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 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, The Arctic
Finish
Reykjavik, Iceland
Countries
Greenland,
Iceland,
Norway
Themes
Polar, Sailing, Wildlife
Code
BQMT
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Ages
Min 8
Group size
Min 1 Max 83
Carbon offset
0kg pp per trip


Highlights

  • 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

Itinerary

Your voyage will embark in Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen.

A representative will meet all flights arriving into Longyearbyen starting from noon (12:00) on the day prior to embarkation. Travellers who arrive before noon on the day prior to embarkation will have to make their own airport transfer arrangements.

Ship embarkation will begin after 16:00 (4 PM) today.
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 bear and Spitsbergen reindeer among your possible wildlife sightings. Birders will be thrilled to see Arctic terns, skuas, long-tailed ducks, kittiwakes and glaucous and ivory gulls. As an added bonus, when conditions are right, you could sail within 10° of the North Pole!

POSSIBLE LANDING SITES IN SVALBARD

ALKEFJELLET
This cliff is a seabird center, where Brünnich’s guillemots (thick-billed murres) raise their young. An estimated
100,000 breeding pairs reside in the basalt cliffs. The birds do not build nests, rather they lay an egg on the bare ledge.

LILLIEHÖÖK GLACIER
In 1906, His Serene Highness Prince Albert I of Monaco
visited Lilliehöök Glacier to conduct scientific investigations. His great-great-grandson visited the glacier 100 years later. He, too, was 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.

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.

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

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 colour 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.
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.
During your tour of Greenland’s remote eastern coast, you’ll enjoy sea-level Zodiac cruises and shore visits to several locations. Visit the remains of ancient Thule settlements, and keep an eye out for grazing musk oxen, as 40% of the world’s population of this fascinating mammal lives here. Finally, you will sail through spectacular Scoresbysund, the birthplace of many icebergs, and - some say - the most beautiful fjord system in the world.

POSSIBLE LANDING SITES IN EAST GREENLAND

RØDEFJORDEN
The Red Fjord, or Rypefjord, 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.
SCORESBYSUND
Revered by many as the most beautiful fjord system in the world, Scoresbysund is definitely the longest and largest. The sound was named after William Scoresby, a whaler, scientist and man of the cloth, who was famed for mapping more than 400 miles (640 km) of Greenland coastline.
UUNARTOQ QEQERTAQ
Discovered in 2005, this small island is called a ‘warming island’ as it was uncovered as the result of climate change and the melting of ice.
CAPE HOFMANN HALVØ
This is often the best location for getting close to musk oxen. The Cape is also home to wheatears and snow buntings, while you may likewise spot rock ptarmigans or northern divers while at sea.
DENMARK ISLAND
Near Fohn Fjord, some of the most stunning icebergs are to be encountered before taking a hike across Denmark Island, which offers stupendous views of the Scoresbysund and FØn Fjord below.
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.
We disembark in Akureyri and transfer to our waiting charter flight to Reykjavik, Iceland’s capital. We provide a transfer to downtown Reykjavik.
View trip notes to read full itinerary

Inclusions

Meals
13 breakfasts, 12 lunches, 13 dinners
Transport
Ship, Zodiac
Accommodation
Cruise ship (13 nights)
Included activities
  • Activity

Dates

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Important notes

BOOKING CONDITIONS
Arctic and Antarctic bookings have an increased deposit requirement of A$2000pp ($6000pp on Icebreaker voyages. Different deposit amounts apply in other currencies). The balance is due 90 days before departure.
If a booking is cancelled 90 days or more before departure - the cancellation fee is the full loss of the deposit paid.
If a booking is cancelled between 89 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 on Icebreakers. Kayaking must be booked prior to departure and incurs an additional cost. Spaces are limited so please enquire at time of booking. Some previous, recent experience is essential. Snowshoeing and hiking is also offered on some itineraries. These activities are at no additional cost and do not need to be pre-booked. See the itinerary for Adventure options available on this voyage.

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.

Trip notes

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Your trip notes provide 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.

View trip notes