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13th January 2019
Follow in the footsteps of Erik the Red!
In the Icelandic sagas it is said that in the year 982 Erik the Red and his extended family set out by sea from Iceland to search for the icy lands known to lie to the northwest - a land he eventually found and named Grœnland (‘Greenland’). In 985 he returned to Iceland to encourage other Norsemen to follow him; what is rather ironic is that the country they were leaving was actually greener than the land they were going to! It is believed that devious Erik had thought of this and deliberately chosen the name to encourage new settlers. What a surprise they must have had to find that 80% of Greenland was actually covered by ice!
This holiday combines Iceland's wonderful capital city and famous day excursion - the Golden Circle - with the majesty and awe inspiring landscape of Greenland's town of icebergs - Ilulissat.
Day 1 - Arrive Iceland and Reykjavik
Arrive Keflavik Airport in Iceland and take the flybus transfer to your hotel in the centre of the city. The remainder of the day is free for you to explore Iceland's exciting capital city with its fantastic collection of restaurants, bars and cafes.
2 nights REYKJAVIK - Grand Hotel Reykjavik
Day 2 - Golden Circle tour
Breakfast at your hotel. Today you will be joining the most popular tour in Iceland: The Golden Circle Tour.
You start by traveling to Thingvellir National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site and arguably the most important site in Iceland in terms of history, culture, and geology. The tour continues towards some of Iceland's greatest natural attractions including Gullfoss waterfall where you can walk up and feel the mist of glacial water on your face as it cascades down. Your next stop is the Geysir geothermal area: an impressive sight featuring bubbling mud pools and hissing steam vents, it is also the home of Strokkur, a geysir that regularly blasts out a column of scalding water up to 20 metres in the air. The tour moves on to Skálholt church that for 800 years was the religious and political centre of Iceland.
Tonight dinner is included at Restaurant Reykjavik, where you can try the delicious Big Icelandic Fish Buffet.
Day 3 - Arrive Greenland and Ilulissat
After breakfast take a taxi (not included) to Reykjavik Domestic Airport for your flight to Ilulissat.
You will be met on arrival by your local guide for your transfer to your hotel in Ilulissat. After checking in at the hotel you will have an information meeting with your guide who will introduce you to Greenland and provide information about optional day trips (see Excursions tab for those which you can pre-book). Following the welcome meeting your guide will take you on a city walk to acquaint you with the town and also familiarise you with the Arctic experiences you may have over the next few days.
During the evening you will enjoy a delicious dinner in the hotel's restaurant ‘Ulo’ which specializes in 'fresh-from-the-fjords-and-fells' cuisine.
3 nights ILULISSAT - Hotel Arctic
Days 4 and 5 - Exploring from Ilulissat
Breakfast is served in the hotel's restaurant each day. The next two days are free for pre-booked activities. Don’t miss the opportunity to try out some authentic Arctic winter pursuits during your stay. Travelling with a local hunter on his dog sledge is a very special experience, and one unlike any other dog-sledding experience you will ever have. Snowshoe hiking and Northern Lights searching by snowmobile are also available and recommended as a great way to explore your wonderful surroundings.
Day 6 - Return to Iceland
Breakfast is served at your hotel with a morning at leisure before your transfer to Ilulissat Airport around mid-day. Flight to Reykjavik Domestic Airport followed by a transfer to your hotel.
1 night REYKJAVIK - Grand Hotel Reykjavik
Day 7 - Return home
A final breakfast is served at your hotel before your flybus transfer to Keflavik Airport for your return flight to the UK.
Departure Day: Thursdays
Departure Dates: 14 February to 4 April 2019
Duration: 6 nights
Prices from: Prices are based on two people travelling together and sharing a double/twin room throughout. Single supplement as detailed.
|Departure Dates||Price from per person||Single Supplement|
|14 Feb - 4 Apr 2019||£3660||£780|
|Deposit payment: £1000 per person|
Please read the additional information regarding this holiday under the Info+ tab and also the Terms and Conditions which apply to this holiday.
HOTEL ARCTIC (4 star) - Ilulissat
Without a doubt Hotel Arctic offers the highest standard of accommodation in Ilulissat, perhaps even in the whole of Greenland, but it is important to bear in mind that a 4 star hotel in Ilulissat is not quite the same as a 4 star hotel in Copenhagen. That said, Hotel Arctic is a very nice hotel, with an excellent kitchen, very comfortable rooms and a truly poetic location with a panoramic view over the Icefjord. The hotel is located just 1.5 km from the airport and approx 2-3 kms from the city centre with the hotel operating a shuttle bus service several times a day to and from the city centre.
It seems odd to call Hotel Arctic a 4 star hotel, not because the standard is not good but because star ratings just seem silly and out of place in Greenland. Best to describe the hotel in terms of what it provides for you. Nice comfortable rooms with fabulous beds and quilts, all rooms with shower and WC, TV, mini-bar, telephone, desk and plenty of room for your outdoor clothing and luggage. There is an iron and ironing board and hairdryer in the bathroom. Standard and superior rooms have pretty much the same decor and facilities, however, superior rooms have a view of the Icefjord plus coffee and tea making facilities and a mini-bar. It is possible to make an extra bed up in superior rooms for a third adult or child. The hotel does not offer free WiFi (this is incredibly expensive to have in Greenland so the hotel have to charge for it) but you can pay the reception directly by the hour or daily - beware though, connections can be poor and intermittent. The hotel also has a sauna, solarium and work out facilities for those who want to fill any spare moment in between activities. There is a large a la carte restaurant where the Welcome and Farewell dinners are served and a brasserie and bar on the second floor with a panoramic view over the Ilulissat Icefjord.
In the hotel's gardens, inbetween the hotel and the Icefjord, you will find numerous dog houses with their occupants, Greenlandic dogs, secured by chained leads. It doesn't matter how much you love and trust dogs (and no-one does more than we do!) you must not approach the dogs to pet them. They are working dogs and would much rather you kept your distance - particularly if they are eating.
There is a boardwalk which takes you past the dogs and down to the very edge of the Icefjord for glorious views of bizarre icebergs just floating by. Here you will also find the hotel's 'Igloos' - if you really want to stay in one we can request it but in our opinion they are a novelty item which doesn't really add anything extra to your overall holiday experience.
DOG SLEDGE ADVENTURE EXTENDED from Ilulissat
Description: Leave the civilized world and enter the Arctic wonderland of low passes and ice covered fjords where icebergs raise like sculptures. The route will depend on actual snow and ice conditions. Lunch included. Only operated when there is snow - expected to run from mid December to late March. Rent of polar suit included. You have to be in a fairly good physical shape to join a dog sledge tour.
Duration: Approximately 5 hours.
Price: £330 per person.
DOG SLEDGE ADVENTURE, 2 PER SLEDGE from Ilulissat
Description: We leave the civilized world and enter the Arctic Wonderland of low passes, ice covered fjords where icebergs raise like sculptures and travel back in time into the world of the old polar explorers. Only operated when there is snow - expected to run from early/mid December to late March. Polar suit included. You have to be in a fairly good physical shape to join a dogsledge tour.
Duration: Approximately 2 hours.
Price: £165 per person.
HOME VISIT from Ilulissat
Description: Visit a local family for a 'Kaffemik' - the Greenlandic name for a sociable get-together where hot drinks and cake is served whilst exchanging news about your friends and family. Your local guide will be there to help with translations. This is a unique opportunity to learn more about Arctic family life and how to survive the winter months in Ilulissat.
Duration: 2 hours.
Price: £40 per person.
NORTHERN LIGHTS NIGHT RIDER from Ilulissat
Description: This is a REAL Arctic Adventure. Experience the arctic sunset and enjoy breathtaking views driving on snow scooters into the wilderness to watch the Northern Lights. No previous experience is required. We will provide the equipment and teach you to ride safely with our experienced guide in to the darkness. Hot beverages included.
Duration: Approximately 2 hours.
Price: £240 per person.
NORTHERN LIGHTS SNOWSHOE WALK from Ilulissat
Description: Experience the amazing Northern Light on this guided snow shoe walk. Provided with a headlight we will walk safely into the landscape. No previous experience is required, and everybody can learn how to move in the dark with the snowshoes and a headlight. Your guide will tell you about this natural phenomenon and the inuits legends and traditions. Light refreshments included.
Duration: Approximately 2 hours.
Price: £120 per person.
SNOWMOBILE EXPLORATION from Ilulissat
Description: Be an Arctic adventurer and ride the old trail mail track with snowmobile. On the way we cross lakes, frozen fjords and hills with breathtaking views. If possible we cross the frozen sea to reach Oqaatsut for a refreshment break before we ride back to Ilulissat taking a different route to explore the back country. No previous experience is required. Polar suit included. Min 2 pax.
Duration: Approximately 3 hours.
Price: £245 per person.
We really want you to enjoy your holiday to Iceland and Greenland and come home having experienced something amazing. Here are a few bits of information and tips to help you along the way:
Who is this holiday suitable for?
Basically anyone adventurous who has always wanted to visit Iceland and Greenland, the truly serious Arctic. We say this because we have many travellers who want to visit ‘Lapland’ for ‘soft’ winter adventures that include plenty of frolicking fun in the snow, roaring log fires in cosy wooden hotels and wintry landscapes resonant of Christmas cards and children’s books. We can offer you this, but not on this holiday and certainly not in Greenland. Greenland is for people who only want Greenland.
You do not need to be of any particular level of fitness, however, those taking a dog-sledding trip do need to be steady and firm on their feet. Greenlandic dogs are not to be cuddled, in Greenland they are one of man’s ‘tools’ and, though valued and respected enormously for their contribution, they are not pets and are revered only so long as they are useful. You have to accept this.
This holiday is not suitable for young children. They will find it too cold, with too little to entertain them and very few other children to spend time with. Take them on one of our wonderful holidays to Norway or Sweden instead.
What temperature will it be?
Iceland is not as cold as some of the other Arctic destinations, however it can be rather windy which means the wind chill will make it feel much colder. Greenland is located in the depths of the Arctic so expect anything from 0 to -40 during the winter months.
What sort of clothing do I need?
For many people the idea of travelling in the Arctic in winter conjures up images of grizzly looking explorers with frozen beards, weathered faces and exhausted expressions. Whilst we love the idea that these people were more than prepared to suffer for their dream journey we really would rather those travelling with Taber Holidays did not! It simply isn’t necessary. Keeping warm and cosy whilst still being able to move around easily and comfortably is important – this is a holiday after all – and for this we recommend the layering principle. This means that when you are inside (which invariably will be over-heated) you can shed a couple of layers easily and likewise pop them back on when going outside to face the elements. There are plenty of good outdoor clothing companies offering a wide variety of technical clothing which can be worn on a regular cold day at home too and therefore purchasing a few items is a good investment as they will be worn again and again. We have to say, In our opinion wool is king; there is nothing like it for warmth and merino wool is so soft and comfortable you can wear it next to your skin with absolutely no scratching at all!
The Nordic countries do not have a dress code and the general rule of thumb is comfort and practicability. If you are dining in a restaurant, having a drink in a bar or a cup of coffee in a cafe you will be expected to leave your outdoor clothing i.e. heavy coat, scarf, hats AND boots in the cloakroom and not wear them inside or leave them hanging over the back of your chair. But you will not be expected to wear a tie and jacket for dinner in the evening – though if you want to then go ahead!
What language is spoken in Iceland and Greenland?
The language in Iceland is Icelandic, the original Norse language. English is widely spoken however and you won't have any problems understanding or being understood.
The real language of Greenland is Greenlandic. Greenlandic is an Eskimo-Aleut language spoken by about 57,000 people in Greenland (Kalaallit Nunaat) and Denmark. There are three main dialects: West Greenlandic (Kalaallisut), East Greenlandic (Tunumiisut) and North Greenlandic (Inuktun). You will also find Danish widely spoken as Greenland is part of the Kingdom of Denmark and there are a significant number of Danes living and working in Greenland. All of your guides will speak English and you will find staff in the hotels, restaurants and cafes will usually understand enough English to be able to help you.
What is the currency of Greenland?
As Greenland is part of the Kingdom of Denmark the currency is Danish kroner. Credit cards can be used at ATMs to withdraw Danish kroner (DKK).
Credit cards can be used at many hotels, restaurants and shops, but it is recommended that you take a small amount of Danish kroner with you to Greenland, as some ATMs may not be in service at the weekend.
Are there any specific customs I should know about before travelling to Greenland?
It may seem quite brutal to say this but we believe the first thing all travellers should take with them is good manners! Greenland has a rich history and culture, its nature is second to nowhere else in the world and there is a mystic and exoticism about it that attracts visitors from all over the world. But please remember Greenland is not a safari park for tourists; these are real people, living real lives and you need to respect that their culture may not always be akin to your culture. The following may seem obvious to many people but we would just like to remind you anyway:
Do not take photographs of people or their personal belongings without asking. This is very rude and it is worth imagining how you would feel if someone from abroad did it to you at home.
Greenlandic dogs are not pets, they are tools. DO NOT try to stroke or cuddle them. You will see puppies walking around freely, this is because they live wild until they are 6 months old and are then kept chained up outside their pen with other dogs and used as working animals.
Whale and seal meat are important for Greenlanders. They are a very rich source of vitamin C, something that is not easy to come by in such a harsh environment. We think this is a perfect example of nature providing. The Greenlanders are the only people allowed to hunt the whale and seal as they use it for food, clothing, furniture - in fact they use it for everything. Be no more shocked to find it on the menu than you would to find beef or pork at home.
PLEASE do not buy bottled water! Plastic bottles of water are flown in to Greenland primarily for visitors and it is UNNECESSARY and terrible for the environment. Take a water bottle with you in your luggage and fill it from the tap - it's the purest on the planet and free!
There is a very well known word in Greenlandic - 'immaga'. It means 'maybe'. 'Maybe the weather will be good today...', 'Maybe I will fish today...', 'Maybe the boat will depart on time today...'. Greenlanders are notoriously laid-back as things in Greenland are generally dictated by the weather, the sea conditions, the movement of the ice, how you feel when you wake up in the morning - and not so much by the clock! You need to be patient and go with the flow.
Take the opportunity to engage as much as possible directly with the Greenlanders rather than always having your guide (usually Danish) doing it for you. Greenlanders love visitors but they don't want to feel like specimens.
What sort of equipment should I take with me?
Pretty much all of the equipment you will need for activities will be provided for you, however there are a few things we would really recommend you take:
Am I safe to go hiking on my own in Greenland?
Well this all depends... Are you an experienced hiker or a novice? Have you travelled to Greenland before and are familiar with the terrain or not? The majority of Greenland's nature is actual wilderness, with few or no paths, numerous mountains, rivers and glaciers. The very clear air means that it can be hard to judge distances; it is often a lot further to a given point than you might think. The terrain's degree of difficulty varies from the very easy to the very challenging. The following information is taken from recommendations made by greenland.com, the tourist association for Greenland, based on their advanced knowledge and experience:
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