Greenland Discovery

South Greenland by kayak, foot, small boat, and helicopter
Overview

overview

This active trip to South Greenland 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.  On this trip, featuring a helicopter ride over the Inland Ice Cap, a very special ice crampon hike on one of the oldest ice fields on the planet, small ship boating among fjords, and interesting tundra hiking in beautiful valleys, gain firsthand knowledge of the Inuits' home, the history of the first European settlers, and the many outstanding natural features of this unique and seldom-visited land. Nowhere is the  impact of  global warming more evident; your trip will include direct observation the evidence.

A short trip (three hours by air) separates Iceland, a well-known natural enclave, from Greenland, largest island in the world.  Here, where roads are rare and nature is practically untouched, your exceptional exploration awaits.

Take spectacular treks through the tundra and in glacier valleys, see herds of caribou and marine fauna,  gather mushrooms and cranberries, and visit geothermal hot springs.  On starry nights, enjoy the awe-inspiring show of the northern lights.

Consider spending a few days in Iceland at the beginning or end of your Greenland adventure.

itinerary

itinerary

  • Day 1: Arrive Narsarsuaq / Glacier Views
    Seek out Inuit monuments and Viking ruins

    Fly from Reykjavik's domestic airport (or from Copenhagen; extra charge applies) to Narsarsuaq, where you will be met and transferred to Hotel Narsarsuaq.  There will be time today to visit and walk around in the area, or to take an optional trek to a fantastic glacier viewpoint, around an hour's hike from town.  Overnight in Narsarsuaq.

     

    Meals
    None
    Lodging
    Hotel Narsarsuaq (private facilities)
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  • Day 2: Qassiarsuk / Tasiusaq / Iceberg Bay
    Kayak on spectacular Iceberg Bay near Qassiarsuk

    After breakfast, you'll be driven 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, known as 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 daily 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 the ice from icebergs coming 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 (private facilities)
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  • Day 3: Trekking / Igaliko and Environs
    Trek to spectacular viewpoints near your farm homestay

    Following breakfast, transfer to Igaliko, idyllic Greenland farmland, surrounded by lakes and green hills, with impressive views of icebergs floating on the fjord.  Trek through the mountains and lakes with spectacular views of the highest mountain in the area, Ilissumatarfik at 5,600'.  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.
     
    Following Kaffeemik (a traditional Greenland coffee social) with a host family in Igaliko, return to your   hotel for dinner and overnight.

     

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch (picnic), Kaffemik, Dinner
    Lodging
    Igaliko Country Hotel (private room, shared facilities)
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  • Day 4: Qoorooq Ice Fjord / Igaliko
    Espy Illerfissalik mountain from the tiny settlement of Igaliku (copyright, Serge Krautle, used with permission)

    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 South Greenland.  Enjoy the wonderful sight of ice floating all around as the captain skillfully navigates among blocks of ice until the increasing density no longer allows us to continue.   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 village 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 small country hotel in Igaliko for a well-deserved night's rest.

     

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch (picnic), Dinner
    Lodging
    Igaliko Country Hotel (private room, shared facilities)
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  • Day 5: 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 South 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.

     

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    Hotel Narsaq (private facilities)
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  • Day 6: 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, toward 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 their vertical ice walls and numerous icebergs as we approach 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. This very special adventure is comparable only (perhaps) to visiting Perito Morenu glacier in Patagonia.  Explore crevasses, drains, caves, seracs, and other ice formations that give an incredible, labyrinthine quality to this glacier.

  An expert mountain guide, also 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 South Greenland.  This is a unique and special experience, exciting and original, and sure to surprise and delight both first-timers and those accustomed 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.
    Later, transfer by boat to Qaqortoq, South 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.  Spend the night in Qaqortoq.

     

     

     

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    Hotel Qaqortoq (private facilities)
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  • Day 7: Qaqortoq, Capital of South Greenland
    Marvel at the activity in this remote capital

    This morning, 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.

    Choose among optional excursions to Hvalsoy Church and Upernaviarsuk Agricultural Center, or Uunartoq Geothermal Springs, or Kaffeemik or dinner with a Greenlandic Family.
     
    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 small hotel, in the center of town with great waterfront views, for your last night in this marvelous land.

     

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    Hotel Qaqortoq (private facilities)
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  • Day 8: Helicopter Tour / Narsarsuaq / Onward
    End your Greenland adventure with many vivid memories

    After breakfast and check-out, experience another of your trip's highlights, an impressive and unforgettable helicopter trip over the fjord system of South 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 the domestic airport in Reykjavik, Iceland (or Copenhagen; additional charge) and then transfer to the international airport for your flight home.  Or, if your appetite for Arctic adventure hasn't been fully sated, consider a few days in Iceland to explore its frozen and fiery wonders.

     

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    N/A
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Price and Date Details

Price and Date Details

Land Cost:
$4,895
Flight costs from Reykjavik, additional $720. Alternative flights to/from Copenhagen are available at additional cost. Price may fluctuate with Euro-dollar exchange rates.
Single Supplement:
$650
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:
8 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:
2-12
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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