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Best of the Western Arctic: Canada and Greenland

20 days

Venture far above the Arctic Circle, in a land where the sun never sets and polar bears roam, with the Best of the Western Arctic: Canada and Greenland itinerary. You’ll be exploring the northerly shores of Canada’s Baffin Island and the western coast of Greenland, searching for the wildlife and visiting the communities that call this mysterious realm home. Zodiac cruising gives you an awe-inspiring perspective of impressive icebergs, glaciers and fjords, while visits to communities immerse you in their traditional and modern way of life. The rugged beauty of these pristine places will have you marveling at the soaring cliffs of Sam Ford Fjord and the dazzling icebergs dotting the Ilulissat Icefjord.  In this remote, wildlife-rich region, you may spot whales in their natural surroundings or get a glimpse of one of the Arctic’s most iconic animals; the polar bear.

The Arctic has been inspiring explorers for centuries, and our expeditions offer the chance for you to discover why. We’re excited to host you on your unforgettable adventure! Feel free to reach out to our team of Polar Travel Advisers or your travel professional, who can answer your questions and provide assistance at any time.

Day-by-Day Expedition in Brief

  • Search for iconic arctic wildlife, such as polar bears, muskoxen, walrus and whales
  • Explore Canadian wildlife sanctuaries and the Ilulissat Icefjord, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Visit traditional settlements and meet Inuit and Greenlandic locals
  • Cruise in a Zodiac to explore icebergs, glaciers, fjords and more
  • Immerse yourself in the icy realm of the Arctic with optional kayaking adventures

Day 1 — Arrive in Reykjavik, Iceland

Your Arctic expedition begins in Reykjavik. Explore Iceland’s capital city on your own before spending the night at your included hotel.

Day 2 — Embarkation Day in Kangerlussuaq, Greenland

In the morning, the group will transfer to the airport and board our private charter flight to Kangerlussuaq, a small town at the eastern head of Sondre Stromfjord, one of the longest fjords in the world.

Day 3 — At Sea

As we cruise across the Davis Strait, your Expedition Team will prepare you for the adventures that await. Learn about the storied history and politics of the Arctic, its fascinating wildlife, geology, ecology and climate, and the incredible sights you will soon explore.

Days 4 to 6 — Exploring Baffin Island, Canada

Baffin Island is the fifth-largest island in the world, it was named for English navigator William Baffin, who ventured to the area in the early 17th century in search of the fabled Northwest Passage. Your days sailing along the island’s eastern coast will be guided by weather and ice conditions, with each day and each landing presenting new adventures. Some of our favorite destinations include Qikiqtarjuaq, Isabella Bay and Sam Ford Fjord.

Day 7 — At Sea

As our ship sails farther north, take in a presentation by our on-board experts, sip an icy cocktail in the bar, watch a movie or join your Expedition Team on the bridge as they scan for wildlife—there is no shortage of activities while at sea.

Days 8 to 11 — Lancaster Sound

The gateway to the Northwest Passage, Lancaster Sound is one of the richest marine habitats in the Arctic. With open-water areas staying ice-free all year, it is an important summer feeding area for whales and other marine wildlife. Our days here will be spent exploring several of the sound’s beautiful bays and inlets, discovering historical sites, enjoying Zodiac cruises and searching for such iconic wildlife as walrus, seals and, of course, whales. Polar bear sightings are possible too, as Lancaster Sound is known for polar bear sightings. If you’re fortunate, you may even spot the elusive narwhal.

Day 12 — Smith Sound

Before saying goodbye to Canada, we’ll push as far north as possible, exploring both sides of Smith Sound, the uninhabited passage between Ellesmere Island and Greenland. Experience a true expedition as weather and ice determine how far north we explore.

Days 13 and 14 — Exploring Northwest Greenland

Your return to Greenland will have you sailing along the remote northwest coast, a land of impressive icebergs and massive glaciers. Qaanaaq, formerly known as Thule, is one of the northernmost towns in the world. Here, local Inuit share their culture and traditions, while the museum sheds more light on life near the top of the world

Day 15 — At Sea

As we continue sailing south along the west coast of Greenland, presentations by our on-board experts will prepare you for the adventures that lie ahead.

Days 16 to 18 — Exploring West Greenland

Boasting spectacular glaciers, mountainous landscapes, dramatic fjords and vibrant communities, the west coast of Greenland will leave you breathless. Some areas we hope to explore here are Uummannaq, Itilleq and the impressive Ilulissat Icefjord. Quite possibly the most picturesque place in Greenland, the traditional Inuit town of Uummannaq (which means “heart-like”) takes its name from the red heart-shaped mountain that rises up a staggering 3,840 feet (1,170 meters) behind it. Another beautiful locale is the Ilulissat Icefjord, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Day 19 — Disembark in Kangerlussuaq & fly to Rekyjavik

Enjoy one more Zodiac ride to shore, where you’ll board your charter flight back to Reykjavik, Iceland. Upon arrival in Reykjavik, we will transfer you to your included hotel.

Day 20 — Depart Reykjavik, Iceland

Today, you can make your way home at your leisure or spend time exploring this vibrant city.
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Adventure Options Add an Extra Rush of Adrenaline to Your Expedition

Every Quark Arctic voyage includes great daily outdoor activities including Zodiac cruises and hiking. We also offer kayaking on most of our voyages; a great way to experience the beauty of the Arctic in a more personal way. Contact a Quark Polar Travel Adviser to learn more about adventure options, including physical requirements.

Explore the ocean from a more intimate vantage point on a sit-on-top kayak. No experience is required to manoeuvre these very stable kayaks, allowing you to enjoy an unforgettable experience on the water, taking in breathtaking landscapes and wildlife. Whether it’s your first time in a kayak or you want greater flexibility to try other Adventure options, this shorter excursion is for you.  
 
Paddling in the Polar Regions is highly weather-dependent and a one-time experience. Your kayak guides will attempt to take you out on the water for 1-1.5 hours of paddling. Offered on most voyages, spaces are limited. All equipment, guides and instructions are provided by Quark. 

Pricing subject to change based on season. Please proceed to checkout or contact a Polar Travel Adviser for more details. 

Pre- and Post-Trip Options Extend Your Stay

Getting to the Arctic can be just as much fun as being there. Quark offers multiple travel packages that enable you to see more of the world before and after your Arctic adventure.

Iceland Experience Package

From the charming city of Reykjavik, to the therapeutic waters of the Blue lagoon, and the bubbling hot springs of Thingveller National Park, you will be mesmerized by the unique beauty and striking geography of this Nordic island. Iceland offers adventures for every activity and skill level – ask about the other options available to enjoy the fresh air and explore the dramatic landscape.