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Report 1767: Greenland - Icebergs, Bare Rock and Amazing Scenery

By Eleanor from UK, Summer 2008

Trip Description: A report of holidays in West Greenland in 2007 and East Greenland in 2008.

Destinations: Countries - Denmark, Other Countries

Categories: Hotels/B&Bs; Day Tours; Sightseeing; Walking/Hiking; Independent Travel; 2 People

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Page 1 of 8: Background, Planning and What We Decided We Wanted to Do

photo by Eleanor

Greenland from the air - a land of bare rock, glaciers, ice and lakes

We have always been fascinated by the north. Holidays in Norway and Iceland had whetted our appetite. Greenland was next on the list. We got a copy of Lonely Planetís 'Greenland and the Arctic' and started to read.

Options are limited. The main airport is at Kangerlussuaq on the west coast, which has frequent flights from Copenhagen. (A trial flight from Baltimore operated for one season but no longer runs.) Narsarsuaq further south has a less frequent service. The airport for East Greenland is at Kulusuk, which is served by flights from Reykjavik Domestic Airport.

We decided on the west coast for our first holiday in 2007 as it had a better tourist infra structure and more choice of places to visit. July was the best time as the wild flowers would be in bloom. Arctic Umiaq Line ran a coastal steamer along the west coast which we wanted to go on. Planning then hit a problem as the ferry line was privatized, went bust then sold back to the Greenland Government. No-one knew whether the ferry would be running the following year.

We then heard that a Danish travel company, Profil Rejser was advertising holiday dates for 2007 for a package from Copenhagen, which included a one-way journey on the coastal ship. We booked with them by email. We found Profil good to deal with and encountered no language problems, thanks to their command of English.

Our 2007 itinerary looked like this:

  • Fly Manchester to Copenhagen
  • Day in Copenhagen
  • Fly Copenhagen to Kangerlussuaq and then to Ilulissat
  • Three nights in Ilulissat
  • Four nights on the coastal steamer to Narsarsuaq
  • Two nights in Narsarsuaq
  • Fly Narsarsuaq to Copenhagen
  • Fly Copenhagen to Manchester

We fell in love with Greenland and decided the following year we wanted to visit East Greenland. It is a lot wilder and even more sparsely settled than the west. It can be done as a day trip from Reykjavik if you are short of time and have a lot of money.

We decided just to visit Ammassalik area. We were tempted by Scoresby Sound in the far north but regretfully decided it might be too wild even for us. If you leave the settlement to go hiking you are given a rifle and lessons how to use it. Polar bears are a serious hazard.

We approached Regent Holidays and Scan Tours, who both advertise trips to East Greenland. Regent didnít reply to our email so we used Scan Tours - never again. There were mistakes in the itinerary and a series of major mistakes in invoicing including a request for us to pay the final balance three weeks after it had been paid and we had their receipt. We were very relieved that the actual trip went off smoothly with no problems.

Our 2008 itinerary looked like this:

  • Fly Manchester to Reykjavik
  • Day in Reykjavik
  • Fly to Kulusuk for three nights
  • Fly from Kulusuk to Tasiilaq for four nights
  • Fly from Tasiilaq to Kulusuk to pick up the flight to Reykjavik
  • Free day in Reykjavik
  • Fly Reykjavik to Manchester

We built in an extra day in Reykjavik on the way back from Greenland as flights can be canceled due to bad weather or fog.

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