Iceland & Greenland – The Viking Heritage (Itinerary 2)
Duration: 17 days
Ship: MS Fram
July 11, 2019
- Experience true wilderness and amazing birdlife on Iceland
- Explore some of the most spectacular and unspoilt scenery on earth
- Visit historic sites from the Viking era
- Discover the majesty of the Ilulissat Icefjord, a UNESCO World Heritage site
- Day 1 Reykjavik
- Day 2 Stykkishólmur
- Day 3-4 At Sea
- Day 5 Prince Christian Sound
- Day 6 Uunartoq and Qaqortoq
- Day 7 Igaliku and Hvalsey
- Day 8 Qassiarsuk
- Day 9 Ivittuut
- Day 10 Nuuk
- Day 11 Itilleq
- Day 13 Camp Frieda
- Day 13 Ilulissat
- Day 14 Qeqertarsuaq
- Day 15 Sisimiut
- Day 16 Kangerlussuaq
- Day 17 Copenhagen
Reykjavik is the world’s northernmost capital city. Norwegian settlers named the place Reykjavik (meaning 'Smoky Bay') after the columns of steam that rose from the hot springs in the area and made a profound impression. The surroundings offer fantastic natural beauty with geysers, mountains, glaciers and geothermal baths that are well worth exploring before embarking on MS Fram.
As we reach the west region of Iceland, you will understand why this area is dubbed the Sagaland. Take your time to explore Stykkishólmur’s diversity with lava and rock formations, glaciers, volcanic activity, and hot and cold springs. Participate in a range of exciting excursions such as kayaking, hiking and more.
We leave Iceland behind and sail across the Denmark Strait to reach Greenland. The Denmark Strait connects the Greenland Sea to the Erminger Sea. This crossing was used by the Vikings to migrate from Iceland to South Greenland some 1,000 years ago. They calculated their distance to land by tracking the direction of flight of sea birds. The Denmark Strait was also a WWII battleground, with the Royal Navy and German Kriegsmarine battling on the May 24, 1941. The British battle ship HMS Prince of Whales fought the largest German battle ship, the Bismarck, which was attempting to reach the North Atlantic in order to attack the allied merchant marine.
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 500 yards wide. This long fjord system is surrounded by steep mountains, some more than 3,900 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).
Come ashore on the uninhabited island of Uunartoq. This small island is blessed with natural hot springs warm enough to swim in. Scattered around the island are a number of pools fed by hot springs bubbling up from the ground below, keeping the water temperature a balmy 93-98 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. Many consider Qaqortoq one of the most beautiful towns in Greenland for it's array of colorful houses. The excursions on offer here include an interesting visit to the only tannery in Greenland, a city walk with guide, and a kaffemik to meet the locals and share a traditional open-house coffee.
Igaliku is one of the most beautiful villages in Greenland. This is the oldest sheep farming settlement on the island, and on arrival you will see tall mountains with peaks covered by snow during summer, 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 tranquillity and peace 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 make up 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 tender boats to come ashore to give you the chance to explore the area for yourself.
In Qassiarsuk, you will find green fields dotted with white sheep, lush vegetation and busy farmsteads; all this forms a colorful contrast to the icescapes at sea. Qassiarsuk is also where Viking Erik the Red built his Brattahlíð estate in 982 A.D. He was banished from Iceland and escaped to the land he called Greenland. Erik 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.
The abandoned mining town of Ivittuut is a stronghold for musk oxen. The settlement was built on top of the so-called Norse Middle settlement. More than a thousand years ago, Vikings settled the area with about twenty farms. It is the smallest and least well known of the Norse settlements on Greenland, and no written records of its residents have been found. This is why archaeologists believe it was the last one established, and the first to be abandoned. We might meet some of the hunters who return to seek shelter in the old houses by the sea.
Nuuk is the oldest town in Greenland and is situated at the mouth of one of the largest and most spectacular fjord systems in the world. Today this is where old and new traditions meet, from picturesque historic buildings in ”Kolonihaven” to the center for Greenland Home Rule. Being the capital, Nuuk also houses a university, a teachers training college, churches and the Greenland National Museum - home to the mummies from Qilakilsoq. City tours, hikes and possibly a scenic flight are amongst the optional excursions.
Itilleq means “the hollow”, and as its name suggests, this small settlement is situated in a hollow, majestically surrounded by high mountains and glaciers. Around 130 people live here, mainly engaged in hunting and fishing. The island has no freshwater, and for this reason Itilleq makes use of a facility for creating freshwater from seawater. The church here has an interesting history: It was built in Thule (Umanak- North Greenland) in 1930 and was moved to Itilleq in 1963. Itilleq can truthfully be called the Arctic Circle Village, as the Arctic Circle is indeed found only 200 metres to the south.
We will visit a location near Saqqaq, around 70°N, 51°W, that was without an official name until 2013. The place has special significance to Friederike Bronny, one of our Expedition team members. As a young geology student, she spent a year in a tent in this small valley. She also visited the spot several times later as an Expedition Leader.
A few years ago, MS Fram was planning to land here, and the captain needed to inform the authorities. Unfortunately, this particular site didn’t have a name. So the captain said, ‘At Hurtigruten we call it “Camp Frieda”.’ Not long after, the authorities relayed back that, from that moment on, Camp Freida would be the official name of the position.
Ilulissat is set in the stunning scenery of the Ilulissat Icefjord. The area was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2004. Just outside the town, at the mouth of the fjord, you can often see enormous icebergs that have run aground. They originate from the Jakobshavn Glacier, one of the most productive glaciers in the Northern Hemisphere. These mighty icebergs are unique - no two are alike. Marvel at the changes in hue of the ice - from white and blue to shades of orange and red - when the iceberg surface is struck by the midnight sun. Hear the icebergs’ soundtrack of cracking and rumbling, as the sounds echo from one end of Ilulissat to the other. We offer a variety of optional shore excursions such as hikes, historic town walks and a boat tour to the Icefjord.
Qeqertarsuaq is the only town situated on the volcanic island of Disko. Greenlandic legend says that two seal hunters were annoyed that the island stood in their way. Using a single hair from an infant, they towed the island up north behind their kayaks. A witch in Ilulissat did not like this lush, green island approaching, and cast a spell on it to run aground. This verdant island in the midst of ice offers amazing Arctic experiences.
Join optional excursions like a guided town tour, kayaking or an ice cruising boat trip. If you like archaeology and history, you should definitely pay a visit to the local museum. Feel free to stroll around the settlement on your own
Sisimiut is situated 40 km north of the Arctic Circle. The name means “the people living in a place where there are fox dens”. This is the second largest town in Greenland, a modern settlement that maintains ancient traditions. Our optional shore excursions include hikes, boat trips and sightseeing. You can also watch local artists sculpt jewellery and crafts from bone, leather and metal, or taste Greenlandic specialities in a local restaurant.
As we reach Kangerlussuaq, your expedition with MS Fram has come to an end. After debarkation you will join a final excursion to the Greenland Ice Sheet. This vast icy wasteland stretches 1,500 miles north and reaches heights of up to 3,200 meters 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. Your plane to Copenhagen leaves late in the evening.
You arrive in the Danish capital early in the morning and may even have the time to explore "Wonderful, Wonderful Copenhagen" before you head home.
Included in Your Expedition
- Hurtigruten expedition in the cabin grade of your choice on a full board basis
- Transfer from the ship to the airport in Kangerlussuaq
- Excursion to the ice sheet, including a barbecue meal after the cruise
- Coach-class flight from Kangerlussuaq to Copenhagen
- Wind- and water-resistant jacket
- Landings with small boats and activities on board and ashore
- Professional English-speaking expedition team that gives lectures as well as accompanies landings and activities
- Complimentary tea and coffee
Not Included In Your Expedition
- International flights
- Travel protection plan
- Luggage handling
- Optional excursions and gratuities
This cruise is not suitable for guests using wheelchairs due to the possibility of using tender boats during embarkation or disembarkation.
|Year of refurbishment||2020|
|Length||114 m / 374 ft|
|Beam||20.2 m / 66 ft|
The original Fram was the most famous explorer ship of its time, and the achievements of her expeditions are unparalleled. MS Fram honors the heritage of the original Fram, using the most advanced technology and making her exceptionally well suited for expedition voyages in polar regions.
Stykkishólmur - Highlights of Snæfellsnes
Caves, Craters & Coves
Hiking in the Berserk Lava Field
Great Greenland Tannery
Igaliku Historic Sites and Settlement
Boat Trip to the Qooroq Icefjord
Eric the Red Settlement Walk
Nuuk City Tour
Lille Malene Hike
Cultural History Walk
Boat Trip to the Icefjord
Hike to Holms Bakke
Ilulissat City Walk
Qeqertarsuaq Town Walk
Hike to the Basalt Columns
Boat Trip to Assaqutaq
Hike to Palasip Qaqqaa
See Sisimiut by Bus
Extend Your Cruise
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