The Norse originally set sail from Iceland in search of plentiful farmland, and their search was rewarded in the beautiful and fertile fjords of Greenland. Follow Erik the Red’s original route to explore this seldom-seen coastline, visiting important archaeological sites and modern Greenlandic communities along the way. This 12-day journey begins in Iceland's capital, Reykjavik, before setting sail for east and south Greenland. Search for whales as you follow this Viking route, experience east Greenland's stunning fjords, visit Norse ruins at Hvalsey and Zodiac along the face of a Greenlandic glacier. Enjoy these and many more highlights as you go in the wake of the Vikings on board Ocean Endeavour.
Day 1: Reykjavik
Iceland’s cosmopolitan capital, Reykjavík was established in 874 AD. Powered by geothermal energy, Reykjavík is widely considered one of the cleanest, greenest cities on Earth. Food, culture, and nightlife abound. The National Culture House preserves treasures like the Poetic Edda and the Norse Sagas in their original manuscripts. You depart Reykjavík in the evening aboard the Ocean Endeavour after an organised tour.
Sailing west from Iceland, you are truly in the wake of the Vikings. You’ll be watching for whales and seabirds as your ship sails the Denmark Strait. The onboard program will prepare you for the archaeology, history, culture, and wildlife that awaits you in Greenland!
Your first view of Greenland’s east coast will reveal a coastline traced with innumerable fjords and potentially dotted with pack ice. The ships spotters will be watching for bears, seals, and humpback whales. You’ll explore the remote reaches of glaciated fjords by Zodiac.
Joining the Irminger and Labrador Seas through the islands of the Cape Farewell Archipelago, Ikerasassuaq (Prince Christian Sound) is among the world’s most majestic waterways. Craggy mountain peaks tower over still waters fed by calving glaciers. You’ll make the most of deck time, scouting for landing opportunities on the skirts of the mountains.
South Greenland lives up to its namesake; here, the land is fertile and agriculture thrives. Farms and vegetable husbandry contrast with the ice that covers so much of the country. Jagged mountains rise from beyond green pastures, with sheep farms directly bordering ice fjords. Here, Norse settlement history intersects with contemporary Greenland life.
The Norse settlement at Hvalsey was a major centre in South Greenland in the early centuries of the last millennium. Hvalsey Church is the best-preserved Norse ruin in Greenland. The last known record from the original Norse colony is of a wedding held here in September 1408!
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Brattahlið is in the most fertile part of Greenland and was the home of Viking explorer Erik the Red and his descendants until the 1400s. A reconstructed Norse church and Viking longhouse are featured here. Greenlandic Inuit now run the sheep farms originally worked by Norse settlers.
The Sermersooq region of Greenland has a stunning myriad of mountain peaks, glaciers, and deep fjords. Your time will be spent on the western coast of the region, where records of human habitation stretching back over 1,500 years. You’ll explore by Zodiac or by foot, as landing conditions permit and keep a lookout for Nattoralik (white-tailed eagles), seabirds, marine mammals, and enjoy the lush vegetation of southwest Greenland.
Nuuk, the capital of Greenland, bridges old and new. The old harbour region of town includes many buildings dating from the Danish colonial days. Nuuk is known for art, shopping, and cafes. The Greenland National Museum is one of Nuuk’s many outstanding features: the world-famous Qilakitsoq mummies are housed here.
Defined by jagged mountain peaks, sheer bird cliffs, cascading streams, and calving glaciers, Kangerlussuatsiaq lives up to its Danish name, Erighedsfjorden, meaning Fjord of Eternity. Whether by ship, Zodiac cruise, or kayak, a visit to the face of the glacier is truly a sublime experience.
Søndre Strømfjord offers 168 kilometres of superb scenery. Kangerlussuaq, the settlement at the head of the fjord, is a former US Air Force base and Greenland’s main flight hub. Here you will disembark the Ocean Endeavour and transfer to the airport for your charter flight to Toronto.
The Ocean Endeavour is a comfortable, well-appointed expedition ship expertly engineered to explore the polar regions. The ship has an ice-strengthened hull (Ice Class 1B), zodiacs for exploration and remote landings, generous deck space and advanced navigation equipment. It offers a superb experience for up to 199 guests with facilities that include a nautical lounge, two restaurants, a sundeck and plenty of deck space for observation of the polar landscapes.
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