Arctic tundra of red, orange, gold & bright green under a misty blue sky, seen during the Iceland & Greenland: Edge of the Arctic Cruise.
Town of Sisimut, Greenland, on a clear day, with light blue church with red roof, steeple & white trim, beside a red & green building.
Traveler in a red jacket stands at lip of the giant Godafoss Waterfall of the Gods in Iceland.
Tandem kayakers paddle around icebergs in glassy water on a sunny day near Skjoldungen Island, Southeastern Greenland.
Woman in jeans & pink shirt sits & photographs purple lupin wildflowers in a grassy field on a cruise to Iceland & Greenland.
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Polar Regions Arctic Cruise

Iceland & Greenland: Edge of the Arctic Cruise

On this 19-day Arctic voyage aboard 148-guest National Geographic Explorer, trace the rugged coast of the world’s largest island. Follow the route of the legendary Viking Erik the Red, from Iceland’s magnificent Westfjords peninsula across the Denmark Strait to the ice-sculpted shores of Greenland. Trace the coast of the world’s largest island from the rugged eastern fjords to the fishing villages of the western coast. Search for walrus, whales and caribou, and use the ship’s exploration tools to discover the undersea. Visit archaeological sites of Viking and Thule settlements and learn about everyday life near the Arctic Circle in charming coastal villages from Flatey Island to Nuuk. 

Highlights are many on this Iceland & Greenland cruise. Hike the dramatic Dynjandi Waterfall in Iceland’s remote Westfjords peninsula, and visit a farm that produces eiderdown. Explore Hvalsey and Brattahlíð, 10th-century Viking settlements founded by Erik the Red and his family in Greenland, and see the incredible Qilakitsoq mummies, preserved by freezing temperatures for some 500 years. Cruise among the dazzling icebergs calved by the Ilulissat Icefjord and encounter impressive tidewater glaciers in West Greenland. And experience local culture through visits to fishing villages and longhouses, folk performances, and tasting tours of traditional Greenlandic and Icelandic foods.

Explore aboard the 148-guest National Geographic Explorer. This small expedition ship is technologically advanced, fully stabilized and equipped with a well-rounded set of exploration tools including an ROV and enough kayaks and Zodiacs to send all guests out exploring at the same time. Additionally, the National Geographic Explorer boasts a top speed of 18 knots, making her one of the fastest ships plying Arctic waters.

Read on for details about this trip, or learn more about AdventureSmith’s Arctic cruises, Arctic trips and Iceland cruises.



Itinerary

Iceland & Greenland: Edge of the Arctic Itinerary

On this round-trip Reykjavik itinerary, cruise along Iceland’s less-visited Westfjords before crossing to explore south and west Greenland. Complete the trip with a charter flight back to Reykjavik for one final night.

Route map of Iceland & Greenland: Edge of the Arctic Cruise, operating round-trip from Reykjavik, Iceland, with visits to west Iceland & south Greenland.
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Day 1
Fly to Reykjavik, Iceland

Depart on an overnight flight to Reykjavík, the world’s northernmost capital, which lies just south of the Arctic Circle.

Accommodations

n/a

Meals

n/a

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Day 2
Explore Reykjavik & Embark

Take a walking tour of the Old Town and venture into Hallgrímskirkja, a modern, Nordic-style church whose steeple soars to 210 feet, making it the tallest building in Iceland. Learn about Nordic culture at the National Museum and browse a collection of unusual whalebone carvings and Viking treasures and artifacts. In the afternoon, embark the ship and settle in.

Accommodations

National Geographic Explorer

Meals

lunch, dinner

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Day 3
Flatey Island

Follow Iceland’s western coast north, stopping for a visit to the historic trading post of Flatey Island. Take walks around the charming hamlet that sprung up here over the centuries and explore the coast by Zodiac.

Accommodations

National Geographic Explorer

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 4
Arnafjörður/Ísafjarðardjúp

Early this morning, glide into beautiful Arnafjörður, an inlet that reaches deep into the northern Westfjords. If desired, disembark early and hike several miles along the shore to the fjord’s end, where the spectacular Dynjandi Waterfall tumbles some 300 feet over many tiers of rock. Alternatively, join the expedition staff on the deck of the ship to watch her approach to the falls and go ashore by Zodiac to see them close up. There’s a chance to spot nesting arctic terns along the way. Later this evening, enter Ísafjarðardjúp and land at Vigur Island, a privately owned island that is home to numerous species of seabirds, including a large colony of eider ducks. Visit the family farm to learn how they process and clean eiderdown sustainably, without harming the birds.

Accommodations

National Geographic Explorer

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 5
Ísafjörður

The capital of the Westfjords, Ísafjörđur lies on a tiny spit jutting out into the fjord against a backdrop of steep hills. Take a culinary tour of the town, stopping to taste local produce and Icelandic specialties. Alternatively, hike through pristine landscapes to a remote waterfall or cycle along the fjord to a charming maritime museum at Bolungarvik.

Accommodations

National Geographic Explorer

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 6
Crossing the Denmark Strait

Follow in the wake of the legendary Viking Erik the Red as the ship makes its way across the Denmark Strait to Greenland. Listen to talks by experts, relax with a book in the lounge or the observation deck and keep an eye out for wildlife.

Accommodations

National Geographic Explorer

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 7
Exploring East Greenland

The Greenland ice sheet is the second largest body of ice in the world after Antarctica and covers roughly 80% of Greenland’s surface. The island’s coast is etched with thousands of fjords, some of which reach the ice’s edge. Spend the day exploring the islands and inlets of the eastern coast, using the ship’s underwater cameras and Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) to discover marine life and fascinating underwater geology. Venture deep into Skjoldungen fjord or Napasorsuaq fjord and take a Zodiac or a kayak for a foray among the icebergs.

Accommodations

National Geographic Explorer

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 8
Prins Christian Sund & Nanortalik, Greenland

Sail into Prins Christian Sund, which cuts far into the southern tip of Greenland, passing between soaring pinnacles and glaciers. Anchor off the small fishing village of Nanortalik, and go ashore to explore Greenland’s most southerly town, and meet some of the residents for a performance of local folk music and dance. In the tundra outside of town, walk among multitudes of wildflowers, or explore Greenland’s only natural forest, where full-grown trees are only a few meters tall. Visit reconstructed longhouses and learn about the construction of traditional umiaks and kayaks.

Accommodations

National Geographic Explorer

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 9
Hvalsey Ruins & Qaqortoq

Today, explore two remarkable sites on the Viking Trail. On the shores of Qaqortukulooq fjord lies the UNESCO World Heritage site of Hvalsey, one of the best-preserved Nordic sites in the world. Part of the settlement founded by Erik the Red’s cousins in 986 AD, Hvalsey has yielded fascinating clues to the daily life of the Vikings and their mysterious disappearance. Explore the church constructed in the 14th century, possibly by Norwegian  stonemasons, and the living quarters and banquet hall for celebrations. Continue to Qaqortoq, inhabited since the Viking era and now the largest town in South Greenland—with just over 3,200 residents. The Scandinavian influence is apparent in the wooden houses painted primary colors and scattered on the hillside, and colonial architecture dating back to the late 1700s can be found in the town center. Stroll through the town square and visit the museum, where Greenlandic kayaks, hunting equipment and local art and handicrafts are on display. Sample traditional Greenlandic food this afternoon.

Accommodations

National Geographic Explorer

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 10
Eriksfjörd & Brattahlíð

Follow the waterway known as Eriksfjörd to Brattahlíð, where Erik the Red established his farm in 982 AD after his exile from Iceland. Erik’s wife, Þjódhild, built the first Christian church in the western hemisphere here. Visit replicas of the church and Erik the Red’s longhouse and see the shores from which their son, Leif Eriksson, launched the first voyages to North America—500 years before Columbus.

Accommodations

National Geographic Explorer

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 11
Nuuk

Perched on the seaside in the shadow of ice-capped Sermitsiaq Mountain, Nuuk is the world’s smallest capital city by population, with some 18,000 inhabitants. Watch for harp seals as we enter the harbor and take a walking tour with local residents to learn how the community has changed over the generations. At the National Museum, examine the extraordinary 15th-century Qilakitsoq mummies found near Uummannaq—a discovery that was featured in a National Geographic magazine cover story in 1985. The Arctic ice preserved these mummies so well that researchers have been able to study their tattoos, their medical conditions and even what they ate.

Accommodations

National Geographic Explorer

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 12
Kangaamiut & Evighed Fjord

In the early morning, the ship enters Evighed Fjord, which winds picturesquely past steep mountains and stunning tidewater glaciers. Take a Zodiac cruise along the face of one of the many glaciers or hike over glacial moraines to a waterfall. In the afternoon, visit the small fishing community of Kangaamiut. Climb the small mountain behind the village to take in the views or walk through the village and photograph the colorful houses clustered on the seaside slope.

Accommodations

National Geographic Explorer

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 13
Sisimut

Dozens of deep fjords carve into Greenland’s west coast, many with glaciers fed by the icecap that covers much of the island. At Sisimiut, a former whaling port, visit the museum and stroll among its 18th-century wooden buildings. Choose from a variety of walks to explore the town and its surroundings.

Accommodations

National Geographic Explorer

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Days 14 - 15
Ilulissat & Disko Bay

Sail into Disko Bay and encounter the UNESCO World Heritage-designated Ilulissat Icefjord, a tongue of the Greenland ice cap that calves enormous icebergs into the bay. Take an extraordinary cruise among these towering sculptures in ice. Enjoy views of the bay on a visit to the town of Ilulissat, and hike to an archaeological site in the Sermermiut Valley. Spend the next day cruising Disko Bay as the ship makes her way north. Ice conditions permitting, follow the inside passage past Disko Island to the Nuussuaq Peninsula. While sailing, join the expedition team in the lounge for presentations about Greenland’s Thule people.

Accommodations

National Geographic Explorer

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 16
Uummannaq & Qilakitsoq

The colorful village of Uummannaq sits on a tiny island in the Uummannaq Fjord. The dramatic peak that rises abruptly from the island’s center is so remarkable that it has been depicted numerous times in paintings and drawings. Visit the excellent community museum to learn about the area’s archaeology and history and see traditional Inuit clothing and tools along with scenes of everyday life. Then cross the fjord to the archaeological site of Qilakitsoq, where the eight Thule mummies were discovered in 1972.

Accommodations

National Geographic Explorer

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 17
Ataneq Fjord

Enjoy a full day to explore the beautiful Ataneq Fjord by water and on foot. Walk the metamorphic rocks at Tunúngassoq, covered in spongy tundra, and look for arctic foxes and, with luck, caribou. Paddle a kayak along the steep sides of the fjord or ride a Zodiac to see the glacially carved landscape up close.

Accommodations

National Geographic Explorer

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Days 18 - 19
Disembark Kangerlussuaq, Greenland, Fly to Reykjavik & Depart

Disembark in Kangerlussuaq and take a charter flight back to Iceland. Check into the group hotel near the airport. On the final morning, consider enjoying a soak in the Blue Lagoon or take a tour of the Reykjanes Peninsula. After lunch, transfer to the airport for flights home.

Accommodations

Courtyard by Marriott Reykjavik/Keflavik (day 18); n/a (day 19)

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner (day 18); n/a (day 19)

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Details
Inclusions, Terms & Notes

Included

All accommodations; meals indicated; alcoholic beverages (except premium brands); excursions; services of expedition leader, naturalist staff and expert guides; use of kayaks; entrance fees; all port charges and service taxes; gratuities to ship’s crew.

Exclusions

One-way charter flight from Kangerlussuaq, Greenland, to Reykjavik, Iceland ($795 per person in 2022); immigration and passport fees; personal items such as emails, laundry, voyage DVD, etc.; and insurance of any kind.

Payment & Cancellation

In order to confirm this trip, a deposit of $3,000 is required per person at time of booking. The balance of the trip price is due 120 days before the departure date. Special holiday payment and cancellation terms may apply. Guests who must cancel their trip for any reason must do so in writing. Standard cancellations are subject to the following per-person penalties, based on number of days prior to departure:
180 or more days – $750 of deposit retained (may be applied to future trip by trip operator)
179 to 120 days – 100% of deposit
119 to 90 days – 25% of total trip cost
89 to 60 days – 50% of total trip cost
59 to 0 days – 100% of total trip cost

Terms & Conditions

This trip is subject to AdventureSmith Explorations Terms and Conditions. Please read this information carefully and call us if you have any questions. A Traveler Information Form, which includes a release of liability, must be completed and signed by all travelers. Your Adventure Specialist will send you a unique link to complete this form along with a packing list and extensive pre-departure and travel insurance information upon booking confirmation.

Arrival & Departure

The Iceland & Greenland: Edge of the Arctic cruise begins and ends in Reykjavik, Iceland (KEF). Embarkation time may vary based upon arrival of group flights. Disembarkation in Kangerlussuaq, Greenland, is after breakfast on Day 18 of the outlined itinerary, followed by a charter flight to Reykjavik, Iceland. Departure times on Day 19 may vary depending on group flights. Inquire with your Adventure Specialist upon booking for details. If you would like assistance with international flights, please visit our Booking Flights resource page.

Internal Flights

A group charter flight between Kangerlussuaq, Greenland, and Reykjavik, Iceland, is required on this trip’s itinerary; see this trip’s Exclusions. There is a strict luggage limit of two checked bags weighing up to 57 lbs (25 kg) combined, and one carry-on bag weighing up to 17 lbs (8 kg) plus a personal item that can be stowed under the seat.

Activities

Activities included aboard this expedition include Zodiac cruises, hiking and kayaking. Other activities may include yoga and stretching, land treks, photography, glacier viewing and wildlife observation.

Room Configuration

In addition to listed Solo cabin rates, select double-occupancy cabins may be available for single occupancy with a single supplement fee. If you would like to share accommodations with another guest of the same gender, we will be happy to try to accommodate you in select cabin categories. This program allows you to pay the per person double-occupancy rate whether or not a roommate is found. Contact AdventureSmith for further details and availability.

Families & Children

Children under the age of 18 are eligible for $500 off the double occupancy rate. Skilled staff members trained with National Geographic Education organize activities that inspire curiosity in young people of all ages. Programming for kids may include activities like photo workshops, journaling, scavenger hunts, Zodiac-driving lessons, hands-on nature and science programming and kid-friendly menu options.

Travel Insurance

Protect your travel investment with insurance. Our partners at Travelex Insurance offer a variety of plans and policies to fit every trip and budget. Coverage for a pre-existing medical condition is also available if you purchase the Travel Select plan within 15 days of the initial trip payment; refer to plan details. Learn more about travel insurance or get a free quote.

Itinerary Notes

Read this itinerary as a guide only; the exact route and program varies according to ice, weather conditionswildlife encountered and the captain’s discretion. Flexibility is the key to the success of any Arctic expedition.

Rates & Dates

Cruise Rates & Dates

Jul 30 - Aug 17, 2022
National Geographic Explorer • 19 days
From $20370USD
Per Person
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Accommodation

Learn About the Small Ship on Your Itinerary

Expedition Ship
National Geographic Explorer

The National Geographic Explorer is a state-of-the-art expedition ship accommodating 148 guests in 81 outside cabins. She is fully stabilized, enabling her to navigate polar passages while providing comfort.

Deals

Current Deals on This Trip

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Save 5% when traveling as a group of 8 or more on National Geographic expeditions in this special deal.

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Save 10% when you book two consecutive cruises aboard a National Geographic expedition ship.

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Iceland & Greenland: Edge of the Arctic Cruise

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