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Under the Northern Lights: Exploring Iceland & East Greenland

14 days

Explore two of the last unspoiled wilderness areas on the planet with the Under the Northern Lights: Exploring Iceland & East Greenland itinerary. Cruising along Iceland’s mountainous Vestfjords and Greenland’s remote northeast coast, home to the largest fjord system in the world, you’ll discover diverse and dramatically rugged landscapes rich in iconic arctic wildlife. Immersed in the untamed beauty of the Arctic, you’ll experience Inuit culture firsthand at Ittoqqortoormiit, visit ancient Thule sites steeped in history, and marvel at the majesty of massive icebergs and towering bird cliffs. If you’re lucky, you may also catch sight of the spectacular northern lights dancing across the sky.

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 and whales
  • Hike the tundra, visit an Inuit community and explore a breathtaking fjord system in East Greenland
  • Marvel at the dramatic mountains and bird cliffs of Iceland’s oldest region
  • Possibly view the enchanting northern lights (aurora borealis)
  • Cruise in a Zodiac to explore diverse landscapes
  • Immerse yourself in the icy realm of the Arctic with optional kayaking adventures

Day 1 — Arrive in Reykjavik, Iceland

Arrive in the Icelandic capital in the morning and make your way to your included hotel. You will have the day to explore the city on your own.

Day 2 — Embarkation Day in Reykjavik

This afternoon, you’ll board your vessel and begin your expedition. Get ready for a great adventure ahead!

Day 3 — Exploring the Vestfjords

Each region of Iceland has its own appeal for nature, bird and history lovers, and the little-visited Vestfjords (Westfjords), where the land meets the sea in the most dramatic fashion, is no exception. Exploring this rugged peninsula at the country’s remote northwestern tip offers awe-inspiring vistas of mountains, fjords and towering cliffs. If we’re lucky and conditions allow, we might cruise along Látrabjarg, Europe’s largest bird cliff, teeming with puffins, razorbills, guillemots and more.

Day 4 — At Sea

As we cruise north across the Denmark 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. The team will also search for the seabirds soaring around your ship, as well as the whales that frequent the waters here.

Days 5 to 12 — Exploring Northeast Greenland

During your tour of Greenland’s remote northeast coast, you’ll enjoy Zodiac cruises and shore visits to several locations. We’ll also keep an eye out for grazing muskoxen, as 40 percent of the world’s muskoxen population lives in Northeast Greenland National Park. Sailing through spectacular Scoresbysund, the birthplace of many icebergs, you’ll immediately see why some say it’s the most beautiful fjord system on the planet. Sites such as Frederiksdal and Sydkap offer opportunities to explore the colorful tundra and the remains of ancient Thule settlements.

Day 13 — At Sea

As your arctic adventure winds down, take in a presentation by our onboard experts, share your photos, sip an icy cocktail in the bar or watch a movie—there are many activities during your time at sea. Your Expedition Team will also be on hand to answer any questions and point out wildlife.

Day 14 — Depart Reykjavik, Iceland

You’ll disembark in Reykjavik, Iceland’s capital, at the end of your journey. If you have booked post-expedition accommodation, we provide a transfer to a central downtown location.
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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.