whales are particularly playful and love to show off with aerial acrobatics and tail whips. Enjoy a day exploring this tiny town set in majestic nature.
Continuing south, enjoy the Greenlandic scenery as you head for Paamiut, an area where people have been living since around 1500 BC. The name Paamiut means “the people who live at the mouth”, a reference to its location at the mouth of the Kuannersooq Fjord. Strolling around in Paamiut is about appreciating the beauty in simple experiences, and meeting the friendly locals. Make sure you visit the church, one of the finest in Greenland, built in 1909 from wood in the Norwegian style. Stop along the colourful bridge in the town centre. Tour the old neighborhood to observe picturesque buildings. Paamiut is known for its soapstone artists and their extraordinary national costumes of sealskin and thousands of beads. You can still see examples of these art forms as you walk around in the settlement. The white-tailed eagle is plentiful in Paamiut, and the townspeople feel a strong connection with it. It is said that good luck will come to anyone who sets eyes on this king of the sky. Join the expedition team for a hike to the mountain peaks. On the way back to the ship, stop to pick the angelica that grows wild on the hillside.
Igaliku is one of the most beautiful villages in Greenland. This is the oldest sheep farming settlement on the island, and on arrival you will see tall mountains with peaks covered by snow during summer, lush valleys with flowers and, of course, sheep. Sandstone houses give a distinct flavour to the area, as does the stunning view to the Igaliku fjord. Experience the tranquillity and peace of this historic settlement. Christianity was introduced to Greenland at the turn of the last millennium, with the first bishop being appointed way back in 1124. The impressive episcopal residence Garðar was established shortly after that date in Igaliku. A cathedral was built, the biggest of all churches in Greenland in the Middle Ages. For many years, the bishop’s palace was a focal point for the Norsemen and visitors from Iceland and Norway. The ruins of the cathedral and the bishop's palace have been renovated during recent years and today make up an attractive relic of the Viking period. Igaliku's 27 inhabitants are very proud of their community and are eager to guide you through the village. In Hvalsey, you will find some of the best-preserved ruins from the Norse period; Hvalsey Church was probably built in the 14th century. Erik the Red’s relatives established the farmstead late in the 10th century. In 1408, a wedding at the site's church is the last documented event to occur during the Norse settlement of Greenland. Use your PolarCirkel boats to come ashore and explore the area for yourself.
In Qassiarsuk you will find green fields dotted with white sheep, lush vegetation and busy farmsteads; this forms a colorful contrast to the icescapes Expedition Day. Qassiarsuk is also where Viking Erik the Red built his Brattahlíð estate in 982 A.D. He was banished from Iceland and escaped to the land he called Greenland. Erik settled in Qassiarsuk because the area seemed to him the richest and best site in Greenland when he arrived. Join a guided walk through the settlement, where you will learn more about the history of the region. You can visit the reconstruction of Erik’s longhouse and the church that Erik’s wife Tjodhildur made him build. The walk will include a visit of the church used today. This is also a great area to try optional activities such as kayaking, hiking, or exploring the town on foot.
Leaving the coast of Greenland behind, you will head out for Expedition Day, and set course for Canada. Ahead lies roughly 1,300 nautical miles of open water across a stretch of the North Atlantic. Thousand before you have crossed these waters. In early times, the ships were small and ill-equipped and their destinations were unknown. Today, you can sit back and relax as modern navigational systems will guide you to your desired destination and inform you of potential obstacles en route.The day will be filled with lectures and you’ll have time to chat with fellow travelers, perhaps to share what you have seen and done so far. Take your time to be out on the open decks. Breathe in the salt air, feel the wind and look for birds, mammals and icebergs.
You will spend three days sailing along the coast of Labrador and exploring this area. Outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy hiking trails and countless miles of wilderness to explore, while others will appreciate learning more about the history, cultures and traditions at the numerous historic sites and places you will visit. Nain is one of the settlements you plan to see. This is a community with long traditions and a strong Inuit identity. It is the most northern and largest community in Nunatsiavut. Founded in 1771 by Moravian Missionaries, Nain was an important outpost for the missionary efforts of the Moravians. Beautiful artifacts and buildings built by Moravians remain in the community to this day. Nain is surrounded by ancient geology and ancient history. Another place you might visit is Rigolet. This picturesque town has a population of 300, and is the southernmost Inuit community in the world. There are no roads that lead out of this town, but it is accessible by ship all year around, and in wintertime by snowmobile. You will have a choice between several outings here: explore the beautiful waters in a speedboat, try fishing, riding or go whale watching. You might also visit Hopedale, founded as an Inuit settlement named Agvituk, meaning "place of the whales" and Hebron, a former Moravian mission that was the northernmost settlement in Labrador.
Located on the edge of the Labrador Sea, Battle Harbour is a nature lover’s paradise. The waters here are teeming with life and drama, ancient ice and icebergs carved by nature. On shore you will find beautiful historic buildings in the middle of the wild nature. Once, Battle Harbour was the bustling salt fish capital of Labrador. Today, the houses, stores, fishery buildings and churches have been restored and filled with historic original items. Soak up the atmosphere and fully experience the sounds of the ocean and the simple pleasures of times past. A great wilderness adventure destination, this area is where you can encounter whales, dolphins, seabirds, Arctic foxes, icebergs and spectacular island scenery on a hike or boat tour.
Continuing on your adventure, you will arrive in St. Anthony, a remote town set in a perfect natural harbor. The oceans here contain an astonishing number of icebergs and serve as feeding grounds for large numbers of whales. Seals, dolphins and porpoises are not uncommon sights either. Just outside the town border is a vast wilderness of pristine valleys and lake-dotted mountains, with maybe the highest density of moose and woodland caribou in the world. Other wildlife include the enormous black bear, coyote, wolf, snowshoe hare and Arctic hare. Come ashore to visit the town, and see the Fishing Point Municipal Park. The Grenfell museum depicts the life and times of Sir Wilfred Grenfell, a medical missionary who devoted his life's work to Northern Newfoundland and Labrador. For the best view of the area, hike up the Tea House Hill trail to the viewing platform or try the Whale Watching trail. For some Viking history, you can join the excursion to L’Anse aux Meadows. At the tip of Newfoundland’s Great Northern Peninsula, you find the first known evidence of European presence in America. This is where a Norse expedition sailed from Greenland and found a beautiful land with rugged cliffs and marshlands over a thousand years ago. They built a small camp, and in 1960 two Norwegian archeologists started the excavation and discovered the fascinating remains of this Viking encampment. In 1979 L'Anse aux Meadows became a UNESCO World Heritage Site. On the recreated camp you will find original artifacts from this internationally renowned archaeological find.
Red Bay embodies the essence of modern Labrador coastal living amid a tapestry of rich culture and history. From 1530, Red Bay was a center for Basque whaling operations. For more than 70 years, these whalers made the dangerous, month-long journey across the Atlantic to hunt whales and produce the oil that lit the lamps of Europe. At its peak, some 2500 whalers on 50 ships from France and Spain came to hunt right and bowhead whales for blubber. The discovery of galleons and chalupas used for this whale hunting made Red Bay one of the most exquisite underwater archaeological sites in America, and the Red Bay Basque Whaling Station is now on the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Today, you can wander around this former whaling town and immerse yourself in history. Tracey Hill Trail is a boardwalk consisting of 689 steps, descriptive panels, rest stops and 2 coin-operated telescopes, with a breathtaking view of Red Bay. Walk along the Bone Shore Trail that leads to where the whalers discarded whalebones. Take a hike along the beach and step into the interpretation centre to see an eight-meter chalupa, which whalers used on the ocean to harpoon their giant catch. To get a full appreciation of the size of these whales, compare the chalupa to the assembled collections of whalebones displayed. These showcase a time of prosperity and dangerous adventure, illustrating a long-ago way of life. Take a kayak trip to Saddle Island Trail where you can see the remnants of the ovens where whale blubber was rendered into oil and the graves of some 130 men who died here. And if you feel like going treasure hunting while you are here, local legend has it that the infamous pirate Captain Kidd hid a treasure in the Pond on the Hill.
Scenic Bonne Bay is among Newfoundland’s most beautiful bays – a deep mountainous fjord located on Newfoundland’s stunning west coast, that divides the Gros Morne National Park in two. Gros Morne is a combination of a protected area and small coastal communities with a rich culture and tradition of fishing and logging. From the deck, you can see the Tablelands Mountains - flat-topped rock outcroppings that are usually found deep in the earth’s mantle. Their geological uniqueness is the main reason the park has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It took Mother Nature millions of years to mold the mountains into what we can see today, and the sight is truly beautiful and awe-inspiring. Woody Point, in the south of the park, is a charming community of old houses and imported Lombardy poplars. Moose, caribou, fox, black bears, ptarmigans and eagles are all a common sight here. A visit to the higher regions of this ancient landscape will be unforgettable.
After leaving Bonne Bay, you will head out into the Gulf of St. Lawrence, a huge body of water at the mouth of the St. Lawrence River. It fringes the shores of half the provinces of Canada and is more of a semi-enclosed sea than simply a river mouth. This large, roughly triangular area is connected to the Atlantic by the Strait of Belle Isle at the northeast and Cabot Strait at the southeast corners. The average depth is barely 150 meters. The gulf has provided a historically important marine fishery for nomadic Indian tribes, who came seasonally to fish. French explorer Jaques Cartier arrived in 1534 on the first documented voyage to the gulf, but was likely preceded in the area by Basque fishermen. Cartier however, named the shores of the St. Lawrence River the “Country of Canadas”, after an indigenous word meaning “village” or “settlement”, and he wound up naming the world’s second largest country.
It is said that good habits are hard to break, and St Pierre and Miquelon must be the living proof of this. Even though Paris is some 4,000 km away, the people living here are fiercely proud of being French. This is North America's often forgotten French enclave, and is actually France's oldest overseas territory. Peugeots and Renaults line the streets. And just as in France, people leave the “boulangerie” with baguettes tucked under their arms, and the “patisserie” carrying white boxes tied up with string. Get a taste of this slice of la belle France at the Guillard Gourmandise bakery, where you can indulge in cream-plumped chocolate éclairs, macarons, piping-hot pastries and gateaux. And you pay with Euros, just as in France. Visit L’Arche Museum with exhibits about the islands' history, including Prohibition times. The showstopper is the guillotine – the only one to slice in North America. Islanders dropped the 'timbers of justice' just once, in 1889, on a murderer. The museum also offers bilingual architectural walking tours. Birdwatchers should also look forward to visiting the tiny island Grand Colombier, with its steep cliffs, rocky outcrops and the hilly grounds serving as an important bird island with more than 100,000 breeding pairs of Leach's storm petrels.
Sailing along the eastern shores of Nova Scotia, you head for the rather large island of Cape Breton. Then we reach Louisbourg, Canada, home to the historic jewel, the Fortress of Louisbourg, Canada National Historic Site. Here, you can experience what life was like in the bustling French fortified town of Louisbourg, Canada in 1744. You can also choose to spend the day combing a secluded beach or go scuba diving among shipwrecks. As you might expect, the rugged coastal setting offers up plenty of outdoor adventure, with brilliant hiking and biking trails. As one of the busiest crab and lobster fishing villages in the Maritimes, Louisbourg, Canada Wharf is the perfect place to watch the day’s catch coming in, and maybe also sample some fresh seafood.
It was Halifax, Nova Scotia’s natural harbor that first drew the British here in 1749. Today most major sites are located along it or in the Citadel-crowned hill overlooking this harbor. The 260-year-old provincial capital presents Nova Scotia’s strikingly modern face wrapped around a historic heart. As Halifax, Nova Scotia is both hip and historic it is well worth spending an extra day or two here after you disembark MS Fram.
The above itinerary is a guide only, as the exact program depends on weather and ice conditions and the wildlife you encounter. Flexibility is the key to the success of this expedition. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes.
Although travel insurance is not mandatory to participate in this voyage, ExpeditionTrips strongly recommends at least $200,000 Emergency Medical/Evacuation coverage for Arctic trips which includes coverage for cancellation, trip disruption, baggage and personal property. Other conditions may apply based on pre-existing conditions. ExpeditionTrips can assist U.S. residents with travel protection options.
Multilingual Departures: English/Norwegian/German (All Departures)
Depending on weather conditions, there may be an opportunity to sign up for deck camping during the voyage. Spend the night on deck and enjoy a magnificent view of the landscape and sky. Included: Sleeping bags, a welcome drink, and a fresh pastry and coffee in the morning. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details.
Depending on weather conditions, there may be an opportunity to sign up for fishing during the voyage. Set out on a 2.5-3 hour fishing trip to try your luck as a fisherman. You will be joined by an officer and members of the crew. When you return to the ship, you will be invited to meet the chef, prepare your catch, and have it served for dinner. Max. Capacity: 3 passengers. Included: waterproof clothing and a fishing rod. Fishing is not pre-bookable or guaranteed. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details.
Depending on weather and land conditions, there may be an opportunity to sign up for a glacier walk during the voyage. Experience close encounters with nature on a 1-2 hour glacier hike with an experienced guide. Included: crampons and rubber boots. Max. Capacity: 12-18 passengers. Glacier walking is not pre-bookable or guaranteed. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details.
Depending on weather and land conditions, there may be an opportunity to sign up for hiking during the voyage. Included: Water bottle, snack bar, and lunch pack (if hike is during lunch time). Physical fitness is essential. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details.
Depending on weather conditions, there may be an opportunity to sign up for kayaking during the voyage. The duration of each excursion is 2-4 hours. Due to popular demand, kayakers are chosen by a lottery system. Kayaking is not pre-bookable or guaranteed. Basic kayak experience required. Includes kayaking gear. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details.
Science Center: Included
'Hands-on' science program where guests can perform their own science experiments with the assistance of professional biologists and geologists. Featuring ten Leica DM500 biological microscopes and ten Leica EZ4 geological microscopes, groups of 2-3 guests per microscope will work with a trained biologist or geologist. Occasionally, scientists invite guests along to sample biomaterial for use in the science center. There is also a large screen connected to the scientist's microscope for viewing during every session.
Small Boat Cruising:
Depending on the weather conditions, there may be an opportunity to sign up for small boat ‘Polarcirkel’ cruising excursions during the voyage. The duration of each excursion is 1-2 hours. Included: Survival float suit, and a hot drink upon return. Small boat cruising is not pre-bookable or guaranteed. Max. Capacity: 21 passengers. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details.
Economy flight from Copenhagen to Kangerlussuaq; transfer from the airport to the ship in Kangerlussuaq; cabin accommodations and meals aboard the ship; landings and activities onboard and ashore; professional English-speaking expedition team that gives lectures and accompanies landings and activities; onboard 'hands-on' science center; complimentary tea and coffee; gear on loan (waterproof rubber boots); and a wind- and water-resistant jacket. Expedition Suites (M + MG) include a cabin kit with a bathrobe, slippers, and other beauty articles. Subject to change without notice.
International flights from the U.S.; travel protection plan; luggage handling; optional excursions and gratuities; fuel surcharge may apply.