This 14-day expedition to Greenland will take you in the footsteps of the Vikings, who explored westwards from Iceland as far as Nuuk. You will travel in the company of both a National Geographic photographer and expert, who through lectures, workshops and one-on-one discussions, will give you a deeper understanding of the sights and significance of your journey and teach you how to capture the story of this incredible expedition through your own photography.

Sailing almost due west from Reykjavik, you will first reach the east coast of Greenland in Tasiiq. Located on the edge of a large bay, this community offers breathtaking views of icebergs that drift past Ammassalik Island.

Our voyage will take us down the east coast of Greenland to Prins Christian Sund, where will we transit this dramatic passage to the south-west coast. The dramatic mountain landscapes will leave a lasting memory, as they feature a unique combination of icebergs in deep fjords surrounded by high mountains and breathtaking waterfalls. Throughout this passage, keep a close lookout for bearded seals that are lucky enough to call this their home.

As we sail up the west coast of Greenland we will see the majority of settlements, both large and small, before reaching the northernmost point of our voyage in Disko Bay, where you will encounter some of the largest icebergs in the Northern Hemisphere, before reaching the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ilulissat Fjord.

Throughout your voyage, you will have the opportunity to explore off the ship both on shore and on the water in our fleet of Zodiacs. Greenland is home to an abundance of wildlife, from the large numbers of birds found nesting in colonies, to the whales that swim in the shadow of its shores. In between, seals can often be spotted sunning themselves on the rocks.

At the end of your trip, sit down with your National Geographic Expert and photographer and reflect on the experiences you have shared on your voyage and how they have changed you upon your return. National Geographic and Ponant share the deep belief that when people understand the world, they care more deeply and are inspired to act to protect it.

This Expedition Cruise is onboard Ponant’s L’Austral ship, part of the Sisterships fleet.

We are privileged guests in these extreme lands, and we are at the mercy of weather and ice conditions. The itinerary, landings on certain sites and the observation of certain wildlife cannot be guaranteed. This makes each National Geographic cruise a unique experience.

Transfers + flight Kangerlussuaq/Paris

Trip highlights

Sail for 14 days with a National Geographic photographer, who will be available for lectures, workshops, and one-on-one sessions to help you capture the story of your journey, whether you are a seasoned photographer or just using your phone.

Sail for 14 days with a National Geographic Expert, a leader in their field who will bring to life the insights and stories of their work, and will guide you to experience Greenland through the lens of National Geographic.

Sail with a fantastic team of naturalists who will offer insight into local wildlife, history, geopolitics, the great explorers, climate and environmental protection.

Experience the magnificence of fjords and ice floe as we cruise through Greenland, one of the most picturesque and remote regions in the world, while sailing the 100km of Prins Christian Sund and discovering Disko Bay, home to the largest icebergs in the Northern Hemisphere.

Visit traditional villages and meet the Inuit People, who will share with our travellers their traditional way of life.

Search for wildlife that call Greenland home, including musk oxen, Arctic foxes, Seals, Humpback Whales and many species of Bird.

By travelling with National Geographic to Greenland, you will also be doing your part to protect it, as part of the proceeds of your trip are returned to the National Geographic Society, who works to further the understanding and protection of our planet.

Itinerary - 14 Days

1-2 Reykjavik, Iceland

Our voyage starts in Iceland’s capital, home to more than 130,000 people. Believed to be the location of the first permanent settlement in Iceland, it is thought the community was established in AD 874. Today, the highlights of the city are the historical centre and the Skólavördustígur and the Laugavegur, two characterful streets with small shops, as well as the famous thermal pools at the Blue Lagoon, located just outside the city. An iconic Viking settlement, it is a fitting place to start our voyage that follows in the footsteps of the exploration of the Vikings to the West.

3 At Sea

During your day at sea, we will sail towards Greenland. Meet your onboard National Geographic Expert, as he gives greater insight into Greenland via lectures and discussions over coffee in the bar. Meanwhile your National Geographic photographer will give initial talks and workshops to help you capture the story of your adventure with your camera, whether you are a seasoned photographer, or using your phone. Come and learn how to make the most of the incredible photographic opportunities you will find along your voyage. Alternatively, venture to the upper deck to enjoy the spectacular scenery and you may be lucky enough to observe marine wildlife in the waters below alongside one of our naturalists.

4 Tasilaq & Sermilik Fjord, Greenland

Our voyage to the west takes us to our first community visit. Tasiilaq is one of only two inhabited areas in all of eastern Greenland. Located on Ammassalik Island this village is named for the capelin, a small silver-coloured fish that is a species of smelt. These return in their thousands and mark the return of the spring. These fish play an important part in the local diet, where they are caught in nets and dried in large numbers.

As we sail south along the east coast, our journey takes us to Sermilik Fjord. Taking its name from the Inuit language, it means a fjord into which a glacier flows. Appropriately, there are three main glaciers that calve into the fjord and icebergs can be found drifting in its waters. The fjord is the largest in south-east Greenland and features mountains to the north that reach up to 3000m. In 1888, Fridtjof Nansen attempted to cross Greenland by attempting to access the ice cap up Sermilik, but were prevented by the extensive pack ice forcing them to make alternate plans.

5 Skjoldungen

Skjoldungen is a large uninhabited island in southeast Greenland. Given the honorific name for the successors of legendary King Skjold from Danish mythology, the island stands out due to its stunning setting. The island is separated from the mainland by fjord with a double entrance and is 49km long and features mountains up to 1700m tall. While the island is uninhabited today, it is thought the area was historically inhabited by the Inuit people and there was a more recent settlement established in 1938. However, this community was abandoned in 1965, but it did play an important part in World War II as the home to a weather station. Our visit here will be a landing on shore to explore the pristine nature of its tundra landscape, which features birds such as redpolls, wheatears and ravens, and there is always the chance to spot orca and bearded seals in these coastal waters.

6 Augpilatok

Augpilatok is a small Inuit village of just 100 hundred inhabitants located on the southern tip of Greenland. Located on the shores of Prince Christian Sound, the village name means “sea anemone” in Greenlandic. Prince Christian Sound is an iconic passage 100km long, linking the Labrador and Irminger Seas and passes through dramatic mountain landscapes consisting of the ice sheet, mountain peaks and waterfalls that flow down from the ice, as well as the many glaciers that calve directly into the Sound. Spend time with your National Geographic photographer capturing the dramatic scenery that surrounds you.

7 Hvalso & Narsaq Fjord

The farmstead at Hvalso is believed to have been established by Erik the Red’s uncle in the late 10th century, though by the 14th century it was owned by the Kings of Norway. Featuring grassy meadows filled with flowers and the occasional semi-wild sheep or horse, it is a start contrast to the landscapes of the previous days. As a former major centre in south Greenland, the site still has the ruins of stone great halls and houses, as well as the church. Despite having lost its timber roof, the walls have stayed standing for over 600 years.

Today you will land at the town of Narsaq. While it is believed there has been a settlement here for centuries, the present community was founded in 1830. Established as a trading centre, the location was chosen due to the deep water harbour enabling local hunters to trade with ocean-going ships. While originally a seal hunting community, fishing has been the mainstay for the last 100 years and in 1959, the community was large enough to be ranked as a town. Today, with over 1300 inhabitants, it is the 9th largest town in Greenland. The multi-coloured houses surrounded by lush mountains make for a magical setting, especially with the icebergs that are frequently present close to shore.

8 Ivigtut

A former mining town, this abandoned settlement played a surprisingly important role in history. As the location of the world’s largest naturally occurring cryolite deposits, this mine was instrumental in WWII as at the time cryolite was key in the production of aluminium, which was much needed for building aircraft. Today, there will be the opportunity to learn about the local history, but also to keep your eyes open for musk oxen, which can sometimes be found in this area.

9 Nuuk

The area around Nuuk has been inhabited for more than 4000 years. Over more recent history, the area was settled by both Inuit and Viking explorers and it is believed that Erik the Red established his first settlement here. As the capital of Greenland, Nuuk has by far the largest population with 18,000 residents. Nuuk is located at the mouth of one of the largest fjord networks in the world and the water never freezes. The colourful houses of the historic centre seem particularly rich in this setting and we will spend the day visiting, and learning more about this capital.

10 Sisimiut

Founded in 1756, Sisimiut is the second largest town in Greenland. With a combination of picturesque views and colourful houses, this fishing port is the gateway to the icy landscapes immediately to the North. With its combination of historic buildings, museum and craft shops, it is a great opportunity to meet the locals and learn more about life in North.

11 Paul-Emile Victor Base Camp, Eqi Glacier

The Eqi Glacier is one of Greenland’s most impressive sights. One of the largest and most active glaciers, its fjord is littered with huge icebergs. The glacier is 200m high and 4km wide and is estimated to calve every 30 minutes. Time spent in its vicinity is best spent in silence, listening to the cracking of the ice and the sound of white thunder as thousands of tonnes of ice land in the water. Explore in the zodiacs to gain a different perspective, and visit the shelter of Paul-Emilie Victor, who used it as a base camp to conduct his anthropological and geographic explorations in the 1950s.

12 Ilulissat

At the heart of Disko Bay, A UNESCO Heritage Site, the Ilulissat Icefjord is incredibly beautiful with the largest icebergs of the northern hemisphere. The community here has retained a unique mix of traditional Arctic life, with huskies, brightly coloured houses and traditional crafts still being practised. Experience this warm sense of traditional community surrounded by ice and take time to stop and admire these ever-changing natural ice sculptures.

13 Itilleq

Our final village visit will be to the tiny village of Itilleq, home to just 100 people. Located still within the Arctic Circle, this is a subsistence community focussed on hunting and fishing. This will be a visit focussed on meeting the community and taking a moment to reflect on our journey and the people whom we have met as well as the dramatic landscapes we have witnessed throughout our voyage.

14 Kangerlussuaq

Home to the international airport, Kangerlussuaq represents the end of our voyage. Serving as an international hub to visitors to Greenland, this town is still closely linked to the nature that surrounds it. With local populations of wildlife and the Greenlandic ice sheet that can be accessed just a few dozen kilometres away. As the plane climbs away from the tarmac for your journey back home, take a last look at the dramatic landscapes you leave behind as you return from one of the most remote regions on earth.

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