The Great Greenland Roundtrip

15 Days from South to North Greenland

The Ultimate Greenland trip! On this 15-day journey, you will experience the incredible contrasts in the Greenlandic nature and the different living conditions in the south and north, in settlements and towns. Hiking trips in overwhelming silence and untouched nature. Green mountains and turquoise icebergs. Verdant flower valleys and barren glaciers.

We set out in green South Greenland with a few days’ stay in a small and very beautiful sheep farming settlement, visiting historical sites like Erik the Red’s settlement and the Gardar bishopric.

The next part of the journey is a two-day cruise on board the coastal vessel Sarfaq Ittuk, sailing along Greenland’s spectacular west coast. During the cruise, there is ample opportunity to look for seals and whales and enjoy life at sea, either behind the vessel’s panoramic windows or in a sheltered corner on deck. We sail to Nuuk, Greenland’s capital and commercial center where we spend the day exploring the exciting cultural experiences Nuuk has to offer.

Nuuk is one of the world’s smallest capitals. As elsewhere in the world, there is a movement from villages and smaller towns to the bigger towns and cities, and you can see that in Greenland, also.

We will continue north to the Arctic paradise Ilulissat, famous for its gigantic icebergs and the incredible Ice Fjord on UNESCO’s World Heritage Site List. During winter, the dog sled is used daily. Therefore, the town is dominated by dog sleds and thousands of dogs longing for the first snowfall.

The awe-inspiring Eqi Glacier is our next stop. We stay in the cozy cabins of Glacier Lodge Eqi for two nights with a direct view of the calving glacier front. The fantastic scenery invites us on shorter or longer hikes, where the silence is intense.

After a night in Ilulissat, we sail 15 kilometers south of Ilulissat Ice Fjord and have an amazing adventure at the cozy Ilimanaq Lodge. In 2022 and 2023, the Faroese, 2-star Michelin restaurant Koks will be in charge of the kitchen, and at night, you will try their fantastic tasting menu!

Back in Ilulissat, your last day will be the perfect ending to a breathtaking journey full of contrasts, uncrowded wilderness, and a glimpse of the Greenlanders’ unique cultural perspective on life.

During the trip, our experienced guide will enthusiastically share their knowledge, and you will have the experience of being together on a special journey.

Highlights

  • Travel through UNESCO World Heritage areas in South and North Greenland 
  • Hikes through the stunning Arctic landscape
  • See Norse and Inuit ruins
  • Cruise along the Greenlandic west coast
  • Visit the Greenlandic capital Nuuk
  • Enjoy the tranquility of small settlements
  • Tasting menu at the 2-star Michelin restaurant KOKS in Ilimanaq
  • Search for whales among the enormous icebergs
  • See the UNESCO World Heritage Site Ilulissat Ice Fjord up close

Included

  • Flight Keflavík International Airport – Narsarsuaq
  • Flight Nuuk – Ilulissat
  • Flight Ilulissat – Keflavík International Airport
  • Boat Narsarsuaq – Qassiarsuk – Itilleq
  • Boat Igaliku – Qaqortoq
  • Return boat Ilulissat – Glacier Lodge Eqi
  • Return boat Ilulissat – Ilimanaq
  • All transfers
  • 1 night at Hotel Narsarsuaq
  • 2 nights at Igaliku Country Hotel (shared toilet/shower)
  • 1 night at Hotel Qaqortoq
  • 1 night at Hotel Hans Egede in Nuuk
  • 4 nights at Hotel Arctic or Hotel Ilulissat in Ilulissat
  • 2 nights at Glacier Lodge Eqi in private cabin
  • 1 night at Ilimanaq Lodge in private cabin, including a tasting menu from Restaurant Koks
  • 2 nights at the coastal ship Sarfaq Ittuk in cabin
  • Welcome dinner in Narsarsuaq
  • Full board in Igaliku
  • Full board during cruise (excl. beverages) from Wednesday evening to Thursday evening
  • Full  board at Glacier Lodge Eqi
  • Tasting menu at Restaurant KOKS and breakfast at Ilimanaq Lodge
  • Breakfast all days
  • Farewell dinner at Hotel Arctic or Hotel Ilulissat
  • Hikes with a tour guide
  • All flight/transportation taxes and fees known to Greenland Travel at the time of publishing
  • 20 kilos of checked baggage and 8 kilos of cabin baggage

Not included

  • Optional excursions (we recommend pre-booking our Excursion Package)
  • Travel Insurance
  • Additional meals
  • Drinks at mentioned meals and full board

Day program

Day 1:
Flight Reykjavik, Iceland to Narsarsuaq, Greenland. A hike in Narsarsuaq.

From Keflavik International Airport, we fly with Icelandair to Narsarsuaq, which is beautifully situated in South Greenland’s oasis of rough mountains, green and verdant plains, icy fjords, glaciers, Viking ruins, and a highly developed agricultural community.

We stay at Hotel Narsarsuaq, which is located on the doorstep of the Kujataa UNESCO World Heritage area and with the immense nature right outside your window . After check-in and dinner, those who up for a good walk can go along on a hiking trip towards Signal Hill. There is a breath-taking view of the airport area, Brattahlid, and the Ice Sheet. For those who don’t want to go all the way to the top, the view is still beautiful.

At night, you will have a lovely welcome dinner in the hotel restaurant (drinks not included).

Day 2:
Boat trip to Qassiarsuk and Itilleq. Hiking to Igaliku.

Today we go on some great excursions.

Qassiarsuk/Brattahlid

In the morning, we transfer by boat into the area of Kujataa to Qassiarsuk located at the bottom of Tunulliarfik, at the exact place where Erik the Red settled when he discovered this green land in 985. We will visit the restored ruins of Erik the Red’s settlement, Brattahlid, and see reconstructions of his longhouse and his wife Thorhildur’s church. Both reconstructions were built in 2000 to mark the 1000th anniversary of Leif Eriksson’s discovery of America and the introduction of Christianity in Greenland. At the same time, they also built a reconstruction of a traditional Inuit peat house.

Thorhildur’s Church was the first Christian church on the American continents. You can see the horseshoe-shaped outline of the original church as well as the reconstruction of it.

On the guided tour, you get a great insight into life in South Greenland 1,000 years ago. There will be plenty of time to experience Qassiarsuk. We suggest that you enjoy your lunch in the small Café Brattahlid (not included).

Igaliku/Gardar

We continue by boat into the beautiful Qooroq Fjord to the landing site Itilleq from where we will walk on a gravel road for one hour to Igaliku, the old King’s Road (after Danish King Frederik IX’s visit in 1952). Igaliku is a beautiful sheep farming settlement at the head of the Igaliku Fjord, surrounded by a lush, green landscape and steep, barren hills in the background. Here, the Norsemen established their Gardar bishopric.

The remnants of the small cathedral are now visible between the colorful houses and vegetable gardens. Today, approximately forty people live in Igaliku, primarily working as sheep farmers . We will spend two nights in the quaint country hotel with a perfect view of the azure fjord.

Day 3:
Full-day hiking trip in and around Igaliku

The wonderful area invites us to take a guided hiking trip north of Igaliku to a fantastic vantage point with a view of the Qooroq glacier and the Greenland Ice Sheet in the background. The Qooroq glacier produces no less than 200,000 tons of ice every 24 hours! On the way, we pass a small lake where there are excellent opportunities to find moonstones. Other hiking routes are also possible – for example to the roaring waterfalls or Nuluk hill.

Like Qassiarsuk which we visited yesterday, Igaliku is a part of the Kujataa UNESCO World Heritage Site . This is due to the many Norse ruins in the area, but also because, in the last century, the farmers have created a unique agricultural area in the Arctic.

Day 4:
Boat transfer to Qaqortoq and guided tour of the town

Today, we sail to Qaqortoq, a wonderful trip through fantastic scenery with icebergs, cliffs and maybe a chance to spot sea eagles and seals. We make a stop at Hvalsey, which is yet another relic from Greenland’s past. The ruins of a Norse church and a vicarage with a hall are visible today. In addition to being the best-preserved Norse ruin, Hvalsey is also the last known testimony to the lives of the Norse in Greenland. In 1408, there was a wedding in the church, and this is the last written testimony of the Norse presence in Greenland. At that time, the climate had begun to get colder in the area, so more and more Norse people emigrated from the country, and their presence quietly died out.

Qaqortoq

We arrive at Qaqortoq early in the afternoon, and you will be staying at Hotel Qaqortoq. From the hotel, there is a nice view of the harbor, and inside the hotel, you can study fine pieces of artwork made by local artists.

After check-in at the hotel, we will take a walk around town. The picturesque town is located between the Qaqortoq Fjord and the great lake Tasersuaq. The town is characterized by colorful houses, gardens with flowers and herbs, a fountain from the 1930s and the modern stone sculpture project Stone and Man carved directly into the cliffs.

Day 5:
Time in Qaqortoq and northwards sailing on the coastal vessel

Today it is time to experience Qaqortoq on your own, and there is plenty to see and do. At the tourist office, you can get a map of the Stone and Man sculptures scattered around town. Take a walk over the river and visit the open fish and meat market and the charming museum, which is also the oldest house in town, built in 1804.

In the late afternoon, we board the coastal ship Sarfaq Ittuk. You can now relax, enjoy the view of the coastline from a vantage point, looking for whales and seals. Along the way, we get an impression of life along the west coast of Greenland at a pleasant, leisurely pace.

Our evening meal is served on board the ship.

Day 6:
At sea with the coastal vessel

The coastline varies with desolate areas, rocky landscapes, icebergs of different sizes and colors with the beautiful reflections of the sunlight. There will be time to sit back and enjoy the view, a good book or maybe strike up a good conversation with some of the locals who also sail along the coast with the ship.

Day 7:
Arrival in Nuuk, a tour of the town, a visit to the National Museum and the possibility for hiking or catching your own lunch on a boat trip (optional)

We arrive into Nuuk in the early morning at approximately 7:30 AM and transfer directly  to the 4-star Hotel Hans Egede. It has great views of the surrounding mountains. You will have breakfast at the hotel, and then it’s time to explore our Arctic capital.

Sightseeing tour with the Greenland National Museum and the old colonial harbor

On the tour, you will be introduced to the major attractions such as the Greenland National Museum, which houses an outstanding ethnographic collection from all Inuit cultures and the world-famous mummies from Qilakitsoq. We visit the architectural highlight; Katuaq  Culture House with a facade shaped like the northern lights. We also walk through the charming old town with the statue of Hans Egede, which overlooks the old colonial harbor, the fjord, and the mountains in the background. We will also pass the local fish and meat market.

You can spend the afternoon on your own. If you are looking for Greenlandic handicrafts, there is a great selection in the city’s souvenir shops, ranging from delicate earrings to seal fur coats.

The hotel sits in the heart of Nuuk, and you have the opportunity to explore the nearby area on your own. Streetlights, buses, and lots of cars give off an immediate impression of a busy city, but the amazing scenery and endless horizon automatically put the bustling city life into perspective.

Like all other towns in Greenland, you live near nature, but with lots of imprints of modern life. With its approximately 17,500 inhabitants, Nuuk is a big city in comparison with other Greenlandic towns. Many new homes are built every year, and the commercial scene is vibrant.

Finally, Nuuk also boasts an excellent art museum, where the permanent exhibition contains many paintings by the famous Greenland painter Emanuel A. Petersen (1894-1948).

Boat trip to Qooqqut – catch your lunch (optional)

At 3:30 PM, we depart from Nuuk on a boat trip to the lovely Qooqqut Nuan’ Restaurant. However, this is no ordinary restaurant visit.

We sail through the vast fjord system behind Nuuk, which is the second largest fjord system in the world. In the Qooqqut Fjord, we stop the engine and try to catch our lunch. Today, there will be no complaints that the fish is not fresh!

Qooqqut lies in a wonderful valley in the Qooqqut Fjord. The mountains surrounding the valley are up to 2,000 meters high. One of Nuuk’s most respected chefs moves here in the summer and serves the most amazing dishes. For lunch, we get to eat our own freshly caught fish.

As something rather unique in Greenland, trees are scattered beautifully in the area behind the restaurant. Consider taking a small hike for a good photo opportunity while the chef is at work with your fish.

After lunch, we go back to the boat and return to Nuuk, where we arrive around 9:00 PM.

The trip to Qooqqut has to be booked before going to Greenland.

Day 8:
Flight to Ilulissat and town walk followed by a hike to the Ice Fjord and Sermermiut

We fly from Nuuk to Ilulissat and will stay at Hotel Arctic or Hotel Ilulissat. Both hotels have a beautiful view of the Icefjord.

Ilulissat is the Greenlandic word for icebergs and is Greenland’s third largest town. Approximately 4,500 inhabitants and about 2,500 sled dogs are fortunate enough to live in this amazing town at the mouth of the 45 kilometer-long, and UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ilulissat Ice Fjord. Ilulissat’s location almost 300 kilometers north of the Arctic Circle means that the midnight sun rules until mid-July. It never gets completely dark – everything is shrouded in an orange, almost magical hue.

Town walk

In the afternoon, we go on a guided tour where the guide will introduce you to modern life in contrast to the traditional hunting life that is still thriving in the town.

Sermermiut

Today’s program also offers a hike to the former Sermermiut settlement located beautifully at the mouth of the Ice Fjord. Due to its excellent fishing conditions, this has been the preferred settlement in the area for several thousand years. The last residents did not move from Sermermiut to Ilulissat until the 1850s when Ilulissat had already existed for more than 100 years. It is a beautiful walk along the fjord with a view of icebergs of all shapes and sizes.

Day 9:
Boat trip to Eqi Glacier, check-in at Glacier Lodge Eqi

Today, we will sail northwards from Ilimanaq to the calving Eqi Glacier. Look out for seals and whales. As we reach Eqi, the boat sails close to the impressive glacier front, where you may be lucky enough to witness small calvings.

Glacier Lodge Eqi

Afterwards, we go ashore at Glacier Lodge Eqi, located in the middle of the Arctic wilderness with beautiful direct views of the glacier. We will spend the next two nights in small cozy one-room wooden cabins for one or two persons.

The standard cabins have no running water or sewerage facilities. This is part of the concept! The cabins are equipped with a gas stove for heating and candles as a light source. All meals are served in Café Victor.

If you wish you can upgrade to Comfort cabins, which have private facilities and electricity – ask when you book your holiday!

Your guide organizes hiking trips in the area, including trips to the lagoon and the moraine, which offers a spectacular view of the Eqi Glacier. The area provides numerous hiking opportunities, and it is up to you whether to join a hiking trip or perhaps relax amid the harsh and desolate, yet beautiful landscape – perhaps out on the cabin’s terrace.

Day 10:
Glacier Lodge Eqi

The day is free at leisure or you can go on a hike.

Hiking to the moraine

You can hike 4-5 hours from Glacier Lodge to the moraine at Eqi Glacier. The hike is not too difficult, but it is a bit hilly, and you should be prepared to cross a small river and then climb up the mountain a bit to get the right view of the board from the moraine edge. Once you’ve done that, you’ll get the most amazing view of the giant glacier.

 

Day 11:
Half day at Glacier Lodge Eqi and boat back to Ilulissat

At noon, we will sail back to Ilulissat with arrival late in the afternoon. Enjoy the passing scenery while looking out for whales. Fin whales and humpback whales, among other species are often spotted in this area. After a nice boat trip, we check back in at the hotel.

 

Day 12:
Explore Ilulissat on your own or go on a whalesafari

This day is at your disposal. There are many options for hiking in the Ilulissat area, and your guide can give you some good tips. Generally, it is as if Greenland is made for hiking, and there are routes of all difficulty levels. Read more about hiking in Greenland and Ilulissat here.

A whale safari among icebergs is one of many optional excursions on offer.

Whale Safari – surrounded by icebergs in the Disco Bay (optional)

It is a great experience to get close to large animals like whales. There are 15 species of whales in the waters around Greenland. During the summer, we usually see humpback, common minke whale, and fin whale. The whales swim in the entire Disko Bay during summer – sometimes close to town, sometimes in the Ice Fjord or up north by the island called Arveprinsens Ejland. We are in constant radio contact with fishers and hunters, who are our source of information about the whales and their whereabouts. The humpback whale, with its characteristic fin, is the most commonly sighted whale on these safaris.

Day 13:
One night in Ilimanaq Lodge and dinner at Restaurant KOKS

Today, you will sail to Ilimanaq and stay overnight in the stunning cottages at Ilimanaq Lodge. You go there by boat and sail past the mouth of the Ice Fjord before we arrive at the port of Ilimanaq 45 minutes later.

The cabins at Ilimanaq Lodge are amazing. They offer two floors with beds upstairs. When you wake up in the morning, you step down into the living room, sit on the couch, and watch the small fishing boats breaking the crystal-clear water. You may enjoy a cup of coffee on the terrace and wave to a whale that blows water into the air as if to say good morning. Ilimanaq Lodge unites magnificent nature experiences with luxurious comfort.

In 2023, the Ilimanaq Lodge Experience will give you 27 hours focused on gourmet food, nature, and life in a tiny settlement. You will dine in a historical building from 1751 at the world’s most remote Michelin-star restaurant – and it is not only remote but a 2-star Michelin restaurant!

Once you are checked into your cabin, you will hear more about the village. Ilimanaq lies 15 kilometers south of Ilulissat and has approximately 50 inhabitants. Ilimanaq’s houses are painted in many stark colors as a contrast to the surrounding landscape. Ilimanaq is a traditional Greenlandic village where the main industries still are hunting and fishing.

Afterward, you can relax completely, take a walk in the quiet village, and enjoy the view from your terrace.

At night, you get to experience the exquisite tasting menu of Restaurant KOKS (you can purchase the wine or juice menu separately on-site). With two Michelin stars, we guarantee you something you have never tried before. In 2022, the Danish equivalent to Financial Times, Børsen, named it the “best eating experience in the Danish Realm.”

Day 14:
KOKS breakfast and Ilimanaq experiences. Optional: Adventure Glacier

We return to Ilulissat by boat in the afternoon, but your Ilimanaq experience is far from over, and the next few hours will be spent in exciting ways.
This morning, you will get more heavenly treats for your taste buds. There is an extended breakfast from 9-11 AM. Check-out of your cabin is at 10, and you can leave your bags at the reception. Excursions start at 11.30 AM.

We will return to Ilulissat by boat at 4:30 PM, but your Ilimanaq Experience is far from over, and the next hours will be put to good use. You can choose from a guided walk around the settlement and hear more about Ilimanaq. Alternatively, you can go hiking or participate in a cultural workshop. You can also book the excursion mentioned below since you are already in Ilimanaq.

There is also the option of an exciting extra excursion if you did not purchase one of the luxury excursion packages.

Ilimanaq Glacier Adventure

On this exciting trip, you will sail in a speedboat, drive off-road with ATVs, and trek on a glacier! We sail south from Ilimanaq to Itilliup Ilua. Here, we are set off on a very wide sandy beach, and from here, we drive off-road in all-terrain ATVs to the Tasiusaq Fjord. We now sail deeper into the fjord until we reach a place with two glaciers, and the Greenland Ice Sheet can be seen.

We go ashore and enjoy a packed lunch and the great view. After this, we trek and finally climb onto the huge ice sheet.

This tour is not recommended if you have severe neck or back problems, and participants must be 12 years old.

 

At night, you will have a lovely farewell dinner in the hotel’s restaurant (drinks not included).

Day 15:
Flight from Ilulissat to Reykjavik

It is time to say goodbye to Greenland. We fly from Ilulissat to Keflavík International Airport in Iceland.

Map

Narsarsuaq

Qassiarsuk

Igaliku

Qaqortoq

Nuuk

Ilulissat

Hotels on this tour

Optional purchases

Practical information

Flight schedule (local times)

  • Departure Keflavík International Airport 5:50 PM – Arrival Narsarsuaq 6:25 PM
  • Departure Ilulissat 10:05 AM – Arrival Keflavík International Airport 3:25 PM

Please note that departure times are subject to change by the airline.

PLEASE NOTE! A minimum of eight people are required for the trip (and there will be a maximum of 12 participants)

Two hotels in Ilulissat

On the following departures, you will stay at Hotel Ilulissat in Ilulissat: June 24, 2023, July 22, 2023, and August 12, 2023. On the trip with a departure on July 15, 2023, you will stay at Hotel Arctic instead.

Guide language

Tours are guided in English and German.

Packing List

Find the packing list for your trip here.

Excursions

All hiking excursions are included. If you wish to buy more, for example, a helicopter excursion or a trip to the hot springs at Uunartoq, you can do that while in Greenland. Your tour guide will help you.

Baggage included

20 kilos of checked baggage and 6 kilos of cabin baggage (max. dimensions of cabin baggage: 55 x 35 x 25 cm).

Travelers with reduced mobility and wheelchair users

Unfortunately, this trip is not suitable for people with reduced mobility and wheelchair users. Greenland Travel’s difficulty level advises that the excursions are intended for travelers who are not disabled. Of course, we are happy to provide you with information on the suitability of the trip, taking into account the needs you have. Please note that if you choose this trip based on a conversation with Greenland Travel, the decision is your own responsibility, as we do not have medical competence for advice.

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The Great Greenland Roundtrip

15 Days from South to North Greenland

The great Greenland round trip! Explore Greenland from the South to Disko bay. Visit small settlements and Nuuk, the capital of Greenland. Sail with the coastal ship and enjoy a unique stay in Glacier Lodge Eqi.

From
7.705 EUR
per person in double room
July  | 15 days  | 14 nights Travel id: 1160 Departure from Reykjavik Guaranteed departure | incl. tour guide
Optional experiences
IcebergsWhalesafariCulture

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You are always welcome to contact us if you have any questions regarding your trip or if you need advice or guidance.

We strive to respond to inquiries within 24 hours on weekdays.

You can call us at: +45 3313 1011