Thule, North and Beyond
Stand at the edge of the gigantic Greenland Ice Sheet and sail up to the edge of the ice
Departures: 6 August 2017
Your flight from Copenhagen lands in Kangerlussuaq in the evening. You'll find MS Spitsbergen here, ready to start your expedition.
Sisimiut is the southernmost town on the western coast of Greenland. 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.
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.
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.
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.
Qaanaaq (or Thule) was the first part of Greenland to be colonised by Inuits from the west. 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. 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.
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.
We will spend a day cruising along the ice edge, and may even try to reach 80° North.
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.
Enjoy a day at sea where you can stay on deck to spot wildlife or attend a lecture given by our Expedition Team.
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.
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.
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. We offer a variety of optional shore excursions such as hikes, historic town walks and a boat tour to the Icefjord.
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 sea water. 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.
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.
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.
Boat trip to the IcefjordExcursion Greenland, Ilulissat (0 Hour) From £ 85
Ilulissat city walkExcursion Greenland (0 Hour) From £ 54
Hike to Holms BakkeExcursion Greenland, Ilulissat (5 Hours) From £ 72
Hike to the basalt columnsExcursion Greenland, Qeqertarsuaq (5 Hours) From £ 31
A walk in Disko's only townExcursion Greenland (0 Hour) From £ 26
A taste of GreenlandExcursion Greenland, Sisimiut (1 Hour) From £ 61
Boat trip to AssaqutaqExcursion Greenland (0 Hour) From £ 101
Hike to Palasip QaqqaaExcursion Greenland, Sisimiut (5 Hours) From £ 58
See Sisimiut by busExcursion Greenland (0 Hour) From £ 43
Meet Greenland through its peopleExcursion Greenland (0 Hour) From £ 25
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