Embark the Polar Class 5 National Geographic Endurance and venture to the far reaches of the Arctic. Set out from Norway to explore its stunning fjords and the magical Lofoten islands; then sail across the Norwegian Sea, bound for the virtual terra incognita of northeast Greenland. Here we’ll spend several days exploring Northeast Greenland National Park, which only receives around 500 visitors a year, due to its extreme inaccessibility. Navigate amongst the big ice and seek out incredible Arctic wildlife, then head south to encounter the geological wonders of Iceland.
This trip is offered in partnership with Lindblad Expeditions.
Fly overnight to Oslo, and check into our hotel. On an afternoon tour, stroll amid the city’s famed Vigeland sculptures—hundreds of life-size human figures set in terraced parkland. Visit the Fram Museum, showcasing the polar ship Fram and dedicated to the explorers and wooden vessels that navigated the poles in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
Take a charter flight to Tromsø, known as the gateway to the Arctic, and embark our ship. The next day, we'll enter the long fjord of Tysfjorden, where only a few small villages cling to the rocky shores. Glide beneath the fjord’s steep cliffs on Zodiac and kayaking excursions; and hike through a U-shaped valley whose fjord reaches far inland, ending just a few miles from the border of Sweden.
National Geographic Endurance for the entire voyage
Cruise into little-known Nordfjorden, the gateway to Norway’s glaciers. We’ll anchor at the end of the fjord and travel overland through the Lodalen Valley. Take in views of jagged peaks and turquoise lakes during our bus ride, then hike through deep, glacially carved valleys to the tongue of the Kjenndal Glacier. This afternoon, head to the ship deck as we sail out of the fjord, beneath its towering peaks.
The Lofoten archipelago boasts an enchanting landscape of picturesque villages framed by jagged, granite peaks rising out of the sea. Explore the archipelago's many islets, and go hiking or kayaking at Værøy, where fishing is still a major contributor to the economy. Seek out Atlantic puffin, razorbills, and guillemots on a Zodiac cruise. Later, find a spot on deck as we glide into Trollfjorden, one of Norway's most dramatic fjords.
After a day at sea, we’ll have the rare opportunity to visit Jan Mayen, a remote Norwegian island with a small military and weather station that holds the settlement’s only residents. The seldom-visited isle is presided over by the ice-capped crater of Beerenberg, the world’s northernmost active aboveground volcano. Spend another day at sea, enjoying the ship’s amenities as we cruise toward Greenland. Listen to talks given by our naturalists, head to the bridge to watch for whales, or relax in the sauna or library.
We’ll spend the next several days exploring the coast of spectacular Northeast Greenland National Park—the world’s largest national park. Covering roughly 375,000 square miles, this Arctic wonderland is inhabited by just a few dozen people, including a team of sled dog patrollers. The shoreline here is split by fjords, and the waters dotted by inummerable icebergs. Musk oxen, polar bears, and walruses inhabit the park; and humpback, minke, and fin whales are abundant in these icy waters.
In keeping with the nature of a true Arctic expedition, our itinerary here is defined by the environment. Using the latest satellite imagery, we’ll chart where the ice is impenetrable and choose our route accordingly. Our strengthened hull and forward-searching sonar, as well as agile Zodiacs and kayaks, allow us to make forays amid the ice to search for wildlife. We’ll also have a chance to spot the northern lights dancing above us after nightfall.
Spend the next two days sailing south along Greenland’s fjord-laced eastern coast, where mountains rise straight from the sea and glistening glaciers calve massive chunks of off the Greenland ice cap. Our travel is exploratory by design as we head south of Northeast Greenland National Park to Scoresbysund, the largest fjord in the world, where we may see the elusive narwhal, Atlantic walrus, and beluga whales. On the nearby shore sits the brightly colored Ittoqqortoormiit, the most isolated town in Greenland. The town is blocked by sea ice for most of the year, and its inhabitants—fewer than 500 of them—survive by hunting and fishing the surrounding waters. This is also the time of year where it is possible to view the Northern Lights and our staff will be scanning for optimal timing and available to help you photograph the experience.
Spend a day relaxing at sea, then get immersed in the stunning scenery of the Westfjords region. Head out on a hike to a remote waterfall, or cruise a Zodiac beneath cliffs teeming with seabirds. Enter Ísafjarðardjúp and anchor at Vigur Island, where we’ll visit an eider farm and view how the down of resident ducks is processed.
Cruise to Flatey island, a fishing and trading post for centuries, and walk around this charming 18th-century hamlet. Navigate the coast by Zodiac to see where Erik the Red is believed to have set sail around the year 982, bound for Greenland. Sail past the soaring Látrabjarg cliffs, the westernmost point of Iceland and home to teeming populations of bird species, including razorbills and puffins.
Disembark in Reykjavík and choose to either soak in the geothermal waters of the famed Blue Lagoon; or visit hot springs, a geothermal power plant, and a horse farm. Transfer to the airport for your flight home.