In the Wake of Eric the Red

From Reykjavik to Kangerlussuaq OR From Kangerlussuaq to Reyjkavik
  • All Arctic Cruises
  • Iceland and Greenland
  • Wildlife and Nature
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Tour Description

Join in on a trip from Reykjavk to Kangerlussuaq on a ship that will take you down the same route the Norse explorers took a thousand years ago.

You will travel from Iceland to Greenland via the Denmark Strait and then on to the east coast of Greenland to the island of Skjoldungen. The majestic Prince Christians Sound separates East and West Greenland, which you will cross on our way south. You'll take a trip up the coast to the northernmost capital in the world, Greenland. Local folk dancing in Qeqertarsuaq and a cruise to the famous Eqi Glacier awaits you at Disko Bay. The World Heritage Site of the Ilulissat Icefjord and its magnificent icebergs can be admired in the setting sun from the Sermermiut Plain.

Finally, you've entered Kangerlussuaq, a lengthy fjord where you might see some of the muskoxen and reindeer that wander the tundra near the Greenland Icecap.

Viva's Best Bits...

Withness Eqip Sermia, this glacier is, without overstating, one of the most impressive in Greenland where you can experience a glacier calve up close,

Just as Eric the Red on his voyage from Iceland, we will experience the stark contrast
from the lofty and glaciated East Coast to the green, fertile West Greenland., including a visit to Ilulissat, nicknamed “Iceberg Capital of the World”

Visit the settlement of Sarfannui which translates into "the place of the little stream” and is located at the foothills of the mountains and home to around 100 people.

Tour Itinerary

Day 1
Reykjavik

In the afternoon, we board our vessel in Reykjavík and set our course westbound for Greenland.

Day 2
At Sea

Our lecturers onboard will make inspiring and enriching presentations about both Iceland’s and Greenland’s past history and about nature, wildlife and climatology.

Day 3
Skjoldungen

The island of Skjoldungen is without doubt one of most beautiful areas in East Greenland. Situated at 63° N, the island is surrounded by narrow, steep fjords and glaciers, and with plenty of the cool, crisp and clean air of the ever present and nearby ice sheet. Still, we will find and experience a lush landscape and a milder climate than most would expect. Acclaimed Norwegian explorer Fridjof Nansen came here in late summer 1888 in search of a suitable ascension point for the first inland ice crossing.

Skjoldungen is also the name of an abandoned settlement, located on the southwest side of the island. Up to 100 people lived here until 1965, and some houses remain. We continue our journey to Dronning Marie Dal in the area's northwestern corner to get a closer view of its interesting flora.

After Skjoldungen and Ilertakajik fjord, the Alpine peaks and mountainous landscape diminish and from here, we will find that over large stretches, the ice sheet reaches all the way to the shoreline, forming cohesive ice shelfs, a type of icy landscape that some travelers who have been to Antarctica will probably recognize.

Bernstorff Icefjord: The most productive glacier on the SE coast, but we keep a good distance to big icebergs in these ice-infested waters.

Day 4
Prince Christian Sound

Kap Farvel, or Cape Farewell, is renowned not only as Greenland's southernmost point, but also for its infamous, although mostly seasonal, gale-force winds.

We deliberately opt for a far more comfortable but at the same time more spectacular route, cruising via the inside passage through the Prince Christian Sound. This 60 km long waterway, from the Atlantic in the east, to the settlement Aapilattoq in the heart of the fjordlands of South West Greenland.

The sound has steep mountainsides, and many adventurous kayakers have had to turn around because of a very limited number of landing sites available. The old weather station of Prince Christian Sound, manned until a two years ago by sturdy meteorologists, is another classic point-of-interest along this itinerary.

Day 5
South Greenland

Early in the morning we sailed into Eriksfjord, which in Greenland is called Tunulliarfik. We throw anchor off Erik the Red's Brattahlíð settlement, where the Qassiarssuk village is today. Here we see, among other things, a reconstruction of Tjodhildur's church, which was the first church on the North American continent. There are also other ruins after the Norse people, which disappeared in the 1400s. Here one can really sense the path of history and wonder why the Norse people suddenly disappeared from Greenland.

It was from Brattahlíð that Erik and Tjodhildur's son Leif Eriksson, about 1000, went west and discovered Baffin Island, the Labrador coast and Newfoundland, before returning to South Greenland a few years later. Around lunch time we sail out of Eriksfjord close to Qooroq Isfjord.

Day 6
Nuuk

During the morning and day, we cruise north to reach Nuuk in the afternoon. As we enter the Nuuk Fjord we have fair chances of encountering the area's seasonal visitors: the humpback whales.

The world's smallest capital is in Greenland considered by many a mighty metropolis - a total of 17,000 people live here today, almost a third of the country’s population.

The area has been inhabited back to 2200 BC by pre-Inuit hunters. From year 1000 to 1350 AD, the Icelandic Vikings and farmers settled in South Greenland and in the Nuuk Fjord, while at the same time Inuit hunters of the Thule culture moved south from North Greenland. The Nordic settlers disappeared around 1350 AD, but the Inuit stayed, being far better equipped to hunt and survive in the tough Arctic nature.

Modern history of Greenland began in 1721, when the Norse missionary Hans Egede founded a permanent colony and trading station near Nuuk. In fact, Egede’s main purpose to return to Greenland was to convert the Catholic northerners to Lutherans, but soon after his arrival he realized the Norse had disappeared, a mystery yet unresolved.

In 1979, the Landsting (Parliament) was established in Nuuk, and the town was finally recognized as the country's capital.

Late in the night, we will leave the capital and continue our northbound journey.

Day 7
At Sea

Day 8
Disko Island & Eqip Sermia Glacier

Under Disko Island’s 1000-metre-high mountains we enter the protected natural habour that has the Danish name ‘Godhavn’ or Good Harbour and in Greenlandic ‘Qeqertarsuaq’ which means ‘The Big Island’.

Godhavn was until 1950 the most important town north of Nuuk, solely because of the large number of whales caught and landed here. This gave the town great wealth. Now it’s on the way to oblivion with declining job opportunities and connections to mainland.

The local community center hosts a traditional Greenlandic “kaffemik”, best described as a friendly gathering with coffee, cake and traditional dances and music.

Musicians from Greenland originally played on a drum (qilaat) made from an oval wooden frame covered with the bladder of a polar bear. Unlike other drums, the qilaat would be played by hitting the frame with a stick, and not the skin itself. This modest instrument was used for a variety of purposes, including entertainment, exorcism and witchcraft.

During the afternoon the ship heads east towards the giant glacier Eqip Sermia in the north-easterly corner of Disko Bay. This glacier is, without overstating, one of the most impressive in Greenland. Here you can experience a glacier calve up close, which is not possible in Ilulissat. Great crevasses, deep blue glacial streams, a landscape so unique and stunning that words are simply not sufficient. An outstanding opportunity to see, hear and smell this mighty ice world. In the evening, we will prepare for departure.

Day 9
Iulissat

Ilulissat is possibly the most well located town in Greenland. The name simply means ‘icebergs’ in Greenlandic and the town’s nickname is rightly ‘The Iceberg Capital of the World’.

The icebergs come from the Icefjord, which is located a half hour’s hike south of Ilulissat. These impressive frozen structures are born some 70km deeper into the fjord by the enormous Sermeq Kujalleq glacier. This 10km-wide glacier is the most productive glacier outside of Antarctica. Whereas most glaciers only calve at a rate of approximately a meter a day, the Ilulissat glacier calves at a rate of 25 meters per day. The icebergs produced by the glacier represent more than 10% of all icebergs in Greenland, corresponding to 20 million tons!

These facts, together with the fjord’s extreme beauty, have secured the Icefjord a place on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

During the more than 250 years that have passed since the establishment of Ilulissat, the town has steadily flourished. Today, Ilulissat is Greenland’s third largest town with more than 4,500 inhabitants. The town is very vibrant, welcoming and lively, with a wide range of cultural attractions, according to Greenlandic standards. The legendary polar explorer, Knud Rasmussen, and his good friend, Jørgen Brønlund, were both born in Ilulissat.

On this day, you will also have the opportunity to join a boat trip to the Icefjord. The journey takes about two and a half hours in total, and presents an opportunity to gain a closer look at the amazing ice-sculpted scenery. The trip is definitely something out of the ordinary and a great natural experience that you will remember for years to come - but be sure to remember warm clothes!

If a hike or a trip by boat does not present enough excitement, there is also an opportunity to arrange a flightseeing ride over the Icefjord (not included).

Please note the boat and flightseeing excursions to the Icefjord are not included in the general tour price. Furthermore, the flightseeing excursion must be booked in advance. Refer to Price Information for more details.

In the evening, we will cruise southward from “the Iceberg Capital”, leaving lovely Disko Bay in our wake.

Day 10
Sarfannguit

The settlement of Sarfannguit, which translates into "the place of the little stream” an appropriate name for a settlement nestled at the foothills of the mountains and glaciers in the distant backcountry. The settlement’s slightly more than 100 residents live off hunting, trapping and fishing, most often in pursuit of arctic char, reindeer and musk oxen.



Although Sarfannguit is quite remote, it lies within a few hours from Sisimiut, the second-largest town in Greenland. The accessibility to such a large town provides an indispensable economic benefit to a small community like Sarfannguit.

A stroll through the settlement offers insight into rural life in today’s Greenland, where modern conveniences and technological advancements, such as internet and smart phones have become commonplace, yet locals still place great value on important customs and preserving their traditions and their Inuit heritage.

We will continue our journey toward the fjord of Kangerlussuaq, also known as Sondre Stromfjord. Especially the first part of the fjord gives a great opportunity to enjoy an impressive passage with panoramic views of high mountains and deep valleys.

Day 11
Kangerlussuaq

During the night, we will have completed our passage through the 160-kilometer/100 mile Kangerlussuaq Fjord. After breakfast aboard the ship, we will bid farewell to the ship's staff and the Zodiac boats will shuttle us to shore.

Due to Kangerlussuaq’s military history and present-day role as an important air travel hub, Kangerlussuaq remains fairly isolated from Greenland’s rich cultural traditions in comparison to other regions. While you still find cultural experiences when visiting Kangerlussuaq, the most impressive attraction is the surrounding nature, which is just beckoning to be explored.

It is not difficult to see that Kangerlussuaq’s landscape has largely been shaped by the last glaciation period, often known simply as the “Ice Age,” some 18,000 years ago. The mountains are rounded and soft, and many meltwater lakes remain. From the inland ice sheet, best known as the Greenland Ice Sheet, the meltwater cuts its way through the porous moraine landscape and flows into Kangerlussuaq Fjord.

Kangerlussuaq’s present-day climate is largely impacted by its well-sheltered location between Greenland’s Ice Sheet, the fjord and mountains. This contributes to its stable conditions, minimal cloud presence and roughly 300 clear nights per year.

In Kangerlussuaq we offer an optional excursion to the beautiful Reindeer Glacier. The duration of the excursion is about four hours.

Please note the excursion is not included in the general tour price. Refer to Price Information for more details. We do not recommend this excursion for people who suffer from bad necks or backs, as the gravel road to the ice sheet is occasionally bumpy and uneven.

As our time in Greenland concludes, we will fly from Kangerlussuaq to Reykjavík Airport, Iceland, and your Arctic adventure will have concluded.

Day 1
Kangerlussuaq

In the afternoon we board our chartered flight in Reykjavík, Iceland or Copenhagen, Denmark, bound for Kangerlussuaq in Greenland (both flight options are available, please contact us for more information).


Upon arrival in Kangerlussuaq, we will be transported to the small port located west of the airport, where our ship, will be anchored. Zodiacs will transfer us the short distance to the ship, where you will be checked in to your stateroom. After the safety drill, you will enjoy a dinner as we ‘set sail’ through the 160-kilometer Kangerlussuaq fjord.

Day 2
Sisimiut

After breakfast, we arrive to the colorful town of Sisimiut, where we will get an idea of what modern Greenland looks like. With 5,400 inhabitants, it is considered Greenland’s second ‘city’. People have lived around Sisimiut on and off since 2,500 BC.
In 1756, Count Johan Ludvig Holstein, established a colony here and called it “Holsteinsborg”. The oldest part of Sisimiut’s historic quarter features town houses from this “Holsteinsborg” era, and the oldest house in town dates to 1756. One of the most culturally significant buildings is the Blue Church, built in 1775.

Day 3
Qeqertarsuaq

Our next sojourn lies on the southern tip of the Disko Island, where we will anchor in a protected natural harbour, which is named Godhavn (‘Good Harbour’) in Danish, while its Greenlandic name, Qeqertarsuaq, means ‘The Big Island’.
Although topographically quite different from mainland Greenland due to the basalt characteristics of the Disko Island’s mountains, Qeqertarsuaq maintains a long, rich history and once served as one of the country’s important economic centres. From the 16th century, the community was relatively prosperous and, in fact, considered the most important town north of Nuuk until the mid-1900s, due in part to the area’s sizeable whale hunting population.
During our visit, we will wander through town, paying a visit to the characteristic octagonal church, nicknamed “God’s Inkpot”, as well as to a local community center that will be hosting a traditional Greenlandic “kaffemik”, which can be best described as a friendly gathering with coffee, cake and traditional dances and music.
As the day draws to a closing, Ocean Atlantic will set a north-easterly course bound for a magnificent natural highlight – the enormous Eqip Sermia Glacier.
Situated approximately 50 nautical miles north of Ilulissat, the Eqip Sermia Glacier is renowned for its jaw-dropping beauty. Legendary arctic explorers selected this location as a base for their studies. One such explorer, the acclaimed Swiss glaciologist Alfred de Quervain, used the location as a base for his expeditions onto Greenland’s inland ice sheet over a century ago.
We will sail as close as possible to the ice’s edge – but at a safe distance to avoid plunging blocks of ice and violent waves that often result from the calving glacier.

Day 4
Ilulissat

Ilulissat is possibly the most well located town in Greenland. The name simply means ‘icebergs’ in Greenlandic, and the town’s nickname is rightly ‘the Iceberg Capital’.

In Disko Bay, which is located just off the coast of Ilulissat, gigantic icebergs linger in the freezing waters. These icebergs come from the Icefjord, which is located a half hour’s hike south of Ilulissat. These impressive frozen structures are born some 70km/43,5 miles deeper into the fjord by the enormous Sermeq Kujalleq glacier. This 10km/6 miles-wide glacier is the most productive glacier outside of Antarctica; Whereas most glaciers only calve at a rate of approximately a metre/three feet a day, the Ilulissat glacier calves at a rate of 25m/82 feet per day. The icebergs produced by the glacier represent more than 10% of all icebergs in Greenland, corresponding to 20 million tons/22 million us tons of ice per day!
These facts, together with the fjord’s unforgettable scenery, have secured the Ice fjord a place on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. During the more than 250 years that have passed since the establishment of Ilulissat, the town has steadily flourished. Today, Ilulissat is Greenland’s third largest town, with more than 4,500 inhabitants. The town is very vibrant, welcoming and lively with a wide range of cultural attractions, according to Greenlandic standards.

The legendary polar explorer, Knud Rasmussen, were born in Ilulissat.
On this day, you will also have the opportunity to join a boat trip to the Ice fjord (not included). The journey takes about two and a half hours in total, a great opportunity to take a closer look at the amazing ice-sculpted scenery.
The trip is definitely something out of the ordinary and a great natural experience that you will remember for years to come – but be sure to have warm clothing on!
If a hike or a trip by boat does not present enough excitement, there is also an opportunity to arrange a flight excursion over the Ice Fjord (not included).
In the evening, we will cruise southward from “the Iceberg Capital”, leaving lovely Disko Bay behind us as we part.

Day 5
At Sea

Listen to a lecture from our experienced expedition staff, see a film about Arctic nature – or go out on deck to catch glimpses of migrating birds and hopefully some whales.

Day 6
Nuuk

During the night, we have cruised north to reach Nuuk in the morning. As we enter the Nuuk Fjord we have fair chances of encountering the area's seasonal visitors: Humpback whales!

The world's smallest capital is in Greenland considered by many a mighty metropolis - a total of 17,000 people live here today, almost a third of the country’s population.
The area has been inhabited back to 2200 BC by pre-Inuit hunters. From year 1000 to 1350 AD, the Icelandic Vikings and farmers settled in South Greenland and in the Nuuk Fjord, while at the same time Inuit hunters of the Thule culture moved south from North Greenland. The Nordic settlers disappeared around 1350 AD, but the Inuit stayed, being far better equipped to hunt and survive in the tough Arctic nature.

Modern history of Greenland began in 1721, when the Norse missionary Hans Egede founded a permanent colony and trading station near Nuuk. In fact, Egede’s main purpose to return to Greenland was to convert the Catholic northerners to Lutherans, but soon after his arrival he realized the Norse had disappeared, a mystery yet unresolved.
In 1979, the Landsting (Parliament) was established in Nuuk, and the town was finally recognized as the country's capital.
In the afternoon, we will leave the capital and continue our southbound journey.

Day 7
South Greenland

Around lunch we sail into Eriksfjord, which in Greenland is called Tunulliarfik. We throw anchor off Erik the Red's Brattahlíð settlement, where the Qassiarssuk village is today. Here we see, among other things, a reconstruction of Tjodhildur's church, which was the first church on the North American continent. There are also other ruins after the Norse people, which disappeared in the 1400s. Here one can really sense the path of history and wonder why the Norse people suddenly disappeared from Greenland.

It was from Brattahlíð that Erik and Tjodhildur's son Leif Eriksson, about 1000, went west and discovered Baffin Island, the Labrador coast and Newfoundland, before returning to South Greenland a few years later. Around lunch time we sail out of Eriksfjord close to Qooroq Isfjord.

Day 8
Prins Christian Sund

Kap Farvel, or Cape Farewell, is renowned not only as Greenland's southernmost point, but also for its infamous, although mostly seasonal, gale-force winds.

We deliberately opt for a far more comfortable but at the same time more spectacular route, cruising via the inside passage through the Prince Christian Sound. This 60 km long waterway, from the settlement Aapilattoq in the heart of the fjordlands of South West Greenland to the Atlantic in the east.

Day 9
Skjoldungen

Todays journey begins with Dronning Marie Dal in the area's northwestern corner to get a closer view of its interesting flora.

The island of Skjoldungen is without doubt one of most beautiful areas in East Greenland. Situated at 63° N, the island is surrounded by narrow, steep fjords and glaciers, and with plenty of the cool, crisp and clean air of the ever present and nearby ice sheet. Still, we will find and experience a lush landscape and a milder climate than most would expect. Acclaimed Norwegian explorer Fridjof Nansen came here in late summer 1888 in search of a suitable ascension point for the first inland ice crossing.

Skjoldungen is also the name of an abandoned settlement, located on the southwest side of the island. Up to 100 people lived here until 1965, and some houses remain.

Day 10
At Sea - Denmark Strait

Our lecturers onboard will make inspiring and enriching presentations about both Iceland’s and Greenland’s history, nature, wildlife and climatology. A captain’s farewell drink and a slideshow of our voyage will also be presented this evening.

Day 11
Reyjkavik

As our time in Greenland concludes, we slowly approach the Icelandic capital, Reykjavík, and your Arctic adventure will have concluded.

What’s Included

Accommodation
  • Included Copy 20 Outside double stateroom with ensuite
  • Included Copy 31 Cabin upgrades available
Food
  • Included Copy 20 Full board on the ship.
  • Included Copy 20 Free coffee, tea and afternoon snacks on the ship.
Fees & Services
  • Included Copy 20 Flight Kangerlussuaq - Reykjavik.
  • Included Copy 20 Slow-cruising in Zodiacs in fjords.
  • Included Copy 20 Briefings and guided walks by tour leaders.
  • Included Copy 20 English-speaking guides.
  • Included Copy 20 Inspiring and enriching presentations onboard by qualified lecturers.
  • Included Copy 20 Town and settlement tours in Qassiarsuk, Nuuk, Qeqertarsuaq, Ilulissat & Sarfannguit.
  • Included Copy 20 Church visit and ‘kaffemik’ in Qeqertarsuaq.
  • Included Copy 20 Taxes and tariffs.
  • Included Copy 7 Travel insurance, International flights, tips, Personal expenses, jacket
  • Included Copy 31 Optional kayaking
Transportation

Ocean Albatros

175 Passengers

Activities

  • Included Optional activities such as kayaking in the Arctic
  • Included Explore the untouched land of greenland on zodiac cruises and landings.
  • Included Visit the capital of Greenland, Nuuk
  • Included Witness Eqip Sermia, the most impressive glacier of Greenland
  • Included Enjoy a kaffemik at the local community center
  • Included Discover Ilulissat, the 'Iceberg capital of the World'
Click here for dates & prices
Duration

11 days

Price from

$6,590 USD

Per person, sharing

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