Grand Arctic Traverse

Tromsø - Jan Mayen - Iceland - Greenland

Join us for an expedition unlike anything else in this hemisphere. See the Lofoten Islands, the exotic Jan Mayen, Iceland and the south and western parts of Greenland - some of which are only accessible by boat. The spectacular scenery, fantastic fjords and the Midnight Sun providea a stunning backdrop to this diverse voyage.

  • Visit the Lofoten Islands, Iceland and Greenland in one expedition
  • Engage in fascinating lectures on popular environmental and historical topics from the Expedition Team
  • Take part in a variety of landings, excursions and activities to fully explore the wonderous Arctic destinations
  • Experience the Midnight Sun, a surreal summer phenomenon

Overview

This is an expedition that is unlike anything else in this hemisphere. See the Lofoten Islands, the exotic Jan Mayen, Iceland and the south and west parts of Greenland.

Arctic Norway

Tromsø is often referred to as "The Gateway to the Arctic". Young, ambitious explorers like Roald Amundsen came to town to recruit capable hands for future adventures. Your adventure starts here as well. First we spend two days exploring the stunning Vesterålen and Lofoten Islands which are known for their extreme natural beauty. As we cross the Norwegian Sea, the only island you will see between the Norwegian mainland and Iceland is Jan Mayen. Being this far north and this isolated, there are no permanent settlers here, aside from for the 18 people working at the Norwegian radio and meteorological station. If you see them, give them a wave!

History, culture and wild coastal landscapes on the Saga island

Iceland is located at the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, which runs right through it. 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. We will spend three days discovering many of Iceland's secrets, both of nature and of culture.

Explore the heart of Greenland

From Iceland we continue to the less-visited parts of southern Greenland, and then onwards to the highlights of Disco Bay. En route we will visit traditional Inuit settlements and other places of historical interest. You will experience Greenland’s fascinating culture, visit historical sites from the Viking era, and see impressive alpine landscapes and the Ilulissat Icefjord. The spectacular scenery and the midnight sun provide a stunning backdrop to this expedition.

On sale

Plant your flag - On board credit offer

Book an expedition to Antarctica, Greenland, Canada, the Amazon or Europe departing in 2017/18 and you will receive up to £500pp on board credit to spend. Make the most of your time sailing exotic shores and put this credit towards any purchase on board - be it a cabin upgrade, excursions, or souvenirs from the gift store. Book before 30 December 2016.

Your holiday price includes

  • Hurtigruten Expedition voyage in cabin grade of your choice on a full board basis
  • Transfer ship to airport in Kangerlussuaq
  • Excursion towards Icecap including dinner after the voyage
  • Economy flight Kangerlussuaq-Copenhagen
  • Wind- and water-resistant jacket
  • Landings 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

Note 

  • Prices are in GBP per person
  • All planned landings are subject to weather and ice conditions
  • All itineraries are subject to change
  • Rubber boots rental service on board free of charge
Itinerary

The itinerary

This is an expedition where the elements rule, and the weather, wind and ice conditions will determine our schedule. Safety is paramount and the captain will decide the final sailing itinerary during the voyage. Hence, this itinerary is just an indication of what you can experience and why every expedition with Hurtigruten is unique.

5 June 2017

Departure port Tromsø, Norway
Day 1
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Photo: Hurtigruten Photo

The Gateway to the Arctic


Location: Tromsø

When Roald Amundsen recruited members to his famous expeditions, he travelled to Tromsø in order to find men (yes – it was men only those days!) with navigational experience in icy ocean; men who knew how to survive with minimal means in the Arctic – men that had, against all odds, survived against all odds on overwintering in Svalbard by trapping and hunting.

Today, Tromsø is the refined version of itself 100 years ago. You still find the most competent people on Arctic operations here; the academics who investigate the Arctic in light of global warming and the melting pot between indigenous people and immigrants from Europe. Tromsø is in short still the Arctic gateway and a natural starting point for many expeditions heading even deeper into the polar waters – exactly what you are about to experience.

Day 2
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Photo: Hurtigruten Photo

The most beautiful islands in the world


Location: Vesterålen and Lofoten Islands

We reach the Vesterålen Islands early next morning. As we sail along the coast there are strong chances of spotting whales from the deck, as they usually feed in the area. Myre is one of the largest fishing villages in Norway, and a place to experience local culture and enjoy hikes. In the evening we will sail through the narrow Raftsund between Lofoten and Vesterålen, with mountains stretching up 1,200 metres straight from the sea. You will then experience something extraordinary as we sail into the pristine Trollfjord. The midnight sun and sea eagles circling around the mountain peaks will make it even more memorable. 

Day 3
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Photo: Neuer Ordner Photo

The fishing village


Location: Henningsvær, Lofoten Islands

The picturesque fishing village of Henningsvær is situated at the foot of Mount Vågakaillen, and consists of a group of isles and islets spread out at random in the blue waters of the Vestfjord. With the mountain at its back and otherwise surrounded by the sea, Henningsvær was a natural hub of activity during the Lofoten Winter Fishery, and in the 1800’s, the island community prospered, and Henningsvær became one of the most prominent fishing villages in Lofoten.

Unlike many other fishing villages, the population of Henningsvær has remained stable in recent years, and there are still over 500 people living there. The islands were not connected to the rest of Lofoten by bridges until 1981, a fact that probably helped save the community from the contemporary style of architecture with its preference for concrete blocks, that otherwise left its mark on just about all other Norwegian towns and villages in the 60’s and 70’s. Come ashore and discover the combination of an active, vibrant environment and well-preserved architecture that makes Henningsvær something quite unique. After our visit to Henningsvær we will navigate through the 18 kilometre long tide water current of Gimsøystraumen. This is a very scenic goodbye to Lofoten Islands for now.

Day 4
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Photo: Hurtigruten Photo

Sailing the Norwegian Sea


Location: Norwegian Sea

After Lofoten we are heading to the Norwegian Sea, between the North Sea and the Greenland Sea. It joins the North Atlantic Ocean to the west and the Barents Sea to the north east. Unlike many other seas, most of the bottom of the Norwegian Sea is not a part of the continental shelf. Depths are about 2 kilometres on average. Rich deposits of oil and natural gas are found under the sea floor. The warm North Atlantic Current gives a stable and high water temperature which makes it ice free throughout the winter. This is an excellent day to participate in expert lectures from our expedition team as we sail towards Jan Mayen.

Day 5
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Photo: Tom Lennie Photo

One of the most isolated islands in the world


Location: Jan Mayen

Jan Mayen is Norwegian territory and one of the most isolated islands in the world. The closest other land mass is Iceland some 600 kilometers away and Norway, almost 1000 kilometers to the east.

The volcano Beerenberg is the northernmost active volcano on earth and had its last eruption in 1985. It is also one of the highest mountains in Norway with its perfectly coned shape and a summit at 2277 meters above sea level. In the 16th century, Dutch whalers operated out of Jan Mayen and today a Norwegian weather station holds a few souls all year round having mail dropped from a plane occasionally.

Tourists visiting Jan Mayen are extremely rare, especially being able to land on the shores. The crew and captain on MS Fram and the expedition team will do their best to make it possible to set foot on this exotic outpost. This will be an experience of a lifetime.

Day 6
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Towards the Saga Island


Location: Greenland Sea

From Jan Mayen we head towards Iceland. Following the Mid-Atlantic Ridge that divides the North American and the Eurasian continental plate, we enter into the Greenland Sea on this crossing. The Greenlandic Ocean borders to Greenland to the west and the Svalbard archipelago to the East. The complex water current system was first described in detail in 1909 by Fridtjof Nansen. This area was also a popular whale-hunting ground for 300-years until the beginning of the 20th century. The remaining whales of the area have been protected since 1911.

Day 7
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Photo: Shutterstock Photo

Where the Arctic Circle meets Iceland


Location: Grímsey

Grímsey is where the Arctic Circle touches Iceland, and we will use our Polarcirkel boats to reach this green and grassy island inhabited by thousands of puffins. The Arctic Circle cuts across the island and you can even step across that line.

Day 8
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Photo: Thomas Mauch Photo

The Sagaland


Location: Stykkishólmur

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 horse riding.

Day 9
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Smoky Bay


Location: Reykjavik

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 such a profound impression. The surroundings offer fantastic natural beauty with geysers, mountains, glaciers and geothermal baths.

Day 10
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Towards Greenland


Location: Denmark Strait

We leave Iceland behind and sail across the Denmark Strait in order to reach Greenland. The Denmark Strait connects the Greenland Sea to the Irminger Sea. This crossing is the one the Vikings had to use while migrating from Iceland to South Greenland some 1000 years ago. As clever as they were, the Vikings would look at the direction of the flight of the sea birds to find land.

The Denmark Strait was also a battle ground during WW2 between ships of the Royal Navy and the German Kriegsmarine on the 24th of May 1941. The British battle ship HMS Prince of Wales fought the largest German battle ship Bismarck which was attempting to break in to the North Atlantic to attack allied merchant marine.

Day 11
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Through the narrow channel


Location: Prins Christian Sund / Nunap Isua

We sail through the narrow channel of Prins Christian Sund and enjoy the spectacular scenery here. It is one of the most picturesque stretches with land lining both sides, alpine landscapes and a number of glaciers. If the channel is blocked with ice, we will sail around Nunap Isua (Cape Farewell).

Day 12
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Photo: Mads Pihl Photo

A colourful contrast


Location: Qassiarsuk

In Qassiarsuk you will find green fields dotted with white sheep, lush vegetation and busy farmsteads; this forms a colourful contrast to the icescapes at sea. Qassiarsuk is also where Viking Erik the Red built his Brattahlíð estate in 982 A.D. It is a great area to try optional activities such as kayaking, hiking, or exploring the town on foot.  

Day 13
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Kaffemik and colourful houses


Location: Hvalsey and Qaqortoq

In Hvalsey you will find some of the best-preserved ruins from the Norse period; Hvalsey Church was probably built in the 14th century. We use Polarcirkel boats to get ashore so you can explore the area for yourself. Many consider Qaqortoq one of the most beautiful towns in Greenland due to the colourful houses. The excursions we 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 meet. The sailing towards Hvalsey is magnificent to see with land lining both sides.

Day 14
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The oldest town in Greenland


Location: Nuuk

Nuuk is the oldest town in Greenland founded by the Danish-Norwegian missionary Hans Egede in 1728. The name Nuuk means peninsula, an accurate description of the city’s location, on the tip of a large peninsula at the mouth of one of the largest and most spectacular fjord systems in the world. City tours and hikes are among the optional excursions in this modern city.

Day 15
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Photo: Thomas Haltner Photo

Wildlife wonderland


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. The main trade is fishing, and the town accommodates a large fleet of trawlers, a shipyard and a fish factory. Sisimiut is the southernmost of the towns on the western coast of Greenland where sleigh dogs can be found.

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 16
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Photo: Chelsea Claus Photo

Ilulissat Icefjord


Location: Ilulissat

Icebergs are called Ilulissat in Greenlandic, and it comes as no surprise to anyone who has been here that this is the town’s name. This is the third largest town in Greenland with a population of about 5,000.

Ilulissat is set in marvellous surroundings at Ilulissat Icefjord. The area was added to on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2004. You will see enormous icebergs run aground at the mouth of the fjord, just outside the town. There are a variety of optional shore excursions including hikes, a town walk with a historical theme and a boat tour to the Icefjord.

Day 17
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Photo: Thomas Haltner Photo

The hollow


Location: Itilleq

Today we reach the small settlement of Itilleq. Itilleq means “the hollow” and as the name suggests, the village is situated in a hollow, majestically surrounded by high mountains and glaciers. It can truthfully be called the Arctic Circle Village as the Arctic Circle is found only 200 metres to the south.

The village has around 130 inhabitants who are mainly involved in hunting and fishing. Visit one of the families that live here, buy some of the area's arts and crafts, or even enjoy a game of football with the locals.

Day 18
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Photo: Hurtigruten Photo

The almighty Ice Cap


Location: Kangerlussuaq/Copenhagen

Kangerlussuaq is situated at the end of the Kangerlussuaq fjord and this is where the expedition ends. It is a small settlement in the Sisimiut community with just under 600 people living and working there.

Kangerlussuaq is only 40 kilometres from the immense Greenland Ice Cap. This indescribable icy waste land stretches 2,500 kilometers from North to South and nearly 1,000 kilometers from East to West at the widest part of the country. The tallest point of the Ice Cap is 3,200 meters above sea level. The unpaved road goes through a wide variety of the most beautiful natural scenery, from Arctic desert to tundra with low growing shrubs, and through hilly terrain with a grand view of the edge of the Ice Cap.

After disembarking you can join an excursion to the Ice Cap before you take the night flight to Copenhagen.

Day 19
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Photo: Heather Poon Photo

The city awaits


Location: Copenhagen

Your flight arrives in Copenhagen early in the morning.

22 June 2017

Location Copenhagen, Denmark
Your ship Things to see and do

Excursions

Challenge your inner explorer and experience everything that this voyage has to offer with our diverse range of optional excursions.

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 Tromsø and Copenhagen.