Greenland Sailing Expedition
Live on board a traditional sailing ship for 7 amazing days in the natural wonders of Scoresby Sund in East Greenland. Encounter the arctic landscape and wildlife in one of the most remote places in the world
This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to sail in the largest and one of the most remote fjords on Earth, surrounded by untouched natural phenomena such as glaciers, icebergs and ice crusts. Far from being your everyday experience, the picturesque sceneries are unparalleled. Whether in Red Island’s Iceberg city, the mountainous Øfjord, overlooking amazing archipelagos near Bear Island or scouting for wildlife in Harefjord, Greenland’s spectacular landscape leaves everyone speechless.
As we sail through the unspoiled arctic landscape – or when ashore – we might come across some of Greenland’s sensational wildlife in their natural habitat. Although rare, polar bears, reindeers and narwhales have been spotted as they curiously observe our passing. Other animals are more common, especially snow hares, seals and muskoxen. Regardless of whether hiking in the breathtaking arctic environment or onboard our vessels sailing through the kingdom of ice, the feeling of spotting the exceptional wildlife cannot be described.
Last but not least, we will visit Ittoqqortoormiit, one of the most isolated villages on the western hemisphere. Rarely visited by tourists, this home of roughly 450 hardy inhabitants is truly awe-inspiring, as it is possible to experience the historical and cultural roots of this traditional Inuit community.
Watch the Greenland Sailing Expedition Video!
Greenland Expedition Itinerary
Day 1 (Wednesday) – Ahoy Greenland! Let the Adventure Begin
Depart Reykjavík for a flight to Constable Point in Greenland, a small airfield west of Hurry Inlet in Jameson Land. Embark the sailboat 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 are 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 narwhales, muskoxen and polar bears. 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.
* This is a rough schedule. If the conditions do not allow for visiting Ittoqqortoormiit on the first day, it will be done on the last day.
Day 2 (Thursday) – Iceberg Palaces & Inuit Settlement
Sail west between whole palaces of icebergs that gently drift under the influence of the currents in the Arctic waters 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 Sund over a hundred years ago. The day ends with a short evening walk exploring Hekla Havn and the surrounding area.
Day 3 (Friday) – The Day of the Fjords: Massive Mountains & Granite Cliffs
Sail west through the narrow Føhnfjord with the majestic basalt mountains of Gåseland on the port side and 2000 meters 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.
Day 4 (Saturday) – Hiking & Wildlife Scouting
Make sure to pack your hiking boots because 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. This easy to moderate approx. 6-hour hike takes us on top of a ridge where we will have lunch with a breathtaking view over Harefjord, where the terrain drops down on each side and the glacier tongues descend into the sea. Those who prefer less exercise can stroll at the coast or stay on board enjoying the view.
Day 5 (Sunday) – Setting Sails in the Majestic Øfjord
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 2000 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. A close look at some of the most amazing cliffs and a glacier front. This day ends by setting anchors in Jyttes Havn in the late afternoon.
Day 6 (Monday) – Outdoor Adventures & Cooling Down in the Sea
The day is spent hiking in and around Jyttes Havn in Bear Islands as this is possibly one of the nicest and most picturesque anchorages in Scoresby Sund. There are two options of a longer or shorter hike in the Bear Islands, or on the northernmost tip of Milne Land, a short zodiac ride away. Jyttes Havn 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. If conditions and time allow, we will tend a bonfire on the beach and share stories.
Day 7 (Tuesday) – Archipelagos & Icebergs: Make Sure You Charge Your Batteries
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.*
* If conditions do not allow for visiting Ittoqqortoormiit on the first day, it will be done on this day.
Day 8 (Wednesday) – Good Bye Greenland. Now: Life After Greenland!
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 sailboat for the last time and board the aircraft in Constable Point and fly back to Reykjavík, Iceland. In Iceland, the adventures of the expedition begin to sync in and your life after Greenland begins!
- International flight Reykjavík – Constable Point – Reykjavík.
- Return transport between the airport and the sailboat in Constable Point.
- Accommodation on board in made up bunks/beds with shared facilities.
- All meals on board the sailing ship.
- Services of the crew, hiking excursions (as per itinerary) and arrangements
- 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
Reykjavík – Constable Point – Reykjavík, departure from Reykjavík Domestic Airport.
Estimated flying time: 1 hour 40 min.
- Expert in sailing & wildlife of Greenland.
- 8 days (thus 8 days & 7 nights on board).
Added EXTRA departure 2023
East Greenland Extended
Our all-time favourite Scoresby Sound expedition with five extra days, including crossing to Húsavík, Iceland. Explore deeper into the less visited fjords of Scoresby Sound on this 13-day expedition on sailing ship Tilvera.
- 13 – 25 September 2023
(4 seats available)
Price € 7.700 per person
For more info contact: email@example.com
The tour starts and ends on Wednesdays.
Departures on sailing ship Opal (maximum 12 pax):
- 26 July (1 seat left)
- 2 August (1 seat left)
- 9 August (sold out)
- 16 August (sold out)
- 23 August (sold out)
- 30 August (sold out)
- 6 September (sold out)
Departures on sailing ship Hildur (maximum 9 pax):
- 16 August (sold out)
- 23 August (4 seats left)
- 30 August (sold out)
- 6 September (sold out)
Departures on sailing ship Tilvera (maximum 12 pax):
- 2 August (sold out)
- 9 August (sold out)
- 16 August (sold out)
- 23 August (AVAILABLE)
- 30 August (sold out)
- 6 September (sold out)
- 13–25 September (extra departure, 13 days including crossing to Iceland – only 4 seats left – price € 7.700 per person)
- € 6.400 per person
Bookings and requests
For booking requests, charter price and further details please contact:
- E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Greenland Expedition Route Map
Get To Know Your Sailing Boat
Photos from the Greenland Expedition Tours
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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).
A thirty six years old dream became true this year. A journey to Greenland, in this beautiful boat, that was wonderful.
Nothing like it !
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.
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.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
After collecting your luggage upon arrival in Greenland a pickup truck with an open and wide platform will transport it to the beach while we all walk together (approx. 10-minute walk). A zodiac transports us from the beach to the schooner, where the crew provides everyone with a warm overall for the tour. Upon boarding the vessel, you’ll be shown to your cabin/bunk.
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 by 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“!
No, we provide warm bedding, covers, blankets and a set of towels.
Please understand, space onboard is limited, also for luggage storage (hardcover luggage is not an option). You will receive an info sheet indicating your bunk once your reservation has been confirmed and booked.
We operate three different schooners:
Donna Wood: The cabins in Donna Wood have bunk beds in ordinary size.
Hildur: Hildur has three cabins with bunk beds, other bunks are in the living room area.
Opal: The cabins in Opal have bunk beds.
Our full-board 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. Ice cold water is available at all times and alcoholic beverage/liquor are 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.
Yes, there are two hot showers onboard, which are available at all times. Please keep in mind though that 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 may have low ceiling. You should also be aware, that transfer between land and our schooners are operated by zodiac (there are no harbours in the whole of Scoresby Sound area), so there is no gangway.
- 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.
- The boat is not a catwalk. Less is more.
- Hiking Boots – The boots should be of leather (or leather and synthetic) with a 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.
- Reusable waterbottle.
- Optional: camera equipment – Incl. spare batteries, memory card and/or films, earplugs, small flashlight, binoculars and other personal belongings.
- It is advisable that what you wear is either waterproof or easy to dry.
Due to a shortage of 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 batteries is available at all times (standard EU socket).
Cell phone signal is only available at the airport in Constable Point and in Ittoqqortoormiit.
If urgent, passengers can make a phone call 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°C (35-54°F), but the area is also known for having very little rain. It can be windy but on clear, calm days the sun can be very strong. Due to the long-lasting 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 time allows – and at least ones during the expedition. The crew will gladly and proudly educate you about the schooners as sailing ships.
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, you’re not. However, if you tend to suffer from sea sickness, the best advice is to take sea sickness precautions. If you haven’t been to sea before, it’s better to be safe than sorry and take preventative measures.
The excitement of your approaching sea cruise needn’t be spoiled with the fear of seasickness. Until you actually sail, there’s no way to tell. Additionally, it’s important to keep in mind that the sea in Scoresby Sound fjord is very calm and you are therefore less likely to get seasick.
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 are small shops and a supermarket in Ittoqqortoormiit. Credit cards are accepted only at the supermarket.