Greenland In Depth
A combination of ‘Southern Greenland: On the Trail of Vikings’ + ‘Wild Landscapes of West Greenland’
Departure Date: 04 Aug 2025 – 29 Aug 2025 | 26 days
Departure/Arrival: Reykjavik, Iceland – Toronto, Canada
Voyage code: GRD001S
Voyage type: Expedition
Ship: Sylvia Earle
Price: from AUD $55,095 (Aurora Stateroom Superior)
Call us on 1800 637 688 for full pricing and special offers!
Welcome to Aurora Expedition’s Greenland in Depth expedition voyage.
On this adventure combining our Southern Greenland: On the Trail of the Vikings and Wild Landscapes of West Greenland, we plan to give you the full experience of the enormity of Greenland – the world’s largest island.
Starting in the remote east coast, the least inhabited part of Greenland, we explore a few fjords seldom experienced by travellers. In the south, we take you through Prince Christian Sound flanked by imposing mountains, before green pastures signal the presence of human settlement, and where Viking ruins of Erik the Red still stand at Hvalsey. Weaving through the fjords and channels, we enter west Greenland, the country’s most developed region, home to the nation’s capital, Nuuk and the world’s northernmost capital. We push through the sea ice to venture as far north as possible to explore hidden bays glittering with icebergs calved from the enormous Greenland ice sheet, and where whales may shelter.
- Discover life in Nuuk, the world’s northernmost capital
- Witness the remarkable geology on Disko Island, featuring some of the oldest geological features on earth
- In genuine expedition style, we forge as far north as possible along Greenland’s west coast, where few travellers venture, and where the night sky may surprise you with a dazzling display you’ll never forget
- Stand in awe at the formidable icefjord in Ilulissat, a UNESCO World Heritage phenomenon
In true expedition style we encourage exploration and adventure, offering flexibility in challenging environments in a way that puts you among the action to see and do as much as possible. This itinerary is only a guide and subject to change due to ice and weather conditions.
Having made your way to Reykjavik, you will be met by a representative of Aurora Expeditions and transferred to our group hotel. Upon arrival at your included hotel, please visit the Aurora Expeditions hospitality desk to collect your luggage cabin tags and to speak with our ground operations team, who may have information to share with you about pre-embarkation or to provide you with information about where to dine, withdraw cash or purchase last minute items from a local pharmacy or supermarket.
The remainder of your time is at leisure. All meals today are at your own expense.
Accommodation: Fosshotel Reykjavik Hotel (or similar)
This morning, please ensure your cabin luggage is fitted with cabin tags clearly labelled with your name and cabin number. Your luggage will be collected from your hotel and transferred directly to the port for clearance and delivered to your cabin ahead of your arrival on board. Please keep any valuables or personal items with you throughout the day.
Breakfast and check-out. Join our guided Golden Circle and Geothermal Energy tour. With 85% of its electricity sourced from renewable sources, Iceland sets an outstanding example when it comes to sustainable energy.
Our journey takes us to the famous seismic sights of the Golden Circle route – Gullfoss waterfall, Geysir and history-rich Thingvellir National Park, before we experience first-hand how green, sustainable energy is produced at one of the largest single-site geothermal power plants on the planet at the Geothermal Energy Exhibition and Ljósafossvirkjun Power Station.
We’ll also spend time at a true eco-village. Powered with thermal and solar energy, Sólheimar is fully sustainable, boasting greenhouses and forestry programmes, while its sustainable workshops are dedicated to candle-making, carpentry, weaving and soap-making. Late afternoon we return to Reykjavik for embarkation.
This evening, get to know your fellow expeditioners, expedition team and crew.
Crossing the Greenland Sea, we sail through the Polar Basin’s nutrient-rich waters, searching for encroaching pack ice, fin whales and seabirds. Our team of experts entertains us with informative talks about sea ice, glaciers, European arctic plants and animals and epic tales of early explorers such as Nansen, Andreé and Scoresby.
Popular among skilled rock climbers, Kangertitivatsiaq Fjord is home to spectacular mountain peaks and essential big walls that attract daring climbers. A new discovery for Aurora Expeditions in 2022, the 26-kilometre (16-mile) fjord is filled with glaciers including the Glacier of France. It’s an ideal place for ship cruising, Zodiac excursions and discovery hikes.
Continue south along Greenland’s King Frederik VI Coast, always on the lookout for whales, especially the rare sperm whale that is occasionally seen here. Weaving through the narrow channels of Skjoldungen Fjord we land at the end of the fjord for a walk along a glacial river, across a tundra valley covered in northern willow and blooming pink wildflowers. Kayakers can paddle across the front of a tidewater glacier, search for harp seals, ivory gulls and whales.
Back on board, enjoy the stunning surrounds with a drink in hand basked in the soft light of the setting sun.
Prince Christian Sound connects the Labrador Sea with the Irminger Sea. Approximately 100 km / 60 mi long, and, in parts, as narrow as 500-m (600-ft) wide, the fjord is flanked by jagged mountain peaks, some reaching over
2,200 m (7,200 ft) high, with countless glaciers coming all the way down to the sea. We slow-cruise through the sound to enjoy the spectacular scenery. Icebergs sculpted into fantastic shapes often block the entrance to the sound, a great spectacle for photography.
Appilattoq is a small settlement that lies in the southern section of a sound. Appilattoq means red in Greenlandic, and the town is named after the red mountains rising above it. Appilattoq is well-known in Greenland for the jagged mountain peaks that surround it—a delight for photographers.
The towering, jagged mountains that surround Tasermiut Fjord is why it’s often referred to as the ‘Patagonia of the north’. At Klosterdal, we are surrounded by three giant mountains – Napasorsuaq, Ketil and Nalumasortoq. Here we can walk to a Norse ruin, hike along the valley, or explore the bay by kayak.
Continue to Nanortalik, the southernmost town in Greenland, located on an island of the same name. Its name derives from the West Greenlandic word ‘Nanoq’ meaning ‘the place where bears pass through,’ describing the polar bears that were once seen floating past on sea ice. Deep fjords, woodlands and grasslands, and rugged mountainside cliffs, some over 1,000 m /3,280 ft, attract enthusiastic climbers from around the world.
On arrival, you’ll receive a warm welcome from the local community who have opened up their town for you to explore. Nanortalik is a town that’s known for their love of singing and you’ll be treated to choir performance.
Visit Nanortalik Church, a wooden, Danish Lutheran church built in 1916 and is currently the only church serving the Nanortalik congregation. The church is in the old colonial quarter of the town. Next to the church is a landmark boulder called the ‘Knud Rasmussen Stone,’ named after Greenland’s most famous citizen, Dr Knud Rasmussen, an explorer and ethnologist.
Hvalsey Church is the best-preserved Norse ruin in Greenland. ‘Hvalsey’ is old Norse for ‘Whale Island.’ Christianity arrived in Greenland around 1,000 AD and gradually churches began to be built. Late medieval documents indicate there were up to 14 parish churches in the Eastern Settlement. Hvalsey itself was built in the early 14th century, but it was not the first church built on this site.
After exploring Hvalsey ruins, continue to Qaqortoq, where our Zodiacs shuttle us ashore. Qaqortoq is the capital of South Greenland. With a history dating back to 1775, the town offers various cultural activities and attractions including an outdoor art project called “Man and Stone,’ which features stone carvings scattered throughout the town created by local artists. Qaqortoq is Greenland’s southernmost town and is the administrative centre of the south Greenland. Built from yellow stone, and dating back to 1804, the building that now houses the Qaqortoq Museum originally belonged to the town’s blacksmith. Qaqortoq’s landmark building is the Church of our Saviour. This large wooden Lutheran church, known as the ‘Red Church’, is in the historic part of town, near the harbour.
Nestled on the shores of Davis Strait, the town of Itilleq is located on a small island only 2 km (1.2 mi) north close to the Arctic Circle. The island has no freshwater, so they have to make their own freshwater from a desalinisation facility.
The Davis Strait is Itilleq’s major geographical feature. As a northern arm of the Labrador Sea, it stretches from the middle of Greenland to parts of Nunavut, Canada in the High Arctic. The numerous glaciers along the Davis Strait are an impressive sight, and while they may not be as impressive in size as the larger glaciers found in other parts of Greenland, the sheer volume of them here is impressive.
A self-guided hike through town reveals the beautiful, coloured houses, colours which in the past represented the profession of its owner. Continue your walk just outside of town to see the picturesque mountain ranges surrounding the town.
At Igaliku in Tunulliarfik Fjord, lush valleys filled with tall grass hints at Greenland’s first sheep farming settlement. Igaliku also guards the entrance to the well-preserved remains of Norse ruins allowing visitors to explore Norse history, hike within the UNESCO World Heritage-listed surroundings to discover lakes, mountains and hidden Norse ruins.
Narsarsuaq is the gateway to hiking trails through lush valleys and Norse ruins spotted along Tunulliarfik Fjord.
Narsarsuaq holds historical significance to Greenland’s history. The Norse Vikings settled in this area in the 12th century and gave Narsarsuaq a name to suggest that an Arctic forest covered the large plain. Taking home stories of lush valleys and plains nestled in deep fjord, the Vikings called this country Greenland. Marked trails allow hikers to enjoy the superb scenery, with the one of the most popular hikes leading to the spectacular lookout over icebergs in the Tunulliarfik Fjord and the Qooroq Glacier.
At Qassiarssuk, located directly across the Tunulliarfik Fjord, follow in the footsteps of Erik the Red and discover why he made it his home. The remains of a church, stables, hall and other buildings can still be seen. Visit the tall statue of Leif Erikson (son of Erik the Red) overlooking the town and fjord.
Sailing between Hvalsey, Igaliku and Qassiarsuk allows you to connect the dots of Viking history in Greenland.
As we sail towards Nuuk, enjoy some free time relaxing or attending a presentation from our expedition team. This evening, share stories and celebrate with fellow expeditioners at Captain’s Farewell Dinner.
In Nuuk, our crew and expedition team prepare to welcome expeditioners joining us on the Wild Landscapes of West Greenland voyage, while you enjoy an excursion exploring Greenland’s capital. In the late afternoon, reboard the vessel and meet your fellow expeditioners to begin the next part of your arctic adventure to North Greenland.
Greenland’s second largest town, Sisimiut is located approximately 54 kilometres (33.5 miles) north of the Arctic Circle, meaning that during summer, you can experience the midnight sun here. The town is famous for the old blue church with the gate made of whale bone. In the cosy museum next door to the church, you will find an excellent reconstruction of an Inuit turf house as well as exhibits of local history and early life in Greenland.
Sisimiut offers hiking trails with various degrees of difficulty. The easier trails take you through the town itself, its outskirts and into the mountains, where you will find spectacular vantage points.
Some 4,500 years ago, the Saqqaq culture arrived from Canada and settled in the area. They lived here for approximately 2,000 years, after which they mysteriously disappeared from the area. The Dorset culture arrived around 500 CE and stayed until the 1200s until they were replaced by the Thule culture, and today, most of the population of Sisimiut are descendants of the Thule culture.
Note: In genuine expeditionary style, our itinerary for the following days is heavily dependent on weather conditions and unpredictable sea ice. The following places are some that we hope to visit.
Set on an island of the same name, Uummannaq is located 600 km (373 mi) above the Arctic Circle and is famous for its heart-shaped mountain. It’s also well-known for the Qilakitsoq mummies, Greenland’s oldest, that were discovered in nearby. The centre of town is compact and easy for you to explore independently, and there are several marked hiking trails, many of which lead to mountain lakes, for those who want to stretch their legs. Kayakers can enjoy paddling among the icebergs and keeping watch for whales that frequent the area.
Set amid a labyrinth of small islands, Upernavik is home to traditional settlements and enormous icebergs that Greenland is famous for. Kayakers can paddle in the serene bay among the glittering icebergs while other expeditioners can discover the town on walks or hike in the surrounding area. Upernavik is the world’s northernmost open-air museum. A walk through the old part of town, which encompasses the original colonial buildings, tells the cultural history of the area, including the colonial and Viking periods. Keep a look out for a traditional old kayak and umiaq boat, which highlights the main mode of transport used by locals to navigate the archipelago during summer. The shy and elusive narwhal is also known to visit the area, and at nearby Apparsuit, bird enthusiasts will be thrilled to find one of the world’s largest bird cliffs.
Known as the ‘birthplace of icebergs’, this region produces some of the most dazzling icebergs found anywhere on earth. We explore ice-filled Ataa Sund and hope to experience a few of the active glaciers from a safe distance. In Ilulissat, we visit the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Icefjord and stand in awe at its immensity. Sermeq Kujalleq, also known as Jakobshavn Glacier, is the most productive glacier – not only in Greenland but the entire Northern Hemisphere. It produces 20 million tonnes of ice each day, all floating into the Ilulissat Icefjord and Disko Bay.
Ilulissat optional helicopter flight (90 mins): this excursion is the only way you can get close to the gigantic glacier. The 10-seater helicopter departs from Ilulissat Airport sweeping over hills, lakes and ice fjords. On the return flight to Ilulissat, fly above the edge of the glacier with breathtaking views of the massive icebergs drifting in the fjord. The views of some of the largest icebergs that become stranded on a moraine underneath the water, just outside the town, offers a wonderful finale to this excursion. Please note that this excursion requires a minimum of 8 passengers to operate.
We hope to visit a Greenlandic settlement located near the Aasivissuit-Nipisat UNESCO World Heritage Site, a place where the local inhabitants live a traditional fishing and hunting lifestyle that dates back 4,000 years. The settlement also features the remarkable Qaammat Pavilion, built on the ridge at the top overlooking the Ikeertoq fjord. This stunning architecturally designed and award-winning crystal structure was created by Swedish architect, Konstantin Ikonomidis, in cooperation with the local community and the UNESCO team. It is a tribute to nature, the land and cultural traditions of the indigenous Inuit people.
Evighedsfjorden, or Eternity Fjord, is one of the more spectacular fjord complexes in west Greenland due to its forested landscape. Hike through a forested valley, witness hills become towering snow-capped mountains as countless glaciers pour down from sheer cliff walls. Occasionally, the thunderous sound of a calving glacier breaks the silence in a place where you are unlikely to see another soul.
In Nuuk, the capital of Greenland, farewell the crew and Expedition Team, and transfer to the airport for our charter flight to Toronto for an overnight stay.
Accommodation: Westin Toronto Airport Hotel (or similar)
After breakfast, check out of your room and continue your journey with a transfer to the airport.
- All airport transfers mentioned in the itinerary.
- One night’s hotel accommodation including breakfast, in Reykjavik on Day 1.
- Visit Iceland’s famous Golden Circle prior to embarkation, on Day 2.
- Charter flight from Nuuk to Toronto on Day 25.
- One night’s hotel accommodation including breakfast, in Toronto on Day 25.
- Onboard accommodation during voyage, including daily cabin service.
- All meals, snacks, tea and coffee during voyage.
- Beer, house wine and soft drinks with dinner.
- Captain’s Farewell reception including four-course dinner, house cocktails, house beer and wine, non-alcoholic beverages.
- All shore excursions and Zodiac cruises.
- Educational lectures and guiding services provided by Expedition Team.
- Complimentary access to onboard expedition doctor and medical clinic (initial consultation).
- One 3-in-1 waterproof, polar expedition jacket.
- Complimentary use of Muck Boots during the voyage (in Spitsbergen).
- Comprehensive pre-departure information.
- Port surcharges, permits and landing fees.
- International or domestic flights – unless specified in the itinerary.
- Transfers – unless specified in the itinerary.
- Airport arrival or departure taxes.
- Passport, visa, reciprocity and vaccination fees and charges.
- Travel insurance or emergency evacuation charges.
- Hotel accommodation and meals – unless specified in the itinerary.
- Optional excursions and optional activity surcharges.
- All items of a personal nature, including but not limited to alcoholic beverages and soft drinks (outside of dinner service), gratuities, laundry services, personal clothing, medical expenses, wi-fi, email or phone charges.
Note: A $15 USD per person per day gratuity for the crew is automatically added to your onboard account. It is at your discretion if you would like to remove the tip (or adjust the amount) when you settle your bill. It is not necessary to tip the expedition team members. This gratuity amount is included for suites as part of their ‘Suite Benefits’.
Lectures on wildlife, our environment, history and destinations
Near shore cruises
Walking & hiking
Whale and mammal spotting
Cabins & PricesBrowse our comfortable staterooms and suites below. Please contact us for best pricing and current availability.
Some cabin images of the Sylvia Earle are artist’s impressions only and final results may vary.
Prefer a shorter voyage?
‘Greenland in Depth’ is a combination of the 14 day Southern Greenland: On the Trail of Vikings & the 15 day Wild Landscapes of West Greenland. View these itineraries below or contact us for more information.
Experience the enormity of Greenland – the world’s largest island – where jagged peaks pierce azure skies, and countless glaciers snake their way towards the coast. Delight in hikes across...
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