East Greenland: Northern Lights (Sea Adventurer) 2017

Greenland, Iceland, Arctic,

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117 people
14 days
Activity and Adventure, Polar Exploring, Sailing, Tours, Wildlife
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Overview of East Greenland: Northern Lights (Sea Adventurer) 2017

In the island-dotted bays of eastern Greenland, adventure reaches glacial proportions. Embarking in Reykjavic, Iceland, head north across the Arctic Circle into the fjords of Northeast Greenland National Park. Get active on hikes across colourful tundra – on the lookout for grazing muskoxen and Arctic foxes – or simply relax on deck and enjoy the views. Next, it’s on to Scoresby Sund, the world’s largest fjord system and a great place to see the spectacular Aurora Borealis. Catch a glimpse of rare seabirds, scoot past bobbing icebergs in a Zodiac and visit the Inuit settlement of Ittoqqortoormiit. This is pure wilderness at its best: the untouched Arctic as it was hundreds, even thousands of years ago.

Trip Summary for East Greenland: Northern Lights (Sea Adventurer) 2017

Start Location: Reykjavik,   End Location: Reykjavik

Countries Visited: Greenland, Iceland, Arctic, 
Meals Included: Breakfast: 13   Lunches: 11   Dinners: 12

    • Travel to some of the Arctic’s best locations to see the Aurora Borealis
    • Explore the Scoresby Sund, the world’s largest – and most beautiful – fjord system, as well as the most remote national park on the planet
    • Get close to wildlife such as whales, muskoxen and seabirds on regular Zodiac trips
    • Experience a vast array of Polar landscapes on cruises through iceberg-choked waters and hikes across colourful tundras
    • Visit the remote community of Ittoqqortoormiit, where you can mingle with the Inuit locals and learn about their way of life. This is also a great place to catch a northern lights display
    • Optional activities such as sea kayaking take your adventure to the next level, but book early, as these sell out fast


Day 1 - Arrive Reykjavik
Welcome to Reykjavik, where your Arctic adventure begins. Arrive into the city any time today, and independently transfer to the group hotel (accommodation for the night is included). On arrival at the hotel, you'll receive a welcome letter outlining the departure information for the following day’s flight. An agent will be available in the lobby to answer any questions you may have.

There’s plenty to see and do if you arrive early into the world's northernmost capital city. Reykjavik boasts vibrant art, music, food and nightlife scenes, and a visit to the city would be incomplete without a soak in one of the area's geothermal springs, the Blue Lagoon being the most famous.

Notes: If you arrive earlier or wish to extend your stay and need accommodation, please ask Intrepid or your agent for details and costs.

Day 2 - Embarkation Day in Akureyri
After breakfast today, the group will take a transfer to the airport and board a charter flight to the northern Icelandic town of Akureyri. Although the flight time will be communicated to you on Day 1 when you arrive at the hotel, weather conditions can sometimes lead to a change in the schedule. Please be ready to depart the hotel at any time.

It's important to note that on the flight to Akureyri, there's a strict luggage limit: 20 kilograms (44 pounds) of checked luggage and five kilograms (11 pounds) of cabin baggage. Should you have additional luggage, it can be stored at the hotel in Ottawa (you can't take it with you on the plane).

On arrival into Akureyri, you'll transfer to your ship, get settled and meet your Expedition Team, captain and crew. As you sail out to sea, keep an eye out for seabirds wheeling above and whales breaching in the waves below. The adventure has begun!

Day 3 - At Sea
Sail through the Denmark Strait en route to Greenland. During this period at sea, your Expedition Team will keep you informed and entertained with presentations about the area's wildlife, history and geography. This is also a great time to get to know your fellow shipmates.

Day 4-7 - Northeast Greenland National Park
Fjords punctuate the scenery of Northeast Greenland National Park, where Arctic foxes and muskoxen roam free. Your days will be spent exploring and learning about the history and geology of Greenland. King Oscar Fjord is a hiker’s paradise. Marvel at the vibrant autumn colours as you walk across the tundra at Holm Bay, cruise in a Zodiac through spectacular Alpefjord or challenge yourself with a trek to the top of Ella Island (the views are worth it).

From Ella Island, you’ll head to the Antarctic – the Antarctic Sound, that is. The area is home to beautiful purple and gold rocks, while Ymer Island and Blomsterbugten shimmer in the distance. From here, keeping an eye out for wildlife, head south along the Liverpool Coast.


Known as the Bay of Flowers, Blomsterbugten's colourful, lush landscape differs from other Arctic regions such as Spitsbergen. You can expect to find a range of flora and fauna here, with a possible hike to Noa Lake.

Encounter icebergs before hiking across Denmark Island, which offers stupendous views of Scoresby Sund and Fønfjord below.

Toward the northern end of Scoresby Land is King Oscar Fjord. Holm Bay is a common landing site, allowing for panoramic views of the fjord and surrounding area. Within the fjord lies Ella Island, where the Danish navy unit known as the Sirius Sledge Patrol trains in summer. Muskoxen may be spotted on the island.

The Red Fjord, or Rødefjord, is named for the colorful sandstone of its western side. The stone has been “stained” red by hematite, creating an oddity in this part of Greenland.


The following optional activities are available on some or all of this trip's departures. Please note that they must be booked in advance (additional costs may apply), and that space is limited.

Taken in small groups of maximum 16 people, multiple times per voyage, kayaking adventures are only conducted during calm weather conditions. Travellers with all levels of kayaking experience can take part, however if you are a novice, please take an introductory course prior to the voyage (and make sure it covers how to do a wet exit). Even if you do have some experience, we recommend doing some pre-trip practice, so you're comfortable out on the icy waters.

Hiking is a great way to appreciate the immense windswept landscapes of the Arctic. The tundra comes alive with colourful shrubbery during the brief Arctic summer. Whether you're exploring communities, glacial shorelines or animal habitats, each hike is different. Your Expedition Team will advise you as to the difficulty levels of each optional hike when you're there.

Snowshoeing is a novel way to experience the polar landscape and discover remote alcoves and hidden valleys. The rewards are well worth the effort, as we’ll be able to visit places that are inaccessible on foot. The snowshoes we use today are much lighter and more forgiving than the old wood-weave snowshoes used during the days of the North American fur trade.

Day 8-11 - Scoresby Sund Fjord
Arrive at Scoresby Sund, the largest, longest and – some say – most beautiful fjord system in the world. This area was named after William Scoresby Jr., who charted the east coast of Greenland in 1822. If the skies are clear, you may catch a glimpse of the northern lights during our evenings in the fjord.

At the start of the sound, Ittoqqortoormiit is East Greenland’s most northerly community. You’ll have the chance to support the local Inuit artisan community by purchasing unique handicrafts. Your time here is spent meeting the Inuit people and gaining an appreciation of their way of life.

Sailing deeper into Scoresby Sund, you’ll encounter massive icebergs and an ancient Thule settlement as we approach Sydkap and Øfjord. The scenery here is spectacular, with towering mountains and hundreds of apartment-sized icebergs playing tricks on your sense of perception.

Pushing onward, the expedition will come to Rypefjord and C. Hofmann Halvø. Keep your eyes peeled for rare blue icebergs, which are usually only seen in the Antarctic. Birders should keep watch for ptarmigans, wheatears, snow buntings and ravens at Rypefjord. At C. Hofmann Halvø, there's a good chance you'll see muskoxen up close as you enjoy a final hike out on the colourful tundra.


This is often the best location for getting close to muskoxen. The peninsula is home to birds like wheatears and snow buntings; you may also spot rock ptarmigans or great northern divers while at sea.

Around 500 people call this northern settlement home. Traditional hunting and fishing techniques are alive and well here, as are the northern lights. In fact, this is one of the best places to catch the Aurora Borealis. Hiking from Ittoqqortoormiit towards Hurry Inlet, you’ll be immersed in Arctic flora as wildflowers colour the landscape.

Icebergs and early history take center stage here, as remains of an ancient Thule settlement may be seen. Be on the lookout for Arctic hare and muskoxen.

Day 12-13 - At Sea
On the journey back to Iceland you'll cross back through the Denmark Strait, allowing a couple of days for whale watching. During the crossing, keep an eye out for white-beaked dolphins and humpback, minke and blue whales. Birders will enjoy spotting kittiwakes, gannets, guillemots, fulmars and razorbills.

Day 14 - Disembark and fly to Reykjavik
Your Greenland adventure comes to an end as you enter the port in Akureyri and board a flight back to Reykjavik. A transfer is provided to downtown Reykjavik – from there, you're free to go. If you have time, it’s worth sticking around to explore more of this great city.

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