Iceland and Greenland - The Viking Heritage (Itinerary 1)

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Discover Arctic highlights! Mythical Iceland impresses with its diverse landscapes and teeming birdlife. Explore southern Greenland and experience small communities nestled in magnificent nature. The spectacular scenery, fantastic fjords and the Midnight Sun provide a stunning backdrop to this expedition.
16 days

Join us for a very exciting expedition in polar waters and experience Arctic highlights as well as the heart of Greenland.

History, culture and wild coastal landscapes on Saga Island

Iceland is located on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, which runs right through the country. This location means that the island is highly geologically active, with many volcanoes and geysers. The unspoilt nature, majestic mountains and stunning waterfalls are amongst Europe's most powerful and awe-inspiring sights. We spend two days discovering many of Iceland's cultural and natural secrets.

Explore the Heart of Greenland

From Iceland, we continue to rarely visited southern Greenland, taking in long fjords, icy glaciers and cosy settlements. Greenland's arctic wilderness offers some of the most spectacular and unspoilt scenery anywhere on earth. It is the largest island on the planet, and its frozen coastline has witnessed the birth of some of nature's most breath-taking creations. Here the struggle for survival has imbued local culture with a healthy respect for the environment.

See this unique interaction of man and nature first hand, as we sail through a landscape rich in culture, history and spectacular wildlife, towards the northern lands of the midnight sun. This expedition has been created to introduce you to the amazing variety of Greenland; from wonders of nature, to small villages and larger towns. Experience Greenland's fascinating culture, visit historical sites from the Viking era including the very first landfall by Eric the Red.

This cruise is not suitable for guests using wheelchairs due to the possibility of using tender boats during embarkation or disembarkation.

Price includes: 

Not included: 

This is an expedition where the elements rule, and the weather, wind and ice conditions will determine our final schedule. Safety is paramount and the captain will decide the sailing itinerary during the voyage. Therefore, this itinerary is just an indication of what you can experience, and why every expedition with Hurtigruten is unique.
Terms, conditions and restrictions apply; pricing, availability, and other details subject to change and/ or apply to US or Canadian residents. Please confirm details and booking information with your travel advisor.


  1. The World’s Northernmost Capital - Reykjavik, Iceland

    Reykjavík is the world’s northernmost capital city. Norwegian settlers named it Reykjavík (meaning 'Smoky Bay') after the columns of steam that rose from the hot springs in the area and made a profound impression. The surrounding areas offer fantastic natural beauty with geysers, mountains, glaciers, and hot springs that are well worth exploring before embarking MS Roald Amundsen. 

    The World’s Northernmost Capital - Reykjavik, Iceland
  2. Welcome Home! - Heimaey

    Heimaey (Home Island) welcomes us for our first landing. The harbor has a very narrow entrance caused by a volcanic eruption in 1973. As the lava flow threatened to completely close the haven, the ingenious islanders pumped thousands of gallons of seawater to cool and slow the progress of the molten rock. We hope to see a few of the eight million colorful puffins that return to the island each summer to breed. Take some time to sit close to their burrows and watch their comings and goings.

    Welcome Home! - Heimaey
  3. The Denmark Strait - At Sea

    We leave Iceland behind and sail across the Denmark Strait to reach Greenland. The Denmark Strait connects the Greenland Sea to the Irminger Sea. This crossing was used by the Vikings to migrate from Iceland to South Greenland some 1,000 years ago.  The Vikings calculated their distance to land by tracking the direction of flight of seabirds.

    The Denmark Strait was also a World War II battleground, with the Royal Navy and German Kriegsmarine battling on May 24, 1941. The British battleship HMS Prince of Whales fought the largest German battleship, the Bismarck, which was attempting to reach the North Atlantic to attack the allied forces' merchant marine.

    The Denmark Strait - At Sea
  4. In Nansen’s Footsteps - Umivik, Southeast Greenland

    History and scenery combine to make today very special!  Umivik Bay is surrounded by many glaciers that calve icebergs into the sea.  On the northern shore of the bay are two abandoned settlements – little remains today.  Our landing here takes place 131 years (almost to the day!) after Nansen stepped ashore in this bay to begin his pioneering crossing of the Greenland ice sheet.

    In Nansen’s Footsteps - Umivik, Southeast Greenland
  5. Cruising Greenland Deep Fjords Under the Towering Peaks - Skjoldungen

    Skjoldungen Island was carved by Greenland by mighty glaciers that we can see as we enjoy a cruise through the deep fjords. Stare up at the steep, rocky cliffs. You can't miss the magnificent peak of Azimuthbjerg, which is over 5,500 feet high and to be found at the northwest point of the island. The island is currently uninhabited; its population re-settled to towns farther north in 1965.  During World War II a weather station was situated here, but they had a hard winter in 1942 as all their supplies were buried by an avalanche.

    Cruising Greenland Deep Fjords Under the Towering Peaks - Skjoldungen
  6. Exploration Day - Exploration Day

    Our captain and expedition leader will be on the lookout for opportunities today – nature will dictate our activity program.  It may be possible to land at Igdlukulik (an archaeological site with ruins of an Inuit settlement) in Lindenow Fjord, or take a cruise among the icebergs.

    Exploration Day - Exploration Day
  7. Mountains, Glaciers, and Icebergs - Prince Christian Sound

    Prince Christian Sound, located nearly at the tip of the huge island, separates mainland Greenland with Sangmissoq and other islands of the Cape Farewell Archipelago. We sail through this narrow channel and enjoy the spectacular scenery here. The sound itself is around 62 miles long and very narrow, sometimes only 1,640 feet wide! This long fjord system is surrounded by steep mountains, some more than 4,000 feet high. Enjoy the sight of glaciers calving icebergs straight into the ocean from the deck. If the channel is blocked with ice, we will sail around Nunap Isua (Cape Farewell). 

    Mountains, Glaciers, and Icebergs - Prince Christian Sound
  8. Natural Hot Springs - Uunartoq

    Go ashore on the uninhabited island of Uunartoq. This small island is blessed with a number of natural hot springs warm enough to swim in, with water temperatures between 93 – 100° F degrees, even during the freezing winter. The springs are set in a completely natural environment, in the middle of a grassy field, surrounded by mountain peaks and drifting icebergs. Soak in the warm water and enjoy the beautiful natural surroundings. 

    Natural Hot Springs  - Uunartoq
  9. Viking History and Lush Nature - Qassiarsuk

    In Qassiarsuk you will find green fields dotted with white sheep, lush vegetation, and busy farmsteads that form a colorful contrast to the icescapes found at sea. Viking Erik the Red built his Brattahlíð estate in here 982 A.D after he was banished from Iceland and escaped to the land he called 'Greenland'. Erik the Red settled in Qassiarsuk because the area was considered the most fertile place in Greenland when he arrived.

    Join a guided walk through the settlement, where you will learn more about the history of the region. You can visit the reconstruction of Erik’s longhouse and the church that Erik’s wife, Tjodhildur, made him build. The walk will include a visit at the town's current church. This is also a great area to try optional activities such as kayaking, hiking, or exploring the town on foot.  

    Viking History and Lush Nature - Qassiarsuk
  10. The Religious Heart and Ruins of Norse Greenland - Igaliku and Hvalsey

    Igaliku is one of the most beautiful villages in Greenland. This is the oldest sheep-farming settlement on the island, and upon arrival you will see tall mountains with peaks covered by snow, lush valleys with flowers, and, of course, sheep. Sandstone houses give a distinct flavor to the area, as does the stunning view to the Igaliku Fjord. Experience the tranquility of this historic settlement.

    Christianity was introduced to Greenland at the turn of the last millennium, with the first bishop being appointed way back in 1124. The impressive episcopal residence Garðar was established shortly after that date in Igaliku. A cathedral was built, the biggest of all churches in Greenland in the Middle Ages. For many years, the bishop's palace was a focal point for the Norsemen and visitors from Iceland and Norway. The ruins of the cathedral and the bishop's palace have been renovated during recent years and today constitute an attractive relic of the Viking period.

    Igaliku's 27 inhabitants are very proud of their community and are eager to guide you through the village. In Hvalsey, you will find some of the best-preserved ruins from the Norse period; Hvalsey Church was probably built in the 14th century. Erik the Red's relatives established the farmstead late in the 10th century. In 1408, a wedding at the site's church is the last documented event to occur during the Norse settlement of Greenland. We use our PolarCirkel boats to come ashore to give you the chance to explore the area for yourself.

    The Religious Heart and Ruins of Norse Greenland - Igaliku and Hvalsey
  11. Musk Oxen and a Norse Settlement - Ivittuut

    The abandoned mining town of Ivittuut is a stronghold for musk oxen. This mining town was built on top of the so-called Norse Middle settlement, when Vikings settled the area with about twenty farms more than a thousand years ago. The Middle settlement is the smallest and least well-known of the Norse settlements on Greenland, although no written records exist about this settlement, which is why archaeologists believe it was the last settlement established, and the first to be abandoned. While we're here, we might meet some of the hunters who seek shelter in the old houses by the sea.

    Musk Oxen and a Norse Settlement - Ivittuut
  12. The Capital of Greenland - Nuuk

    Nuuk is the oldest town in Greenland and situated at the mouth of one of the largest and most spectacular fjord systems in the world. Today, Nuuk is where old and new traditions meet, from picturesque historic buildings in Kolonihaven to the Center for Greenland Home Rule. As the capital, Nuuk also houses a university, a teachers’ training college, churches, and the Greenland National Museum – home to the mummies from Qilakitsoq. City tours, hikes, and possibly even a scenic flight are among the optional excursions you can participate in here.

    The Capital of Greenland - Nuuk
  13. Cruising the Fjord - Kapisillit

    Kapisillit, which means salmon in Greenlandic, is a small settlement of just under 100 people at the head of the Nuuk fjord. The real attraction on this day is the fjord journey to Kapisillit. In calm conditions, the reflection of the mountains in the still fjord waters are breathtaking.

    Cruising the Fjord - Kapisillit
  14. The Venice of Greenland - Maniitsoq

    Since Maniitsoq is situated in an archipelago, intersected by small natural canals, the locals have dubbed the town the 'Venice of Greenland'. Still, situated between the rugged peaks of the Eternity Fjord and huge glaciers, this is where all comparisons to Venice ends. The town name means 'The uneven place,' and refers to the many rocky knolls and small mountains that shape the structural layout of the town. Small roads and wooden stairs connect the colorful houses.

    The exhibitions at Maniitsoq Museum provide a good introduction to local culture and history. The town also has a supermarket, Brugseni, and a few smaller convenience stores. But it is the surrounding landscape that impresses the most, and the area is perfect for kayaking. In the ocean waters nearby, humpback whales are particularly playful and love to show off with aerial acrobatics and tail whips. Enjoy a day exploring this tiny town set in majestic nature. 

    The Venice of Greenland - Maniitsoq
  15. See the Ice Sheet Up Close - Kangerlussuaq

    As we reach Kangerlussuaq, your expedition with MS Roald Amundsen comes to an end. After disembarkation you will join a final excursion to the Greenland ice sheet. This vast, icy wasteland stretches 1,500 miles to the north, and reaches heights of up to 10,500 feet above sea level!

    The road to the edge of the ice sheet boasts beautiful natural scenery ranging from Arctic desert and tundra with low-growing shrubs to hilly terrain offering breathtaking views over the landscape. Enjoy a BBQ meal in the evening before we transfer you to the airport for your night flight to Copenhagen.

    See the Ice Sheet Up Close - Kangerlussuaq
  16. The Stylish Capital of Denmark - Copenhagen, Denmark

    You arrive in the Danish capital early in the morning. Take the time to explore "Wonderful, Wonderful Copenhagen" before you head home.

    The Stylish Capital of Denmark - Copenhagen, Denmark

Contact our travel experts for more details

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