A polar bear lumbers across the pack ice, pausing occasionally to sniff the air. Its sensitive nose seeks prey. You shift your viewfinder to the right … on the tundra above, muskoxen and reindeer graze. Pulling the camera from your eyes, you see humpback and beluga whales cruising the food-rich waters while a group of walrus are hauled out far enough down the beach that the roving bear hasn't yet caught on.
This is life in the Arctic, and it has never been more accessible to polar-passionate travelers.
Minimal Time & Maximum Adventure
Reykjavik, Iceland, is the northernmost capital city in the world, and it's where your arctic adventure begins and ends. Explore this community of 200,000 and immerse yourself in the rich culture and heritage of the North. For the adventurous, there are hiking, helicopter and off-road tours. If you're so inclined, follow each with a brewery tour or a sample of Brennivin, the clear, unsweetened schnapps that is Iceland's signature spirit. Culture buffs will love the open-air folk museum, Árbaejarsafn, and the famous Solfar sculpture. Learn more about the awesome activities and attractions Reykjavik has to offer here.
From Reykjavik, you'll fly to Constable Point, Greenland, to rendezvous with the Ocean Nova, a modern and comfortable small expedition vessel. In the panoramic lounge, you'll marvel at the breathtaking views while enjoying informative talks with our on-board experts.
Spectacular Scenery & Amazing Adventures
Arctic Express: Greenland's Northern Lights (Fly North, Fly South) gets right into the action on Day 3 in the Scoresbysund fjord system, which penetrates 216 miles (315 km) inland and is one of the largest fjord systems in the world.
Sailing through the spectacular ice of Apelfjord, you won't just be looking from the ship's deck. A Zodiac cruise is the only way to get the true perspective of these floating giants. Brogetdal, known as the “multicolored valley,” features magnificent vistas and fascinating geology; the nearby Waltershausen Glacier at the head of Nordfjord is one of Greenland's major glaciers.
The shocking color of the “Bay of Flowers,” Blomsterbugten, begs to be photographed, with its gold and purple rocks. You'll also have an opportunity to stretch your legs on an optional shore hike and may even come across arctic wildlife at Renbugten or on Ella Oya (Ella Island), which is within Northeast Greenland National Park. A hike to the top of the island is worth the effort – the views are simply spectacular.
Inuit Culture & Big Ice
Serene, historical Ittoqqortoormiit is East Greenland's most northerly community. Local Inuit hunters have traditionally made a living from polar bear and whale hunting, but tourism is of increasing importance to the community. Artists and craftspeople offer a variety of Inuit art for sale. During your stop here on your arctic cruise, you may also witness one of the most stunning natural spectacles in the world: the Aurora Borealis, better known as the Northern Lights.
Greenland is the No. 1 spot in the world to see nature's amazing light show. If the evening skies are clear, you'll want to have your camera on hand to capture the colorful northern lights as they dance and undulate across the sky.
Hall Bredning is the wide open, central portion of Scoresbysund, and this where you'll encounter the really big ice. Some of the icebergs here are larger than football fields and taller than apartment buildings! As we sail farther into Scoresbysund, you'll have a chance to visit an ancient Thule settlement. Ancestors of the Inuit, the Thule lived in the Arctic from 200 B.C. to 1600 A.D. The Greenland National Museum currently displays the mummified remains of 4 of Greenland's indigenous people, discovered in a grave near Uummannaq in 1972.
Sailing on ever deeper into Scoresbysund, you may have shore landings at Frederiksdal and Sydkapp. Towering icebergs, steep cliffs and the mountainous terrain play tricks with your sense of perception. Hikes in this region can be tailored to different skill and fitness levels – what's important is that you get yourself on an arctic expedition and experience this incredible place.
Day 9 of your Arctic Express: Greenland's Northern Lights (Fly North, Fly South) expedition brings you back to Constable Point, rejuvenated and with plenty of fascinating stories and unbelievable photos to share with friends back home. At your included hotel in Reykjavik, after a comfortable charter flight to the big city, you may look forward to a night out with your new shipmate friends, exploring the sights and sounds of this Icelandic metropolis.
On the other hand, it might well be time to soak in the tub and rest your bones, to retire early and dream of your next expedition to the Far North.
At one time, taking an arctic expedition was risky, time consuming and expensive, but today, taking an arctic cruise is safe and convenient. Quark Expeditions® offers a variety of time-saving options for your arctic adventure, including our popular Arctic Express: Greenland's Northern Lights (Fly North, Fly South) expedition, which begins with a comfortable charter flight to your expedition ship, and ends with another charter flight from your vessel.