Thule, North and Beyond

Kangerlussuaq - Thule - Kangerlussuaq

Touch an iceberg with your bare hands and marvel at the power of nature in Greenland. Discover the authentic culture and local people who call it home on this expedition along the north-west coast. This iconic voyage to the last frontier of the north has returned due to popular demand.

  • Enjoy a holiday under the marvellous Midnight Sun, an amazing natural summer phenomenon
  • Wonder at Greenland’s stunning nature as your travel to Thule, the border of the known world
  • Sail all the way along the edge of the Greenland Ice Sheet
  • Learn more about the fascinating Inuit culture and history

Overview

The history of the people of Greenland is at the core of this journey. See abandoned settlements which were first inhabited 900 years ago. Visit the northernmost community in the world and sail right up to the edge of the Greenland Ice Sheet, which has a huge impact on the country's climate and culture. Meet the friendly people who live here today, and discover their traditional way of life.

The Inuit Hunting Culture

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

Stand at the edge of the gigantic Greenland Ice Sheet, which stretches 1,500 miles north, covering up to 80% of the island. Enjoy exploring rarely visited settlements such as Upernavik and Siorapaluk, touch an iceberg with your bare hands and marvel at the power of nature in Ilulissat Icefjord. With daily landings and excursions, including kayaking, hiking and other activities, you will discover the authentic Greenland and really meet the people who call it home.

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
  • Return economy flight Copenhagen to Kangerlussuaq
  • Transfer airport to ship to airport in Kangerlussuaq
  • Excursion towards Icecap incl. dinner after the voyage
  • 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.

6 August 2017

Departure port Copenhagen, Denmark
Day 1
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Photo: Heather Poon Photo

Your adventure begins


Location: Copenhagen to Kangerlussuaq

Your flight from Copenhagen lands in Kangerlussuaq in the evening. Kangerlussuaq is the main gateway to Greenland and a settlement in the Sisimiut community. Slightly less than 600 people live and work in Kangerlussuaq (the long fjord). The airport was built by the Americans during World War II and was operative as an American base until 1992. Today, Kangerlussuaq is a commercial airport.

The Kangerlussuaq dock is about 12 kilometres from the airport, and transport to the docks is by bus. There is no harbour in Kangerlussuaq that can accommodate MS Spitsbergen and therefore embarking the ship requires the use of the ship's smaller boats. At Kangerlussuaq Airport our Expedition Team will be at your disposal. It is advisable to bring rainproof jackets, trousers and mosquito repellent in your hand luggage to wear during the transfer to the MS Spitsbergen.

Day 2
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Photo: Thomas Haltner Photo

Disko Bay


Location: Sisimiut

Sisimiut is the southernmost town on the western coast of Greenland. The main trade is fishing, and the town accommodates a large fleet of trawlers, a shipyard and a fish factory. It is set in rolling countryside and the town centre lies at the foot of a steep hill. We offer a variety of optional shore excursions here, including hikes, boat trips and sightseeing, as well as the chance to shop for local handicrafts and enjoy some Greenlandic specialities in a local restaurant.

Day 3
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Photo: Mark McDermott Photo

The only town on the island of Disko


Location: Qeqertarsuaq

Qeqertarsuaq is the only town situated on the old volcanic island of Disko. The area offers amazing Arctic experiences. Join optional excursions such as a tour of the town, kayaking or an ice cruising boat tour. If you appreciate archaeology and history, you should definitely pay a visit to the local museum. Alternatively, you can stroll around the town on your own. 

Day 4
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Photo: John Sikorski Photo

Heart-shaped mountains and mummies from Thule


Location: Uummannaq

The town of Uummannaq is situated in scenic surroundings at the foot of a heart-shaped mountain. Our optional excursions include meeting the locals or taking a Polarcirkel boat to a landing at Qilakitsoq to see where the mummies from the Thule region were found. 

Day 5
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Photo: Ørjan Bertelsen Photo

Harsh conditions await


Location: Davis Strait

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
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Photo: Thomas Haltner Photo

Colonised by Inuits


Location: Qaanaaq (Thule)

Qaanaaq (or Thule) was the first part of Greenland to be colonised by Inuits from the west and represents post Cold War. The district is one of the northernmost inhabited places on Earth and has a population of around 1,000. It is also the last US military base in Greenland with an interesting politcal history. Hunting for seals, whales and polar bears in the traditional way is the main occupation in the town and the surrounding settlements. Visit the Ultima Thule souvenir shop to buy genuine and original artwork and crafts from the Qaanaaq district.

Day 7
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Photo: Trym Ivar Bergsmo Photo

Little sands


Location: Siorapaluk

Situated just 0.85 miles from the North Pole, Siorapaluk is the northernmost natural community in the world. The settlement was founded in 1933 and is known for its beautiful surroundings and geology. Siorapaluk means 'little sands' and was named after the small sandy beach in front of the village. This will be the northernmost landing on this trip, and you should not miss the opportunity to visit the church, museum or the local shop.

Day 8
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Along the ice edge


Location: Greenland Sea

We will spend a day cruising along the ice edge, and may even try to reach 80° North. While we are at sea, a series of lectures will be held on board on topics related to history and wildlife in the area.

Day 9
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Photo: Thomas Haltner Photo

The ruins of Mount Dundas


Location: Dundas “old Thule”

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, the Danish explorer Knud Rasmussen founded a trade post here and in 1963, the area was officially designated as Thule, the 17th municipality of Greenland and the northernmost community in the world. However, the town has since been abandoned, and you can wander around the old settlement, taking in the ruins of this trading post, or walk to the other side of the peninsula to see the remains of the old turf huts from the former settlement. 

Day 10
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A day on deck


Location: Greenland Sea

Enjoy a day at sea where you can stay on deck to spot wildlife or attend a lecture given by our Expedition Team. 

Day 11
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Polar bears and seal skins


Location: Upernavik

For centuries, the locals have migrated to Upernavik during the spring to take advantage of the rich hunting grounds. This small settlement lies at 72° 47' N and 56° 10' W, in Melville Bay, and everything is within walking distance. Many of the locals still go hunting and fishing – if you're walking through town keep an eye out for polar bear or seal skins! The town is also home to the world’s northernmost open-air museum. 

Day 12
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Photo: Mark McDermott Photo

Discover the Eqip Sermia Glacier


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 Polarcirkel 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 terrific view over the glacier.

Day 13
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Photo: Chelsea Claus Photo

The 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 5000, with the most important trades being fishing and tourism. Ilulissat is set in marvellous surroundings at Ilulissat Isfjord that in 2004 was inscribed to the UNESCO World Heritage List. Here, enormous icebergs run aground at the mouth of the fjord, just outside of town. They originate from the Jakobshavn Glacier, one of the most productive glaciers in the northern hemisphere. Ilulissat is the metropolitan centre of the Disko Bay area; this and the town's long-standing history will be the theme of the settlement visit.

The conditions will decide if MS Spitsbergen will dock at the quayside in Ilulissat or shuttle with the PolarCirkel boats. Our Expedition team will be at your disposal at the points of interest, and we offer a variety of optional shore excursions such as hikes, historic town walks and a boat tour to the Icefjord.

Day 14
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Photo: Thomas Haltner Photo

Visit the 'Arctic Circle Village'


Location: Itilleq

In the early afternoon we reach the small settlement Itilleq. Itilleq means “the hollow” and was founded in 1847 on another island, but was later moved one kilometre east to its present location. The village is located about 50km south of Sisimiut in the head of the Itilleq Fjord. Around 130 people live here, who are mainly engaged in hunting and fishing. The island has no freshwater, and for this reason Itilleq makes use of a facility for forming freshwater from seawater.

The church here has and interesting history: It was built in Thule (Umanak- North Greenland) in 1930 and was moved to Itilleq in 1963. As its name suggests, the village is situated in a hollow, majestically surrounded by high mountains and glaciers, and it can truthfully be called the Arctic Circle Village as the Arctic Circle is indeed found only 200 metres to the south.

Day 15
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Photo: Hurtigruten Photo

The Arctic adventure comes to an end


Location: Kangerlussuaq

As we reach Kangerlussuaq, your expedition with MS Spitsbergen 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 breathtaking views over the landscape. Your plane to Copenhagen leaves late in the evening.

Day 16
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Return to civilisation


Location: Copenhagen

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. 

20 August 2017

Location Copenhagen, Denmark
Your ship

Our ship sailing this route

Set out on an expedition with MS Spitsbergen, our latest expedition ship - equipped and adapted for sailings in polar waters throughout Arctic regions.

Everything you need to know about a cruise with Hurtigruten

Learn more about what you can experience on board - and cruise with confidence on MS Spitsbergen

Things to see and do

Videos

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

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Getting you there

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