Viking Legends and Wild Fjords: From Iceland to Greenland Cruise

Michael S. Nolan
Taking a kayaking trip around Monaco Glacier on Spitsbergen Island.
Bundle up for the weather
Adventure Life
Fishing village in the arctic
Michael S. Nolan
Travelers photographing walrus relaxing on the bank.
Early morning in Tasiilaq, East Greenland
Relax in the luxurious sauna aboard the National Geographic Explorer.
Relax in the National Geographic Explorer's lounge.
Follow in the heroic wake of the earliest transatlantic voyagers on this 11-day expedition. Explore the routes once traveled by fearless explorers and colonists to discover the dramatic landscapes and rich traditions of Greenland and Iceland – in particular, Iceland’s untrammeled western coast – and visit fascinating Viking sites and settlements, each set against edenic backdrops.

Day 1

Arrive in Reykjavik, Iceland / Embark

Arrive in Reykjavik, the world’s northernmost capital, which lies only a fraction below the Arctic Circle and receives just four hours of sunlight in winter and 22 in summer. Take a guided overview of the Old Town, including Hallgrimskirkja Cathedral with its 210-foot tower, and shed some light on Nordic culture at the National Museum, with its Viking treasures and artifacts. Embark National Geographic Explorer.

Day 2

  • Ship
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Explore the West Coast of Iceland

National Geographic Explorer navigates Iceland’s wild western frontier, sailing past the immense Latrabjarg cliffs, the westernmost point of Iceland and home to a huge population of razorbills. The cliffs are an area once famous for egg collecting; the men were tied to ropes and lowered like spiders down onto the ledges. Continue to Flatey Island, a trading post for many centuries, for walks around the charming little hamlet that grew here.

Day 3

  • Ship
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Cross the Denmark Strait / Scoresbysund, Greenland

Cross the Denmark Strait and arrive at the mouth of Scoresbysund (the planet’s largest fjord system) in the afternoon. This area is marked by mountains that rise straight out of the sea, glistening tidewater glaciers and is also a major area to capture the ice calving off from the east side of the Greenland ice cap and depending on ice conditions we’ll explore the area by hiking, Zodiac and will keep an eye out for whales and other marine life.

Days 4-5

  • Ship
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

King Oscarfjord

Explore north over the next two days using our tools for exploration to the fullest, taking Zodiac or kayak forays among the icebergs, deploying the ROV and setting out on foot to hike. Ace spotters will help you search for polar bears. If ice conditions are unrelenting, you will explore a bit further south, where there are spectacular fjords that are generally ice-free at this time of year.

Days 6-7

  • Ship
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

At Sea

National Geographic Explorer heads south to follow in the wake of Eric the Red and Brendan the Navigator. Watch for whales and bird life.

Day 8

  • Ship
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Skoldungen Fjord

The Greenland Ice Sheet is the second largest ice body in the world, after the Antarctic ice sheet, roughly 80% of the surface of Greenland. The high arctic-like climate is dominated by ice floes. Among the options for exploration are landings at Skoldungen fjord.

Day 9

  • Ship
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Prins Christian Sund & Nanortalik

Prins Christian Sund is a major fjord on the southern coast of Greenland. Surrounded by mountain pinnacles and glaciers, the decks are perfect for viewing this landscape. Anchor off Nanortalik, Greenland’s most southerly town. Go ashore to the picturesque little town by the water’s edge.

Day 10

Qaqortukulooq (Hvalsey Ruins) / Qaqortoq

Explore a remarkable site on the Viking Trail. Qaqortukulooq was settled by one of Erik the Red’s cousins in 986 AD. A UNESCO World Heritage site, it is the most extensive Norse site in Greenland. The ship then continues to Qaqortoq. Inhabited since Norse times, the Scandinavian influence is still apparent in the colorful wooden buildings and town museum, displaying Greenlandic kayaks, hunting equipment, art, and crafts.

Day 11

  • Ship
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Brattahlid / Eriksfjord

Eriksfjord is the area that Erik the Red chose for his farm when he settled here in 982 AD. Explore Brattahlid, site of the first Christian church in the western hemisphere, built by Erik’s wife, Tjodhilde. This region is also the starting point of the first voyages to North America by his son, Leif Eriksson, 500 years before Columbus.

Day 12

  • Ship
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Nuuk is the world’s smallest capital city with 15,000 inhabitants. Visit the National Museum with its famous 15th-century Qilakitsoq mummies, found near Uummannaq, and the subject of a NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC cover story.

Day 13

  • Ship
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Exploring Greenland’s West Coast

Today is left open for exploration of this rugged coastline. You may take a Zodiac cruise, kayak, or hike across the tundra. Your Undersea Specialist may launch the Remotely Operated Vehicle to see the marine life inhabiting the fjord floor.

Days 14-15

  • Breakfast, Lunch

Kangerlussuaq/Disembark/Fly to Reykjavík/Home

Disembark in Kangerlussuaq and after a guided overview of the city, fly to Reykjavík via privately chartered aircraft. Overnight at either the Natura Hotel or the Hilton Nordica. The next day have a guided overview of Reykjanes Peninsula and transfer to Keflavik Airport for flights home.

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Travelers under the age of 18 save $500 per person.

Costs Include:
All accommodations aboard ships or in hotels per itinerary or similar, all meals and nonalcoholic beverages aboard ship, meals on land as indicated, air transportation where indicated as included, shore excursions, sightseeing and entrance fees, special access permits, transfers to and from group flights, use of snorkeling equipment and wet suits, use of kayaks (where available), gratuities (except to ship’s crew), taxes and service charges, services of a ship physician on most voyages, and services of our expedition staff.

Not Included:
Air transportation, private charter flight from Kangerlussuaq to Ottawa on day 11 of the itinerary, extensions, passport, visa, immigration fees, scuba diving (where available), meals not indicated, travel protection plan, items of a personal nature, such as alcoholic beverages, internet access, and laundry. Gratuities to ship's crew are at your discretion.
Arctic, North America, Europe, Iceland, Norway, Greenland, Canada, Kangerlussuaq, Nuuk, Scoresbysund, Reykjavik, Nanortalik, Qaqortoq, King Oscar Fjord, Skoldungen, Flatey Island, Brattahlíð, Western Europe, Scandinavia
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