Midnight Sun Exploration to Thule

Copenhagen, Denmark - Kangerlussuaq, the Ice edge of Greenland - Copenhagen, Denmark

Feel the power of nature in the Arctic. See the Greenland Ice Sheet, which stretches 1,500 miles north, covering up to 80% of Greenland. Explore the stunning west coast and settlements such as Dundas and Siorapaluk - the northernmost natural communities in the world, and touch an iceberg with your bare hands in Ilulissat Icefjord.

  • Sail as far north as Qaanaaq – (Thule) in the extreme north of Greenland
  • Discover settlements that are only reachable with boat; the northernmost natural communities in the world.
  • Experience the Illulissat icefjord - a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Enjoy hiking, kayaking and activities under the Midnight Sun

Overview

Stand at the precipice of the gigantic Inland Ice Sheet, and then sail up to the edge of the Arctic sea ice

Greenland’s arctic wilderness offers some of the most spectacular and unspoilt scenery on earth. This 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 created a healthy respect for the environment among the locals, and we witness the unique interaction of man and nature as we sail through a landscape rich in culture, history and wildlife, into the extreme northern lands of the Midnight Sun.

The Inuit Hunting Culture

Sense the power of nature and learn more about the remarkable people that inhabit the area. In Greenland, hunting and fishing have been a crucial part of life for over 4,000 years. Throughout the generations, the Inuit people have created and refined unique products, including kayaks, harpoons, bird spears and high-quality clothing made of animal hide and fur. The fact that even compacted snow, in the form of an igloo, can be used as a temporary shelter, demonstrates this culture's extraordinary ability to utilise materials found in nature.

Wild and Majestic Nature

Explore rarely visited settlements in the high north, such as Upernavik and Siorapaluk.
See Greenland’s colossal icebergs calve into the sea, explore long fjords, lush meadows and a variety of animal life. Greenland’s distinctive animals, the musk ox, reindeer, narwhal and walrus, are among those that you will have the greatest chance of seeing, especially when we are close to the expedition’s starting point, Kangerlussuaq. With daily landings and excursions, including kayaking, hiking and other activities, you will discover the authentic Greenland and meet the people who call it home.

 

Price includes: 

  • Hurtigruten Expedition in cabin grade of your choice on a full board basis
  • Return economy flight Copenhagen to Kangerlussuaq
  • Transfer airport to ship to airport in Kangerlussuaq
  • Excursion towards Icecap incl. dinner after the expedition
  • Wind- and water-resistant jacket
  • Landings with small boats and activities on board and ashore
  • Professional English-speaking Expedition team that give lectures as well as accompany landings and activities
  • Free tea and coffee

Not included: 

  • International flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Luggage handling
  • Optional Excursions and Gratuities

Related voyages

Itinerary

The itinerary

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.

30 July and 14 August, 2018

Departs From Copenhagen/ Kangerlussuaq
Day 1
Kangerlussuaq_Greenland.jpg

Flying north


Location: Copenhagen/ Kangerlussuaq

This expedition starts with a flight from Denmark's charming capital Copenhagen. Less than five hours later you reach the settlement of Kangerlussuaq in Greenland. This small airstrip is the main gateway to Greenland, and on arrival your transfer to the MS Fram.

Day 2
12776152883_e4f4668fc3_o_Humbert_Entress-Visit_Greenland.jpg

Discover Disco Bay


Location: Sisimiut

The Disco Bay area offers fantastic sailing with wildlife and spectacular nature. Colourful villages cling to rough, rocky hills at the feet of the mountains surrounding the inland ice. Join excursions such as kayaking, hiking or other activities. In Sisimiut you can watch the artists make jewellery and crafts from bone, leather and metal. Join a sightseeing tour or hike, and taste Greenlandic specialities in a local restaurant.

Day 3
Qeqertarsuaq_decker-IMG_7976.jpg

Fjords, volcanic history and lush meadows


Location: Qeqertarsuaq

Qeqertarsuaq on Disco Island has many natural features including a deep fjord for kayaking, mountains up to 1919 meters, hot springs, and columnar basalt rocks that evidence a volcanic history. The natural environment around Qeqertarsuaq is so fertile with angelica and diverse species that it is literally like no other place in North Greenland. Join optional excursions like a town walk, kayaking or an ice cruising boat tour. If you like archaeology and history you should definitely pay a visit to the local museum. Alternatively, you can stroll around the settlement on your own.

Day 4
Boy-in-Inuit-kayak_Visit-Greenland-Glenn-Mattsing.jpg

Leave a piece of you heart in the town by the heart shaped mountain


Location: Uummannaq/ Ukkusissat

It is said that when you visit Uummannaq, a piece of your heart remains on the island forever. Whether it is the magic of the heart-shaped mountain, or the sound of children singing as you go ashore, you will find plenty of things to charm you. And you will have opportunities to learn about Inuit culture and to experience the vast landscape with all senses. In Ukkusissat, the small houses are huddled together in the enormity of nature. Our optional excursions in these settlements include meeting the locals or taking a tender boat excursion to a landing at Qilakitsoq where mummies from the Thule era were found.

Day 5
Davis_Straights_shutterstock_189212321.jpg

Sailing north


Location: At sea

As we sail northwest along the Davis Straits towards the Lauge Koch coast, from 71° to 76° North, we pass some of the northernmost settlements in Greenland. In these harsh and remote areas, life is a constant battle against the elements, and you can learn more about this in one of the informative lectures given by our Expedition Team.

Day 6
DSC_4556_Topaz.jpg

Old Thule


Location: Dundas

There is evidence of people living in the settlement now known as Dundas up to 900 years ago. Just north of Mount Dundas, there are a number of archaeological excavation sites, including Comer’s Midden, where several ruins and rubbish heaps containing shells, animal bones and other refuse have been found. In 1910, Danish explorer Knud Rasmussen established a trading post in northwest Greenland and named it after the mythical island of Thule. Rasmussen undertook several expeditions from Thule into the Arctic, where he investigated various Eskimo tribes and researched their myths and legends. The U.S. air base (Dundas) was set up on the site of the old trading post during WW2 and remains to this Day.

Day 7
Siorapaluk_7318.jpg

The last outpost of civilisation


Location: Siorapaluk

Siorapaluk means “little Sands” and was named after the small sandy beach in front of the village. Tall sandstone mountains surround the village in tones of red and purple, ending at the sea in a narrow sand track. You will also see a glacier in the bottom of the small Robertson fjord. This is the world's northernmost inhabited settlement, and as far as you can go north in Greenland and still have electricity, toilets and a shop. It is basically the last outpost of civilisation, only 1362 km from the North Pole. Many of the inhabitants are direct descendants of the last migration of Inuit from Canada in the past century. The main source of income here comes from nature - there is good fishing in the area, and hunting for birds, foxes and hares, seals and walruses. Come ashore to explore this unique Arctic outpost.

Day 8-9
8400843703_331770cd05_o.jpg

Trying to reach 80° N


Location: At sea

We sail to the fringe of the ice, in the wake of pioneers and explorers who sailed here to explore the high north and beyond. We will sail the waterway called Kane Basin, situated between Greenland and Canada's northernmost Island, Ellesmere Island. We will even try to reach 80° North. This area is known as the North Water Polynya, and most of the aquatic life of the Baffin Bay is concentrated near this region.

Day 10
VG-Fram-2015-59.jpg

Top of the world


Location: Qaanaaq (or Thule)

Qaanaaq (or Thule) was the first part of Greenland to be colonised by Inuits from the west more than 4500 years ago. Ancient philosophers called it Ultima Thule, or the edge of known territory. Greenlanders called the area Avanersuaq, the great north. And it really is the extreme north, as it the northernmost town in Greenland, just 30 km from Canada. In 1953 the original village was moved 200 kilometres north to Murchison Sound because the noise of aircrafts from the American airbase nearby disturbed the wildlife on which the Inuit depend. Hunting for seals, whales and polar bears in the traditional way is the main occupation in the town. The people living here are crucial to the Inuit identity as a powerful and pioneering people, and they are often considered proud to be the real people behind the classic associations like making handicrafts and hunting by kayak or dog sled. Visit the Ultima Thule souvenir shop to buy genuine and original artwork and crafts from the Qaanaaq district.

Day 11
08-Ilulissat-45.jpg

Sailing south


Location: At sea

Enjoy a Day at sea as we sail along the remote north-western coast of Greenland. Stay on deck to spot wildlife or attend a lecture given by our Expedition Team.

Day 12
15266330271_7d2f3cc114_o_Mads-Pihl-visitgreenland.com.jpg

The bay of islands and ice


Location: Upernavik

The Upernavik archipelago has islands as far as the eye can see; the Upernavik Icefjord to the north, and the world's largest bird cliff (Apparsuit) to the south. For centuries, the locals have migrated to Upernavik during the spring to take advantage of the rich hunting grounds. Many of the locals still go hunting and fishing, and in August you can witness the muskox-hunting season in the backcountry. This small settlement lies at 72° 47' N and 56° 10' W, 800 km north of the Arctic Circle, and everything is within walking distance. The town is also home to the world’s northernmost open-air museum, where you can learn more about colonial and Viking histories. When you explore the waters in a kayak you may be surprised to discover that a distant island turns out to be a massive iceberg instead.

Day 13
Eqip_Sermia_Glacier_084_CIMG1168.jpg

Witness the true power of nature


Location: Eqip Sermia

Today, you will have a unique opportunity to witness the true power of nature on a visit to the Eqip Sermia Glacier, which calves icebergs into the open ocean. We will use the ship’s tender boats to go ashore in this beautiful area. If you're feeling more active, you can take a short hike on your own in the area. Everybody who goes ashore is invited to a barbecue dinner with a great view of the glacier.

Day 14
Greenland_Fram_06-07-2012_Ilulissat_2537_edit.jpg

All about the ice


Location: Ilulissat

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. It runs directly from the Greenland Ice Cap, and it produces 10 % of all icebergs in Greenland. The icebergs float out into the open sea just outside the town before they begin their journey northwards, later becoming part of the Atlantic Ocean. These mighty icebergs are by nature unique and no two are alike. Marvel at how the icebergs change from white and blue to shades of orange and red when struck by the Midnight Sun, and hear the icebergs’ soundtrack of cracking and rumbling echoes 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.

Day 15
Greenland_Fram_30-06-2012_Itilleq_1185_edit.jpg

The Arctic Circle Village


Location: Itilleq

Itilleq means "the hollow", and as its name suggests, this small settlement is situated in a hollow, majestically surrounded by high mountains and glaciers. With the Arctic Circle passing just 200 metres south of the village centre, Itilleq can rightly claim the title of ‘the Arctic Circle Village’.  The 130 people who live here are mainly engaged in hunting and fishing activities. The island has no fresh water, so its inhabitants have to use a facility that makes fresh water from seawater. The town's church has an interesting history: It was built in Thule (Umanak, North Greenland) in 1930 and was moved to Itilleq in 1963.

Day 16
26_Kangerlussuaq-6669.jpg

The end of the expedition


Location: Kangerlussuaq

As we reach Kangerlussuaq, your expedition with MS Fram has come to an end. Take the opportunity to 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 metres 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 breath-taking views over the landscape. Your plane to Copenhagen leaves late in the evening.

Day 17
1200x600_Copenhagen_©Heather_Poon_day1.png
Photo: Heather Poon Photo

Wonderful, wonderful


Location: Copenhagen

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

15 August and 30 August 2018

Location Copenhagen
Your ship Things to see and do

Videos

Immerse yourself in the adventures you can experience on a voyage to Greenland

Extend your holiday

Getting you there

Please contact us if you wish to add on return flights and airport transfers to Reykjavik or Copenhagen.