Reykjavik to Kangerlussuaq
13 days with Silversea Rating:
Day 1 Reykjavik
Sprawling Reykjavík, the nation's nerve center and government seat, is home to half the island's population. On a bay overlooked by proud Mt. Esja (pronounced eh-shyuh), with its ever-changing hues, Reykjavík presents a colorful sight, its concrete houses painted in light colors and topped by vibrant red, blue, and green roofs. In contrast to the almost treeless countryside, Reykjavík has many tall, native birches, rowans, and willows, as well as imported aspen, pines, and spruces.Reykjavík's name comes from the Icelandic words for smoke, reykur, and bay, vík.
Day 2 Day At Sea
Day 3 Skjoldungen
Located on Greenland’s relatively rarely visited rugged east coast, Skoldungen Fjord has enchanting scenery with towering mountains tipped with snow, ice-scraped valley sides and sculptured icebergs in shades of white and blue. At the top of the fjord one can easily see the retreating state of the Thrym Glacier. The U-shaped fjord offers spectacular scenery and as an extra perk, it is not uncommon to see whales in the fjord.
Day 4 Cruise Prince Christian Sound, Aappilattoq (Kujalleq)
Connecting the Denmark Strait with Davis Strait, Prins Christian Sund offers a protected course from southeastern to southwestern Greenland, and is one of South Greenland’s most dramatic natural features. The water is generally placid and the crisp scent of ice fills the air. On either side of the Sund, waterfalls stream down sharp, wrinkled mountainsides. Depending on weather conditions, icebergs that glitter in the sun may be constant companions during the passage.
Aapilattoq is a small settlement near the western end of Prins Christian Sund in southwestern Greenland. In the local Greenlandic language the name means, "sea anemone". This small village of 130 inhabitants, hidden behind a prominent rock, offers a good insight into the life of Greenlandic Inuit. A stroll through the village will reveal a small school and a church, along with the likely possibility of seeing a polar bear skin drying in the wind behind a local dwelling. People have lived off the land in the area around Aapilattoq since the 19th century.
Day 5 Nanortalik (Kujallek), Uunartoq Island
Nanortalik lies in a scenic area surrounded by steep mountainsides and is Greenland’s tenth-largest and most southerly town with less than 1500 inhabitants. The town’s name means the “place of polar bears”, which refers to the polar bears that used to be seen floating offshore on summer’s ice floes. Nanortalik has an excellent open-air museum that gives a broad picture of the region from Inuit times to today. Part of the exhibition is a summer hunting camp, where Inuit in traditional clothing describe aspects of their ancestor’s customs and lifestyle.
Uunartoq is a small island in South Greenland a short distance east of what once was considered the largest settlement in Greenland. The island has hot springs that were renowned as far back as the days of the Norse for their healing effects. Three naturally heated streams have been channeled to flow into a knee-deep and stone-lined pool. While one unwinds by soaking in the steaming waters, one can watch icebergs that either clog the fjord to the north or come floating by.
Day 6 Qaqortoq (Julianehaab), Hvalsey
The largest town in southern Greenland, Qaqortoq has been inhabited since prehistoric times. Upon arrival in this charming southern Greenland enclave, it's easy to see why. Qaqortoq rises quite steeply over the fjord system around the city, offering breath-taking panoramic vistas of the surrounding mountains, deep, blue sea, Lake Tasersuag, icebergs in the bay, and pastoral backcountry.
Northeast of Qaqortoq and at the end of a fjord, Hvalsey is one of the best examples of South Greenland’s many scattered ruins from the Norse period. Today the area is used for sheep-grazing, but until the 15th century the settlement at Hvalsey, and specifically Hvalsey’s church, played an important part. Christianity had spread its influence throughout Europe and eventually had reached remote Greenland, where it established itself in the country in 1000 AD. Hvalsey Church was built in the 14th century and is the best preserved of the churches in Greenland from that period.
Day 7 Qassiarsuk (Brattahlid), Itilleq (Qeqqata)
Qassiarsuk is the newer, Greenlandic name for this small village. Brattahlid is the older, Norse name. Here we tour the foundation remains of the manor house of Erik the Red, who found Greenland after being banished from Iceland and Norway for murder. We will also visit the site of the first Christian church ever built in North America (physiographically speaking), see a recently unearthed Norse graveyard that contains remains of 144 Norse colonists, and have a chance to admire Hans Lynge’s remarkable bronze sculpture of Erik the Red.
Itilleq is an idyllic little village located on a small island about a half a mile off the west coast of Greenland, and only about a mile north of the Arctic Circle. It is one of the most picturesque villages in Greenland with its quaint colorful houses surrounded by stunning rugged mountains and glaciers. Originally, the village of Itilleq was founded on another island in 1847, but was later moved to its present location. The 100 people living here today survive mainly on hunting and fishing, with a fish factory being the main employer.
Day 8 Day At Sea
Days at sea are the perfect opportunity to relax, unwind and catch up with what you’ve been meaning to do. So whether that is whale watching from the Observatory Lounge, writing home to your loved ones or simply topping up your tan by the pool, these blue sea days are the perfect balance to busy days spent exploring shore side.
Day 9 Nuuk (Godthab)
Nuuk, meaning “the cape”, was Greenland’s first town (1728). Started as a fort and later mission and trading post some 240 kilometers south of the Arctic Circle, it is the current capital. Almost 30% of Greenland’s population lives in the town. Not only does Nuuk have great natural beauty in its vicinity, but there are Inuit ruins, Hans Egede’s home, the parliament, and the Church of our Saviour as well. The Greenlandic National Museum has an outstanding collection of Greenlandic traditional dresses, as well as the famous Qilakitsoq mummies.
Day 10 Evighedsfjord, Evigheids Glacier, Kangaamiut (Qeqqata)
Within roughly an hour of steaming south from Kangerlussuaq Fjord is Evighedsfjord Fjord. The fjords in this area can reach close to a kilometer (over half a mile) of depth and are lined with tidewater glaciers from the Maniitsoq ice sheet located high up in the interior of Greenland. Some of the cliffs along the fjords of this region can exceed 2,000 metres (6,600 ft.) in height.
The Evigheids Glacier flows from the Greenland Ice Sheet, the second largest ice body in the world after the Antarctic ice sheet, to the west. It is a slow-moving tidewater glacier, meaning this valley glacier winds down through the coastal mountains to the ocean at a snail’s pace. As the glacial ice enters the water it begins to float and the eventually breaks apart into icebergs that float away down the fjord. The shades of blue and carved shapes of these ice floes are infinite.
Only 350 people live in the small Greenlandic community of Kangaamiut. Located on the south coast of Timerdlit Island and facing the Davis Strait, Kangaamiut is situated between the mouths of two long fjords: the Kangerlussuatsiaq Fjord (or Evighedsfjorden in Danish) to its south and to its north Kangaamiut Kangerluarsuat Fjord. Founded in 1755, it was called “Sugarloaf” (Sukkertoppen) because of the appearance of three nearby hills.
Day 11 Ilulissat
Known as the birthplace of icebergs, the Ilulissat Icefjord produces nearly 20 million tons of ice each day. In fact, the word Ilulissat means “icebergs” in the Kalaallisut language. The town of Ilulissat is known for its long periods of calm and settled weather, but the climate tends to be cold due to its proximity to the fjord. Approximately 4,500 people live in Ilulissat, the third-largest town in Greenland after Nuuk and Sisimiut.
Day 12 Sisimiut
Located just north of the Arctic Circle, Sisimiut is the northernmost town in Greenland where the port remains free of ice in the winter. Yet it is also the southernmost town where there is enough snow and ice to drive a dogsled in winter and spring. In Sisimiut, travelling by sled has been the primary means of winter transportation for centuries. In fact, the area has been inhabited for approximately 4,500 years. Modern Sisimiut is the largest business center in the north of Greenland, and is one of the fastest growing Greenlandic cities.
Day 13 Kangerlussuaq
Kangerlussuaq is a settlement in western Greenland in the Qeqqata municipality located at the head of the fjord of the same name (Danish: Søndre Strømfjord). It is Greenland's main air transport hub and the site of Greenland's largest commercial airport. The airport dates from American settlement during and after World War II, when the site was known as Bluie West-8 and Sondrestrom Air Base. The Kangerlussuaq area is also home to Greenland's most diverse terrestrial fauna, including muskoxen, caribou, and gyrfalcons.
All This Included
Depart Iceland’s coastal capital and set sail on this Greenlandic adventure. Days at sea give plenty of time for identifying seabirds and whale-spotting, while Zodiac® cruises allow you to experience the massive glaciers and ice floes first hand. Dramatic rugged landscapes are perfectly balanced with picturesque villages during your 13-day journey.
Cruising: Cabin onboard Silver Cloud
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