Greenland, Newfoundland, Labrador – Untouched Wilderness and National Parks
Duration: 15 days
Ship: MS Fram
12 September 2019
Price from : £ 6700 per personCheck prices and availability
- Explore the spectacular landscape of Greenland and Newfoundland
- Visit remote settlements that are steeped in history
- Sight rare wildlife, on land and at sea
- Discover UNESCO sites Gros Morne National Park, Red Bay and L’Anse aux Meadows
This expedition starts with a flight from Copenhagen. Less than five hours later, you reach the settlement of Kangerlussuaq in Greenland. With the mouth of the fjord on the far western horizon and the ice cap knocking at the door, this small airstrip is the scenic main gateway to Greenland. On arrival your transfer to MS Fram will be waiting for you.
Today we will explore the area around Maniitsoq. Situated between the rugged peaks of the Eternity Fjord and huge glaciers, this area is perfect an exploration day. Through the onsite coordination and guidance of our experienced Captain, Expedition Leaders and local experts, we will take advantage of opportunities at hand and deliver an adventurous day. This might be a special landing site to go for hikes, cruising with our small boats, launching our kayaks or making a stop to watch wildlife.
Kapisillit, which means Salmon in Greenlandic, is a small settlement of just under 100 people at the head of the Nuuk fjord. The real attraction today is the cruise journey along the fjord in and out of Kapisillit. In calm conditions, the reflection of mountains in the still fjord waters is breathtaking.
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. This is where old and new traditions meet, from picturesque historic buildings in “Kolonihaven” to the Centre 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 available.
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 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.
Come ashore on the uninhabited island of Uunartoq. This small island is blessed with natural hot springs warm enough to bathe 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 34-38 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.
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 PolarCirkel 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; 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. He was banished from Iceland and escaped to the land he called Greenland. Erik settled in Qassiarsuk because the area seemed to him the richest and best site 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 of the church used today. This is also a great area to try optional activities such as kayaking, hiking, or exploring the town on foot.
Leaving the coast of Greenland behind, we head out to sea, and set course for Canada. Ahead lies roughly 1300 nautical miles of open water across a stretch of the North Atlantic that thousands before us have used to sail to a new life. Our days at sea will be filled with lectures and you’ll have time to chat with fellow travellers, perhaps to share what you have seen and done so far. Take your time to be out on our open decks. Breathe in the salt air, feel the wind and look for birds, mammals and icebergs.
We arrive in St. Anthony, a remote town set in a perfect natural harbour. The oceans here contain an astonishing number of icebergs and serve as feeding grounds for large numbers of whales, seal, dolphins and porpoises. Just outside the town border is a vast wilderness of pristine valleys and lake-dotted mountains, with perhaps 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, located at the tip of Newfoundland’s Great Northern Peninsula, showcasing 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 excavated the fascinating remains of this Viking encampment. In 1979 L´Anse aux Meadows became a UNESCO World Heritage Site. At the recreated camp, you will find original artefacts from this internationally-renowned archaeological find.
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 breathtaking 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 of 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 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.
Scenic Bonne Bay is among Newfoundland’s most beautiful bays - a deep mountainous fjord located on Newfoundland’s stunning west coast, that divides the Gros Morne National Park in two. Gros Morne is a combination of a protected nature area and small coastal communities with a rich culture and tradition of fishing and logging.
From our 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 Mother Nature 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.
It is said that good habits are hard to break, and St Pierre and Miquelon must be the living proof of this. Even though Paris is some 4000 km away, the people living here are fiercely proud of being French. This is North America's often forgotten French enclave, and is actually France's oldest overseas territory. Peugeots and Renaults line the streets.
And just as in France, people leave the "boulangerie" with baguettes tucked under their arms, and the "patisserie" carrying white boxes tied up with string. Get a taste of this slice of la belle France at the Guillard Gourmandise bakery, where you can indulge in cream-plumped chocolate éclairs, macarons, piping-hot pastries and gateaux.
And you pay with Euros, just as in France. Visit L'Arche Museum with exhibits about the islands' history, including Prohibition times. The showstopper is the guillotine - the only one to slice in North America. Islanders dropped the 'timbers of justice' just once, in 1889, on a murderer.
The museum also offers bilingual architectural walking tours. Birdwatchers should also look forward to visiting the tiny island Grand Colombier, with its steep cliffs, rocky outcrops and the hilly grounds serving as an important bird island with more than 100.000 breeding pairs of Leach´s storm petrels.
St. John’s is the oldest and most easterly city in North America, with narrow streets and hidden alleyways - it is a city full of character. We recommend you explore the history of this place with the striking twin clock towers of the Basilica of St. John the Baptist. You can also join optional excursions to explore more widely through this beautiful region before returning home.
Included in your voyage
- Hurtigruten Expedition in cabin grade of your choice on a full board basis
- Economy flight from Copenhagen, Denmark, to Kangerlussuaq, Greenland
- 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
- Free tea and coffee
Not included in your voyage
- International flights
- Travel insurance
- 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|
|Ship yard||Fincantieri, Italy|
The original Fram was the most famous explorer ship of its time, and the achievements of her expeditions are unparalleled. MS Fram brings on the heritage of the original Fram, using the most advanced technology to make her exceptionally well suited for expedition voyages in Polar Regions.
Nuuk City tour
Lille Malene hike
Cultural history walk
Boat trip to the Qooroq Icefjord
Erik the Red settlement walk
Bonne Bay - Gros Morne Time Travels
Two fjords hike
Viking Experience – UNESCO World Heritage Site and Recreated Norse Village of Norstead
Red Bay - Coastal Labrador and Point Amour Lighthouse tour
Red Bay Then and Now Historical Walking tour
Bonne Bay: Coastal Trails of Gros Morne
St. Pierre - Ile aux Marin Walking Tour
St. Pierre - Community Tour
Extend your cruise
Get more out of your journey by adding a Pre- or Post-programme before or after your expedition cruise.