Fire and Ice

Exploration of the glaciers, fjords, and volcanoes of Greenland and Iceland
Overview

overview

Join this active trip to South Greenland and Iceland. This adventure takes you beyond the Arctic frontier to discover the Inuit people's home with their traditional lifestyle and ongoing adaptation to an icy and often harsh environment. This trip features a helicopter ride over Greenland's Inland Ice Cap, a very special ice crampon hike on one of the oldest ice fields on the planet, small ship boating among fjords, exploration of Iceland's active volcanoes, and interesting tundra hiking in beautiful valleys.  You will gain firsthand knowledge of the Inuits' home, the history of the first European settlers, and the many outstanding natural features of these unique and seldom-visited lands. Here, where roads are rare and nature is practically untouched, you will take spectacular treks through the tundra and in glacier valleys, see herds of caribou and marine fauna and visit geothermal hot springs. On starry nights, enjoy the awe-inspiring show of the northern lights. Nowhere is the impact of global warming more evident; your trip will include direct observation of the evidence.

The second part of the trip begins with a short three-hour flight to Iceland. With more than 30 active volcanoes and eruptions every four to five years, Iceland is truly the land of volcanoes. Visit some of Iceland's most famous eruption sites, including seeing the changes wrought by the eruption in Eyjafjallajokull in 2010. Explore smoldering lava fields, search out colorful geothermal hot springs, and enjoy the beautiful and dramatic scenery of the Icelandic wilderness.

itinerary

itinerary

  • Day 1: Reykjavik
    Explore colorful Reykjavik (photo by Bjorn Giesenbauer)

    Fly from USA to Reykjavik, where you will be met and transferred to your hotel to relax and get settled.  In the afternoon following lunch at the hotel, set off on a three-hour boat ride in search of whales and puffins.  Return to the harbor in the late afternoon, after which you can explore the city on your own before returning to your hotel for the night (taxi, additional cost).

    Meals
    Lunch
    Lodging
    Hotel Reykjavik Marina (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 2: Reykjavik / Narsarsuaq / Glacier Views
    Seek out Inuit monuments and Viking ruins

    In the morning after breakfast, attend a talk and photo show about Greenland, then enjoy some free time to explore the barbor area close to the hotel.  Afterward, have a light lunch, transfer to the airport, and fly to Narsarsuaq, Greenland, where you will be met and transferred to Hotel Narsarsuaq.  There will be time today to visit and walk around the area, or to take an optional trek to a fantastic glacier viewpoint, around an hour's hike from town. Overnight in Narsarsuaq.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch
    Lodging
    Hotel Narsarsuaq (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 3: Qassiarsuk / Tasiusaq / Iceberg Bay
    Kayak on spectacular Iceberg Bay near Qassiarsuk

    After breakfast, drive to the coast for a boat trip through Tunulliarfik Fjord, usually covered by icebergs, to Qassiarsuk. Led by your guide, visit the church ruins and the settlement of old Brattahlid, the capital of Viking Greenland, where Eric the Red settled in 985 at the start of the colonization of the island. Walk through the town of about 100 inhabitants, mostly farmers, and reflect on the history and challenges of its inhabitants. Stop for lunch at the Leif Eriksson Hostel, named after the great mariner and Eric's son, who made the first colonization trip from here to North America in the year 1000. In the afternoon, travel by 4x4 vehicle to Tasiusaq, where just a handful of people live in notable isolation next to Sermilik Fjord, which is almost always blocked by ice from the Eqaloruutsit glacier. Afterward, consider an optional kayak excursion in scenic "Iceberg Bay." Return to your hotel in nearby Narsarsuaq for the evening.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch
    Lodging
    Hotel Narsarsuaq (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 4: Hiking / Greenland Farm Stay
    Trek to spectacular viewpoints near your farm homestay

    Following a hearty breakfast, transfer to Innerulalik, a fantastic Greenland farm on an idyllic spot, surrounded by lakes and green hills, with impressive views of icebergs floating on the fjord. After settling in, consider an optional trek through the idyllic mountains and lakes around the farm. On the hike, enjoy the spectacular views of Ilissumatarfik, the highest mountain in the area at more than 5,600'. Loaded with huge bundles of firewood, Vikings used to climb to the summit of this mountain to light great fires that served as a beacon for ships sailing from Europe to Brattahlid, the capital of Greenland Viking world. Return to the farm for some warm relaxation in a quiet, but interesting and welcoming environment. Your welcoming host family will prepare a delicious Greenlandic-style dinner and share their stories and knowledge of the day-to-day lives of the people who live here year-round. Retire to your private room for a comfortable overnight stay.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch (picnic), Dinner
    Lodging
    Farmhouse stay (shared facilities)
    Show on a map
  • Day 5: Qoorooq Ice Fjord / Igaliko
    Espy Illerfissalik mountain from the tiny settlement of Igaliku (copyright, Serge Krautle)

    In the morning following another filling and warming breakfast, embark on a sea excursion to Qoorooq Fjord to see what probably is the most spectacular glacier in southern Greenland. Enjoy the wonderful sight of ice floating all around as the captain skillfully navigates through the ice. Next, the captain heads to Itilleq, where you will set off on an easy hike across the "Kongevejen," or Path of the Kings, to the idyllic little settlement of Igaliko, a small Inuit settlement of about 60 people, famous for being the most beautiful settlement in Greenland. While here, explore the ruins of Gardar, the archdiocese and religious capital of Viking Greenland. Retire to your hotel in Igaliko for a well-deserved night's rest.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch (picnic), Dinner
    Lodging
    Igaliko Country Hotel (private room, shared facilities)
    Show on a map
  • Day 6: Igaliko / Narsaq
    Meet and get to know Inuit people while here

    After breakfast, hike back to Itilleq and take a boat trip to Narsaq, the third most populated town in southern Greenland, with about 1,700 inhabitants. You will have free time to visit the local market, fur shops, hunters' harbor, the Greenland museum, walk around the area, or do some shopping. While here today (also your base for the next two nights), you have the option of a kayak excursion, a hiking trip to Kvanefjeld, or an escorted Viking Tour.

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    Hotel Narsaq (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 7: Qaleraliq Camp / Zodiac / Ice Excursion
    Led by an expert, hike on a glacier and marvel at its unusual beauty

    Following breakfast at the hotel, set off for Qaleraliq Camp, towards the Inland Ice, arriving at a cozy, enchanting day camp set on a sandy beach with spectacular views of two fronts of Qaleraliq's glacier. Today, experience the glacier from the water and on an ice hike, two ways to grasp its mass and beauty. First, from the camp, board a Zodiac boat for water views of the glacier's fronts, admiring the beauty of their vertical ice walls and numerous icebergs as we approach them along their descent of more than six miles to the sea. Next, set off on an impressive ice excursion using crampons (organized to be suitable for all travelers and skill levels) on one of the oldest masses of ice on the planet. Explore crevasses, drains, caves, seracs, and other ice formations that give an incredible, labyrinthine quality to this glacier. An expert mountain guide, a specialist in glacier science, will organize, escort, and lead our group to ensure we are provided with and know how to use appropriate equipment, to ensure everyone's safety, and to share his knowledge about the special characteristics of the glaciers in southern Greenland. This is a unique and special experience, exciting and original, and sure to surprise and delight both first-time travelers and those used to the peculiarities of the glacier world. This is one of the most impressive sights and one of the best excursions in all of Greenland, as well as one of the highlights of your trip.

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    Hotel Narsaq (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 8: Qaqortoq, Capital of South Greenland
    Marvel at the activity in this remote, yet charming capital

    Eat breakfast, check out, and transfer by boat to Qaqortoq, southern Greenland's capital, looking for whales while en route in the boat. Qaqortoq was founded in 1775 and now has more than 3,300 inhabitants who describe it as the most charming and attractive town in the country. Take a small excursion around town, where you'll discover the beauty of its colorful buildings, the awe-inspiring landscapes, and some of the 30 different rock sculptures spread around town. After our look around town, choose among optional excursions to Hvalsoy Church and Upernaviarsuk Agricultural Center, or Uunartoq Thermal Springs, or perhaps a fishing trip. The evening is yours free to explore the museum, fur shops, traditional kayak club, church, the only fountain in the country, and to have dinner in one of Qaqortoq's restaurants or enjoy a drink with the local people. Retire to your hotel in town for your last night in this marvelous land.

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    Hotel Qaqortoq (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 9: Helicopter Tour / Narsarsuaq / Rekyjavik
    Leave Greenland with many vivid memories

    After breakfast and checkout, experience another of your trip's highlights, an impressive and unforgettable helicopter trip over the fjord system of southern Greenland. On the flight, you'll see everywhere you've traveled over the last week while taking in the fascinating composition of the fjords and fantastic views of the Inland Ice. After your helicopter trip, fly from Narsarsuaq to Reykjavik for a few days in Iceland to explore its frozen and fiery wonders. Your three-hour flight from Greenland arrives at Reykjavik's airport, where you will be met and transferred to the city to check in and get settled at your hotel.

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    Hotel Reykjavik Marina (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 10: Eyjafjallajokull Volcano / Thorsmork
    Explore volcanic slopes

    In the morning we leave for the area around Eyjafjallajokull, the volcano that erupted in the spring of 2010. We will first head to the north side of the volcano into an area called Thorsmork, a visually stunning valley full of weird rock formations, serpentine gorges, mountains, and streams -- and where the effects of the eruption are clearly visible. Here we will take an easy hike to the large "run-off" Gigjokull glacier, where torrents of glacial melt water transformed the landscape during the most recent eruption. We'll then proceed to the southern slopes of the volcano, where you'll take in some of Iceland's most dramatic scenery -- on one side, tall mountains with a succession of waterfalls cascading from the glaciers above, while on the other side, views of the North Atlantic coastline with its black sand beaches and dramatic headlands teeming with birdlife.

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    Hotel Hvolsvollur (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 11: Hekla Volcano and Landmannalaugar
    Search for Icelandic horses while trekking lava fields

    Today, we start by exploring the lava fields around Iceland's most famous and active volcano, Hekla, known throughout Europe in the Middle Ages as the "Mouth of Hell." Hekla has erupted 20 times since the country was settled and most recently in the year 2000. From here, we head into the highland area of Landmannalaugar, which features the largest geothermal field in Iceland. Its sculptural peaks are made of rhyolite, creating amazing colors in the surrounding mountains. Take an easy two-hour hike across a lava field to the rainbow-streaked Brennisteinsalda (Sulphur Wave) mountain, considered Iceland's most colorful peak. Afterwards, you may choose to take a dip in the natural hot pools nearby.

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    Hotel Fludir (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 12: Golden Circle
    Explore while keeping an eye out for geyser eruptions

    Today we visit the highlights of the popular Golden Circle route, known for its geysers, waterfalls, black sand beaches, brooding volcanoes, and distant ice caps. Start with a short drive to Gullfoss, or Gold Falls, Iceland's most famous waterfall, often topped with rainbows if the sun is out. Our next stop is at Geysir with its bubbling springs and shooting geysers (and origin of the term "geyser"). After lunch, drive to Thingvellir National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where we'll go for a short hike. Surrounded by numerous volcanoes, Thingvellir is situated in the dramatic rift valley where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates are slowing pulling away from each other. Return to Reykjavik in the late afternoon.

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    Hotel Reykjavik Marina (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 13: Blue Lagoon and Departure
    Leave these amazing lands with vivid memories

    After breakfast, in the late morning, you will be met and transferred to the famous Blue Lagoon Spa. Enjoy a relaxing swim in the warm aqua-blue water, renowned for its healing powers. Afterward, you will be driven to nearby Keflavik International Airport for your afternoon flight back to the USA.

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Show on a map
Price and Date Details

Price and Date Details

Or Privately on Request
Land Cost:
$6,795
Flight costs, additional $720
Single Supplement:
$825
The single supplement is applicable if a roommate is not available or if single accommodation is specifically requested. While single accommodation is not available on all trips, we will try and honor this request whenever possible.
Need to Know

Need to Know

Duration:
13 days
The number of days, or duration, in a destination corresponds with the itinerary as published. This is the time period covered by the land cost. The total number of days includes the time required to travel between the USA and the destination country.
Comfort Level:
2
Simple but comfortable rustic hotels and farm accommodations
Group Size:
4-12
The stated range indicates minimum required for guaranteed departure and maximum accepted on the scheduled dates. Exceptions can often be made for private departures.
Activity Level:
2
Simple but comfortable rustic hotels and farm accommodations
Terms & Conditions: 

Greenland Tasermiut

IMPORTANT: This itinerary is a unique journey, designed and organized by JOURNEYS International, together with Tasermiut, South Greenland Expeditions. It offers the adventure and discovery ingredients present in all our journeys. The route can be done as it is explained above or in reverse order. The order of the activities may not be exactly as described in this outline. Greenland is the wildest country in the northern hemisphere, infrastructure is almost non-existent, and logistics pose enormous challenges. This is why we may not follow this daily itinerary exactly as planned. The itinerary is subject to change in order to adapt the journey to weather conditions, sea conditions, or technical and organizational difficulties, and it therefore requires flexibility from the traveler.

Included in costs: Meals as noted, each night in double occupancy accommodations, land transfers between components, English speaking guides, park or site entry fees, surface transport, equipment other than personal gear, government tax, airport transfer assistance, in-country ticket reconfirmation and check-in assistance (where permitted), complete pre-departure packet, toll-free pre-departure phone assistance.  Also included on this itinerary:  helicopter flight, Qaqortor to Narsarsuaq; 4x4 trip to Tasiusaq.

Not included in costs: Meals not noted as included, gratuities, beverages (except tea or coffee at meals), international or domestic airfare unless specified, airport departure taxes and fees not included with air tickets, visas, travel insurance, itinerary changes after confirmation, any services not included in itinerary, any costs incurred due to canceled or delayed flights, acts of nature, or other happenings beyond our control, and/or other costs as are more fully described in JOURNEYS Terms & Conditions.

Deposit and payment schedule:  A 30% deposit per person per trip or the applicable amount based on the trip and the proximity of the departure date.  Final payment for land arrangements is due 60 days prior to departure. Airlines require full payment when tickets are issued. The deposit may be made by Visa, Master Card, American Express, or check, and the Reservation Form may be submitted by fax, mail, or via our website. Full payment schedule and cancellation penalties are described in our Terms and Conditions as noted in our Global Expedition Catalog, on our website, and elsewhere. Please request these if you do not have them before advancing a deposit.

Insurance: When you make your application, we strongly recommend the purchase of comprehensive travel insurance in case of emergency situations. Please contact us for a recommended policy.

Air fares: JOURNEYS can make complete air arrangements applicable to your trip as noted in this itinerary. If you wish to redeem frequent flyer mileage or arrange flights directly with the airline, you may do so on your own at no penalty. If you do, please consult with us on exact arrival and departure dates and times before having your tickets issued to avoid errors.

Itinerary Change Fee: There will be a $40 fee for changes once an itinerary has been confirmed and approved. Additional cancellation penalties or change fees may apply as per our terms and conditions. The passenger is responsible for such fees.

Resources

Trip Extensions

Trip Extensions

There are currently no suggested extensions for this itinerary. Please ask the Destination Specialist if you'd like to customize one.

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