From the Wilderness of Newfoundland and Labrador to the Magic of Iceland

Halifax, Canada - Reykjavik, Iceland

The rugged Atlantic coastline of Canada features evergreen forests and rolling farmland, breath-taking mountains and remote settlements. Going from Halifax in Canada to Reykjavik in Iceland via Labrador and Newfoundland, this expedition will give you a taste of wilderness, historical settlements, fishing villages and natural beauty.

  • Explore the spectacular landscape of Newfoundland, Labrador and Iceland
  • Visit remote and historic settlements
  • Sight wildlife, on land and at sea
  • Explore UNESCO sites, Gros Morne National Park, Red Bay and L’Anse aux Meadows

Overview

Exploring the coastline of Newfoundland and Labrador in Canada is an amazing adventure, with a national park, several different settlements and some intriguing cities. Although the area is wild and remote, you’ll probably be surprised by the rich history here, along with stunning scenery and exotic wildlife on our journey between Canada and Iceland. Learn about the fascinating history of the tribes who lived in the area for thousands of years, and the people living here today.

Starting in Halifax, we cruise along the eastern shores of Nova Scotia to visit the historic city of Louisbourg, known for its French Fortress. Then the people of the idyllic outpost Îles de la Madeleine will amaze you with their ability to live and endure the powerful wind and ocean storms of their environment.

Wild and wonderful

Bonne Bay and Gros Morne National Park are two highlights of a Newfoundland trip. The landscape of deep valleys, steep cliffs, sandy beaches and the spectacular fjord system is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Moose, caribou, fox, black bears, ptarmigans and eagles are a common sight here. This ancient landscape is simply unforgettable.

Immerse yourself in the whaling history and great natural beauty of Red Bay, before seeing St. Anthony and remains from the 1000-year-old Viking settlement in L’Anse aux Meadows. Charming Battle Harbour is a wilderness adventure destination with lots of history, icebergs and wildlife.

Iceland; not just a destination, an adventure

We cross the North Atlantic to explore an island shaped by the forces of nature. The beautifully barren landscapes demonstrate the creative powers of the four elements; earth, air, fire, and water, in a very dramatic way. Here you have a chance to explore the natural wonders of Isafjörður and Stykkíshólmur, before the expedition ends in Iceland’s capital Reykjavik.

Price includes: 

  • Hurtigruten Expedition in cabin grade of your choice on a full board basis
  • 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 accompany landings and activities
  • Free tea and coffee

Not included: 

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

10 May 2018

Departs From Halifax
Day 1
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A modern face, a historic heart


Location: Halifax

It was Halifax’s natural harbour that first drew the British here in 1749. Today, most sites are located along the waterfront or in the Citadel-crowned hill overlooking this harbour. The 260-year-old provincial capital presents Nova Scotia’s strikingly modern districts bordering the historic heart of town. Both hip and historic, Halifax is well worth an extra Day or two before you embark on your expedition with MS Fram.

Day 2
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Where the past is present


Location: Louisbourg

Sailing along the eastern shores of Nova Scotia, we head for the large island of Cape Breton. Then we reach Louisbourg, home to the historic jewel, the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site. Here, you can experience what life was like in the bustling French fortified town of Louisbourg in 1744. You can also choose to spend the Day combing a secluded beach or go scuba diving among shipwrecks. As you might expect, the rugged coastal setting offers up plenty of outdoor adventure, with brilliant hiking and biking trails. As one of the busiest crab and lobster fishing villages in the Maritimes, Louisbourg Wharf is the perfect place to watch the Day’s catch coming in, and maybe sample some fresh seafood.

Day 3
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Shaped by wind and waves


Location: Îles de la Madeleine

Twelve islands make up the roughly 100 km long sand archipelago called Îles de la Madeleine. The six largest of these islands are connected by many kilometres of thin sand dunes, peppered with fuzzy tufts of grass. Shaped by wind and waves, the iron-rich red and grey sandstone cliffs amaze with their spectacular forms. The coastline of beaches is dotted with harbours, multi-coloured houses and picturesque bays. We dock in Cap-aux-Melules, home to more than half of the archipelago’s population. Long before the arrival of Europeans, native people came to the islands to fish and hunt for seal and sea cows. Preceded by Basque fishermen, Jaques Cartier arrived in 1534 and wrote in his logbook the first recorded reference to the islands. By 1765, the islands were inhabited by 22 French-speaking Acadians and their families. The locals who live here today are called Madelinots, and they identify themselves both as Acadians and Québécois. Others are descendants of survivors from the more than 400 shipwrecks on the island. Come ashore and discover this little outpost, where high winds and ocean storms are a part of life. Have a bite to eat at Café la Côte, Pas Perdu, Café d’Chez Nous or something to drink at Bar Le Central to feel the island’s bohemian pulse. If you feel like being active, you can go kayaking or enjoy a hike in this relatively flat terrain.

Day 4
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A natural UNESCO World Heritage Site


Location: Bonne Bay

Scenic Bonne Bay is among Newfoundland’s most beautiful bays - a deep mountainous fjord located on Newfoundland’s breath-taking west coast, that divides the Gros Morne National Park in two. Gros Morne is a combination of protected areas and small coastal communities with a rich culture and tradition of fishing and logging. From deck you can see the Tablelands Mountains - flat-topped rock outcroppings that are usually found deep in the earth’s mantle. Their geological uniqueness is the main reason the park has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It took millions of years to mould the mountains into what we can see today, and the sight is truly beautiful and awe-inspiring. Woody Point, in the south of the park, is a charming community of old houses and imported Lombardy poplars. Moose, caribou, fox, black bears, ptarmigans and eagles are all a common sight here. A visit to the higher regions of this ancient landscape will be unforgettable.

Day 5
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16th century Basque whaling


Location: Red Bay

Red Bay embodies the essence of modern Labrador coastal living amid a tapestry of rich culture and history. From 1530, Red Bay was a centre for Basque whaling operations. For more than 70 years, these whalers made the dangerous, month-long journey across the Atlantic to hunt whales and produce the oil that lit the lamps of Europe. At its peak, some 2500 whalers on 50 ships from France and Spain came to hunt right and bowhead whales for blubber. The discovery of galleons and chalupas used for this whale hunting made Red Bay one of the most exquisite underwater archaeological sites in America, and the Red Bay Basque Whaling Station is now on the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Today you can wander around this former whaling town and immerse yourself in history. Tracey Hill Trail is a boardwalk consisting of 689 steps, descriptive panels, rest stops and 2 coin-operated telescopes, with a breath-taking view of Red Bay. Walk along the Bone Shore Trail that leads to where the whalers discarded whalebones. Take a hike along the beach and step into the interpretation centre to see an eight-metre chalupa, which whalers used on the ocean to harpoon their giant catch. To get a full appreciation for the size of these whales, compare the chalupa to the assembled collections of whalebones displayed. These showcase a time of prosperity and dangerous adventure, illustrating a long-ago way of life. Take a kayak trip to Saddle Island Trail where you can see the remnants of the ovens where whale blubber was rendered into oil and the graves of some 130 men who died here. And if you feel like going treasure hunting while we are here, local legend has it that the infamous pirate Captain Kidd hid a treasure in the Pond on the Hill.

Day 6
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“Let Your Spirit Sail”


Location: St. Anthony

As we make our way even further north, we arrive in St. Anthony, a remote town set in a perfect natural harbour. The oceans here contain an astonishing amount of icebergs and are also feeding grounds for large numbers of whales. Seals, dolphins and porpoises are not uncommon sights either. Just outside the town border is a vast wilderness of pristine valleys and lake-dotted mountains, and maybe the highest density of moose and woodland caribou in the world. Other wildlife include the enormous black bear, coyote, wolf, snowshoe hare and Arctic hare. Come ashore to visit the town, and see the Fishing Point Municipal Park. The Grenfell museum depicts the life and times of Sir Wilfred Grenfell, a medical missionary who devoted his life's work to Northern Newfoundland and Labrador. For the best view of the area, hike up the Tea House Hill trail to the viewing platform or try the Whale Watching trail. For some Viking history, you can join the excursion to L’Anse aux Meadows. At the tip of Newfoundland’s Great Northern Peninsula you find the first known evidence of European presence in America. This is where a Norse expedition sailed from Greenland and found a beautiful land with rugged cliffs and marshlands over a thousand years ago. They built a small camp, and in 1960 two Norwegian archaeologists started the excavation and discovered the fascinating remains of this Viking encampment. In 1979 L´Anse aux Meadows became a UNESCO World Heritage Site. On the recreated camp you will find original artifacts from this internationally renowned archaeological find.

Day 7
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History and extreme nature


Location: Battle Harbour

Located on the edge of the Labrador Sea, Battle Harbour is a nature lover’s paradise. The waters here are teeming with life and drama, with ancient ice and icebergs carved by nature. On shore you find beautiful historic buildings in the middle of the wild nature. Once, Battle Harbour was the bustling salt fish capital of Labrador. Today, the houses, stores, fishery buildings and churches have been restored and filled with historical original items. Soak up the atmosphere and fully experience the sounds of the ocean and the simple pleasures of times past. As it is a great wilderness adventure destination, this is where you can encounter whales, dolphins, seabirds, Arctic foxes, icebergs and the spectacular island scenery on one of our hikes or boat tours.

Day 8-11
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Crossing the North Atlantic


Location: At sea

Leaving the coast of Labrador and Canada behind, we head out at sea, course set for Iceland. Ahead lies roughly 1300 nautical miles of open water across a stretch of the North Atlantic Ocean. Thousands before us have plied these waters. In early times, their boats were small and ill equipped, and their destinations were unknown. Today you can sit back and relax as modern navigational systems guide us to our desired destination. It doesn’t get any less exciting, just safer. The Days at sea will be busy with lectures and you’ll have time to chat with fellow travellers, perhaps to summarize what you have seen and done so far. Also take your time to stay out on the open decks. Breathe the salt air, feel the wind and look for birds, mammals and icebergs.

Day 12
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The Westfjords of Iceland


Location: Ísafjörður

As we sail south we reach the west region of Iceland. Thanks to the ancient volcanoes, this remarkable landscape towers above the deep fjords. Ísafjörður is nature at its finest, and as we arrive you will understand why the area is dubbed “The Sagaland”. Take a stroll around this cosy town and enjoy its diverse architecture. You’ll find the country’s oldest dwelling here, along with fine examples of timber houses built by wealthy foreign traders in the 18th century. Ísafjörður is also home of the best bakery in Iceland, Gamla Bakaríið, which means this is a place you should visit during our stay here. Our optional excursions offer a variety of experiences from hikes to tastings of local food.

Day 13
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The town of Thousands Islands


Location: Stykkíshólmur

Stykkishólmur is located by Breiðafjörður Bay on the north of Snæfellsnes peninsula, and is surrounded by so many islands that they can’t be counted. There are many reasons for people flocking to this idyllic town, but the conservation of cultural heritage and history, as well as its environmental awareness, plays a big role. Some of the biggest attractions are the old houses you will find in the midtown, feeling like a place from a different time. The town and its inhabitants have systematically rehabilitated these houses, and they have gained new and exciting purposes. What was once a library is now an art installation, a fish-packing house is now a restaurant, the old recreation centre is now a volcano museum. Other places of interest include the swimming pool with its Fresenius certified water, which locals claim has regenerative powers, and several hiking trails. Close by you will also find Snæfellsjökull National Park with its mysterious Snæfellsjökull glacier, author Jules Verne's entrance to the centre of the earth. 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 horse riding.

Day 14
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Tími til að kveðja (time to say goodbye)


Location: Reykjavik

Reykjavik is the world’s northernmost capital city, and this is where your expedition ends. 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 such a profound impression. The surroundings offer fantastic natural beauty with geysers, mountains, glaciers and geothermal baths. If you have some time, explore mythical Iceland before you fly home.

10 May 2018

Location Reykjavik
Your ship Extend your holiday

Getting you there

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