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Iceland & Greenland: Following Erik the Red

A combination of ‘Iceland’s Westfjords & North Coast’ + ‘Southern Greenland: On the Trail of the Vikings’

Departure Date: 28 Jul 2025 – 17 Aug 2025 | 21 days

Departure/Arrival: Reykjavik, Iceland – Toronto, Canada

Voyage code: ISG001S

Voyage type: Discovery + Expedition

Ship: Sylvia Earle

Price: from GBP £21,395 (Aurora Stateroom Superior)

Call us on 0 808 189 2005 for full pricing and special offers!

Summary

Welcome to AE Expeditions’ Iceland & Greenland: Following Erik the Red expedition.

Combining our Iceland’s Westfjords & North Coast and Southern Greenland: On the Trail of the Vikings voyages, you’ll explore Iceland’s Westfjords, one of the remotest and most pristine regions in the country— ideal for nature hikes, and bird and whale viewing. Discover diverse landscapes including thundering waterfalls, lava fields that breath steam and verdant valleys that stretch beyond the horizon. In Húsavik, keep your eyes and cameras ready to catch the fluke of a whale tail as it takes a deep dive. In South Greenland, we sail along Prince Christian Sound flanked by imposing mountains. Green pastures in south Greenland signal the presence of human settlement, and where the Viking ruins of Erik the Red still stand at Hvalsey. Weaving through the fjords and channels, we enter west Greenland, the country’s most developed region, home to the nation’s capital, Nuuk and the world’s northernmost capital.

Highlights

  • Enjoy thrilling Zodiac cruises to glacier fronts and watch for tail flukes of diving whale
  • Stretch your legs on hikes across tundra while marvelling at sweeping views of deep, remote fjords and valleys below
  • Sail along Prince Christian Sound, surrounded by towering mountains with glaciers that calve directly into the sea
  • Discover Nuuk, the world’s northernmost capital
 

Gallery

AE Expeditions operates in remote and challenging environments, and in the spirit of expedition travel, we encourage you to adopt a flexible and adventurous attitude when joining our voyages. This itinerary is a guide only and is subject to change due to weather, sea state and other conditions beyond our control.

 

Itinerary

Having made your way to Reykjavik, you will be met by a representative of AE Expeditions and transferred to our group hotel. Upon arrival at your included hotel, please visit the AE Expeditions hospitality desk to collect your luggage cabin tags and to speak with our ground operations team, who may have information to share with you about pre-embarkation or to provide you with information about where to dine, withdraw cash or purchase last minute items from a local pharmacy or supermarket.    

The remainder of your time is at leisure. All meals today are at your own expense.  

Accommodation: Fosshotel Reykjavik Hotel (or similar) 

Breakfast and check-out. Join our guided Golden Circle and Geothermal Energy tour. With 85% of its electricity sourced from renewable sources, Iceland sets an outstanding example when it comes to sustainable energy.

Our journey takes us to the famous seismic sights of the Golden Circle route – Gullfoss waterfall, geysir, and history-rich Thingvellir National Park, before we experience first-hand how green, sustainable energy is produced at one of the largest single-site geothermal power plants on the planet at the Geothermal Energy Exhibition and Ljósafossvirkjun Power Station.

We’ll also spend time at a true eco-village. Powered with thermal and solar energy, Sólheimar is fully sustainable, boasting greenhouses and forestry programmes, while its sustainable workshops are dedicated to candle-making, carpentry, weaving and soap-making. Late afternoon we return to Reykjavik for embarkation.

This evening, get to know your fellow expeditioners, expedition team and crew.

At Arnarstapi, our Zodiacs tender us ashore. Located on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, this area features diverse landscapes characterised by lava fields, glistening fjords and home to Breidafjordur Bay which is rich in birdlife. The area is crowned by the magnificent, ice-capped Snæfellsjökull volcano, a 700,000-year-old dormant subglacial volcano, visible from Reykjavik on a clear day and immortalised in Jules Verne’s Journey to the Centre of the Earth. You can choose from a selection of shore excursion options that best suits your interests and level of fitness. Options include a bus tour to Mount Kirkjufell, one of the most famous mountains in Iceland, or a choice of hikes including a glacier hike at Snæfellsjökull Glacier.  

Over the next two days, we explore the Westfjords region featuring outstanding landscapes with jaw-dropping views of dramatic fjords carved by ancient glaciers, sheer table mountains that plunge into the sea and pristine North Atlantic vegetation.  

At Patreksfjordur, a shore excursion by coach takes us to Latrabjarg cliffs. As Europe’s largest bird cliff, Latrabjarg is home to millions of seabirds, such as puffin, razorbill, fulmar and guillemot. Enjoy the impressive variety of natural wonders and unspoiled nature. Latrabjarg also happens to be the westernmost point in Europe, east coast of the North American continent on the other side of the Atlantic. Alternatively, enjoy a shore excursion by coach to Rauthasnduris to explore the beach and seal watching.

At Dynjandi, witness one of Iceland’s most impressive waterfalls – a difficult feat in a country that is filled with spectacular cascading falls.

Arrive in Husavik, the whale watching capital of Iceland. Choose from a selection of shore excursions to best suit your interests and level of fitness. Choose to visit Godafoss Falls and soak at Myvatn Nature baths, an outdoor hot spring bathing complex surrounded by mountain views. Alternatively, explore both Godafoss and Dettifoss waterfalls, the Mývatn region and Krafla.

In the evening, we reboard our vessel in Akureyri, Iceland’s second largest city outside the capital area and is blessed with a superb snow-capped mountain backdrop.

Siglufjordur is the northernmost town on Iceland’s mainland and is a historic fishing town whose fortune has been closely linked to the success of the fishing industry. It’s an area of spectacular natural beauty surrounded by mountains and the fjord. In the morning, our expedition team will lead you on a guided hike suited to your level of fitness. After lunch, you’ll have free time to explore this quaint town at your leisure, visiting the numerous galleries, museums, artisanal workshops and local church. If we’re lucky, we might get to taste some local beer.  

On Vigur Island, birdwatchers can try and tick a few species on their list, while others can enjoy walks and hikes of varying levels of difficulty, soaking in the stunning surrounds.

On arrival in Reykjavik, Iceland’s cosmopolitan capital, our crew and expedition team prepare to welcome expeditioners joining us on our Southern Greenland: On the Trail of the Vikings voyage, while you enjoy a customised excursion in Reykjavik. In the late afternoon, reboard the vessel and meet your fellow expeditioners to begin the next part of your arctic adventure around Iceland.  

Crossing the Greenland Sea, we sail through the Polar Basin’s nutrient-rich waters, searching for encroaching pack ice, fin whales and seabirds. Our team of experts entertains us with informative talks about sea ice, glaciers, European arctic plants and animals and epic tales of early explorers such as Nansen, Andreé and Scoresby.
Popular among skilled rock climbers, Kangertitivatsiaq Fjord is home to spectacular mountain peaks and essential big walls that attract daring climbers. A new discovery for AE Expeditions in 2022, the 26-kilometre (16-mile) fjord is filled with glaciers including the Glacier of France. It’s an ideal place for ship cruising, Zodiac excursions and discovery hikes.

Continue south along Greenland’s King Frederik VI Coast, always on the lookout for whales, especially the rare sperm whale that is occasionally seen here. Weaving through the narrow channels of Skjoldungen Fjord we land at the end of the fjord for a walk along a glacial river, across a tundra valley covered in northern willow and blooming pink wildflowers. Kayakers can paddle across the front of a tidewater glacier, search for harp seals, ivory gulls and whales.

Back on board, enjoy the stunning surrounds with a drink in hand basked in the soft light of the setting sun.

Prince Christian Sound connects the Labrador Sea with the Irminger Sea. Approximately 100 km / 60 mi long, and, in parts, as narrow as 500-m (600-ft) wide, the fjord is flanked by jagged mountain peaks, some reaching over 2,200 m (7,200 ft) high, with countless glaciers coming all the way down to the sea. We slow-cruise through the sound to enjoy the spectacular scenery. Icebergs sculpted into fantastic shapes often block the entrance to the sound, a great spectacle for photography.

Appilattoq is a small settlement that lies in the southern section of a sound. Appilattoq means red in Greenlandic, and the town is named after the red mountains rising above it. Appilattoq is well-known in Greenland for the jagged mountain peaks that surround it—a delight for photographers.

The towering, jagged mountains that surround Tasermiut Fjord is why it’s often referred to as the ‘Patagonia of the north’. At Klosterdal, we are surrounded by three giant mountains – Napasorsuaq, Ketil and Nalumasortoq. Here we can walk to a Norse ruin, hike along the valley, or explore the bay by kayak.

Continue to Nanortalik, the southernmost town in Greenland, located on an island of the same name. Its name derives from the West Greenlandic word ‘Nanoq’ meaning ‘the place where bears pass through,’ describing the polar bears that were once seen floating past on sea ice. Deep fjords, woodlands and grasslands, and rugged mountainside cliffs, some over 1,000 m /3,280 ft, attract enthusiastic climbers from around the world.

On arrival, you’ll receive a warm welcome from the local community who have opened up their town for you to explore. Nanortalik is a town that’s known for their love of singing and you’ll be treated to choir performance.

Visit Nanortalik Church, a wooden, Danish Lutheran church built in 1916 and is currently the only church serving the Nanortalik congregation. The church is in the old colonial quarter of the town. Next to the church is a landmark boulder called the ‘Knud Rasmussen Stone,’ named after Greenland’s most famous citizen, Dr Knud Rasmussen, an explorer and ethnologist.

Hvalsey Church is the best-preserved Norse ruin in Greenland. ‘Hvalsey’ is old Norse for ‘Whale Island.’ Christianity arrived in Greenland around 1,000 AD and gradually churches began to be built. Late medieval documents indicate there were up to 14 parish churches in the Eastern Settlement. Hvalsey itself was built in the early 14th century, but it was not the first church built on this site.

After exploring Hvalsey ruins, continue to Qaqortoq, where our Zodiacs shuttle us ashore. Qaqortoq is the capital of South Greenland. With a history dating back to 1775, the town offers various cultural activities and attractions including an outdoor art project called “Man and Stone,’ which features stone carvings scattered throughout the town created by local artists. Qaqortoq is Greenland’s southernmost town and is the administrative centre of the south Greenland. Built from yellow stone, and dating back to 1804, the building that now houses the Qaqortoq Museum originally belonged to the town’s blacksmith. Qaqortoq’s landmark building is the Church of our Saviour. This large wooden Lutheran church, known as the ‘Red Church’, is in the historic part of town, near the harbour.

Nestled on the shores of Davis Strait, the town of Itilleq is located on a small island only 2 km (1.2 mi) north close to the Arctic Circle. The island has no freshwater, so they have to make their own freshwater from a desalinisation facility.

The Davis Strait is Itilleq’s major geographical feature. As a northern arm of the Labrador Sea, it stretches from the middle of Greenland to parts of Nunavut, Canada in the High Arctic. The numerous glaciers along the Davis Strait are an impressive sight, and while they may not be as impressive in size as the larger glaciers found in other parts of Greenland, the sheer volume of them here is impressive.

A self-guided hike through town reveals the beautiful, coloured houses, colours which in the past represented the profession of its owner. Continue your walk just outside of town to see the picturesque mountain ranges surrounding the town.

At Igaliku in Tunulliarfik Fjord, lush valleys filled with tall grass hints at Greenland’s first sheep farming settlement. Igaliku also guards the entrance to the well-preserved remains of Norse ruins allowing visitors to explore Norse history, hike within the UNESCO World Heritage-listed surroundings to discover lakes, mountains and hidden Norse ruins.

Narsarsuaq is the gateway to hiking trails through lush valleys and Norse ruins spotted along Tunulliarfik Fjord.

Narsarsuaq holds historical significance to Greenland’s history. The Norse Vikings settled in this area in the 12th century and gave Narsarsuaq a name to suggest that an Arctic forest covered the large plain. Taking home stories of lush valleys and plains nestled in deep fjord, the Vikings called this country Greenland. Marked trails allow hikers to enjoy the superb scenery, with the one of the most popular hikes leading to the spectacular lookout over icebergs in the Tunulliarfik Fjord and the Qooroq Glacier.

At Qassiarssuk, located directly across the Tunulliarfik Fjord, follow in the footsteps of Erik the Red and discover why he made it his home. The remains of a church, stables, hall and other buildings can still be seen. Visit the tall statue of Leif Erikson (son of Erik the Red) overlooking the town and fjord.

Sailing between Hvalsey, Igaliku and Qassiarsuk allows you to connect the dots of Viking history in Greenland.

As we sail towards Nuuk, enjoy some free time relaxing or attending a presentation from our expedition team. This evening, share stories and celebrate with fellow expeditioners at Captain’s Farewell Dinner.

Disembark in Nuuk, Greenland’s capital, where you farewell the crew and expedition team before transferring to the airport for our charter flight to Toronto.

Accommodation: Westin Toronto Airport Hotel (or similar)

After breakfast, check out of your room and continue your journey with a transfer to the airport.

Inclusions

  • All airport transfers mentioned in the itinerary.
  • One night’s hotel accommodation including breakfast, in Reykjavik on Day 1.
  • Visit Iceland’s famous Golden Circle prior to embarkation, on Day 2.  
  • Charter flight from Nuuk to Toronto on Day 20.
  • One night’s hotel accommodation including breakfast, in Toronto on Day 20.
  • Onboard accommodation during voyage, including daily cabin service.
  • All meals, snacks, tea and coffee during voyage.
  • Beer, house wine and soft drinks with dinner.
  • Captain’s Farewell reception including four-course dinner, house cocktails, house beer and wine, non-alcoholic beverages.
  • All shore excursions and Zodiac cruises.
  • Educational lectures and guiding services provided by Expedition Team.
  • Complimentary access to onboard expedition doctor and medical clinic (initial consultation).
  • One 3-in-1 waterproof, polar expedition jacket.
  • Complimentary use of Muck Boots during the voyage (in Spitsbergen).
  • Comprehensive pre-departure information.
  • Port surcharges, permits and landing fees.

Exclusions

  • International or domestic flights – unless specified in the itinerary.
  • Transfers – unless specified in the itinerary.
  • Airport arrival or departure taxes.
  • Passport, visa, reciprocity and vaccination fees and charges.
  • Travel insurance or emergency evacuation charges.
  • Hotel accommodation and meals – unless specified in the itinerary.
  • Optional excursions and optional activity surcharges.
  • All items of a personal nature, including but not limited to alcoholic beverages and soft drinks (outside of dinner service), gratuities, laundry services, personal clothing, medical expenses, wi-fi, email or phone charges.

Note: A $15 USD per person per day gratuity for the crew is automatically added to your onboard account. It is at your discretion if you would like to remove the tip (or adjust the amount) when you settle your bill. It is not necessary to tip the expedition team members. This gratuity amount is included for suites as part of their ‘Suite Benefits’. 

Activities

Included Activities

Telescope

Bird watching

Lecture

Lectures on wildlife, our environment, history and destinations

Group 808

Near shore cruises

Camera

Photography

Snorkel

Polar plunge

Trips ashore

Trips ashore

Walking

Walking & hiking

Whale

Whale and mammal spotting

Zodiac

Zodiac cruises

Add-on Activities

Sea Kayaking

Sea Kayaking One of the most exhilarating ways to experience Antarctica, the Arctic and beyond. Sea kayaking holidays in the …

Cabins & Prices

Browse our comfortable staterooms and suites below. Please contact us for best pricing and current availability.

Aurora Stateroom Triple Share

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Aurora Stateroom Superior

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Balcony Stateroom Category C

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Balcony Stateroom Category B

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Balcony Stateroom Category 

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Balcony Stateroom Superior

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Junior Suite

 
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Captain’s Suite

 
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Some cabin images of the Sylvia Earle are artist’s impressions only and final results may vary.

Prefer a shorter voyage?

‘Iceland & Greenland: Following Erik the Red’ is a combination of the 9 day Iceland’s Westfjords & North Coast & the 14 day Southern Greenland: On the Trail of the Vikings. View these itineraries below or contact us for more information.

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