Getting to know southern Greenland means going beyond the Arctic frontier into the home of the Inuit people, where elements of traditional lifestyle and the ongoing battle between humans and nature's hostile environment remains. Southern Greenland offers a sea covered in icebergs, the awe-inspiring beauty of glaciers overflowing into the tranquillity of the fjords, leafy tundra and colourful settlements. On this tour we walk and hike, staying in hostels and camps, with three nights at the amazing Qalerialiq Camp, spectacularly located right in front of the ice cap. We navigate through the fjords among blue-tinged icebergs and alongside spectacular glacier tongues, see the glaciers of the inland ice cap, and much more. The daily hikes are 3-4 hours duration and suitable for most physically active travellers.
Day 1 Copenhagen or Reykjavik - Narsarsuaq
Make your own way to the airport for your flight from Reykjavik (Keflavik Airport) or Copenhagen to Narsarsuaq. On arrival, meet your guide at the airport and then transfer in RIB boat through the Tunulliarfik Fjord, usually full of icebergs, to Qassiarsuk. Here we walk through the village of about 50 inhabitants, mostly farmers, comprising the old Brattahlid, capital of Viking Greenland, where Eric the Red settled in 985 at the start of the colonisation of the land. Visit the original ruins from Erik the Red, and the Brattahlid reconstructions, a replica of the original chapel and longhouse. Accommodation tonight at the Leif Eriksson Hostel.
Day 2 Narsaq and Qaleraliq Glacier Camp
Set off for Qaleraliq camp, navigating again along Tunulliarfik fjord among numerous icebergs. Along the way we stop at Narsaq, the third biggest town in South Greenland, with about 1,500 inhabitants. Free time to visit the local market, fur shops and more, go for a walk or do some shopping, before boarding the boat again to navigate on towards the Inland Ice Cap. We arrive at the cosy, enchanting camp, set on a sandy beach, with a spectacular view of two glacier fronts from Qaleraliq's glacier. Enjoy the unbelievable views and the thunderclap roar of the icefall from seracs. Accommodation at the Camp for three nights in shared tents. (Whilst you are the Camp, if you do not wish to join any of the daily guided walks or hikes, you can just relax in Camp)
Day 3 Glacier Camp: Ice Cap View
In the morning we will have many opportunities to see caribou, which are plentiful in the area. Walk up through a unique desert like sand valley, leading to a surprisingly different landscape of green, thick tundra. Then past Tasersuatsiaq great lake, to continue up 400m for a panoramic view of the inland Ice Cap and a mesmerising view of the lake, one of the largest in Southern Greenland. From here you can gaze upon the infinite ice sheet up to the north coast of the island and towards the Arctic Ocean, and see the Nunataks, floating landmarks on the ice sheet. In the afternoon, we may have time for fishing or picking mushrooms and blueberries (from mid-August), before making our way back down to the Camp.
Day 4 Glacier Camp: Glacier Fronts and Excursion on Ice
Today we navigate along the glacier fronts on a RIB boat, admiring the beauty of the vertical ice walls and numerous icebergs as we approach along the more than 10km stretch to the sea. From here we start the ice excursion, an impressive trek using crampons (organised to be suitable for all travellers) on one of the oldest masses of ice in the planet. We will explore its crevasses, drains, caves, seracs, and other ice formations, which give an incredible, labyrinthine quality to this glacier. An expert mountain guide will be in charge to make sure we are provided with the appropriate equipment, and to ensure the safety of the group during the trip, while he shares with us his knowledge about the special characteristics of the glaciers in the South of Greenland. Then return to the Camp.
Day 5 Qaleraliq - Igaliku and Qooroq Ice Fjord
Today we travel to Itilleq, via the Tunulliarfik fjord. Here enjoy an easy hike on the Kongevejen, or Path of the Kings, to idyllic Igaliku, a small Inuit settlement of less than 40 people, and known as the most beautiful settlement in the whole of Greenland. The ruins of Gardar, the archdiocese and religious capital of Viking Greenland, are here to be explored. In the afternoon, we continue to Qassiarsuk, on the way visiting the Qooroq Fjord, where one of the most active glaciers in southern Greenland can be found, and where the iceberg density is great. Accommodation for the next three nights at the Leif Eriksson Hostel.
Day 6 Tasiusaq, the “Iceberg Bay”
Today walk to Tasiusaq farm, where seven people live in notable isolation next to Sermilik fjord, which is almost always blocked by the ice and icebergs coming from Eqaloruutsit glacier. Then walk to Nunataaq Farm, a Viking Settlement where there are some ruins to explore. Continue on for impressive views of Tasiusaq Bay and the numerous icebergs covering it, and the lakes hidden in the tundra, on the way back to Tasiusaq Farm. Later there may ne time for fishing for arctic salmon or for a walk in the region. You can also enjoy an optional kayak excursion in the “Iceberg Bay” - a two hour sea kayaking trip for beginners among icebergs and ice in one of the safest and best place in the whole Greenland. This excursion will be offered subject to meeting the minimum numbers required to operate and weather conditions.
Day 7 Flower Valley and Kiattut Glacier
Today travel by boat across to the Narsarsuaq area. Then after a short transfer by car, we will walk through Flower Valley, enjoying the view of a valley formed due to the glacial retreat, and a charming place of abundant flowers. We walk until we can see Kiattut Glacier and the landscape around it, with superb panoramic views of the ice sheet and its Nunataks. Tonight enjoy a farewell dinner with typical Inuit products such as whale, seal, caribou, and mattak.
Day 8 Narsarsuaq - Reykjavik or Copenhagen
Transfer to Narsarsuaq. Then time to walk around and visit the local museum, before the return flight Narsarsuaq-Reykjavik (Keflavik Airport) or Copenhagen. On arrival back at Reykjavik (Keflavik Airport) or Copenhagen your tour arrangements conclude.
2024 departures from Reykjavik or Copenhagen:
02, 09, 16, 23, 30 July
06, 13, 20, 27 August
2024 departures from Reykjavik only:
07, 10, 14, 17, 21 September
Maximum Group Size: 12 persons
The order of the itinerary may change due to weather and other conditions and may be reversed
This is a unique journey, designed to maximise adventure and discovery and thus the route may be done as above or in different order. Greenland is the wildest country in the northern hemisphere, infrastructures are almost non-existent and logistics pose challenges, so the itinerary is subject to change and some activities can be cancelled because of weather or ice conditions. As locals say “The weather is Boss in Greenland”!
A reasonable level of fitness is required