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, you will 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, the 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.
- Day 1: arrive narsarsuaq / glacier viewsSeek 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 walk around and explore the area, or to take an optional trek to a fantastic glacier viewpoint, around an hour's hike from town. Overnight in Narsarsuaq.
- Hotel Narsarsuaq (private facilities)
- Day 2: helicopter flight to qaqortoqHelicopter transportation in Greenland
Today, take a helicopter from Narsarsuaq to Qaqortoq over the fjord system of South Greenland. Whatever route you take, a helicopter trip in South Greenland is an unforgettable experience. Your view from this flight is literally an overview of your adventure. Enjoy the fascinating view of the fjords and Inlandis (Greenlandic ice cap). Following your arrival in Qaqortoq, take a guided city tour.
- Hotel Qaqortoq (private facilities)
- Day 3: qaqortoq, capital of south greenlandMarvel 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 throughout the town.
Choose among optional excursions to Hvalsoy Church and Upernaviarsuk Agricultural Center, or Uunartoq Geothermal Springs (costs not included).
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.
- Hotel Qaqortoq (private facilities)
- Day 4: qaleraliq camp / ice excursion / narsaqEspy Illerfissalik mountain from the tiny settlement of Igaliku (copyright, Serge Krautle, used with permission)
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 experience, and sure to surprise and delight both first-timers and those accustomed to the peculiarities of the glacier world. Enjoy a picnic lunch on the glacier or at the camp, depending on weather conditions.
In the afternoon, transfer by zodiac boat to Narsaq. You will be surprised by the enormous icebergs from the Eqaloruutsit glacier that are floating in the Sermilik Fjord. Once we navigate around them, we will dock in Narsaq. Spend the night in Narsaq.
- Breakfast, Lunch (picnic), Dinner
- Hotel Narsaq (private facilities)
- Day 5: narsaq / sillisit guest farmMeet and get to know Inuit people while here
After breakfast, explore 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. Later in the morning, head to Sillisit farm. This family-run Greenlandic guesthouse is set on an idyllic spot, surrounded by lakes and green hills, with an impressive view of icebergs floating on the fjord. The guesthouse owners will welcome you to their home and share how they live on the farm all year long, and you will learn about their Inuit way of life. Hike around the lakes and up the hills surrounding the farm for spectacular views of Ilissumatarfik, the highest mountain in the area (1,700 meters). The Vikings used to climb up to the top with huge bundles of firewood to light a great fire that served as a lighthouse for the ships sailing from Europe to Brattahlid, the capital of the Viking world. At the end of the day enjoy a Greenlandic style dinner prepared by your hosts at the Sillisit Farm.
- Breakfast, Dinner
- Sillisit Farm Guesthouse (shared facilities)
- Day 6: igaliku and qooroq ice fjord excursionLed by an expert, hike on a glacier and marvel at its unusual beauty
Following a hearty breakfast at the farm, set off by speedboat to Itilleq. There, 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. Hike back to Itilleq and take a sea excursion to Qooroq fjord, the most spectacular fjord in southern Greenland. We will navigate among the blocks of ice until the density of the ice is such that we can no longer continue. It is amazing to be surrounded by such huge blocks of ice! Continue on by zodiac to Narsarsuaq, where we will be transferred by vehicle to your hotel for the night.
- Hotel Narsarsuaqq (private facilities)
- Day 7: qassiarsuk / tasiusaq / iceberg bayKayak 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.
- Breakfast, Lunch
- Hotel Narsarsuaq (private facilities)
- Day 8: the flower valley / onwardEnd your Greenland adventure with many vivid memories
We have saved the best for last! After breakfast, take the most famous hike in South Greenland, the Flower Valley. On this spectacular hike you will have views of the Kiattut River and Glacier and enjoy the the spectacular views formed by the glacier and retreat. The glacial sediment provides the perfect environment for plenty of arctic wildflowers to flourish. Afterwards, trek back to Narsarsuaq to visit the Bluie West One Museum, which is frozen in time from World War II.
This afternoon, fly from Narsarsuaq to the domestic airport in Reykjavik, Iceland (or Copenhagen, additional charge) and then transfer to the international airport in time 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.
Price and Date Details
Need to Know
What is included:
Transfers from the airport and hotel, to the the harbor in Narsarsuaq
Helicopter Narsarsuaq to Qaqortoq
Accomodations in hotels, in twin/double rooms, including breakfast
English-speaking expedition guide
Boat transfers and excursions in Greenland, as detailed in the program
4X4 trip to Tasiusaq
Lunch in Qassiarsuk, picnic in Igaliku and Qalerallq Glacier
RIB Boat travel equipment
City tour in Qaqotoq
Guided visit to Brattahlid reconstrctions
What is not included:
Flights from Reykjavik or Copenhagen
Airport taxes and fees
Accommodation, food and transfers in Reykjavik or Copenhagen
Meals not mentioned in program
Optional excursions, such as kayaking, entrance to Uunartoq thermal baths
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.
There are currently no suggested extensions for this itinerary. Please ask the Destination Specialist if you'd like to customize one.