Cruises to Iceland and Greenland
Cruises to Iceland and Greenland in 2024
Cruise to Iceland in 2024 aboard Spirit of Adventure to explore this inspirational land of fire and ice that is like nowhere else on Earth and reveal the island’s unique landscapes and wildlife. Or, you could step aboard Spirit of Discovery and cruise to Greenland and Iceland from the UK to contrast the diverse scenery and rich culture of these neighbouring islands and experience the spellbinding midnight sun.
Plus, you can look forward to thrilling whale-watching experiences with marine charity ORCA, who will be on board throughout to share their knowledge and expertise of the wonders within the Arctic Circle.
Iceland and Greenland cruises
There are so many reasons to cruise to Iceland…
The island’s unparalleled natural beauty characterised by glistening waterfalls such as Godafoss Falls near Akureyri, bubbling geysers, and volcanic peaks mirrored in pristine fjords, is possibly the most obvious reason to cruise to Iceland.
But it’s definitely not the only reason, Iceland’s rich cultural heritage and ties to the ancient Vikings can be uncovered in its tiny coastal towns, traditional fishing villages and capital city Reykjavik, which offers a gateway to the natural wonders of the Golden Circle and the mineral-rich waters of the Blue Lagoon.
Iceland cruises venture here for the wildlife too… go in search of humpback whales from Akureyri, discover an array of birdlife on the island of Vigur from Isafjördur or head to Puffin Island, a nesting site for seabirds and home to a colony of seals.
Cruise to Iceland in the summer months and you will see a landscape bathed in the light of the midnight sun.
Reykjavik, or ‘Smoky Bay’, was named after the area’s numerous hot springs by its Viking founder, Ingólfur Arnason, in AD 874. Although Iceland’s oldest permanent settlement and capital, it retains a friendly small-town atmosphere. The city’s historic heart is full of boutiques, museums and art galleries. Excavations have revealed many Viking artefacts in this area around the city-centre Lake Tjörnin – known locally as The Pond.
Uncover the natural beauty and history of the remote Westfjords region, where the small town of Ísafjörður nestles on an arm of the fjord of the same name. Ísafjörður thrived as a trading hub from the 16th to 19th centuries due to its large harbour. Wooden 18th-century merchant houses still stand along the harbourfront, including the oldest in Iceland, which now houses a folk museum. Another historic home is now the Maritime Museum, which further attests to Ísafjörður’s close ties to the sea.
Set on Iceland’s longest fjord, Eyjafjordur, the self-titled ‘Capital of the North’ was settled by Vikings in the 9th century. Although just 100 miles south of the Arctic Circle, it is warmed by the Gulf Stream, lending it a relatively moderate climate. This is evident in the Botanic Gardens and the two-month-long annual Arts and Culture Festival’s outdoor summer events. From Akureyri, the splendour of Godafoss Waterfall is within easy reach.
There are so many reasons to cruise to Greenland…
The soaring granite cliffs of Prince Christian Sound provide a dramatic entrance to Greenland. Discover immense fjords and blue-hued icebergs, visit the isolated settlements of Qaqortoq and Narsarsuaq, and meet the people who call the small community of Nanortalik home on a cruise to Greenland.
The island’s capital Nuuk, founded in 1728 by Danish-Norwegian missionary Hans Egede, features avant-garde architecture and a colonial harbour, and is also home to the Greenland National Museum where you can see the ancient Qilakitsoq mummies and Inuit skin boats. The vast fjord system enveloping Nuuk is known for its waterfalls, icebergs and humpback whales.
Plus, you can also experience the midnight sun if you cruise to Greenland in summer.
‘The Place where the Polar Bear goes’ is an apt name for Greenland’s southernmost town as these fierce animals occasionally pass by on the ice floes. Set on a small island beside the Tasermiut Fjord, the of colourful wooden buildings contrast against a backdrop of jagged mountains. The open-air Nanortalik Museum gives an insight into the area and its culture. The town is also a hub for mountain and rock climbing, hiking and kayaking.
South Greenland’s largest settlement features brightly painted colonial buildings dating back to the 18th century. The oldest building, once a blacksmiths, displays harpoons and kayaks that reflect the country’s Norse heritage. Next to it stands Greenland’s oldest fountain, Mindebrønden, which was built in 1932. The open-air ‘Stone and Man’ sculpture gallery encompasses a collection of motifs carved in stone and rock throughout the town. A helicopter trip is a great way to see more of the surrounding scenery, which features Arctic mountains, fjords and glaciers.
Set on the tip of a peninsula surrounded by fjords, Nuuk means cape in Inuit. The capital of Greenland was founded in 1728 by Danish-Norwegian missionary Hans Egede. Monuments to the explorer include a statue and Hans Egede’s House. The landmark Lutheran Church of Our Saviour, a simple wooden structure painted dark red, was built between 1849 and 1884, gaining cathedral status in 1993. The Qilakitsoq mummies, which were frozen for 500-years, now reside at the Greenland National Museum.
Cruising Prince Christian Sound, Greenland
Weave past craggy peaks and calving glaciers whilst cruising along this 66-mile-long fjord described as a “river of melted snow” by explorer John Cabot. This inland passage separates Greenland’s mainland from the Cape Farewell Archipelago, connecting the Labrador and Irminger seas. Granite cliffs on both sides close into just 1,650 feet apart at the narrowest point, and it is only accessible in summer.
The Greenland Cruise Experience
Meet with local people from Greenland and hear what it's like to live here. Kaffemik is an important Greenlandic tradition occasion where you share in the company of others. Conversation, coffee and cake are the three most important things, and you can also visit a local home too.
Image credit: © Visit Greenland. Photo by Mads Pih.