Hiking in East Greenland with Cathy Harlow

from £2667
excluding flights *
9 nights Aug, Jun

Overview

This two-centre guided hiking holiday is based in the Ammassalik district of East Greenland against a backdrop of towering granite peaks and indigo fjords dotted with majestic shimmering icebergs. Explore this striking region on well-paced day walks before returning to your comfortable hotel accommodation each evening. The itinerary includes at least one iceberg boat cruise, along with two short helicopter flights above the iceberg laden coastal waters. This is a fabulous tour into one of the most remote places on the planet.

Highlights

  • a chance to get a taste of Reykjavik, Iceland's lively capital city   
  • 2 short helicopter flights over jaw dropping landscape (included) - with the option to add a third locally (additional cost)   
  • half and full day walks with day sack   
  • two bases from which to explore   
  • comfortable hotel accommodation on full board basis   
  • fully guided throughout Greenland period   
  • iceberg boat cruise (included)
  • includes flights between Iceland and Greenland

What's Included

  • Accommodation in rooms with private facilities
  • All breakfasts, 7 lunches, 7 dinners
  • Excursions as per itinerary

Full description

The Ammassalik District is the size of the United Kingdom, yet is inhabited by fewer than 3,000 people. The only other settlement in East Greenland is at Scoresbysund, about 800 km further north and it takes as long to fly there as to Iceland or the West coast of Greenland.

One of the most isolated places on earth, the entire coast is effectively locked in by pack ice and inaccessible to shipping from late October until July. As the ice breaks up, it comes in and out of the fjords and inlets with the tides and wind. By contrast, the giant icebergs in the fjords and inlets are drift ice, calved from the glaciers.

Each day set out on foot to explore the region. The walks are well paced, with stops to enjoy the views, wildflowers, birds, unusual rock formations and of course the thousands of exquisitely sculpted icebergs stranded on the shoreline or cruising the fjords.

Much of the time is spent walking on tracks and paths, but often the group must find a new route, which makes it more of an adventure, and a little more challenging. 'Wanderlust' highly Commended guide Cathy Harlow, who leads this tour, has spent a huge amount of time getting to know the area well and has researched and walked all of the routes described.

The holiday also offers the chance to take a boat cruise among icebergs (included) and two helicopter flights between Kulusuk and Tasiilaq (included), which offer stunning views of the land, sea and ice below. A helicopter sightseeing flight to the Mittivakkat Glacier where it is often possible to land on the ice is also available at additional cost.

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Prices & Dates *

Airfares start from around £100 per person and are quoted separately to the holiday price. When enquiring, our Travel Specialists will provide the best fare possible from your preferred airline / airport.

Departure Duration Accommodation* Twin Price (PP) Single Price Availability
Fri 29 Jun 2018 9 nights Hotel Cabin £2,667 £3,032 Limited
Fri 17 Aug 2018 9 nights Hotel Klettur £2,833 £3,221 Available

* refers to accommodation in Iceland

What's Included

  • Accommodation in rooms with private facilities:
  • 2 nights in Reykjavik on breakfast basis; 3 nights at Hotel Kulusuk and 4 nights at Hotel Ammassalik on full board basis
  • All breakfasts, 7 lunches, 7 dinners (meals are buffet style, dinner is 2 courses, packed lunches)
  • Excursions as per itinerary
  • Iceberg boat trips as per itinerary
  • Flights between Reykjavik and Kulusuk
  • Group taxi transfers between hotel in Reykjavik and Reykjavik City Airport
  • Transfers between Greenland airports and accommodation
  • Return helicopter transfers between Kulusuk and Tasiilaq
  • Tour guide for duration of Greenland stay

What's Not Included

  • Return international flights to and from Iceland
  • Optional helicopter trip onto the Mittivakkat Glacier
  • Personal expenses
  • Tips
  • Travel insurance

Itinerary & Accommodation

Itinerary & Accommodation

Day 1: arrive Iceland

Transfer to Reykjavik for overnight stay.

Day 2: fly Reykjavik - Kulusuk

(3-4 hours walking | 5 miles)
Meet your guide* and transfer to Reykjavik City Airport, then fly to Kulusuk, East Greenland. After transferring to the hotel, set off on a walk around the village and learn about the challenges of living in an isolated community, where the rocky ground is frozen hard for most of the year. Meet some of the huskies tethered outside the colourful timber houses and learn about the traditions of the local people. Leaving the village, we explore along the coast, where icebergs wash up on the shore and there is the chance of seeing larger bergs adrift, jostling for space with the ice floes. Take a boat trip to the front of the Apusiaajik Glacier, cruising among the many beautiful icebergs that dot the fjord.

Day 3: Isikajjia | Panoramic viewpoint

(5-6 hours walking | 10 miles)
Enjoy an easy and rewarding hike along a broad jeep trail to the US built radar station sited on Isikajjia, a 336m summit facing the open sea. It’s a fantastic viewpoint from which to observe the huge icebergs drifting among the broken pack ice offshore. Some, the size of a football field, are so huge that they are grounded on the seabed and take years to melt down. We’ll take detours off the track to enjoy the many wildflowers, among them moss campion, purple saxifrage, mountain avens and perhaps spot a few birds too. On the way back, we’ll observe colourful splashes of lichen on the rocks and look for the curious freeze-thaw formations, known as polygons.

Day 4: Kulusuk - Tasiilaq | Hiking the Valley of the Flowers

Morning transfer to Ammassalik Island by helicopter. Be sure to have your camera handy as the views of the islands and ice-filled fjords are very spectacular. On arrival, it’s a short drive to Hotel Ammassalik, where we stay for the next few nights. Sited on the flank of a hill, the hotel overlooks the fjord and town of Tasiilaq, with beautiful views in all directions.

(2-3 hours walking | 3-6 miles)
This is a beautiful and easy walk showcasing the stunning Arctic flora of East Greenland and its fascinating geology. We follow the course of a river to a lovely lake and waterfall, framed by mountains. In summer, the slopes of the valley are a blaze of colour and carpeted with moss campion, broad-leaved willowherb, alpine bartsia, common butterwort, hairy lousewort, alpine catchfly, mountain sorrel, roseroot and Lapland diapensia as well as shrubs including trailing azalea, arctic bilberry, crowberry and northern willow. We may also spot the very common and tuneful snow bunting often seen perched on rocks. Another bird to look for is ptarmigan, in Greenlandic known as ‘the one we throw stones at’ in reference to how it is hunted. The lakeshore is a perfect picnic spot and a delightful place to linger on a sunny day but we can also choose to continue the walk over a saddle to return by a different route.

Day 5: Hiking the Five Lakes Circle

(7-8 hours walking | 12-14 miles)
The hikes up until now have been quite gentle but today’s walk is longer and naturally a bit tougher. Start on a scenic coastal path, which meanders above the shore of the fjord. Then following the husky trail of ‘Sermilikvejen’, head inland up a beautiful valley into high mountain country. Here we find the first of a cluster of turquoise lakes set among pink granite peaks topped by small glaciers. This remote and beautiful spot has a true wilderness feel to it. Circling the heart-shaped mountain Aammangaaq we join a broad track to return to the hotel. Today’s walk includes wading a couple of streams so bring a pair of sandals.

Day 6: Tasiilaq Fjord walk

(around 4 hours walking | 7 miles)
This is a beautiful coastal walk but the lack of clearly defined trails means it’s actually more strenuous than the landscape would suggest. We start with a boat cruise (included) across the fjord to the peninsula of Aammaqqaaq. It’s exciting to cruise among the icebergs and photograph the infinite variety of shapes and colours, from shimmering white to turquoise and jade. Once the boat drops us, we walk along the eastern shore, dotted with stranded ice floes. We’ll pause to view a small waterfall, tumbling through a gorge into the estuary of a large river, a choice bathing spot for glaucous gulls. Next we head for a cluster of small lakes at the head of the fjord, where we have a river to wade, which is easiest at low tide on the shoreline. On our way into town we pass the small hydro-electric power station, which produces power for the town.

Day 7: mountain viewpoint

(around 3-5 hours | 3-5 miles)
We climb to a mountain viewpoint behind the town, offering panoramic views stretching as far as the inland icecap. The town is spread along the shore of the fjord, which bears the same name, Tasiilaq. Tasiilaq means ‘that which looks like a lake’ and from the viewpoint it’s not hard to see how the fjord might be taken for an inland water.

Day 8: Tasiilaq - Kulusuk | Hike the Reindeer Wall & Ridge

Transfer from Tasiilaq to Kulusuk by helicopter, then transfer onwards to Hotel Kulusuk.

(2.5 hours walking | 4 miles)
Hike along the shore of a lake to the enigmatic ‘Reindeer Wall’, a stone structure erected by local hunters in pursuit of reindeer. From here we head towards the coast along a slope littered with fragments of rock crystal and bands of 600 million year old gneiss. Climbing a low granite ridge, there are fantastic views of the pack ice, stretching to Ammassalik Island and the distant Apusiaajik Glacier. Following the ridge with its bright clumps of trailing azalea and reindeer moss, return to the village and visit the Kulusuk Museum (Included) - a small exhibition of greenlandic culture and local history.

Day 9: Kulusuk - Reykjavik

Air Iceland flight to Reykjavik. Transfer to Reykjavik hotel for an overnight stay.

Day 10: fly to UK

Transfer to Keflavik and depart on return flight to the UK.

Notes

* On 29 June departure group will meet the guide in Kulusuk on day 2.

Hotel Angmagssalik

Greenland

Grade: Standard

Type: Hotel

Renowned for its spectacular views over the ice-filled fjords and high mountains, this 30 room hotel is the most established hotel in east Greenland

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Hotel Kulusuk

Greenland

Grade: Standard

Type: Hotel

Stunning scenery and grandeur of Greenland is literally just outside the door of this 34-room hotel.

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Hotel Klettur, Reykjavik

Iceland

Grade: Standard

Type: Hotel

Hotel Klettur is situated a short walk from the heart of Reykjavik. With free parking…

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Hotel Cabin, Reykjavik

Iceland

Grade: Standard

Type: Hotel

Superb value for your money, this 252-room hotel is for guests looking for simple yet…

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Other Information

The Ammassalik District is the size of the United Kingdom, yet is inhabited by fewer than 3,000 people. The only other settlement in East Greenland is at Scoresbysund, about 800 km further north and it takes as long to fly there as to Iceland or the West coast of Greenland.

One of the most isolated places on earth, the entire coast is effectively locked in by pack ice and inaccessible to shipping from late October until July. As the ice breaks up, it comes in and out of the fjords and inlets with the tides and wind. By contrast, the giant icebergs in the fjords and inlets are drift ice, calved from the glaciers.

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Each day set out on foot to explore the region. The walks are well paced, with stops to enjoy the views, wildflowers, birds, unusual rock formations and of course the thousands of exquisitely sculpted icebergs stranded on the shoreline or cruising the fjords.

Much of the time is spent walking on tracks and paths, but often the group must find a new route, which makes it more of an adventure, and a little more challenging. 'Wanderlust' highly Commended guide Cathy Harlow, who leads this tour, has spent a huge amount of time getting to know the area well and has researched and walked all of the routes described.

The holiday also offers the chance to take a boat cruise among icebergs (included) and two helicopter flights between Kulusuk and Tasiilaq (included), which offer stunning views of the land, sea and ice below. A helicopter sightseeing flight to the Mittivakkat Glacier where it is often possible to land on the ice is also available at additional cost.

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