Join a unique cruise with Hurtigruten's MS Fram to the Lofoten Islands, the exotic Jan Mayen, Iceland and the south and western parts of Greenland - some of which are only accessible by boat. The spectacular scenery, fantastic fjords and the Midnight Sun provide a stunning backdrop to this diverse voyage.
This tour can commence in: Tromsø
Tromsø has many activities on offer, from an aquarium and several quality museums to the world’s northernmost botanical garden. In this modern city in the Arctic, nature and culture go hand in hand. Tromsø is located 350 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle and is the largest city in Northern Norway. From September to March many people come to Tromsø to see The Northern lights. From 20 May to 20 July The Midnight sun makes it possible to do as the locals and participate in various activities around the clock. In general, Tromsø has a mild climate for such a northerly destination because of its seaside location and the warming effect of the Gulf stream.
It is important for you, as for expeditor of explorer cruise, to know some details below about Tromsø. When Roald Amundsen recruited members to his famous expeditions, he traveled to Tromsø in order to find men (yes – it was men only those days!) with navigational experience in icy ocean; men who knew how to survive with minimal means in the Arctic – men that had, against all odds, survived against all odds-on overwintering in Svalbard by trapping and hunting.
Today, Tromsø is the refined version of itself 100 years ago. You still find the most competent people on Arctic operations here; the academics who investigate the Arctic in light of global warming and the melting pot between indigenous people and immigrants from Europe. Tromsø is in short still the Arctic gateway and a natural starting point for many expeditions heading even deeper into the polar waters – exactly what you are about to experience.
Vesterålen and Lofoten Islands - The most beautiful islands in the world.
You reach the Vesterålen Islands early next morning. As ship sail along the coast there are strong chances of spotting whales from the deck, as they usually feed in the area. Myre is one of the largest fishing villages in Norway, and a place to experience local culture and enjoy hikes. In the evening ship will sail through the narrow Raftsund between Lofoten and Vesterålen, with mountains stretching up 1,200 metres straight from the sea. You will then experience something extraordinary as we sail into the pristine Trollfjord. The midnight sun and sea eagles circling around the mountain peaks will make it even more memorable.
Henningsvær -The fishing village, Lofoten Islands.
The picturesque fishing village of Henningsvær is situated at the foot of Mount Vågakaillen, and consists of a group of isles and islets spread out at random in the blue waters of the Vestfjord. With the mountain at its back and otherwise surrounded by the sea, Henningsvær was a natural hub of activity during the Lofoten Winter Fishery, and in the 1800’s, the island community prospered, and Henningsvær became one of the most prominent fishing villages in Lofoten.
Unlike many other fishing villages, the population of Henningsvær has remained stable in recent years, and there are still over 500 people living there. The islands were not connected to the rest of Lofoten by bridges until 1981, a fact that probably helped save the community from the contemporary style of architecture with its preference for concrete blocks, that otherwise left its mark on just about all other Norwegian towns and villages in the 60’s and 70’s. Come ashore and discover the combination of an active, vibrant environment and well-preserved architecture that makes Henningsvær something quite unique. After our visit to Henningsvær we will navigate through the 18 kilometre long tide water current of Gimsøystraumen. This is a very scenic goodbye to Lofoten Islands for now.
After Lofoten we are heading to the Norwegian Sea, between the North Sea and the Greenland Sea. It joins the North Atlantic Ocean to the west and the Barents Sea to the north east. Unlike many other seas, most of the bottom of the Norwegian Sea is not a part of the continental shelf. Depths are about 2 kilometres on average. Rich deposits of oil and natural gas are found under the sea floor. The warm North Atlantic Current gives a stable and high water temperature which makes it ice free throughout the winter. This is an excellent day to participate in expert lectures from expedition team as you sail towards Jan Mayen.
Jan Mayen is Norwegian territory and one of the most isolated islands in the world. The closest other land mass is Iceland some 600 kilometers away and Norway, almost 1000 kilometers to the east.
The volcano Beerenberg is the northernmost active volcano on earth and had its last eruption in 1985. It is also one of the highest mountains in Norway with its perfectly coned shape and a summit at 2277 meters above sea level. In the 16th century, Dutch whalers operated out of Jan Mayen and today a Norwegian weather station holds a few souls all year round having mail dropped from a plane occasionally.
Tourists visiting Jan Mayen are extremely rare, especially being able to land on the shores. The crew and captain on MS Fram and the expedition team will do their best to make it possible to set foot on this exotic outpost. This will be an experience of a lifetime.
From Jan Mayen ship head towards Iceland. Following the Mid-Atlantic Ridge that divides the North American and the Eurasian continental plate, we enter into the Greenland Sea on this crossing. The Greenlandic Ocean borders to Greenland to the west and the Svalbard archipelago to the East. The complex water current system was first described in detail in 1909 by Fridtjof Nansen. This area was also a popular whale-hunting ground for 300-years until the beginning of the 20th century. The remaining whales of the area have been protected since 1911.
Where the Arctic Circle meets Iceland.
Grímsey is where the Arctic Circle touches Iceland, and you will use Hiurtigruten's Polarcirkel boats to reach this green and grassy island inhabited by thousands of puffins. The Arctic Circle cuts across the island and you can even step across that line.
As ship reach the west region of Iceland, you will understand why this area is dubbed “The Sagaland”. Take your time to explore Stykkishólmur’s diversity with lava and rock formations, glaciers, volcanic activity, and hot and cold springs. Participate in a range of exciting excursions such as kayaking, hiking and horse riding.
Reykjavik is the world’s northernmost capital city. Norwegian settlers named the place Reykjavik (meaning “Smoky Bay”) after the columns of steam that rose from the hot springs in the area and made such a profound impression. The surroundings offer fantastic natural beauty with geysers, mountains, glaciers and geothermal baths.
You leave Iceland behind and sail across the Denmark Strait in order to reach Greenland. The Denmark Strait connects the Greenland Sea to the Irminger Sea. This crossing is the one the Vikings had to use while migrating from Iceland to South Greenland some 1000 years ago. As clever as they were, the Vikings would look at the direction of the flight of the sea birds to find land.
The Denmark Strait was also a battle ground during WW2 between ships of the Royal Navy and the German Kriegsmarine on the 24th of May 1941. The British battle ship HMS Prince of Wales fought the largest German battle ship Bismarck which was attempting to break in to the North Atlantic to attack allied merchant marine.
You will sail through the narrow channel of Prins Christian Sund and enjoy the spectacular scenery here. It is one of the most picturesque stretches with land lining both sides, alpine landscapes and a number of glaciers. If the channel is blocked with ice, we will sail around Nunap Isua (Cape Farewell).
Qassiarsuk - colourful contrast!
In Qassiarsuk you will find green fields dotted with white sheep, lush vegetation and busy farmsteads; this forms a colourful contrast to the icescapes at sea. Qassiarsuk is also where Viking Erik the Red built his Brattahlíð estate in 982 A.D. It is a great area to try optional activities such as kayaking, hiking, or exploring the town on foot.
Hvalsey and Qaqortoq - kaffemik and colourful houses.
In Hvalsey you will find some of the best-preserved ruins from the Norse period; Hvalsey Church was probably built in the 14th century. Team will use Polarcirkel boats to get ashore so you can explore the area for yourself. Many consider Qaqortoq one of the most beautiful towns in Greenland due to the colourful houses. The excursions we offer here include an interesting visit to the only tannery in Greenland, a city walk with guide, and a kaffemik to meet the locals and share a traditional open-house coffee meet. The sailing towards Hvalsey is magnificent to see with land lining both sides.
Nuuk is the oldest town in Greenland founded by the Danish-Norwegian missionary Hans Egede in 1728. The name Nuuk means peninsula, an accurate description of the city’s location, on the tip of a large peninsula at the mouth of one of the largest and most spectacular fjord systems in the world. City tours and hikes are among the optional excursions in this modern city.
The Disco Bay area offers fantastic sailing with wildlife and spectacular nature. Colourful villages cling to rough, rocky hills at the feet of the mountains surrounding the inland ice. The main trade is fishing, and the town accommodates a large fleet of trawlers, a shipyard and a fish factory. Sisimiut is the southernmost of the towns on the western coast of Greenland where sleigh dogs can be found.
Join excursions such as kayaking, hiking or other activities. In Sisimiut you can watch the artists make jewellery and crafts from bone, leather and metal, join a sightseeing tour or hike, and taste Greenlandic specialities in a local restaurant.
Icebergs are called Ilulissat in Greenlandic, and it comes as no surprise to anyone who has been here that this is the town’s name. This is the third largest town in Greenland with a population of about 5,000.
Ilulissat is set in marvellous surroundings at Ilulissat Icefjord. The area was added to on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2004. You will see enormous icebergs run aground at the mouth of the fjord, just outside the town. There are a variety of optional shore excursions including hikes, a town walk with a historical theme and a boat tour to the Icefjord.
Today you reach the small settlement of Itilleq. Itilleq means “the hollow” and as the name suggests, the village is situated in a hollow, majestically surrounded by high mountains and glaciers. It can truthfully be called the Arctic Circle Village as the Arctic Circle is found only 200 metres to the south. The village has around 130 inhabitants who are mainly involved in hunting and fishing. Visit one of the families that live here, buy some of the area's arts and crafts, or even enjoy a game of football with the locals.
Kangerlussuaq is situated at the end of the Kangerlussuaq fjord and this is where the expedition ends. It is a small settlement in the Sisimiut community with just under 600 people living and working there.
Kangerlussuaq is only 40 kilometres from the immense Greenland Ice Cap. This indescribable icy waste land stretches 2,500 kilometers from North to South and nearly 1,000 kilometers from East to West at the widest part of the country. The tallest point of the Ice Cap is 3,200 meters above sea level. The unpaved road goes through a wide variety of the most beautiful natural scenery, from Arctic desert to tundra with low growing shrubs, and through hilly terrain with a grand view of the edge of the Ice Cap.
After disembarking you can join an excursion to the Ice Cap before you take the night flight to Copenhagen.
Your flight arrives in Copenhagen early in the morning.
Copenhagen according to your own itinerary