Travel the Arctic and experience Spitsbergen, East Greenland and Iceland

Dramatic coastlines, glimmering fjords, wild creatures that take your breath away – the three Arctic islands of this 13-day trip are filled with sights that invigorate all the senses. The Arctic is a place of extremes, where stories of Viking conquests and ancient myths from northern cultures add a layer of enchantment and mystery to the stark, ice-covered land. Traverse from the glaciers of Spitsbergen to the rocky eastern coast of Greenland and the sheer wintery beauty of Iceland. Hike through wildflower-strewn landscapes, cruise crystal clear waters by zodiac or take a kayak out on an expedition to remote coves. There are plenty of chances along the way to spot bearded seals, walruses, whales and, of course, magnificent polar bears. Once you breathe in Arctic air and glimpse the pristine land at the top of the world, nothing feels quite the same.


Start
Longyearbyen, Svalbard and Jan Mayen
Finish
Reykjavik, Iceland
Country
Iceland
Style
Comfort
Theme
Polar, Sailing, Wildlife
Code
BQMJ
Physical rating
Ages
Min 8
Group size
Min 1, Max 117

Why we love this trip

  • Seek out unforgettable Polar Bears sightings while roaming the hunting grounds of this ruler of the Arctic

  • Discover the history of Greenland with explorations of the ruins of ancient Thule settlements and learn about the Inuit life in Ittoqqortoormiit

  • Experience how this incredible environment is ever-changing while cruising through freshly birthed icebergs in Scoresbysund

  • Kayaking on crisp, clear Arctic waters is a unique and intimate way of exploring this amazing region. Book early as these activities can sell out fast

Is this trip right for you?

  • As you’d expect, temperatures in the Arctic are very cold. A warm parka will be provided along with waterproof boots and unlimited hot drinks, but you should also bring base layers and lots of warm clothing. Please see the trip notes for further important information about what to bring.

  • Weather depending, you will be making regular excursions in a Zodiac boat to explore the local area and look for wildlife. It can get very cold and wet on the Zodiac, so make sure you are dressed appropriately and that you keep your camera safe and dry. Sturdy sea legs are needed as you make wet and dry landings from the boat, and on steep terrain, snow and other uneven surfaces. Some ships have a lot of stairs, so please hold on to the handrails if seas are rough.

  • The weather plays a pivotal part in this adventure and although there’s an itinerary in place, there are no guarantees that you’ll be able to do everything that is planned for. A level of flexibility and openness to embracing the unexpected are important in expedition travel, especially to such a remote area.

  • This trip takes places during the time of year that Spitsbergen enjoys 24-hour daylight. Just one of the benefits of this is that incredible wildlife can be seen at any time of the day – be prepared to be woken at any time so as to not miss out on exciting animal sightings.

  • Polar bears are one of the most incredible and appealing animals on the planet, but they are also powerful predators with little fear of humans. Therefore it’s necessary to be aware of the guidelines surrounding any contact with Polar bears. Follow your leader’s instructions and do not stray from your group – your leader carries equipment to protect you.

Itinerary

Your voyage will embark in Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen.
Accommodation
  • Cruise ship (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Activity
Meals Included
  • Dinner
Special Information
An arrival transfer is included if you arrive today. Please ensure you arrive prior to 3.00pm as embarkation will take place at 4.00pm.
Exploring Spitsbergen, the largest of the Norwegian-ruled Svalbard islands, rewards you with abundant wildlife and austere beauty. Here, you’ll visit spectacular glacier fronts and steep-walled fjords with walrus, polar bears and Spitsbergen reindeer among your possible wildlife sightings. Birders will be thrilled to see arctic terns, skuas, long-tailed ducks, kittiwakes and ivory gulls. When conditions are right, you could sail within 10 degrees of the North Pole!

POSSIBLE LANDING SITES IN SVALBARD

LILLIEHÖÖK GLACIER
In 1906, His Serene Highness Prince Albert I of
Monaco visited Lilliehöök Glacier to conduct scientific investigations. His great-great-grandson, HSH Albert II, visited the glacier a hundred years later as part of a scientific investigation, this time to further our understanding of the arctic clam, a species that lives for more than a century. The growth rings of a single clam’s shell contain evidence of the chemicals encountered by the clam. Scientists can determine the variations of the water’s temperature and pollutant content by studying the shell.
LONGYEARBYEN
Eighteen hundred people inhabit the administrative capital of Svalbard, which is situated on the shore of Isfjorden. The settlement was founded in 1905 by John Munroe Longyear, the majority owner of the Arctic Coal Company of Boston.
MONACO GLACIER
HSH Prince Albert I of Monaco, a pioneer of oceanography, led an expedition to Svalbard in 1906. His team used sophisticated photographic techniques to understand the shape and position of several glacier fronts. Monaco Glacier honors the expedition, the prince and the principality over which he reigned.
HORNSUND
The most southerly fjord in Svalbard offers some of the most spectacular scenery, with dramatic calving glaciers, drifting pack ice and majestic peaks (the highest of which are often shrouded in mist). A Polish research station has operated on the northern shore of Hornsund since 1957. Part of Sør-Spitsbergen National Park, this pristine area is rich in wildlife—reindeer, arctic fox and polar bears can often be spotted hunting for food, while ringed seals bask on the fast ice.The following Optional Activities are available to participate in, on some or all of the departures of this itinerary. These must be booked in advance (additional costs apply) and space is limited.
14TH OF JULY GLACIER
Named after France’s Bastille Day (the 14th of July), in honor of the arctic expeditions of His Serene Highness Prince Albert I of Monaco, this massive glacier is actually two smaller glaciers merged into one. Situated in Krossfjord, a bay on the northwest coast of Spitsbergen, the glacier is teeming with wildlife. Nesting atop the towering bird cliffs are purple sandpipers, common eiders, barnacle geese, arctic tern and Brünnich’s guillemots (thick-billed murres). Bearded and ringed seals also frequent the waters here.

KAYAKING – Our kayaking adventures are the best way to feel at one with the sea. Taken in small groups of maximum 16 people, multiple times per voyage, kayaking adventures are only conducted during calm weather conditions. Kayaking is open to all levels of experience, however kayaking in the polar waters is not suitable for novice kayakers. Beginners interested in kayaking should first take an introductory course prior to the voyage which includes how to do a wet exit. In addition regardless of your experience, we recommend you take part in some kayaking practise prior to the voyage to ensure that you are comfortable on the water in the icy conditions.

INCLUDED OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES offered on some or all departures of this itinerary

HIKING - Hiking is a great way to appreciate the immense windswept landscapes of the Arctic. The tundra comes alive during the brief arctic summer, with bursts of color from shrubs and plants that eke out a living in this polar environment. You’ll find each hike is different - exploring communities, shorelines or glaciated landscapes, often on the lookout for wildlife. Hiking participation is optional and your Expedition Team will advise you of what levels of activity you can expect prior to each excursion.
Accommodation
  • Cruise ship (4 nights)
Included Activities
  • Activity
Meals Included
  • Breakfast (4)
  • Lunch (4)
  • Dinner (4)
While sailing the historic Greenland Sea, you’ll learn about the wildlife and history of Greenland, your next stop. On deck you’ll learn to identify seabirds on the wing. Share photos, sip an icy cocktail in the bar or watch a movie; there are many things to do during your time at sea.
Accommodation
  • Cruise ship (2 nights)
Included Activities
  • Activity
Meals Included
  • Breakfast (2)
  • Lunch (2)
  • Dinner (2)
During your tour of Greenland’s remote eastern coast, you’ll enjoy Zodiac cruises and shore visits to several locations. Visit the remains of ancient Thule settlements, and keep an eye out for grazing muskoxen; 40% of the world’s population lives here. Finally, you will sail through spectacular Scoresby Sund, the birthplace of many icebergs and, some say, the most beautiful fjord system in the world.

POSSIBLE LANDINGS AND WILDLIFE SIGHTINGS - EAST GREENLAND
RØDEFJORD
The Red Fjord, or Rødefjord, is named for the colorful sandstone located on its western side. The stone has been “stained” red by hematite, creating an oddity in this part of Greenland.
SCORESBY SUND
Revered by many as the most beautiful fjord system in the world, Scoresby Sund is definitely the longest and largest. The sound was named after William Scoresby Jr., a whaler, scientist and man of the cloth, who was famed for mapping more than 400 miles (640 km) of Greenland’s coastline.
C. HOFMANN HALVØ
This is often the best location for getting close to muskoxen. The peninsula is also home to wheatears and snow buntings, and you may spot rock ptarmigans or great northern divers while at sea.
DENMARK ISLAND
Encounter some of the most stunning icebergs before hiking across Denmark Island, which offers stupendous views of Scoresby Sund and Fønfjord below.
Accommodation
  • Cruise ship (4 nights)
Included Activities
  • Activity
Meals Included
  • Breakfast (4)
  • Lunch (4)
  • Dinner (4)
At sea, the Denmark Strait is your pathway east, towards Iceland. Your onboard Expedition Team will keep you informed and entertained with presentations about the history of exploration in the Arctic and the seabirds that you’ll inevitably see soaring above your ship.
Accommodation
  • Cruise ship (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Activity
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
You’ll disembark in Akureyri, and transfer to your waiting charter flight to Reykjavik, Iceland’s capital, at the end of your journey. If you have booked post-expedition accommodation, we provide a transfer to a central downtown location.
Included Activities
  • Activity
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Your ship is scheduled to arrive back at the pier in Akureyri at between 7 amd 8am. After breakfast, you will disembark and transfer to the airport for your flight back to Reykjavik domestic airport. From there, you will be transferred to a central downtown location, from where you can make your way to the International Airport or to your Reykjavik accommodation if you are staying on in the city.
IMPORTANT - Onward flights should not be booked until after 2.00pm but an overnight in Reykjavik is recommended in case of any weather related flight delays.

Meals

12 breakfasts, 11 lunches, 12 dinners

Transport

Ship, zodiac

Accommodation

Cruise ship (12 nights)

Included Activities

  • Activity

Dates & availability

Trip search is unavailable.

Jump to a departure month

Important notes

BOOKING CONDITIONS
Arctic and Antarctic bookings have an increased deposit requirement of 20% of the full voyage cost (before any discount).  The balance is due 120 days before departure. 

If a booking is cancelled 120 days or more before departure - the cancellation fee is the full loss of the deposit paid.

If a booking is cancelled between 119 days and departure - the cancellation fee is 100% of the total price of the voyage.

Other fees may apply for air tickets and other arrangements booked in conjunction with a Polar voyage.

ADVENTURE OPTIONS
Kayaking is available to book on all Arctic voyages (except the North Pole). This must be booked prior to departure and incurs an additional cost. Spaces are limited so please enquire at time of booking. To participate in kayaking, previous, recent experience is essential. In addition, there are other included optional activities offered on some voyages such as snow shoeing and hiking. These activities do not need to be booked in advance and no additional cost applies.

Your voyage is operated by our sister company, Quark Expeditions. All accommodation and transfer arrangements as listed in the itinerary are also operated by Quark Expeditions or their local representatives.

Strict luggage limits apply. Please see Trip Notes (What to Take) for more information.

Essential Trip Information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.