2018 SOUTH GREENLAND GRAND ADVENTURE - 8 days
Day 1: Narsarsuaq and viewpoint
Flight from Keflavik International airport in Iceland or from Copenhagen to Narsarsuaq, South Greenland. Reception at the airport and transfer to Hotel Narsarsuaq for check-in and information meeting. Hike to the Glacier View Point, around one hour from the hotel. Great views of the Tunulliarfik fjord, the plain of Narsarsuaq and the Kiattuut Glacier.
Overnight is at Hotel Narsarsuaq. Twin/double room with private facilities.
Day 2: Qassiarsuk, the Viking Greenland and Tasiusaq, the iceberg bay
Transfer in RIB boat through the Tunulliarfik Fjord, usually covered by icebergs, to Qassiarsuk. Visit of the church ruins and the settlement of Eric the Red comprising the old Brattahlid, capital of Viking Greenland, and where Erik the Red settled in 985. Walk through the village of about 50 inhabitants, mostly farmers. This Norse and Greenlandic core farming area was in 2017 inscribed on UNESCO's world heritage list under the title: Kujataa Greenland, a Norse and Inuit farming landscape on the edge of the ice cap. Qassiarsuk area represents the most comprehensive and rich example of both Norse and Greenlandic farming history and contains ruins of large cattle-based Norse farms and their numerous satellite sites including, not least, Erik the Red's Brattahlid. It was also here that Otto Frederiksen in 1924 established the first sheep farm after Igaliku, founding today's settlement of Qassiarsuk.
In the afternoon, a 4×4 trip to the beautiful Tasiusaq farm, where seven people live in notable isolation next to the Sermilik Fjord, which is almost always blocked by icebergs coming from the Eqaloruutsit glacier. Picnic at Tasiusaq farm.
Optional Excursion: Kayak Excursion in the "iceberg bay", a 2-hour sea kayaking trip for beginners among icebergs and ice in one of the safest and nicest places in Greenland.
We return to Qassiarsuk and transfer by zodiac boat to Narsarsuaq. Overnight is at Hotel Narsarsuaq (twin/double room with private facilities).
Day 3: Narsarsuaq to Qaqortoq, capital of Southern Greenland
Transfer by zodiac boat from Narsarsuaq to Qaqortoq through the complex system of fjords and among numerous icebergs, admiring the beauty of their vertical ice walls. A guided city tours in Qaqortoq, the capital of South Greenland, which was founded in 1775 and nowadays has almost 3.000 inhabitants. It's described as the most charming and attractive town in all Greenland. We will discover the beauty of its colourful buildings, the awe-inspiring landscapes and some of its thirty different rock sculpture designs, spread over the town. We visit the museum, the fur shops, the traditional kayak club, the church and the only fountain in the country.
Overnight is at Hotel Qaqortoq. Double room with private facilities.
Day 4: Qaqortoq and boat transfer to Narsaq
Time for leisure to walk around this charming town and explore on your own a city which is considered a sub-arctic Riviera or you can join one of our two wonderful optional excursions:
* Hvalsoy or Whale Island is the location of a church that was probably built in the 14th century and is the best-preserved church in Greenland from the period. People gathered there from far and wide to attend Christian festivals throughout the year. The fells and the fjord which surround the church have not changed at all over the centuries and are very scenic. Southern Greenland holds the ruins of the Norse Settlements and their Inuit neighbours. Recently, UNESCO inscribed this old Viking farming landscape as a world heritage.
* Hot springs in Uunartoq: We will have the opportunity to enjoy a relaxing bath in the Uunartoq warm springs which are the only accessible thermal springs in Greenland, used as a pool and meeting point for many natives who come from all over the country to camp and bathe in the thermal springs. This is an experience in touch with nature in such a unique place enjoying a warm bath while icebergs float only a few meters away in the fjord.
In the afternoon transfer by zodiac boat to Narsaq, the third most populated town in South Greenland, with about 1500 inhabitants. You will have free-time to visit the local market, fur shops, hunters harbour and the Greenlandic folk museum or go for a walk to do some shopping.
Accommodation is at Hotel Narsaq. Twin/Double room with private facilities.
Day 5: Qaleraliq adventure glacier camp and excursion on ice – Narsaq
In the morning we set off for Qaleraliq camp, towards the Inland Icecap. We will arrive at a cosy, enchanting camp set on a sandy beach, which contrasts with a spectacular view of three glacier tongues.
We navigate on a RIB boat along the glacier fronts, admiring the beauty of their vertical ice walls and numerous icebergs as we approach them along their 10 kilometres descent to the sea. The glacier fronts extended in only one, but the dramatic progress of climate change divided it into three glacier fronts. From there we start the glacier hike. An impressive trek using crampons takes us on one of the oldest masses of ice on the planet. We explore its crevasses, drains, caves, seracs and other ice formations, which give an incredible labyrinthine quality to this glacier. An expert mountain guide and glacier specialist will be in be in charge of the excursion to ensure the right equipment and the safety of the group, while he shares with us his knowledge about the characteristics of the glaciers in the South of Greenland. A unique experience, exciting and original, surprising both for first-timers and more experienced glacier hikers. This is one of the most impressive sights and one of the best excursions in all of Greenland. Picnic lunch on the ice or at the camp depending on conditions.
In the afternoon, transfer by zodiac boat to Narsaq. We will be surprised by enormous icebergs falling off from the Eqaloruutsit glacier and floating through the Sermilik Fjord. Sometimes, they are blocking the access to Narsaq ports.
Accommodation is at Hotel Narsaq. Twin/Double room with private facilities.
Day 6: City of Narsaq and Igaliku (Gardar)
In the morning we have time off to walk around the city of Narsaq and discover the beauty of its colourful buildings. Surrounded by awe-inspiring landscapes, you can enjoy a drink with the local people and discover the modern Inuit's way of life. After that, we will navigate by zodiac boat to Itilleq. Once we disembark from the boat, we will start and easy hike across the "Kongevejen", or Path of the Kings. Our destination will be the idyllic Igaliku, a small Inuit settlement inhabited by no more than 40 people. This place is famous for being the most beautiful settlement in South Greenland, and know by the unique architecture of the Igaliku stone houses. We discover the ruins of Gardar, the archdiocese and religious capital of Viking Greenland. The area has been recently declared part of the UNESCO world heritage list. You see the Norse bishop's farm, the largest in all of Greenland, and the setting of Anders Olsen's farm.
Accommodation is at Igaliku Country Hotel. Twin/Double room with shared facilities.
Day 7: Excursions in Igaliku and boat trip to Qooroq Ice Fjord
In the morning, we can enjoy the spectacular views of Einarsfjord, a surprising fjord which is one of the few in Greenland that can't impress visitors with big icebergs. However, green hills provide guests with a warm relaxing in a quiet environment. We hike back to Itilleq where we embark in the RIB boat and start a sea excursion to Qooroq fjord. This is probably the most spectacular glacier in the South of Greenland. We will navigate among blocks of ice until the density of ice is such that we can no longer continue. It's an incredible sight of ice floating around us. We continue our navigation by zodiac boat all the way to Narsarsuaq. Car transfer to Hotel Narsarsuaq.
Free time to visit by your own the Narsarsuaq Museum Blue West One. It is recommended as it reflects the town history from ancient times and especially its role in the Second World War.
Overnight is at Hotel Narsarsuaq, in rooms with private facilities.
Day 8: The Flower Valley Hike, then flight home
We reserve the morning for the most famous hike in South Greenland, the Flower Valley. A spectacular hike with sights of the Kiattut river and glacier. You will enjoy the spectacular view of this valley formed due to the retreat and the consequent glacial sedimentation with plenty of flowers. Trekking way back to Narsarsuaq. Free time to visit and walk around in the area.
Flight Narsarsuaq-Keflavik international airport in Iceland or Copenhagen.
This itinerary is a unique journey, designed and organised by the company South Greenland Expeditions. It keeps the adventure and discovery ingredients present in all our journeys. The route can be done as it is explained above or in reverse order. The order of the activities may not be exactly as planned in this outline. Greenland is the wildest country in the northern hemisphere, infrastructures are almost non-existent, and logistics pose enormous challenges. That is the reason why we may not follow this daily itinerary exactly as planned. It is subject to change in order to adapt the journey to weather conditions, sea conditions, or technical and organisational difficulties, and therefore requires flexibility from the traveller. Some activities may be cancelled because of weather or ice conditions as locals say "the weather is the boss in Greenland".
2018 SOUTH GREENLAND GRAND ADVENTURE - 8 days
Time Difference: Please note that there is a two-hour time difference between Iceland and Greenland.
Airport Transfer in Reykjavik: not included
Airport Transfer in Greenland: are included
Currency and credit cards: Important to bring Danish Krona to Greenland. Foreign currency is not everywhere accepted. Credit cards are accepted only at few locations. i.e. at the hotels and larger stores. Using credit and debit card, a PIN-code is required.
The trip will be coordinated by an English-speaking guide from our local partner in South Greenland. All Excursions are guided. The guide’s job is to point the group in the right direction, to ensure all travellers’ safety and to solve any possible problems that may arise along the itinerary, making changes or adjustments if necessary. Note that one or different guides can be in charge of the group during the adventure tour.
ACTIVITY LEVEL: Easy / The journey is designed so that it is suitable for anyone who enjoys outdoor activities and goes hiking or trekking on a regular basis, not needing a very particular physical condition to participate. The walk to Igaliku could be arranged in situ as a car transfer (additional cost 75 DKK per person, one way). The excursion on ice with crampons will be guided by a mountain guide and is also suitable for anyone with an adventurous attitude. For the optional kayak excursion, previous experience in kayaking is not required. Recommended minimum age: 12 years
Level and technical information:
||Moraine and Ice
|Glacier View Narsarsuaq
|King’s way (return)
This is a simple but well-equipped hotel in southern Greenland. It offers a bar, coffee shop, restaurant, bank, souvenir shop, etc. The rooms have private facilities, television, telephone, minibar, etc. The restaurant offers a varied buffet, in addition to all of the traditional products from Greenland, such as salmon, seal, whale and lamb. Lodging is in a double room with shower/wc. The price includes breakfast.
Breakfast and dinner are served daily in the hotel restaurant. Guests can enjoy drinks at the hotel bar in the evenings. All rooms have a TV, minibar and safe. There is also everything you need to make yourself a cup of tea or coffee in your room. Hotel rooms are cleaned daily. Lodging is in a double room with shower/wc. The price includes breakfast. Accommodation in Hotel Narsaq could be changed to another hotel with similar services and characteristics.
Hotel Qaqortoq offers comfortable accommodation with an authentic Greenlandic atmosphere that is warm and inviting. There are works of art made by local artists throughout the hotel. Perched on a hill overlooking the harbour, Hotel Qaqortoq is an oasis of calm in this bustling town, a "home away from home" and the perfect place to meet with locals and have drinks and a relaxed dinner. The hotel restaurant serves primarily Greenlandic meat and fish. Mikisoq, a cosy small lounge, offers everything from lunch to Italian coffees and cocktails. Lodging is in a double room with shower/wc. The price includes breakfast. Accommodation in Hotel Qaqortoq could be changed to another hotel with similar services and characteristics.
Igaliko Country Hotel
The country hotel has 8 double rooms with comfortable beds. There are separate showers and toilets in the corridor and a dining room with a beautiful view over the village. Additionally, there are 6 cabins. There are separate showers and toilets in a service cabin close to the other cabins. Everything is newly renovated, and staying here a night or two gives you an extraordinary experience of peace and tranquillity.
Most mobile phones can be used in towns and many areas of the coast. Camps will have Iridium satellite phone and radio. RIB boats have special radio systems.
Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB boat) Navigation:
The navigation will be done in a RIB-boat a Rigid Inflatable Boat, The Adventure boat by definition or Zodiac type. The RIB boat is an open boat fast flexible and very safe. A special coat is provided for navigation. The RIB Boat allows the traveller to feel the elements and be one with them. RIB boats enable to reach areas that are difficult to access on any other type of boats. This type of boats allows us to be more dynamic, versatile and to enjoy adventure, without compromising safety.
- Breakfast everyday
- Picnic on the excursion to Qaleraliq glacier and Tasiusaq Farm
- Dinner in Igaliku
Note: Dinners at hotels are not included in the price but could be arranged directly at the hotel.
The northern lights are one of the most wonderful of nature’s phenomena on our planet, a beautiful, delightful display of movement and light against the dark polar skies on clear, calm nights. It is usually possible to witness the aurora in winter. Late summer, however, especially from mid-August, is the best time of the year to observe it in Southern Greenland, which is famous for offering some of the best places to view this spectacular natural display. In July, there is more sunlight, and therefore Northern Lights is not so easily seen.
Fishing and Fruit picking:
Narsarsuaq and Qassiarsuk are very good areas to go fishing, especially for arctic salmon and cod. We do not provide fishing equipment. Therefore, we recommend you bring it from your country or buy it at Qassiarsuk. A fishing licence is required.
Weather in Greenland is very changeable. It is usually pleasant, but it is essential that you bring appropriate clothes for the rainy weather. Temperatures are often more than 15ºC in July, and between 5ºC and 10ºC in August. Mid-August nights are sometimes cold. In September, temperatures are usually between 5ºC to 8ºC during the day and may reach minus 5ºC at night.
Excursions can be cancelled because of bad weather or ice conditions. The local tour company will try to offer an alternative excursion if available or move the planned excursion to another day to do the full program. In case it becomes impossible, no refund will be applicable.
Dear travellers to Greenland, please don't visit until you understand these 8 things:
1. Respect and appreciate the nature.
Greenland is a country of mountains and ice. Greenlanders live for nature and want to preserve it the way it is. Animals live free and remain wild. Sled dogs are for transport and, unlike pet dogs, they are bred to be strong enough to pull a sledge carrying a person and the hunt of the day. Do not go petting them or come close to them without permission of the owner. If you hike and camp, do not litter. Leave Greenland as beautiful and pure as you found it.
2. Respect that we hunt and fish.
Vegetarianism and veganism are becoming more and more common in the world; therefore, activists who are against slaughtering animals are growing in numbers. But know this, the Inuit have hunted for food for thousands of years. The animals we hunt live free in the wild. We do not club baby seals; we actually prefer big and fat ones. Do not come to Greenland if you're going to judge our way of life.
3. Everything is locally-owned.
You will not find any chain stores in Greenland. There are no Starbucks, McDonald's, or Ikea. The country might be massive, but the population is only 60,000 and the culture is still very traditional and has not been fully affected by Western influence. So, if you can't live without your frappuccino or cheeseburger, don't come here.
4. We're not big on public transportation.
When you go travelling in Europe or Southeast Asia, you can catch a bus easily to travel from town to town. Well, here you can't. Due to mountainous coasts where the towns are located — and the fact that towns are quite far away from each other — there is not yet any road between them. That's what makes Greenland such a unique destination.
If you want to go hiking, research everything you need to know about the area before you set off. You will not find any signs to lead you to places. And most places don't have cell phone coverage, so don't rely on Google Maps.
5. Be aware of the climate.
If you want to visit during summer, don't bring bikinis or shorts. The average temperature in the summer is 10-20°C (50-70 F), and with the dry air and cold wind from the icebergs and ocean, it really doesn't get hot.
If you visit during winter, be prepared. Bring reliable winter clothes such as Canada Goose jackets or any brand that has a wind stopper and sells waterproof items. The weather can get as low as minus 20°C (-4 F) in most towns — and in the most northern settlements, it can be minus 40°C (-40 F).
In any of the seasons, the wind is inevitable, and it can be brutal. During snowstorms, the wind can be up to 180 km/h (111 mph).
6. It ain't cheap here.
Greenland is an island, and the neighbouring countries are at least a 3-hour flight away. And there are only two airlines that do scheduled flights, one of which is only seasonal. The tickets aren't cheap.
Think about this, most products in the supermarket are imported from another country. In most cases, they are from Denmark. The price is most likely to be double or more in Greenland than in Denmark. Get this, and the further you travel north, the more expensive the prices are. A yoghurt that would cost $1 in Denmark can cost up to $5 in Greenland. If you want fresh veggies or fruit, well, expect it to cost a lot. Or just do what locals do, buy the frozen vegetables and canned fruit.
7. Liquor stores have closing hours.
If you want to include alcohol on your shopping list, go to the store before 6 PM on weekdays, because after that, beer, wine, and any other liquor won't be available. And remember that on Saturdays, the liquor stores are open only from 9 AM to 1 PM. No sales on Sundays.
8. Above all, be kind.
We Greenlanders are happy people. We enjoy nature, and we live a simple life. We love seeing foreigners coming to visit our beautiful country, and if you happen to greet one of us, there's a big chance we will invite you over to dinner. It doesn't often happen where a foreigner is bold enough to visit Greenland, so we take advantage of the company when it's here. In return, please be kind to the locals.