Experience the enormity of Greenland, the world’s largest island, where jagged peaks pierce azure skies, and countless glaciers snake their way towards the coast. Discover ancient rocks at Skaergaard Peninsula dating back some 55 million years. Hike across the arctic tundra in search of arctic fox, reindeer and muskox, tasting delicious wild berries along the way. Zodiac-cruise along spectacular sounds where ringed, harp and hooded seals laze on the sea ice. Watch icebergs form as Greenland’s enormous ice sheets – the largest in the Arctic – calve into the fjords, and encounter humpback and minke whales feeding in the nutrient-rich waters. Sail Prince Christian Sound, flanked by imposing mountains, as it carves its way through south Greenland where green pastures signal the presence of human settlement, and where the Viking ruins of Erik the Red still stand at Hvalsey. Weaving through the fjords and channels, we enter west Greenland, the country’s most developed region, home to the nation’s capital, Nuuk, and the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Ilulissat Icefjord.
**Save up to 15% on selected departures and cabins. Discounts are subject to availability and are available until 31 Mar 24 unless withdrawn prior. Discounts are not combinable with any other promotions except back-to-back voyage or loyalty discounts. Discounts and pricing are subject to change and may be withdrawn or varied at any time.
*Air credit of AUD $2,200 p/p valid on selected cabins, departures and dates and is combinable with in market discounts, Not combinable with any other offer. Promotion is limited capacity and only available for a limited time until sold out or withdrawn or until 31 Mar 24.
PLEASE NOTE: Pricing is subject to change and availability at the time of booking. Contact us for more information.
Arrive in Reykjavik, Iceland’s cosmopolitan capital, and transfer by Flybus to our group hotel. Upon check-in, reception staff will provide you with Aurora Expeditions cabin tags. Please fill out the luggage tags clearly, showing your name and cabin number to allow us to deliver your luggage to your cabin. Enjoy a welcome drink and meet fellow expeditioners at our voyage briefing this evening.
Accommodation: Fosshotel Reykjavik (or similar)
Check out and experience one of Reykjavik’s most popular excursions – the Golden Circle, which includes visits to Gullfoss Falls, Geysers, and Thingvellir National Park, before transferring to the pier for embarkation. After boarding, there’s time to settle into your cabin before our important safety briefings. This evening meet your expedition team and crew at the Captain’s Welcome Dinner.
Crossing the Greenland Sea, we sail through the Polar Basin’s nutrient-rich waters, searching for encroaching pack ice, fin whales and seabirds. Our team of experts entertains us with informative talks about sea ice, glaciers, European arctic plants and animals and epic tales of early explorers such as Nansen, Andreé and Scoresby.
Kangerlussuaq Fjord is home to some of the wildest coastal landscapes in all of Greenland. The peaks of Watkins Mountains featuring Gunnbjørnsfjeld—the highest peak in the Arctic, tower in the horizon. Hike across tundra to viewpoints of surrounding fjords, mountains, and glaciers, and enjoy gentle Zodiac cruises in icy bays offering unforgettable arctic scenery and wildlife encounters. We plan to land on the Skaergaard Peninsula near the mouth of Kangerlussuaq Fjord. Here, the rocks show an unusual layering, formed by crystals settling in a magma chamber below the earth’s surface some 55 million years ago. Discovered in the 1930s, the Skaergaard Intrusion is known to geologists worldwide.
Overlooking King Oscar’s Harbour, Tasiilaq (formerly Ammassalik) is east Greenland’s largest town with a population of approximately 2,000 inhabitants. Here, green meadows contrast starkly with countless icebergs that often clog the waterways at nearby Sermilik Fjord, the largest in southeast Greenland, where we Zodiac-cruise and kayak to search for fin and humpback whales and photograph the spectacular scenery.
Continue south along Greenland’s King Frederik VI Coast, always on the lookout for whales, especially the rare sperm whale that is occasionally seen here. Weaving through the narrow channels of Skjoldungen Fjord we land at the end of the fjord for a walk along a glacial river, across a tundra valley covered in northern willow and blooming pink wildflowers. Kayakers can paddle across the front of a tidewater glacier, search for harp seals, ivory gulls and whales. Back on board, enjoy the stunning surrounds with a drink in hand basked in the soft light of the setting sun.
Prince Christian Sound connects the Labrador Sea with the Irminger Sea. Approximately 100 km / 60 mi long, and, in parts, as narrow as 500-m / 600-ft wide, the fjord is flanked by jagged mountain peaks, some reaching over 2,200 m / 7,200 ft high, with countless glaciers coming all the way down to the sea. We slow-cruise through the sound to enjoy the spectacular scenery. Icebergs sculpted into fantastic shapes often block the entrance to the sound, a great spectacle for photography. At Kangersuneq Qinngorleq located at the northern end of the fjord, a glacier front is ideal for exploration by Zodiac or kayak. in the southern section of the sound, we pass a small settlement named Appilatoq, which means red in Greenlandic, after the red mountains rising above the town. Appilatoq is well-known in Greenland for the jagged mountain peaks that surround it—a delight for photographers.
The towering, jagged mountains that surround Tasermiut Fjord is why it’s often referred to as the ‘Patagonia of the north’. At Klosterdal (Monastery Valley), we are surrounded by three giant mountains - Napasorsuaq, Ketil and Nalumasortoq. Here we can walk to a Norse ruin, hike along the valley, or explore the bay by kayak.
Continue to Nanortalik, the southernmost town in Greenland, located on an island of the same name. Its name derives from the West Greenlandic word ‘Nanoq’ meaning ‘The Place Where Bears Pass Through,’ describing the polar bears that were once seen floating past on sea ice. Deep fjords, woodlands and grasslands, and rugged mountainside cliffs, some over 1,000 m /3,280 ft, attract enthusiastic climbers from around the world.
On arrival, you’ll receive a warm welcome from the local community who have opened up their town for you to explore. Nanortalik is a town that’s known for their love of singing and you’ll be treated to choir performance. Visit Nanortalik Church, a wooden, Danish Lutheran church built in 1916 and is currently the only church serving the Nanortalik congregation. The church is in the old colonial quarter of the town. Next to the church is a landmark boulder called the ‘Knud Rasmussen Stone,’ named after Greenland’s most famous citizen, Dr Knud Rasmussen, an explorer and ethnologist.
Hvalsey Church is the best-preserved Norse ruin in Greenland. ‘Hvalsey’ is old Norse for ‘Whale Island.’ Christianity arrived in Greenland around 1,000 AD and gradually churches began to be built. Late medieval documents indicate there were up to 14 parish churches in the Eastern Settlement. Hvalsey itself was built in the early 14th century, but it was not the first church built on this site.
After exploring Hvalsey ruins, continue to Qaqortoq, where our Zodiacs shuttle us ashore. Qaqortoq is the capital of south Greenland. With a history dating back to 1775, the town offers various cultural activities and attractions including an outdoor art project called “Man and Stone,’ which features stone carvings scattered throughout the town created by local artists. Qaqortoq is Greenland’s southernmost town and is the administrative centre of the south Greenland. Built from yellow stone, and dating back to 1804, the building that now houses the Qaqortoq Museum originally belonged to the town’s blacksmith. Qaqortoq’s landmark building is the Church of Our Saviour. This large wooden Lutheran church, known as the ‘Red Church’, is in the historic colonial part of town, near the harbour.
Located on a peninsula with impressive view of the surrounding mountains, the small settlement of Paamiut has existed since the mid-17th century, and the name of the town means 'the people who live at the mouth' referring to the nearby fjord. The town is home to a beautiful and ornate wooden church, which is remarkable when Greenland completely lacks trees that can be used for construction. The local museum is worth a visit, and features exhibits of local handicrafts and photos from the whaling period. The town and surrounding area are best known for the resident population of white-tailed eagles, while minke, fin, humpback and orca are common visitors to this stretch of coast. Arctic char is the most commonly caught fish in these waters and depending on the luck of the day’s catch by local fisherman, we may enjoy a meal of freshly caught Arctic char for the evening meal.
Greenland’s capital, Nuuk, the world’s northernmost capital, lies at the mouth of its very own fjord system on the country’s mid-west coast. On a guided walking tour around town, you’ll see charming old buildings including Greenland’s colourfully painted houses, and the award-winning City Hall. The small but fascinating National Museum features a unique ethnographical collection of artefacts of Inuit life, including the famous 545-year-old Qilakitsoq mummies, accidentally discovered by hikers in 1972.
Approximately 4,500 years ago, the Saqqaq culture arrived from Canada and settled in the area. They lived here for approximately 2,000 years, but mysteriously disappeared. The Dorset culture arrived around 500 AD and remained until the 1200s until they were replaced by the Thule culture, and today, most of the population of Sisimiut are descendants of the Thule culture.
Located above the Arctic Circle, Sisimiut enjoys experiences 24 hours of daylight during the summer months. As Greenland’s second largest town, Sisimiut is the only place in Greenland that has an open-air public swimming pool, and the town is famous for its old blue church featuring a whale jaw gate. The town’s small museum features interesting exhibits explaining local history and life in Greenland. The local arts centre features concerts, plays, films and cultural performances.
A few kilometres from downtown, Priest Mountain offers a challenging hike along a small river, and across tundra vegetation blooming with wildflowers, where you might encounter foxes, grouse, eagles soaring overhead, and perhaps musk ox. At the summit, you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of town, the surrounding mountains, fjords and the sea.
Known as the ‘birthplace of icebergs’, this region boasts some of the most splendidly-shaped icebergs found anywhere on earth. Hike to the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Icefjord and stand in awe of its immensity. Sermeq Kujalleq, also known as Jakobshavn Glacier, is the most productive glacier, not only in Greenland, but in the Northern Hemisphere. It produces 20 million tonnes of ice each day, all floating into the Ilulissat Icefjord and Disko Bay. Conditions permitting, enjoy a Zodiac cruise at the mouth of the fjord and kayak through sea ice and icebergs.
Optional helicopter flight (90 mins): this excursion is the only way you can get close to the gigantic glacier. The 10-seater helicopter departs from Ilulissat Airport sweeping over hills, lakes and ice fjords. Land on the mountain at Kangia, in the middle of the preserved area, where you can revel in the incredible surroundings. On the return flight to Ilulissat, fly above the edge of the glacier with breathtaking views of the massive icebergs drifting in the fjord. The views of some of the largest icebergs that become stranded on a moraine underneath the water, just outside the town, offers a wonderful finale to this excursion.
Located 80 kilometres north of Ilulissat, Eqi Glacier is accessible only by sea, and is one of Greenland’s most active glaciers. Although smaller than Sermeq Kujalleq glacier in Ilulissat, Eqi Glacier is more accessible, and if sea-ice conditions permit, we’ll Zodiac cruise within safe distance of the glacier front where we see seals floating on bergy bits in front of the glacier while eagles can sometimes be seen soaring above. Several hikes are possible in the area, where you may encounter grouse, Arctic hare and small Arctic fox.
Evighedsfjorden, or Eternity Fjord, is one of the more spectacular fjord complexes in west Greenland due to its forested landscape. Hike through a forested valley, witness hills become towering snow-capped mountains as countless glaciers pour down from sheer cliff walls. Occasionally, the thunderous sound of a calving glacier breaks the silence in a place where you are unlikely to see another soul.
Today we’ll feast on a taste of Greenland at the lakeside Roklubben restaurant where we enjoy a BBQ lunch, before joining our guided tour to Reindeer Glacier having disembarked for the final time at the township of Kangerlussuaq. Greenland's ‘ice sheet’ covers 80% of the surface of the country. Reindeer Glacier, which stands as a 60-metre-high ice wall in some places, offers visitors a clear contrast between land and ice. We travel on a tundra coach, looking for reindeer and musk oxen, while we enjoy some stories of the area from our local guide. Once at the glacier we will walk parallel to its edge to discover it many moods and angles.
In the late afternoon we return to Kangerlussuaq airport to board our charter flight to Canada to Toronto for an overnight stay at our airport hotel.
After check-out, continue your onward journey.
Important note: In the spirit of expedition travel, we encourage exploration and adventure offering flexibility in challenging environments. This itinerary is only a guide and is subject to change due to weather, sea, pack-ice and other conditions beyond our control.
Featuring industry-leading technology and streamlined cruising design the Sylvia Earle is one of the most modern and technologically advanced vessels sailing the polar regions. Named after the first female Chief Scientist of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Sylvia Earle lives up to her namesake with a deep focus on protecting the natural environment. The ship features one of the lowest polluting marine engines in the world, with low energy consumption and higher fuel efficiency bringing an overall 80% reduction to emissions compared to Tier 1 engines. The ship also utilises virtual anchoring technology along with thrusters and propellers to minimise damage to the ocean floor caused by conventional anchors. The Sylvia Earle carries a maximum of 132 passengers and has 71 on board cabins. Between landings, guests will be able to enjoy time in the gym, sauna or wellness centre. For zodiac excursions the vessel has four dedicated, sea-level launching platforms making boarding as efficient and safe as possible, allowing you to get off and experience the magical sights of fjords, glaciers and icebergs as quickly as possible. Cabins and suites are elegantly designed and spacious to give guests the most comfortable experience possible. Certified 100% Climate Neutral, with a fully equipped Citizen Science Centre, expert lectures and participative Citizen science programs, to enrich your knowledge and connection to the polar regions.
Featuring industry-leading technology and streamlined cruising design the Sylvia Earle is one of the most modern and technologically advanced vessels sailing the polar regions. Named after the first female Chief Scientist of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Sylvia Earle lives up to her namesake with a deep focus on protecting the natural environment. The ship features one of the lowest polluting marine engines in the world, with low energy consumption and higher fuel efficiency bringing an overall 80% reduction to emissions compared to Tier 1 engines. The ship also utilises virtual anchoring technology along with thrusters and propellers to minimise damage to the ocean floor caused by conventional anchors.
The Sylvia Earle carries a maximum of 132 passengers and has 71 on board cabins. Between landings, guests will be able to enjoy time in the gym, sauna or wellness centre. For zodiac excursions the vessel has four dedicated, sea-level launching platforms making boarding as efficient and safe as possible, allowing you to get off and experience the magical sights of fjords, glaciers and icebergs as quickly as possible. Cabins and suites are elegantly designed and spacious to give guests the most comfortable experience possible.
Certified 100% Climate Neutral, with a fully equipped Citizen Science Centre, expert lectures and participative Citizen science programs, to enrich your knowledge and connection to the polar regions.
Speed: 10-12 knots
View Ship Details
We believe that appropriate accommodation should add to the authentic travel experience, as well as providing utmost enjoyment. For that reason our accommodation is scrutinised by our staff on the ground frequently, ensuring the properties adhere to our high standards. This key will help you understand the levels of accommodation available on this tour.
Comfortable properties with dependable facilities and service.
Comfortable properties with dependable facilities and service.
Luxurious properties with impeccable facilities and service.
Shared Transfer from airport to hotel on arrival Day 1
Welcome reception/pre-embarkation briefing on Day 1
One night’s hotel accommodation in Reykjavik including breakfast, on Day 1
Full-day Golden Circle tour on Day 2
Mandatory pre-embarkation health screening and COVID test on Day 2
Charter flight: Kangerlussuaq-Toronto on Day 16
Sightseeing in Kangerlussuaq (time permitting) and transfer to the airport on Day 16One night’s hotel accommodation with breakfast in Toronto on Day 16
On-board accommodation during voyage including daily cabin service
All meals, snacks, tea and coffee during voyage
Beer, house wine and soft drinks with dinner
Captain’s Welcome and Farewell receptions including four-course dinner, house cocktails, house beer and wine, non-alcoholic beverages
All shore excursions and Zodiac cruises
Educational lectures and guiding services provided by Expedition Team
Complimentary access to onboard expedition doctor and medical clinic (initial consultation)
One 3-in-1 waterproof polar expedition jacket
Comprehensive pre-departure information
Port surcharges, permits and landing fees
Gratuities for ship’s crew
International or domestic flights – unless specified in itinerary
Transfers – unless specified in itinerary
Airport arrival or departure taxes
Passport, visa, reciprocity and vaccination fees and charges
Travel insurance or emergency evacuation charges
Hotels and meals – unless specified in the itinerary
Optional excursions and optional activity surcharges
All items of a personal nature, including but not limited to alcoholic beverages and soft drinks (outside of dinner service), laundry services, personal clothing, medical expenses, wi-fi, email or phone charges
Available upon request, contact us for more details.
Prices are based on per person, twin share* (unless otherwise stated for triple/quad cabins)
Prices are correct at time of publishing but are subject to change at any time.
Itinerary is subject to change depending on weather and ice conditions
Departure Date, Fuel Surcharges, Cabin Category, Currency Fluctuations, Seasonality & Availability.