Thule, North and Beyond

Thule, North and Beyond

from $12,387 per person

Explore the northwest coast of Greenland and stand at the edge of the gigantic Greenland ice sheet

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  • Enjoy a holiday under the midnight sun
  • See Greenland’s stunning nature
  • Explore the northwest coast of Greenland and stand at the edge of the gigantic Greenland ice sheet
  • Learn more about the fascinating Inuit culture and history

The history of the people of Greenland is at the core of this journey. See abandoned settlements that were first inhabited 900 years ago. Visit one of the northernmost settlements in the world and sail right up to the edge of the Greenland ice sheet, which has a huge impact on the country’s climate and culture. Meet the friendly people who live here today, and discover their traditional culture.

The Inuit Hunting Culture

In Greenland, hunting and fishing have been a crucial part of life for over 4,000 years. Throughout the generations, the Inuit people have created and refined unique products, including kayaks, harpoons, bird spears and high-quality clothing made of animal hide and fur. The fact that even compacted snow, in the form of an igloo, can be used as a temporary shelter demonstrates this culture's extraordinary ability to utilise materials found in nature.

Wild and Majestic Nature

Stand at the edge of the gigantic Greenland ice sheet, which stretches 1,500 miles north, covering roughly 80% of the island. Enjoy exploring rarely visited settlements such as Upernavik and Siorapaluk, touch an iceberg with your bare hands, and marvel at the power of nature in the Ilulissat Icefjord. With daily landings and excursions, including kayaking, hiking, and other activities, you will discover the authentic Greenland and meet the people who call it home.

Voyage Itinerary

 

Day 1:Copenhagen/Kangerlussuaq

Your flight from Copenhagen lands in Kangerlussuaq in the evening. You'll find MS Spitsbergen here, ready to start your expedition.

Day 2:Sisimiut

Sisimiut is the southernmost town on the western coast of Greenland. We offer a variety of optional shore excursions here, including hikes, boat trips and sightseeing, as well as the chance to shop for local handicrafts and enjoy some Greenlandic specialities in a local restaurant. 

Day 3:Qeqertarsuaq

Qeqertarsuaq is the only town situated on the old volcanic island of Disko. The area offers amazing Arctic experiences. Join optional excursions such as a tour of the town, kayaking or an ice cruising boat tour. If you appreciate archaeology and history, you should definitely pay a visit to the local museum. Alternatively, you can stroll around the town on your own.

Day 4:Uummannaq

The town of Uummannaq is situated in scenic surroundings at the foot of a heart-shaped mountain. Our optional excursions include meeting local Greenlanders or taking a Polarcirkel boat to a landing at Qilakitsoq to see where the mummies from the Thule era (approximately 1475 A.D.) were found.

Day 5:At Sea

We sail northwest along the Davis Strait from 71° to 76° North, an area of the Greenlandic coastline mapped by explorer Lauge Koch, passing some of the northernmost settlements in Greenland. In these harsh and remote areas, life is a constant battle, but you can enjoy a relaxing day at sea or learn something new in one of the lectures given by our Expedition Team.

Day 6:Qaanaaq (Thule)

Qaanaaq (or Thule) was the first part of Greenland to be colonized by the Inuit from the west. The district is one of the northernmost inhabited places on Earth and has a population of around 1,000. It is also the last US military base in Greenland. Hunting for seals, whales, and polar bears in the traditional way is the primary occupation in the town and the surrounding settlements. Visit the Ultima Thule souvenir shop to buy genuine and original artwork and crafts from the Qaanaaq district.

Day 7:Siorapaluk

Situated under a mile from the North Pole, Siorapaluk is the northernmost settlement in the world. The settlement was founded in 1933 and is known for its beautiful surroundings and geology. Siorapaluk means ‘little sands’ and was named after the small sandy beach in front of the village. This will be the northernmost landing on this trip, and you are more than welcome to visit the church, museum, and the local shop.

Day 8:Cruising along the ice edge / at sea

We will spend a day cruising along the ice edge, and may even try to reach 80° North.

Day 9:Dundas “old Thule”

Greenlanders have lived in the settlement now known as Dundas for the last 900 years. Just north of Mount Dundas, there are a number of archaeological excavation sites, including Comer’s Midden, where several house ruins and ‘middens’, archaeological dumping grounds containing domestic waste products including shells, animal bones, and other refuse, have been found.

In 1910, the Danish explorer Knud Rasmussen founded a trade post here and in 1963, the area was officially designated as Thule, the 17th municipality of Greenland and the northernmost community in the world. However, the town has since been abandoned. Wander around the old settlement, including the remains of the trading post, and walk to the other side of the peninsula to see the remains of the old turf huts from the former settlement.

Day 10:At Sea

Enjoy a day at sea where you can stay on deck to spot wildlife or attend a lecture.

Day 11:Upernavik

For centuries, the locals have migrated to Upernavik during the spring to take advantage of the rich hunting grounds. This small settlement lies at 72° 47' N and 56° 10' W, in Melville Bay, and everything is within walking distance. Many of the locals still go hunting and fishing – if you're walking through town keep an eye out for polar bear or seal skins! The town is also home to the world’s northernmost open-air museum. 

Day 12:Eqip Sermia

Today, you will have a unique opportunity to witness the true power of nature on a visit to the Eqip Sermia Glacier, which calves icebergs into the open ocean. We will use the ship’s Polarcirkel boats to go ashore in this beautiful area. If you're feeling more active, you can take a short hike on your own in the area. Everybody who goes ashore is invited to a barbecue dinner with a terrific view over the glacier.

Day 13:Ilulissat

Ilulissat is set in the stunning scenery of the Ilulissat Icefjord. The area was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Site list in 2004. Just outside the town, at the mouth of the fjord, you can often see enormous icebergs that have run aground. They originate from the Jakobshavn Glacier, one of the most productive glaciers in the Northern Hemisphere. We offer a variety of optional shore excursions such as hikes, historic town walks and a boat tour to the Icefjord.

Day 14:Itilleq

Itilleq means ‘the hollow’, and as its name suggests, this small settlement is situated in a hollow, majestically surrounded by high mountains and glaciers. Located just over a mile north of the Arctic Circle, Itilleq is truly an Arctic Circle village. The 130 people who live here are mainly engaged in hunting and fishing occupations. The island has no fresh water, so its inhabitants have to use a facility that makes fresh water from sea water. The town’s church has an interesting history: It was built in Thule (Umanak, North Greenland) in 1930 and was moved to Itilleq in 1963.

Day 15:Kangerlussuaq

As we reach Kangerlussuaq, your expedition with MS Spitsbergen has come to an end. Take the opportunity to join a final excursion to the Greenland ice sheet. This vast icy wasteland stretches 1,500 miles north and reaches heights of up to two miles above sea level. The road to the edge of the ice sheet boasts beautiful natural scenery, ranging from Arctic desert and tundra with low growing shrubs to hilly terrain offering breathtaking views over the landscape. Your plane to Copenhagen leaves late in the evening.

Day 16:Copenhagen

You arrive in the Danish capital early in the morning and may even have the time to explore "Wonderful, Wonderful Copenhagen" before you head home.