Arctic Fjords Expedition: Polar History, Nature and Culture

Reykjavik - Jan Mayen - Bergen

Discover the extraordinary Arctic fjords of Iceland, Greenland, and Norway. Connect with the history and natural wonders that have shaped and strengthened Norway’s distinctive culture of fortitude, exploration, and ‘friluftsliv’, Norwegians’ unique bond with nature, over the centuries.

  • Discover the extraordinary polar history of Iceland, Greenland, and Norway on one spectacular voyage.
  • Spend eight days exploring the magnificent nature of Greenland in Scoresbysund, the biggest fjord system in the world, which extends 217 miles inland and offers spectacular scenery and tranquil surroundings.
  • Lecturer Professor Terje Leiren will share his deep knowledge and his unique perspective by tying together the natural environment of destinations, the history of the Norwegian people, Norwegian arts and literature, and Norway’s cultural values, including friluftsliv, Norwegian’s unique bond with nature.
  • The expedition team will take guests on excursions to explore these incredible landscapes first hand and educate guests on the natural history and science of the destinations.


We invite you to join us on a cultural voyage that explores the incredible fjords of the Arctic and Norway’s deep-rooted history.

In Norway, nature and culture are deeply intertwined. Deep fjords that interrupt the coastline, mountains plunging into the sea, the ice of the Arctic north, and dark winters that give way to light summers: the widely varying and often challenging conditions of the landscape, seascape, and season has shaped Norway’s distinctive culture through the ages.

Norwegians have been expert mariners for centuries, and the pivotal Viking Era was possible because of the Vikings’ innovative ship design. These surroundings have, over centuries, helped define Norway’s art and literature, innovations, and societal values.

Professor Leiren’s lectures will cover the history and culture of the people who explored and lived in Norway.  The expedition team will take guests on excursions to explore these incredible landscapes first-hand, and educate guests on the natural history and science of the destinations.

Lecturer Professor Terje Leiren

Terje Leiren is a professor of Scandinavian Studies at the University of Washington, Seattle. He is the current holder of the Sverre Arestad Endowed Chair in Norwegian Studies. Professor Leiren received his PhD in history from the University of North Texas and was a research scholar in the Department of History at the University of Oslo for two years before joining University of Washington in 1977. He also taught courses on the History of Norway at the University of Oslo International Summer School from 1988 to 1999.

Dr. Leiren teaches courses in Scandinavian history and culture, including ‘History of the Vikings’ and courses in advanced Norwegian literature and culture. His research focuses on the social and cultural history of Norway in the modern period and on Scandinavian life in America and has published extensively on Norwegian and Scandinavian-American history and culture. Dr. Leiren has appeared on several television documentary programs about Scandinavia from the Vikings to World War II on PBS and the History Channel. 

PLEASE CALL:  8665520371.

The exclusive voyage itinerary will move through time:

  • The Viking Age  – this voyage starts in Iceland, founded by Norwegian Vikings
  • The heroic age of polar exploration – next we head to Greenland and learn about Fridtjof Nansen’s landing in 1888, the seas Roald Amundsen also sailed
  • Modern day – we travel the coast of Norway, discovering more Norwegian history, including the Vikings and explorers, in addition to an exploration of contemporary Norway.

Your voyage price includes:

  • Hurtigruten Expedition voyage in cabin grade of your choice on a full board basis
  • Wind- and water-resistant jacket
  • Landings and activities on board and ashore
  • Professional English-speaking Expedition Team that gives lectures as well as accompany landings and activities
  • Free tea and coffee

Not included

  • International Flights
  • Travel Insurance
  • Luggage handling
  • Optional Excursions and Gratuities


  • Prices are in USD ($) per person
  • All planned landings are subject to weather and ice conditions
  • All itineraries are subject to change
  • Rubber boots rental service on board free of charge

Voyage Itinerary

Starting in Iceland’s capital, Reykjavik, founded by Norwegian Viking explorers in the 9th century, we cross the ocean to Greenland to spend eight days sailing in the world’s biggest fjord system, featuring high mountains, basalt cliffs, vast wilderness, and teeming wildlife. After we cross the Arctic Ocean to visit Jan Mayen, a volcanic island in the middle of the sea, you’ll see some of the iconic Norwegian fjords and the hidden pearls along the rugged Norwegian coast.

September 4 2017

Departure port Flight from US to Reykjavik, Iceland
Day 1

Your Journey Begins

Location : Flight from US to Reykjavik, Iceland

Fly from the US to Reykjavik on a direct flight from Seattle and few other US gateways. (Non-direct flights from the US to Reykjavik are also available.)

Day 2

The Cool Capital

Location : Reykjavik, Iceland

Arrival in Reykjavik. Have breakfast at your hotel and check in for an overnight stay. Enjoy a tour of Reykjavik. Iceland’s capital, Reykjavik, is home to an impressive collection of interesting attractions and places of historic significance, from landmarks such as Hallgrímskirkja and the Pearl to the natural wonders in close proximity to the city – including glaciers, waterfalls, geysers, and mountains. On this tour you’ll visit all the main sites in Reykjavik. Consider planning a visit to the exquisite Blue Lagoon, an optional excursion.

Day 3

The World’s Northernmost Capital

Location : Reykjavik, Iceland

Enjoy breakfast at the hotel and join a Guided Golden Circle tour of Iceland before embarking MS Fram in late afternoon. The full-day Golden Circle tour takes you to the beautiful Thingvellir National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, a place of tremendous interest as a primary site of both Iceland’s geological and historical heritage. It is one of the most important Viking sites in the world, as it was the original site of Iceland’s parliament, the Althing. You’ll also visit the most beautiful waterfall of the country, Gullfoss. Nearby, you’ll also stop at the Geysir geothermal area with its many hot springs. You’ll enjoy a lunch buffet in the area and return to Reykjavik by passing through the Grimsnes region. Then you’ll arrive at the pier for embarkation in the late afternoon.

Day 4
Photo: Hilde Foss Photo

Charming Ísafjörður

Location : Ísafjörður, Iceland

Ísafjörður was an ancient church site before becoming a trading port in the 16th century. Today, it boasts charming streets of old timber houses, many of which have remained unchanged since the 18th century when the harbor was full of ships and Norwegian whaling crews. One of these timber houses, Turnhús, built in 1744, is now a maritime museum. Explore the city on your own or join the expedition team on optional excursions including hikes, horseback riding, and sampling the local cuisine.

Day 5
Photo: Sandra Walser Photo

The Most Isolated Town in Greenland

Location : Ittoqqortoormiit (Scoresbysund), Greenland

Ittoqqortoormiit (or Scoresbysund) is the most isolated town in Greenland. With only 560 inhabitants, the trappers living here are the only people allowed to hunt within the Northeast Greenland National Park, the ‘Patagonia of the Arctic’. As you explore the town, you’ll probably notice the racks used by hunters to dry animal skins. The town is right next to the world’s largest and deepest multi-branched fjord system: Scoresbysund. A special basalt rock formation with horizontal lines runs through the cliffs, marking the transition to the even more desolate area of Northeast Greenland.

Day 6

Exploring the Scoresbysund Fjord System

Location : Scoresbysund Fjord System

We start exploring the world’s largest fjord system. You will notice the change in climate as we leave the warmer waters of the Gulf Stream and enter the cold-water current that follows the coast of East Greenland. These are the conditions the early Norwegian explorers found on their pioneering expeditions to discover East Greenland and other polar destinations in both the Arctic and Antarctic: stunningly rugged beauty, untouched and unknown. Some of the places we visit on this expedition have not been visited by other humans for the last 200 years, if at all!

Day 7

Exploring the Scoresbysund Fjord System

Location : Scoresbysund Fjord System

As we explore the Scoresbysund fjord system, we will attempt to land in several places. These landings are pure wilderness expeditions. Here we will see the remains of old Thule settlements. Ancestors of the Inuit people, the Thule lived along Greenland’s coasts and were the people the Vikings met when they sailed from Iceland to settle in southern Greenland in 982. When we visit Syd Kap, the former trading post, you will see old blubber ovens and the remains of Thule dwellings. In Bjørne Øer, you can see even larger remains of an old Thule settlement. The hunters’ cabin in Hecla Havn is also a great place to spot birds and smaller mammals, including Arctic hare, lemming, and ptarmigans. At Viking Bay, you can study the columnar basalt rock formations or visit a large glacier. Qupaulakajik is significant for its abundance of plant fossils – fossils over 200 million years old can be found here.

Day 8

Exploring the Scoresbysund Fjord System

Location : Scoresbysund Fjord System

The snow-capped mountains are almost alpine in nature, rising right out of the largest fjord systems on Earth to an altitude of more than 8,000 feet above sea level. The waters are scattered with large icebergs. Our expedition ships – some of the world’s most technologically advanced icebreakers – pass through these waters with ease, but for Norway’s early polar explorers, waters like these were treacherous. The first who dared to venture into these unknown regions, early Norwegian explorers sailed wooden ships with few and rudimentary navigational tools.

Day 9

Exploring the Scoresbysund Fjord System

Location : Scoresbysund Fjord System

As we continue to explore this fjord, watch out for wildlife such as the all-white Arctic hare, the Arctic fox, or the very rare Arctic wolf. Turn your eyes to the sky to spot the white Greenland falcon, ptarmigan, snowy owl, and a variety of seabirds.

Day 10

Exploring the Scoresbysund Fjord System

Location : Scoresbysund Fjord System

Sailing in the Scoresbysund fjord system is an experience of a lifetime. Exploring the world's biggest fjord, which stretches 217 miles inland, is like exploring a maze surrounded by spectacular snow-capped peaks. And don't forget to watch out for polar bears wherever you see ice!

Day 11
Photo: Tom Lennie Photo

One of the Most Isolated Islands in the World

Location : Jan Mayen

The Norwegian island of Jan Mayen is one of the most isolated in the world. Located where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates meet, the island is home to Beerenberg, the northernmost active volcano on Earth. Dutch whalers operated from Jan Mayen in the 16th century, but today only a Norwegian weather station accommodates a few brave individuals throughout the year who monitor the weather over the Norwegian Sea for the ships sailing there. Visits to Jan Mayen are extremely rare, especially from tourists. As one of the few vessels operating in this area, MS Fram and its crew will attempt to make a rare landing on this most exotic Arctic island.

Day 12

Sailing the Norwegian Sea

Location : The Norwegian Sea

Spending a day at sea is an opportunity for relaxing and enjoying lectures. Or take a stroll around MS Fram to see the many works commissioned by Norwegian artists.

Day 13
Photo: Trym Ivar Bergsmo Photo

Explore Raftsundet, Trollfjord, and the Lofoten Islands

Location : Raftsundet, Trollfjord, Torghatten and the Lofoten Islands, Norway

As we reach the Norwegian mainland, we sail through the narrow Raftsund strait before navigating into the even narrower Trollfjord, where the vertical mountain walls rise right out of the sea. Then, we spend the day in Lofoten, giving you the opportunity to explore this spectacularly beautiful area. Known for its excellent fishing, extreme nature, and picturesque fishing villages, Lofoten was captured in the paintings of native son Gunnar Berg (Trøndelag 1863–1893), who also painted the Battle of Trollfjord, which took place in 1890.

Day 14

A Norwegian Legend

Location : Brønnøy, Norway

Torghatten is one of the famous landmarks along the Helgeland coast, and from the deck you have front row seats to this mountain with a hole in the middle. According to Norwegian legend, the mountain was once a hat belonging to a troll king. To protect his daughter from the arrow of a rejected suitor, the troll king threw his hat in Trøndelag the arrow’s path. The arrow pierced the hat, which landed on the coast and turned to stone.

Day 15
Photo: Tommy Simonsen Photo

The Amazing Archipelago

Location : Sistranda and Frøya

The island of Frøya is located off the coast of Trøndelag and is surrounded by more than 5,400 islets and reefs, making up an amazing archipelago. The islands are home to traditional fishing villages, some with only a few hundred inhabitants. Sistranda is the administrative center and a charming little village. Although there is a modern undersea tunnel system connecting the major islands and mainland, boats are still an important mode of transportation, with many different ferry services operating between the islands in addition to fishing boats. A nearby trade school east of the island teaches sailing and building traditional Norwegian boats similar to those built by the Vikings. Keep your eyes open – maybe you’ll see one!

Day 16
Photo: Dominic Barrington Photo

Witness the Trollstigen Moutains and Vermafossen Waterfall

Location : Åndalsnes, Norway

We will spend a day in Åndalsnes, a popular destination due to its location at the foot of spectacular mountains. The Trollstigen mountain road and Vermafossen Waterfall are also popular attractions here. If you are interested in textiles, you may want to visit the Rauma Ullvarefabrikk, a factory that produces Norwegian wool as well as finished products such as garments and rugs made in the Norwegian tradition.

Day 17

Return to Civilization

Location : Bergen, Norway

Our expedition ends in Bergen. You’ll be transferred to your hotel via a guided 3-hour city tour and visit sites such as Bergen’s colorful UNESCO-listed Bryggen district, which was built over the site of a Viking settlement. Then you’ll be transferred the airport for a 3pm flight to Oslo. Check in at Radisson Blu Airport Hotel for one night.

Day 18

A Morning in Oslo

Location : Flight from Oslo to US

After breakfast, transfer to airport for your flight to US. (Note: Changing the date of your return from Oslo to the US is available on request.)

September 21 2017

Location Flight from Oslo to US
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