Three countries, three versions of the Arctic Â– this is the expedition for travelers seeking contrasts of landscapes and culture. This extraordinary expedition was named one of National Geographic Traveler's "50 Tours of a Lifetime" in 2011. Beginning in Iceland's vibrant capital, and ending in beautiful Spitsbergen Â– this is the Arctic of Viking lore and legend - a world of icy fjords, fiery volcanoes and glittering, ice-bound seas. Here you'll encounter the majestic ice bear and colossal walrus, seabirds by the thousands in their towering cliff-side rookeries, and breathtaking flower-dotted tundra plains.
Day 1: Reykjavik, Iceland / Embark
The adventure begins with an overnight stay in thoroughly-modern Reykjavik, the world's northernmost capital city.
Day 2: Westman Islands (Vestmannaeyjar), Iceland
Named long ago for Irishmen (Westmen) enslaved by the medieval Norse-Gaels, this small archipelago is one of Iceland's gems. Learn of the area's fascinating history and famed volcanic geology while touring the town of Heimaey. There's also a good chance you'll spot large colonies of Puffins on one of the outlying islands.
Days 3-4: At Sea in the Denmark Strait
Sail through the Denmark Strait en route to Greenland's mysterious eastern shore. The onboard Expedition Team keeps you informed and entertained with presentations about area wildlife, especially the thousands of seabirds you'll see soaring above your ship.
Days 5-9: Scoresbysund, Eastern Greenland
During the tour of Greenland's remote eastern coast, enjoy sea-level Zodiac cruises and shore visits to several locations. Sail the ice edge searching for walrus and polar bears. Visit the remains of ancient Thule settlements, and keep an eye out for grazing musk oxen, since 40% of the world's population of this fascinating mammal live on the east coast of Greenland. Finally, sail through spectacular Scoresbysund, birthplace of many icebergs, and - some say - the most beautiful fjord system in the world.
Days 10-11: Greenland Sea
While sailing the historic Greenland Sea, learn about the wildlife and history of Spitsbergen, your next stop. On deck, learn to identify seabirds on the wing. There are many activities at sea including sharing photos, sipping an icy cocktail in the bar, watching a movie, or simply relaxing and enjoying the view.
Days 12-13: Exploring Spitsbergen
Largest of the Norwegian-ruled Svalbard Islands, Spitsbergen is famed for its abundant wildlife and austere beauty. Visit spectacular glacier fronts, steep-walled fjords and the tiny international research community of Ny Alesund. Wildlife-viewing opportunities include walrus, polar bears, and the unique Svalbard reindeer. Birders will be thrilled to see Arctic Terns, Skuas, Long-tailed Ducks, Kittiwakes and Glaucous Gulls. As an added bonus, when conditions are right, you'll sail within 10Â° of the North Pole!
Day 14: Longyearbyen / Disembark
The Arctic adventure ends in Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen. Want to stay longer, or arrive earlier? Contact ExpeditionTrips for details.