Hiking in East Greenland

from £2716
excluding flights *
9 nights Jun, Aug

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

  • Two short helicopter flights over jaw dropping landscape (included) - with the option to add a third locally (additional cost)
  • Half and full day walks
  • Explore from both Kulusuk and Tasiilaq
  • Get a taste of Reykjavik, Iceland's lively capital city
  • Iceberg boat cruise (included)
  • Chances to see the northern lights (Aug departure only - 2018 did!)

What's Included

  • Flights between Reykjavik and Kulusuk
  • Accommodation in rooms with private facilities
  • All breakfasts, 7 lunches, 7 dinners
  • Excursions as per itinerary
  • Fully guided throughout by award-winning guide
  • 24 hour emergency assistance from our team during your holiday
  • No surcharge guarantee
  • Full financial protection

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.

"In early summer you'll find icebergs the size of houses jostling among the sheets of pack ice and spring flowers at their most colourful. By late August, the pack ice has dispersed allowing the icebergs to drift freely with the tides and ocean currents. This is a time of indigo skies, dazzling auroras, and the arrival of passing humpback whales feasting on shoals of fish." 
Cathy Harlow, Award-Winning Guide 

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.

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.

Contact our Greenland specialists now
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Authentic holidays for passionate travellers
Hiking in East Greenland Highlights
Read Cathy's Blog!
The walking was superb and quite unlike anything I had expected! Our guide was superb and indeed the whole group were really interesting - I've never met such a well-travelled group of people in my life.
Charles Louis, Hiking in East Greenland

Prices & Dates *

Airfares start from around £120 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. Note: some holidays to Greenland include domestic flights - please refer to individual inclusions.

Prices from per person based on two sharing, unless stated otherwise.

Departure Duration Twin Price Single Price Status of Tour
Fri 23 Aug 2019 9 nights £2,720 £3,110 Fully booked
Fri 26 Jun 2020 9 nights £3,060 £3,761 Available
Fri 03 Jul 2020 9 nights £3,060 £3,761 Available
Fri 21 Aug 2020 9 nights £3,060 £3,761 Available
Fri 28 Aug 2020 9 nights £3,060 £3,761 Available

What's Included

  • Flights between Reykjavik and Kulusuk
  • Return helicopter transfers between Kulusuk and Tasiilaq
  • Accommodation in rooms with private bathroom
  • 2 nights in Reykjavik on breakfast basis; 2 nights at Hotel Kulusuk and 5 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 trip as per itinerary
  • Group taxi transfers between hotel in Reykjavik and Reykjavik City Airport
  • Transfers between Greenland and Iceland airports and accommodation
  • Tour guide for duration of Greenland stay
  • 24 hour emergency assistance from our team during your holiday
  • No surcharge guarantee
  • Full financial protection »

What's Not Included

  • Return international flights to and from Iceland
  • Personal expenses
  • Tips
  • Travel insurance

Group Size

This escorted group requires a minimum of 6 participants in order to operate, and will have a maximum of 12.

Note: on occasion tours may operate with less than the minimum number of participants specified above (or exceed the maximum number indicated) – please refer to our booking conditions for more details

Itinerary & Accommodation

Itinerary & Accommodation

Day 1: arrive Iceland

Transfer to Reykjavik for overnight stay.

Day 2: fly Reykjavik - Kulusuk

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 to 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. Visit the Kulusuk Museum (included) - a small exhibition of Greenlandic culture and local history. Leaving the village, we explore along the coast by foot.
(Approximately 2 hours walking / 3-4 miles)

Day 3: Isikajjia | Panoramic viewpoint

Hike past a lake to the enigmatic “Reindeer wall”. From here we head towards the coast along a slope littered with fragments of 1.8 million year old quartz and mica. Then we follow the coast to Isikajjia, a 336m summit facing the open sea where US forces once ran a DEW line radar station. The last part of the climb is quite steep but the reward is a fantastic viewpoint from which to observe the huge icebergs drifting among fragments of 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. To return to the hotel we’ll take the easy jeep trail and along the way observe many wildflowers, among them moss campion, purple saxifrage, mountain avens and look for the curious freeze-thaw formations, known as polygons.
(Approximately 6 hours walking / 12 miles)

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 five nights. Sited on the flank of a hill, the hotel overlooks the fjord and town of Tasiilaq, with beautiful views in all directions.

After lunch at the hotel, we'll walk on an easy trail up the sheltered and sunny Valley of the Flowers, where species such as Alpine Catchfly, Blue Heath and River Beauty, the national flower of Greenland, are abundant. We'll admire a small waterfall where the river exits large lake, framed by dramatic mountains and a perfect spot for a break. After tracing the lake shore, we have a short but steep ascent to a broad ridge, offering spectacular views on a gradual descent back to Tasiilaq.
(Approximately 3 hours walking / 6 miles)

Day 5: Hiking the Five Lakes Circle

The hikes up until now have been quite gentle but today’s walk is longer and naturally somewhat tougher. Starting on a scenic coastal path, we meander above the shore of the fjord. Then following the husky trail of ‘Sermilikvejen’, we 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. We will see and hear Snow Bunting and Wheatear and with luck spot Great Northern Divers on one of the lakes. This remote spot has a true wilderness feel to it. Circling the heart-shaped mountain Aammangaaq we join a broad track to return to the hotel, stopping to look at a waterfall along the way. Today’s walk includes wading a couple of streams so bring a pair of waterproof sandals.
(Approximately 8 hours walking / 13-14 miles)

Day 6: Tasiilaq Fjord walk

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 ride across the fjord to a peninsula. 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, where at low tide small icebergs known as bergy bits wash up on the beach. 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.
(Approximately 4 hours walking / 7 miles)

Day 7: mountain viewpoint

We climb to a 600m 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.
(Approximately 4 hours | 3-4 miles)

Day 8: Boat trip into the Sermilik Fjord

Recent years have seen less pack ice hugging the East Greenland coast and this allows us a good chance of circumnavigating Ammassalik Island on an exhilarating and very spectacular boat trip, which we include in the holiday. The full day small-boat cruise takes you into the impressive Sermilik Fjord, where the Helheim and Johann Petersen glaciers calve many of the colossal icebergs found around the island. Cruising among these giants is an unforgettable experience and if you are lucky, you may also spot a whale or two along the way. You will go ashore at the tiny hunting settlement of Tiniteqilaaq, sited on a small island and an incredibly peaceful place, home to just 100 people. On the return journey you will cruise past rows of spectacular craggy summits flanking the narrow sound dividing Ammassalik from the mainland.

Day 9: Tasiilaq - Kulusuk – Reykjavik

Transfer from Tasiilaq to Kulusuk by helicopter then travel with 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.

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 Klettur, Reykjavik

Iceland

Grade: Standard

Type: Hotel

Hotel Klettur is situated a short walk from the heart of Reykjavik.

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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 comfortable accommodation.

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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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Your Guides

Cathy Harlow

After researching walking routes among the mountains of East Greenland, Cathy Harlow set up this popular hiking holiday for Discover the World. Cathy has been guiding in the Arctic region for over 30 years and in East Greenland since 2012. She is passionate about Greenland and willingly shares her enthusiasm for the geology, wildlife and flora of the region and the history and way of life of its people.

A true Nordic expert, Cathy has worked as a guide in Iceland, Greenland and Norway for 25 years. Cathy has also worked as a natural history guide and tour leader in Madagascar, Sri Lanka, Azores, Dominica and Bahamas. Read Cathy's profile

Alexa Kershaw

Fascinated by wildlife since childhood, Alexa began studying cetaceans off the west coast of Scotland for her Masters degree in Ecological Management 20 years ago. After falling in love with the Hebrides, she spent many years living on the Isle of Mull, guiding whale watching trips while studying harbour porpoises and minke whales.

She has since worked as a researcher, guide, campaigner and consultant on a wide variety of marine mammal research projects, including visual and acoustic surveys in the North and Baltic Seas, photo-id studies in South Africa and New Zealand, aerial surveys in Australia and Belize and a 5,000nm research voyage crossing the Atlantic.

Alexa is a keen wildlife photographer, passionate about conservation, and combines her cetacean research with her love of guiding and sharing her knowledge of the marine environment. She has led whale watching trips for Discover the World in Scotland, Iceland and South Africa and is thrilled to be leading this Greenland hiking tour this year. Read Alexa's profile

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