Midnight Sun Exploration to Thule in Greenland
Onboard Hurtigruten - MS Fram
Why book…
  • Sail as far north as Qaanaaq Thule in the extreme north of Greenland
  • Discover the northernmost settlements and communities that are only reachable with boat
  • Experience the Ilulissat icefjord - a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Enjoy hiking, kayaking and activities under the Midnight Sun
  • * Visit Greenland's Ice Sheet at Kangerlussuaq
Overview Itinerary
The Ship
Built in 2007 and modelled on the original Fram ship, MS Fram sets sail with a maximum of 318 passengers on board. The ship's advanced technology and design are perfect for expeditions in the Polar Regions. The spacious outdoor viewing decks bring you up close to nature and the Expedition Team further enhance your experience with lectures throughout the trip. Spend days afloat enjoying the tranquil atmosphere. Relax on the sun deck which is the ideal place to take in the passing views. The rooftop sauna is a great place to unwind and relax, or take a dip in one of the bubbling hot Jacuzzis. Enjoy a work out with a scenic passing view as you use the treadmills or bikes in the fitness room.

On board you'll find the Imaq Restaurant which offers open seating and buffet-style cuisine at breakfast and lunch. All tables in this restaurant have views of the outside scenery through the panoramic windows. Dinner varies between buffets, set menus, and barbeques; with the mode of dining announced daily in the on-board programme.

The observation deck offers a comfortable sitting area where you can enjoy a range of drinks while gazing at the incredible natural views from the top of the ship. The lounge also has a coffee service throughout the day.

The entertainment on board MS Fram is relaxed and low-key. Stroll along the several observation decks and enjoy the scenic views from all panoramic angles. Research the local area further and communicate with friends back home in the internet corner. The Framheim Lecture Hall and Polhogda Lecture Hall are where the on board lectures take place; learn about the passing polar areas, their history, and the residential wildlife. The ship also hosts occasional musical entertainment in the evening.
Day 1: Fly from the UK to Copenhagen, Denmark to Kangerlussuaq, Greenland
Fly from your selected UK airport to Copenhagen in Denmark and connect to your flight to Greenland. Less than five hours later you'll reach the settlement of Kangerlussuaq in Greenland. This small airstrip is the main gateway to Greenland, and on arrival you'll transfer to MS Fram.
Day 2: Discover Disco Bay - Sisimiut
The Disco Bay area combines fantastic sailing with wildlife and spectacular nature. Colourful villages cling to rough, rocky hills at the feet of the mountains surrounding the inland ice. You can join excursions such as kayaking, hiking, or other activities. In Sisimiut you can watch artists making jewellery and crafts from bone, leather, and metal. Why not take a sightseeing tour or hike, and taste authentic Greenlandic specialities in a local restaurant?
Day 3: Fjords, volcanic history, and lush meadows - Qeqertarsuaq
Qeqertarsuaq on Disco Island is known for its bounty of natural features including a deep fjord for kayaking, mountains up to 1919 metres high, hot springs, and columnar basalt rocks that remind you of the area's volcanic history. The natural environment around Qeqertarsuaq is so fertile with angelica and a plethora of species that it is literally like no other place in North Greenland. Join optional excursions such as a town walk, kayaking, or an ice cruising boat tour. If you like archaeology and history, you should definitely pay a visit to the local museum. Alternatively, you can stroll around the settlement and explore independently at your own pace.
Day 4: Leave a piece of your heart in the town by the heart shaped mountain - Uummannaq to Ukkusissat
It is said that a piece of your heart remains on the island forever when you visit Uummannaq. Whether it's the magic of the heart-shaped mountain, or the sound of children singing as you go ashore, you'll find plenty of things to captivate you. You'll also have the chance to learn about Inuit culture and to experience the splendour of the vast landscape. In Ukkusissat, the small houses are huddled together against a majestic backdrop of nature. Join one of the optional excursions in these settlements and meet the locals or take a tender boat excursion to a landing at Qilakitsoq where mummies from the Thule era were discovered.
Day 5: Sailing north - At sea
As MS Fram charts a course northwest along the Davis Straits towards the Lauge Koch coast, she'll pass some of the northernmost settlements in Greenland. In these harsh and remote areas, life is a constant battle against the elements, and you can learn more about this in one of the informative lectures given by the Expedition Team.
Day 6: Old Thule - Dundas
There is evidence of people living in the Dundas settlement up to 900 years ago. Just north of Mount Dundas, there are a number of archaeological excavation sites, including Comer’s Midden, where several ruins and rubbish heaps containing shells, animal bones, and other refuse have been uncovered. In 1910, Danish explorer Knud Rasmussen established a trading post in northwest Greenland and named it after the mythical island of Thule. Rasmussen embarked on several expeditions from Thule into the Arctic, where he looked into various Eskimo tribes and studied their myths and legends. The Dundas US air base was set up on the site of the old trading post during WW2 and remains in situ to this day.
Day 7: The last outpost of civilisation - Siorapaluk
Siorapaluk means 'little sands' and was named after the small sandy beach in front of the village. Tall red and purple sandstone mountains surround the village, ending at the sea in a narrow sand track. You'll also see a glacier in the bottom of the small Robertson fjord. This is the world's northernmost inhabited settlement, and the furthest point you can go north in Greenland and still have electricity, toilets, and a shop. It's basically the last outpost of civilisation, situated only 1362km from the North Pole. Many of the inhabitants are direct descendants of the last Inuit migration from Canada in the past century. The main source of income here comes from nature - the area is great for fishing and hunting of birds, foxes and hares, seals and walruses. Venture ashore to explore this unique Arctic outpost.
Days 8 to 9: Trying to reach 80° N - At sea
The ship sails to the fringe of the ice, in the wake of pioneers and explorers who sailed here to explore the high north and beyond. Cruising through the waterway called Kane Basin, situated between Greenland and Canada's northernmost Island, Ellesmere Island; MS Fram will attempt to reach 80° North. This area is known as the North Water Polynya, and most of the aquatic life of the Baffin Bay is concentrated near this region.
Day 10: Top of the world - Qaanaaq (or Thule)
Qaanaaq (or Thule) was the first part of Greenland to be colonised by Inuit people from the west more than 4500 years ago. Ancient philosophers called it Ultima Thule, or the edge of known territory, while Greenlanders called the area Avanersuaq, the great north. And it really is the extreme north, as it's the northernmost town in Greenland, just 30km from Canada. In 1953 the original village was moved 200km north to Murchison Sound because the noise of aircrafts from the nearby American airbase disturbed the wildlife which the Inuit depend on. Hunting for seals, whales, and polar bears in the traditional way is the town’s main occupation. The people who live here are crucial to the Inuits' powerful and pioneering identity and they are often considered proud to be the real people behind classic handicraft making and kayak or dog sled hunting. Visit the Ultima Thule souvenir shop to buy genuine and original artwork and crafts from the Qaanaaq district.
Day 11: Sailing south - At sea
Enjoy a day at sea as the ship sails along the remote north-western coast of Greenland. Spend time on deck to spot wildlife or attend a lecture given by the Expedition Team.
Day 12: The bay of islands and ice - Upernavik
The Upernavik archipelago is lined with islands as far as the eye can see; the Upernavik Icefjord to the north, and the world's largest bird cliff, Apparsuit, to the south. For centuries, the locals have migrated to Upernavik during the spring to take advantage of the rich hunting grounds. Many of the locals still go hunting and fishing, and in August you can witness the muskox-hunting season in the backcountry. This small settlement is situated at 72° 47' N and 56° 10' W, 800km north of the Arctic Circle, and everything is within easy walking distance. The town is also home to the world’s northernmost open-air museum, where you can learn more about colonial and Viking histories. When you explore the waters in a kayak you may be surprised to discover that a distant island turns out to be a massive iceberg instead!
Day 13: Witness the true power of nature - Eqip Sermia
Today, you will have a unique chance to experience the true power of nature on a visit to the Eqip Sermia Glacier, which calves icebergs into the open ocean. The ship’s tender boats will be used to go ashore, and, if you're feeling more active, you can take a short hike on your own around the area. Everybody who goes ashore is invited to a barbecue dinner with a unique view of the glacier.
Days 14 - All about the ice - Ilulissat
The UNESCO-listed area of Ilulissat is set in the stunning scenery of the Ilulissat Icefjord. On the outskirts of the town, at the mouth of the fjord, you can often see enormous icebergs that have run aground. These originate from the productive Jakobshavn Glacier, which runs directly from the Greenland Ice Cap, and produces 10% of all Greenland’s icebergs. The icebergs float out into the open sea just outside the town before they begin their journey northwards, later becoming part of the Atlantic Ocean. Each of these mighty icebergs is unique and no two are alike. Marvel at how the icebergs change from white and blue to shades of orange and red when struck by the Midnight Sun, and hear the unique soundtrack of cracking and rumbling icebergs echoing from one end of Ilulissat to the other. You can also participate in variety of optional shore excursions such as hikes, historic town walks, and a boat tour to the Icefjord.
Day 15: The Arctic Circle Village - Itilleq
Itilleq means 'the hollow', and as its name suggests, this small settlement is situated in a hollow, majestically surrounded by high mountains and glaciers. With the Arctic Circle passing just 200m south of the village centre, Itilleq can rightly claim the title of ‘the Arctic Circle Village’. The 130 inhabitants are mainly engaged in hunting and fishing activities. The island has no fresh water, so its residents have to use a facility that transforms seawater into fresh water. The town's church also boasts an interesting history: it was built in Thule (Umanak, North Greenland) in 1930 and was moved to Itilleq in 1963.
Day 16: The end of the expedition - Kangerlussuaq
As MS Fram reaches Kangerlussuaq, your expedition comes to an end. Take the opportunity to join a final excursion to the Greenland Ice Sheet. This vast icy wasteland stretches 1,500 miles north and reaches heights of up to 3,200m above sea level. The road to the edge of the Ice Sheet boasts beautiful natural scenery, ranging from Arctic desert and tundra with low-growing shrubs to hilly terrain offering breathtaking views over the landscape. Your plane to Copenhagen leaves late in the evening.
Day 17: Arrive in Copenhagen, Denmark then fly to UK
Early morning arrival in the Danish capital of Copenhagen, where you may even have time to explore 'Wonderful, Wonderful Copenhagen' before transferring to the airport for your return flight back to the UK.
To book call 0800 408 4229 or Enquire online
Hurtigruten booking conditions apply. This webpage contains an outline description of these holidays which are operated by Hurtigruten. It should be read in conjunction with the latest edition of Hurtigruten’s brochure, which contains not only a full description of these cruises, including deck plans, cabin accommodation, itinerary and port descriptions and optional excursions, but also important information on passport, visa and health requirements, insurance and booking conditions which must be read prior to booking. Any additional hotel nights or flight supplements from airports other than London are not included. *Price from £8680 per person based on Midnight Sun Exploration to Thule itinerary with flights from London and expedition including N grade outside cabin commencing in Copenhagen on 5 August 2019 ((CENFRGRE1911) Prices and benefits can be changed or withdrawn at any time without notice. Hurtigruten operates a flexible pricing system and prices are capacity controlled, correct at time of booking. Not included: travel insurance, luggage handling, optional excursions or gratuities. Flights booked with Hurtigruten are ATOL protected (ATOL 3584). All itineraries are subject to change due to local conditions. F