Greenland Sailing Tour

Join the sturdy sailboat Donna Wood or schooner Opal for an amazing expedition where you explore the magnificent nature of Greenland in Scoresby Sound fjord. The fjord extends 350 km inland and offers spectacular scenery and tranquil surroundings.

Watch the Greenland Sailing tour video!

Greenland tour itinerary

Day 1 (Wednesday)

Depart Keflavík for a flight to Constable Point in Greenland, a small airfield west of Hurry Inlet in Jameson Land. Embark the Schooner and get an introduction and a safety briefing by the crew before sailing towards the village of Ittoqqortoormiit, one of the most isolated villages in the world. There will be a brief visit, where passengers will be able to stroll around and experience the tranquility associated with its remoteness.

Ittoqqortoormiit was founded in the 1925s by people from Ammassalik island. It is the most northerly settlement on the east coast of Greenland. The 450 inhabitants make their living mostly by subsistence hunting of seals, Narwhale, Muskoxen and Polar Bear. The quaint little houses dot the rocky slopes of south Liverpool Land with magnificent views of Kap Brewster and the Volquart Boons Coast to the south.

Day 2 (Thursday)

Sail west between whole palaces of icebergs that gently drift under the influence of the currents in the Arctic waters in the mighty fjord of Scoresby Sound, after calving from the parent glaciers originating in the Inland Ice. Anchor at Hekla Havn, on Denmark Ø, the site of an old Inuit settlement and wintering camp of the first scientific expedition to Scoresby Sound over a hundred years ago. A short evening walk exploring Hekla Havn, and the surrounding area.

Day 3 (Friday)

Sail west through the narrow Føhnfjord with the majestic basalt mountains of Gåseland on the port side and 2000 metres high sheer granite cliffs of Milne Land on the Starboard side. After being up close to the peculiar looking Red Island and even landfall at the red sandstone shore the tour continues to the north through Rødefjord which is often filled with both larger icebergs and ice crust from icebergs that are breaking up. We will arrive in Harefjord in the late afternoon where anchors are set for two nights.

Day 4 (Saturday)

The whole day is spent ashore in Harefjord scouting for muskoxen, snow hares, grouse, geese and other wildlife, which normally graze on the south facing slopes. Between 6 and 7 hours of easy to moderate hiking with a lunch break at the top of a ridge with a breath taking view over Harefjord where the glacier tongues descend into the sea. Those who prefer less exercise can stroll at the coast or stay on board enjoying the view. In the evening the crew will make a bonfire and prepare BBQ at the rocky beach.

Day 5 (Sunday)

The sailing continues eastwards through the awesome Øfjord. This is one of the most spectacular parts of the trip. Terrific mountain peaks and granite walls tower 200 meters up from the sea just like if the Cerro Torre (one of the majestic mountains of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field in South America) and Fitzroy river (in Queensland, Australia) has been moved to the Arctic: A true feast for the eyes. Usually the sea breeze in the Øfjord during the middle of the day allows sails to be set. Close look at some of the most amazing cliffs and a glacier front. This day ends by setting anchors in Jyttes Havn Bjørneøe in the late afternoon.

Day 6 (Monday)

The day is spent hiking in and around Jytteshavn in Bear Islands as this is possibly one of the nicest and most picturesque anchorages in Scoresby Sound. There are two options of a longer or shorter hike in the Bear Islands, or on the northernmost tip of Milneland, a short zodiac ride away. Jytteshavn is the place to try your skills at sea swimming at 71°N and temperatures can be as surprising as 13°C in the summertime. In the evening we offer a nice meal on board and then a cosy bonfire on the beach with story telling or singing.

Day 7 (Tuesday)

Sailing the channel between the Bear Islands and Milne land with a breathtaking view of the spectacular archipelago. As we sail into the last evening and night of the trip it is likely that we‘ll be experiencing sights of the largest and the most fascinating icebergs of the journey. This provides a fantastic opportunity for photographs of the majestic and impressive icebergs that are often found in this particular area. When we wake up the next morning we are anchored at the at the airstrip in Constable Point.

Day 8 (Wednesday)

The last morning we will enjoy a good breakfast together, write in the diary on board and share contact information with each other. Then we will disembark the schooner for the last time and board the aircraft in Constable Point and fly back to Keflavík Iceland.

Included

  • International flight Keflavík – Constable Point – Keflavík.
  • Return transport between airport and harbour in Constable Point.
  • Accommodation in made up bunk/beds with shared facilities and all meals on board the sailing ship.
  • Soft drinks, services of the crew, hiking excursions (as per itinerary) and arrangements.

Not included

  • Airfare to and from Iceland.
  • Visas or Individual travel insurance.
  • Excess baggage charges.
  • Laundry charges and items of personal nature.
  • Alcoholic beverages (available for extra charge & to be paid upon departure with cash money).
  • Optional pre or post tours in Iceland

Flight information

Keflavík – Constable Point- Keflavík, departure from Keflavík International Airport.

Guide

  • Expert in sailing & wildlife of Greenland.

Duration

  • 8 days (thus 7 days & 7 nights on board).

Departures 2018

The tour starts and ends on Wednesdays.

Departures on sailing ship Opal (maximum 12 pax):

  • 25 July
  • 1 August (2 seats available)
  • 8 August (sold out)
  • 15 August (sold out)
  • 22 August
  • 29 August (sold out)
  • 5 September (sold out)
  • 12 September (sold out)

Departures on sailing ship Hildur (maximum 10 pax):

  • 22 August
  • 29 August
  • 5 September
  • 12 September

Departures on sailing ship Donna Wood (maximum 12 pax):

  • 25 July (sold out)
  • 1 August (sold out)
  • 8 August (sold out)
  • 15 August (sold out)
  • 22 August (sold out)
  • 29 August (sold out)
  • 5 September (sold out)
  • 12 September (sold out)

Departures 2019

The tour starts and ends on Wednesdays.

Departures on sailing ship Opal (maximum 12 pax):

  • 17 July
  • 24 July
  • 31 July
  • 7 August 
  • 14 August 
  • 21 August
  • 28 August
  • 4 September
  • 11 September

Departures on sailing ship Donna Wood (maximum 12 pax):

  • 17 July (sold out)
  • 24 July
  • 31 July
  • 7 August (sold out)
  • 14 August 
  • 21 August (sold out)
  • 28 August
  • 4 September (sold out)
  • 11 September (sold out)

Bookings and requests

For booking requests, charter price and further details please contact:

Bergthora Hoskuldsdottir

Price 2018

  • Adult: € 5.545
  • Under 15 years: € 4.500

Price 2019

  • Adult: to be announced
  • Under 15 years: to be announced

NOTE! Max 12 passengers for each departure.

Get to know your sailing boat

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Schooner Hildur

See deckplan, interior photos and specs

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Schooner Opal

See deckplan, interior photos and specs

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Donna Wood

See deckplan, interior photos and specs

Photos from the Greenland sailing tours

Customer reviews

  • Indeed, the crew was excellent. They did great efforts and succeeded to make this trip a wonderful experience. Martin and Sebastian prepared excellent cuisine. The local guide, Steen Pike, I appreciated very much his knowledge about settlements, hunting, socioeconomic etc. aspects of the Scoresbysund town and area.
    The participants, different peoples and nationality, the team play was very well..
    The Hildur has both drawbacks and advantages, however, the latter prevailing. The wooden ship is wonderful, and beautiful with all sails set. On deck there is a lot of space with several seatings and possibility to move around. Even possibility for having meals. Below the ship is narrow but ok with meals etc. The bunks above table/bench I experienced less optimal, at least I had not imagined that tight space in advance. It needed some habituation and adaptation. Maybe future participants should be prepared for this in the information material. I enjoyed the 2 nights in guesthouse Scoresbysund afterwards. Confessed, I have an age not more able to sleep anytime anywhere. The survival suits available were very valuable to keep warm on deck when windy.

    Carl Christian
  • Scoresbysund opens an incredible view of the northern regions. Endless”wow !” experience, contrast between resources and size and tranquility and beauty. The travel and the tourism captivated me completely and I see more trips to Greenland in the future.

    Anton
  • There is a short window of opportunity each year when the arctic waters of Scoresbysund in eastern Greenland are sufficiently ice-free to allow cautious passage of a sailing vessel. In 2010 the schooner ‘Hildur’, based normally in Husavik, northern Iceland, pioneered an exploratory visit to these waters. The ground-breaking voyage of discovery was a success and, in 2011, a few berths were offered to guests wishing to repeat the experience. Quite understandably, considering my less-than-perfect record of water/sailing-related odysseys over the years, Anne was not immediately enthused; but, encouraged by Mathew and Ben, both of whom had led big-wall climbing expeditions to Greenland in the past, and reassured by the knowledge that we would be crewed by fellows experienced in arctic forays, she acquiesced and we were off. By means of a complicated series of flights via Reykjavik in Iceland, we joined ship at Constable Point airstrip, a bleak and desolate place, far, very far, from the nearest – and only – village of Ittoqqortoormiit, an ice-and -wind blasted settlement of 469 souls whose forefathers had been forcefully settled there in 1925 by the Danish government.
    ‘Hildur’ was moored offshore flanked by immense, slowly drifting icebergs. She is a graceful ship, a schooner built of sturdy oak in Akureyri 1974, and is blessed with remarkable sea-going properties which, later in the voyage when we were storm-tossed, were much appreciated. The sun hung low on the horizon as we lifted anchor and motored into huge, magnificent, awe-inspiring Scoresbysund, the largest fjord system in the world, piercing 350 kilometres inland. Calving glaciers shed massive icebergs into our path, and a 24-hour watch was maintained.
    Below deck was warm and snug. The berths were, er, ‘cosy’. Some had a coffin-like dimension; Anne and I were fortunate to be allocated the ‘captain’s cabin’. Described as a ‘double’, it necessitated us sleeping head-to-toe, with a mutually agreed sequence of careful manipulations when changing position. We could hear the rush and slap of water through the oaken planks by our heads, and the scraping graunch of the occasional sheet-ice splintered by the prow. Food was plentiful and rather good on the whole. We were greeted on board with a feast of dried salt-cod and a fiery aquavit. Blessedly this was the one and only time it made an appearance.
    Good bread was baked every evening and we dined on musk ox, arctic char and gravadlax, seated around the large cabin table. Good banter, a polyglot of languages, and tales to tell at every meal. Sometimes we enjoyed a barbecue on deck, moored in a peaceful but spectacular bay. We walked, always accompanied by a rifle bearer or two (polar bears are a common occurrence) high into remote and lonely hills, creeping up downwind of peacefully grazing musk oxen, great shaggy beasts enjoying the brief few weeks when the ground was not quite frozen. White arctic hares let us approach almost to within touching distance. We assumed they had never seen humans before.

    Anne & Alan Heason
  • The crew are great guys. If you are nice to them they will allow you to join the cosy dishwashing on the deck…..
    The food was exactly to my liking. Light, green and tasty. And always freshly baked bread for breakfast.
    The trip with Hildur was a “once-in-a-lifetime-adventure” that I without hesitation would do another time.

    Marianne
  • The most obvious testimonial to our Scoresby Sound sailing adventure on the schooner Hildur is the fact that all 15 of the participants (passengers and crew) have been in frequent contact with one another – sharing stunning photos and stories – in a subconscious effort to prolong our enjoyment of the unique experience. The current (October) issue of Smithsonian Magazine features Greenland’s attractions along the west coast, the article’s author stating that “Greenland is one of the last frontiers of the tourism industry.” If so, we might qualify as “pioneers.”
    We had the distinct advantage of seeing a remote area of East Greenland – the breathtaking scenery throughout Scoresby Sound, six degrees above the Arctic Circle – unspoiled as yet by even a hint of commercialism. The fact that our group of 15 (representing 10 different countries and ages ranging from 28 to 86) was such a compatible lot led to a close feeling of “family” by the end of the cruise.
    The hardworking crew, from cooks to captain, went above and beyond to keep us comfortable, well-fed, and more than satisfied with their cheerfully rendered services. While quarters were tight below decks, we spent most of our time topside where there was plenty of room to walk around, or sit – even dance – while the parade of icebergs, glaciers, and majestic mountains glided by. What a life! No TV, no email, no news to bother us…not a care in the world except to wonder what was around the next bend in the Sound.
    Thank you, North Sailing, for introducing us to a very special place on this Earth!

    Richard
  • This has been a journey that more than fulfilled my expectations. Apart from the spectacular scenery, the boat was comfortable and spacy. The security, both on board (we were provided with a combined warm- and floating suit) and on shore (always accompanied by a “gun man”) was focussed by the crew. It was also a pleasure to wake up every morning to the smell of freshly baked bread. I would have loved to stay for another week.

    Hanne
  • Thanks for a wonderful trip and truly lifechanging experience. Vastness and opennes are keywords in this trip, in perfect harmony with friendship on board this cosy ship. A fast sailing wooden ship, wonderful cooking, wonderful views and all explanations you can wish for. The strong nature presenting itself, snow haze, grouse and musk ox, flowers and other vegetation, the unreal view of icebergs nearby and the light at dusk and dawn gave the trip a very strong impression.
    Thanks for a wonderful experience, I trully recommend it to anyone!

    Martien
  • I would like to thank you and the great crew once again, for this great experience! The ship Hildur, the crew, the landscape; everything was just perfect. It is great, to wake up in the morning step on deck and slide from one dream world into the next one: The beautiful Scoresby Sund landscape – The sun was shining on the deep blue sea, big Icebergs were passing by, birds fly along and the mountains look like mystic castles. And than enjoy a delicious breakfast on deck of “Hildur”. Every day was like a big surprise. The hikes ashore were perfect to discover this fantastic land. And I will never forget my meeting with the big musk ox (less than 10m from me).

    Cornelia
  • A thirty six years old dream became true this year. A journey to Greenland, in this beautiful boat, that was wonderful.
    Nothing like it !

    Lydia & Hjálmar
  • I have been over large parts of Greenland, but I have never tried a sailing ship in the worlds largest fjord Scoresbysund. An amazing journey with a fantastic crew. It was not just another trip, but a unique experience.

    Mads Nordlund, Editor, Greenland Today
  • Stunning! This trip did not only meet all the (high) expectations we had before leaving, but went even further. We have been taken to discover beautiful sceneries, incredible landscapes, unspoiled and pristine nature, accompanied by a nice and caring crew (how about ending having great food always surrounded by majestic landscapes?) : we could even visit such awesome places on a beautiful boat that gives the opportunity to have a feeling of how the adventurous and tough expedition times must have been. We were totally taken by this trip. It really changed our life.

    Michele & Paolo

Frequently asked questions

After collecting your luggage upon arrival in Greenland a pickup truck with an open and wide platform will transport you to the harbour (approx. 3 minutes ride) where our crew hands over your warm and floatable device (overall) for the tour, marked with your name. Upon boarding the vessel, you’ll be shown to your cabin/bunk. The actual transport to the schooner is done by zodiac – let the adventure begin !!

The Greenland sailing tour is not challenging unless you really want it to be. You can unwind and relax surrounded by the beautiful stunning landscape of Greenland. You will be able to do some easy to moderately difficult hikes (always accompanied with a professional guide) when ashore in various beautiful settings, and if willing, and only if, you can help the crew on board in their tasks while cruising or sailing.

No specific preparations or skills are required for the trip itself, but a good spirit and love for the nature and adventure is a „must-bring-along“ !

Not needed in your baggage, we provide warm bedding and covers as well as blankets and a set of towels.

Your accommodation is in traditional but new and clean bunks. Please understand, the space onboard is limited, also for luggage storage (please do not bring hard cover luggage). You will receive an info sheet indicating your bunk once your reservation has been confirmed and booked.

Our fullboard service includes breakfast, lunch and dinner. We have put a lot of care in planning supplies and your meals. Occasionally we also serve a light snack during the day, and snacks are also available upon request. Soft drinks and water are available at any time and alcoholic beverage/liquor is for sale onboard. After you confirm your booking, a Medical Information sheet will be sent to you, gathering information on your health and/or allergies for various foods.

Yes, we have a simple but hot shower onboard, which is available most of the times. But please understand, water supply can be limited, therefore we will kindly ask you to adapt.

Please be aware, the staircases to living quarters have steep stairs but with good railing and parts of the ship have a low ceiling so mind your head. You should also be aware, that transfer between land and our schooners are operated by zodiac (there are no harbours in the whole of Scoresbysund area), so no gangway.

  • Small flashlight.
  • Binoculars.
  • Sunglasses.
  • Sun-protection and bug repellant.
  • Warm clothes incl. scarf, mittens, hat and warm thermal underwear.
  • Light wool sweater or fleece (2nd layer).
  • Warm Jacket – Wool or fleece (3rd layer).
  • Shell Jacket or/and Rain jacket with hood – Waterproof and breathable material. Gore-Tex or alternative.
  • Hiking Boots – The boots should be of leather (or leather and synthetic) with high cut to give sufficient ankle support. Preferably the sole should be soft but robust. Gore-Tex or alternative waterproof membrane is a preferable extra.
  • Rubber Boots
  • Water container – e.g. plastic bottle (pet plastic).
  • Camera equipment – Incl. spare batteries, memory card and/or films.
  • Toothbrush, earplugs and other personal belongings.
  • It is advisable that what you wear is either waterproof or easy to dry.
  • No umbrella is needed !

Due to shortage on water supply, we will ask you to avoid cleaning your clothes on board. If anything gets wet during the trip, the engine room is very warm and can be used as a perfect drying place.

Power for charging your batteries is available during sailing, when the motor is running (220V). We ask you to not charge batteries during the night, when anchoring. Standard Icelandic plugs are available (two pins EU size).

The area we are cruising is very remote. Cell phones and internet are not working. Part of the charm of the trip is this fact actually!

However cell phones work at the airport in Constable Point and also in Ittoqqortoormiit, the village where we spend the two last nights.

If urgent, passengers can make a phonecall with one of the ship’s satellite phones or send e-mail, sms or fax via Inmarsat, (the ship’s satellite communications system)

You can expect temperatures between 2 and 12 degree Celsius, but the area is also known for having very little rain. It can be windy but on clear days and no wind, the sun can be very strong! Due to the longlasting high pressure over Greenland, the weather is usually very still.

No! Due to still weathers, narrow fjords and many icebergs we use the engine most of the time when traveling in the fjord system. We will however take up sails when possible and at least one time during the trip we should have the opportunity to experience proper sailing, without the engine. The crew will gladly and proudly educate you about Hildur as a sailing ship.

You are more than welcome to assist at any point with whatever duties need to be done – but it is not mandatory at all.

No !!

The excitement of your approaching sea cruise needn’t be spoiled with the fear of sea sickness. Until you actually sail, there’s no way to tell. Please note however, that the sea in Scoresbysund fjord is very calm and you are therefore not likely to get seasick.

However, if you tend to suffer from this illness, like many other people, the best is to take sea sickness precautions. If you haven’t been to sea before, better be safe than sorry and take preventative measures.

The motion sickness patch is probably the most popular these days – to be placed behind your ear 4 hours before boarding and changed if necessary after 72 hours. This is quite an effective way to prevent seasickness but causes things like a dry mouth and blurry vision. Better to be thirsty than sick, though! The active ingredient, scopolamine, is absorbed through the skin.

We kindly ask to pay your consumption of alcoholic beverages onboard on the last day in cash in ISK or EUR. We do not accept credit cards.

There is only one small souvenir shop, supermarket, small shop and one bar in Ittoqqortoormiit. They do accept DKK or EUR. Payment in EUR will receive change in DKK. Credit cards are accepted only at the supermarket and the souvenir shop.