Experience Greenland’s tranquil beauty and culture on this 16-day journey from Hurtigruten. Set sail from the Icelandic capital of Reykjavík aboard MS Fridtjof Nansen, a hybrid electric-powered ship outfitted with custom-built expedition equipment like kayaks, underwater drones, and Expedition Boats fit for exploring the world’s largest island with the sparsest population.
Spend your days aboard the ship discovering fjords and glaciers and spotting wildlife like musk oxen, white-tailed eagles, and auks. Then, listen to stories at an authentic kaffemik (a day-long social gathering) with the Qaqortoq people and learn about the ancient traditions of Sisimiut. Because Hurtigruten always prioritizes authentic interactions with the local communities in the areas they explore, you’ll return home with lasting memories and stories to share.
ItineraryPLAN YOUR TRIP
Day 1Reykjavík, Iceland and embarkation
If you have additional time to spare, consider booking an independent stay (either before or after your expedition cruise) in Reykjavík to fully experience everything the city has to offer. You could also join Hurtigruten’s Pre-Programto discover the nearby waterfalls, hot springs, and geysers of the Golden Circle.
At Reykjavík Harbor, you’ll board the most recent addition to the Hurtigruten fleet, MS Fridtjof Nansen, aptly named for the Norwegian explorer who led the first crossing of Greenland on cross-country skis. Once you’ve settled into your spacious cabin, outfitted in modern Scandinavian-inspired decor, you’ll meet the Expedition Team and explore the hybrid electric-powered ship’s many amenities, like the sauna, spa, infinity pool, and hot tub, before setting sail. Now the adventure officially begins.
Days 2 and 3Denmark Strait
However, your journey will be much more comfortable, thanks to the ship’s modern amenities and many onboard activities. You can stay active by hitting the gym or taking a dip in the infinity pool. Or you could enjoy a spa treatment or delicious meal in one of the three onboard restaurants.
You can learn more about Greenland’s geology at the Science Center and participate in one of Hurtigruten’s Citizen Science projects. The Expedition Team will also brief you on important protocols for visiting wildlife habitats and Indigenous Arctic communities.
Day 4Arrival in Greenland
Today you’ll admire rare Inuit artifacts like boats, hunting equipment, and traditional dresses at the local museum or take a leisurely walk to a nearby lake to revel in the spectacular scenery. You’ll also join a local kaffemik social gathering to chat with the town’s residents and hear firsthand about living in this remote corner of the planet.
Day 5Kvanefjord, Greenland
Grab your camera to capture images of the glistening icebergs and semi-submerged glacial ice in shades of white and crystal blue. You can get even closer after the Expedition Team selects the best spot to go ashore for a nature walk. Or you could instead choose to scout for wildlife in small boats.
Day 6 Maniitsoq, Greenland
This area has been inhabited for more than 4,000 years and was once a regional hub for trading reindeer hides. Today it specializes in traditional Greenlandic arts and crafts—in the local museum, you can see traditional costumes, figurines carved from walrus ivory, and numerous works of art. If you happen to chat with any residents, don’t miss a chance to learn more about everyday life here.
Day 7Sisimiut, Greenland
Ancient traditions are still practiced here, and you can learn about the Saqqaq people through their artifacts at the local museum. If you’re looking for a unique souvenir, consider purchasing a scarf, hat, or mittens made from qiviut, the inner wool of a musk ox. It’s said to be ten times warmer than sheep’s wool.
Days 8 and 9Disko Bay, Ilulissat, and Vaigat Sound
Have a closer look as the Expedition Team guides you on a walk to the ice fjord and then visit the well-preserved ruins of Sermermiut, an old Inuit settlement. Then, after your outing, warm up with a hot drink in the enchanting town of Illulissat while admiring the colorful houses perched along the waterfront.
Later you’ll explore the Vaigat Sound, the most northerly point on the itinerary. The Expedition Team will select the best landing sites for exploring this unforgiving environment. Then, as weather permits, you’ll explore the areas between icebergs in small boats or kayaks. Other possibilities include visiting Camp Frieda (one of Hurtigruten’s favorite landing spots in this part of Greenland), trekking across the tundra, and even approaching a glacier to see how it moves. No matter what transpires that day, you’ll want to have your camera ready–incredible wildlife sightings (think orcas, bowhead whales, and all kinds of seals) are a regular occurrence in Disko Bay.
Days 10 and 11Evighedsfjord and Nuuk, Greenland
As always, you’ll want to keep your eyes peeled for whales and seabirds. And any activities beyond wildlife watching will have to remain a surprise for now. The Expedition Team can only determine the best course of action after arriving and assessing the local weather patterns.
The next day, MS Fridtjof Nansen will dock in Nuuk. The capital of Greenland has a population of 18,000 people and an intriguing mix of old and new architecture, from the historic Hans Egede House and Nuuk Cathedral to the ultra-modern parliament building. At the National Museum, see the six mummies unearthed from the archaeological site of Qilakitsoq and learn about what it was like to live in Greenland more than 500 years ago. Or, as an optional excursion, you could take a long nature walk through Paradise Valley and the ethereal landscape around Mt. Lille Malene.
Days 12 and 13Ivittuut and Prince Christian Sound
The following day, MS Fridtjof Nansen will pass through the 60-mile-long Prince Christian Sound, lined with gray granite mountains contrasting with the bright white glaciers and deep blue waters. However, there’s a distinct possibility that accumulating sea ice could prevent the ship from entering the sound. If that’s the case, it will head to Cape Farewell, the southernmost point of Greenland, instead. No matter what happens, there’s a good chance you’ll see minke and humpback whales in the water and ringed and bearded seals resting on the ice.
Days 14–16 Return to Reykjavík
There will still be plenty of opportunities for wildlife sightings. While on deck, watch for seabirds and whales following the ship as the onboard photographer shares tips on the best ways to capture them in action. You can also contribute to Hurtigruten’s HappyWhale Citizen Science project by counting the whales you see.
Your transformative trip to Greenland will end where it began, in Reykjavík. Those wishing for more adventure can join Hurtigruten’s Post-Program to explore the South Coast of Iceland. Or start planning your next trip–Hurtigruten offers expedition itineraries with seven ships cruising to destinations around the world, including Antarctica, Alaska, and South America.