The High Arctic

The High Arctic is one of the world’s most beautiful regions, yet it is surprisingly little-visited. Our 25-day tour features stunning glaciers, mountains, fjords, geysers and icebergs and a spectacular 12-night cruise aboard the luxury cruise ship Viking Sky.

Our journey to the High Arctic begins in Norway then continues to the spectacular landscapes of Iceland and Greenland. Embracing all of the incredible highlights of these countries, this unique tour is a mix of majestic scenery, ancient civilisations and cultures, and vibrant history. The tour begins in the Norwegian capital, Oslo, and it is here that we board the train for the scenic journey to Bergen – said to be one of the world’s most picturesque stretches of railroad. We arrive at the beautiful city of Bergen and board our ship for a 12-night cruise north along Norway’s west coast to Alesund, then west to the Faroe Islands and Iceland. We cruise the northern part of Iceland from Seydisfjordur in the Eastfjords to Isafjordur in the west, before continuing south to Reykjavik. Here we disembark and make a circuit of the Golden Circle by road. But undoubtedly, a major highlight of this great tour is a three-day visit to Greenland’s iceberg town of Ilulissat, home to the midnight sun. Here we take an evening cruise through the icebergs of Disko Bay and visit the magnificent Equip Glacier. We invite you to join us on an unforgettable adventure to the extraordinary High Arctic!

Tour Fitness Level: Moderate

Highlights

Norway/Faroes/Iceland

  • Enjoy a spectacular ride on the scenic railway from Oslo to Bergen
  • Visit the composer Edvard Grieg’s house at Troldhaugen
  • 12-night luxury cruise aboard Viking Sky from Bergen to Reykjavik
  • Cruise the  magnificent Geirangerfjord
  • Explore Torshavn, capital of the Faroes
  • Visit Iceland’s beautiful fjord towns of Seydisfjordur and Isafjordur
  • Savour a cocktail as you bathe in the famous Blue Lagoon
  • See erupting volcanoes, active geysers and bubbling mud pools
  • Take a boat tour amongst the icebergs at the beautiful glacier lagoon, Jokulsarlon
  • Visit to the extraordinary Skaftafell National Park
  • Take the Golden Circle tour via the beautiful waterfall Gullfoss and active geysers

Greenland

  • Visit the Danish trading station in the old part of Ilulissat
  • Take a boat tour to the hunter’s settlement, Rodebay
  • Cruise the beautiful Icefjord at night as the evening sun and warm colours reflect the gigantic icebergs
  • Watch icebergs ‘calve’ from the awesome Equip Glacier

Inclusions

  • All international and domestic flights
  • All ticketable air taxes (NB. may be subject to change)
  • All accommodation (twin-share)
  • 2-berth cabins (twin-share) on Viking Sky
  • Wine, beer & soft drinks with lunch and dinner onboard the ship
  • All port charges and taxes
  • All transfers and ground transportation
  • All meals as specified
  • Travel Directors tour leader throughout
  • Expert local guides throughout
  • All entrance fees for specified sightseeing
  • All tips and gratuities (including onboard Viking Sky)

Please note that whilst every effort will be made to adhere to the above pricing, currency fluctuations beyond our control can affect final costs. A booking form is to be completed by all passengers, and a non-refundable deposit of AUD $3,000 per person paid at the time of booking. All escorted tours are based on a minimum group size of 10 people travelling.

Itinerary

29/07/2019 Australia – Dubai

Depart from your chosen Australian airport for the flight to Dubai.

30/07/2019 Dubai – Oslo (D)

Depart Dubai Emirates, EK 159 07.15

Arrive Oslo 12.30

The Norwegian capital lies between the Oslofjord and the green hills of Oslomarka. On the way to our hotel we visit the superb 80-acre Sculpture Park located in western Oslo, which features 212 sculptures by Gustav Vigeland. Every year more than one million tourists from all over the world visit the site.

Thon Hotel Opera

Oslo

31/07/2019 Oslo (BLD)

Today we explore Oslo’s rich history in the grand buildings and museums at the 13th century fortress of Akershus in the centre of the city. The fortress is also a popular recreational area with wonderful views to the harbour. In the afternoon we visit the museum that houses the world’s most famous polar ship, the Fram. We go aboard the ship and see how Norway’s polar explorers lived and survived in the coldest places on earth more than 100 years ago.

01/08/2019 Oslo – Bergen (BLD)

This morning we board our train for the breathtakingly scenic journey to Bergen.

Depart Oslo 08.27

Arrive Bergen 14.57

Widely regarded as one of the most scenic rail journeys in the world, the train reaches the highest altitude of any train ride in Europe and passes through dramatic landscapes of magnificent glaciers, majestic forests and crystal-clear fjords. On arrival in Bergen we enjoy a walk around the charming waterfront area before boarding our cruise ship, Viking Sky.

02/08/2019 Bergen (BLD)

Bergen is without doubt, a picturesque treasure. After breakfast we begin a sightseeing tour that includes a visit to the composer Edvard Grieg’s house in Troldhaugen, where he lived and worked during the winter months. He was much in demand all over the world, both as a pianist and a conductor, and became Norway’s foremost ambassador for the music of his time. Today Troldhaugen is a living museum, consisting of, not only the museum, but also the composer’s house, cabin and tomb. In the evening we set sail for Flam.

03/08/2019 Flam (BLD)

Spend the day soaking up majestic views of Vassbygda Lake and the pretty town of Vassbygdi. Board the famous 65-year-old Flam Railway – considered to be one of the world’s most fantastic stretches of railroad. On this amazing journey we climb nearly 900 metres from fjord to mountain top, an incline of 1 in 18, a tunnel that spirals inside a mountain, and views that will take your breath away! We enjoy dinner onboard as we begin our overnight journey to Alesund.

04/08/2019 Alesund (BLD)

Arriving into Alesund this morning, we begin a walking tour of the colourful facades that characterise this pretty Art Nouveau town. Located at the entrance to the Geirangerfjord, the town’s lookout points offer sensational panoramic views of the surrounding archipelago and fjords.

05/08/2019 Geiranger (BLD)

This morning we cruise into the tiny village of Geiranger, via the Geirangerfjord – one of the most spectacular fjords in Norway. This is an area of immense beauty with waterfalls gushing down steep cliffs to the fjords below. We spend the day soaking up the magnificent scenery before re-boarding Viking Sky for our journey west to the Faroe Islands.

06/08/2019 Cruise the North Sea (BLD)

The North Sea has long been central to Europe’s history. Today we have the opportunity to learn more about this body of water with an onboard lecture. Or you may prefer to enjoy some of the facilities provided on the ship as we continue sailing west.

07/08/2019 Torshavn, Faroe Islands (BLD)

Located halfway between Norway and Iceland, the Faroe Islands is a remarkable archipelago made up of 18 rocky, volcanic islands. This morning we arrive in the capital of the Faroes, Torshavn, which was once home to the Viking Parliament. We enjoy a scenic drive of the area, visiting the breathtaking fjords of Kaldbak and Kollafjorour, and soaking up the magnificent island vistas. Late afternoon we reboard our ship for the onward journey to Iceland.

08/08/2019 Cruise the Norwegian Sea (BLD)

Today we continue our cruise northwest to Iceland. Now is the time to relax and enjoy the excellent facilities onboard, as we sail through the Norwegian Sea.

09/08/2019 Seydisfjordur, Iceland (BLD)

One of the most historically interesting of all the towns in the Eastern part of Iceland, Seydisfjordur is characterised by its lovely multi-coloured wooden houses, laid-back friendly people and thriving arts scene. Surrounded by snow-capped mountains and gushing waterfalls, it is a photographer’s delight. On arrival into the town we enjoy a walking tour of the town and the surrounding fjord landscape. After lunch we set sail for Akureyri.

10/08/2019 Akureyri (BLD)

Iceland’s second largest city, Akureyri, is noted for its colourful architecture and its beloved church, which showcases the stained-glass windows that once adorned England’s Coventry Cathedral. Arriving this morning, we have plenty of time to explore the city and surrounding area before setting sail for our next stop, Isafjordur in the north-western corner of Iceland.

11/08/2019 Isafjordur (BLD)

Arriving into Isafjordur this morning, we are greeted by the dramatic landscapes and towering peaks of this Westfjords region of Iceland. Nearby is the tranquil enclave of Bolungarvik, one of Iceland’s oldest fishing villages. We explore this delightful area before reboarding our ship for the cruise south.

12/08/2019 Reykjavik (BLD)

Welcome to Reykjavik, the world’s most northerly capital! In many ways it feels more like a provincial town than a capital city. When viewed from the top of the famous Hallgrimskirkja Church, the city – with its low buildings and brightly painted houses – stretches out like a toy town. Despite this impression, Reykjavik is home to three out of five Icelanders. The diminutive city is the focal point for Icelandic life and politically, socially and economically it dominates the country. Today we explore the city, including a visit to the world-famous Blue Lagoon.

13/08/2019 Reykjavik – Vik (BLD)

After breakfast we disembark from Viking Sky and board our coach for the journey east to Vik. En-route we visit Selfoss and some of the amazing waterfalls in the south, including Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss. On arrival in Vik we visit the black volcanic beach where we see the mysterious Reynisdrangar basalt columns that protrude out of the stormy North Atlantic Ocean – making this one of the most photographed and documented sites in Iceland. Rumour has it that the stacks originated when three trolls, pulling a three-masted ship to shore, were petrified and turned into needles of rock after being caught by surprise at dawn. But more than just a piece of Icelandic folklore, the cliffs surrounding Reynisfjara Beach also play an important role during the breeding season, when they host several bird species, including the much sought-after puffin.

Icelandair Hotel

Vik

14/08/2019 Vik – Skaftafell (BLD)

We make an early start this morning as we continue our eastward journey to Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon lying at the foot of Europe’s largest glacier, Vatnajokull. Here, an outlet glacier of the great Vatnajokull – Breidamerkurjokull – crashes down into the water as big icebergs break off into the lagoon and float around before drifting towards the Atlantic Ocean. On arrival we visit the Glacier Lagoon and enjoy a boat tour among the floating icebergs.

Fosshotel Glacier Lagoon

Jokulsarlon

15/08/2019 Skaftafell – Geysir (BLD)

After breakfast we drive west through scenic landscapes of Skaftafell National Park and beyond to the edge of the Golden Circle. Here we see the sprouting geysers and beautiful Gulfoss waterfall.

Geysir Hestar

Geysir

16/08/2019 Geysir – Reykjavik (BLD)

Today we drive through the amazing Thingvellir National Park. Here within the park the Thingvellir church stands on the spot which was the site of the Icelandic parliament from 10th to the 18th centuries. The park also sits in a rift valley caused by the separation of two tectonic plates – the North American and Eurasian plates – which are being pulled apart at a rate of 2cm per year. After fully exploring this spectacular geological phenomenon, we continue our journey to Reykjavik.

Hotel Reykjavik Centrum

Reykjavik

17/08/2019 Reykjavik – Ilulissat (BLD)

After breakfast we transfer to the airport for our flight to Greenland

Depart Reykjavik Air Iceland NY255, 11.15

Arrive Ilulissat 12.30

On arrival we explore the town and learn its fascinating history. In the old town we visit the Danish trading station, the busy fishing harbour and the museum. We also take a boat trip to the hunter’s settlement, Rodebay.

Hotel Arctic

Ilulissat

18/08/2019 Ilulissat (BLD)

With a population of 4,000, Ilulissat is set in the marvellous surroundings of Jakobshavn fjord. Perched on the shores of spectacular Disko Bay, Ilulissat is world-famous for its icebergs. These shimmering ice masses run aground in the mouth of the fjord, literally just outside the town! In the evening we take a cruise on the Icefjord as the sun sinks in the sky and its warm red colours reflect in the gigantic icebergs, creating an unforgettable

19/08/2019 Ilulissat (BLD)

Today we view the astonishing Equip Glacier. Known as the ‘calving glacier’, the Equip often provides spectators with the awesome sight of the ‘birth’ of an iceberg. We cruise along the 5km wide glacier, hoping to see a spectacular ‘delivery’. As the new iceberg crashes and rotates in the water, sea creatures rise to the surface providing waiting flocks of sea birds with a huge meal.

20/08/2019 Ilulissat – Kangerlussuaq – Copenhagen (B)

Early this morning we board our flight to Copenhagen via Kangerlussuaq.

Depart Ilulissat Greenland Air GL 571, 08.45

Arrive Kangerlussuaq 09.30

Depart Kangerlussuaq Greeenland Air GL 782, 13.10

Arrive Copenhagen 21.30

Scandic Palace Hotel

Copenhagen

21/08/2019 Copenhagen – Dubai (B)

This morning is at leisure before a midday transfer to the airport for our flight home.

Depart Copenhagen Emirates EK 152, 15.35

Arrive Dubai 23.55

22/08/2019 Dubai – Australia

In Dubai connect with the flight to your chosen Australian city, arriving home on the same day (except Melbourne and Brisbane passengers).

23/08/2019 Arrival in Australia

Melbourne and Brisbane passengers arrive home today.

FAQs

If I travel alone, do I have to pay the single supplement?

If you do not want to share a hotel room with another person in the group, you will have to pay the single supplement. However, if you are willing to share we will team you up with another passenger of the same sex  in the hotels. If a match-up is not possible, we will upgrade you at our expense. Please note, this applies only to the hotel accommodation on the tour: we are unable to cover the cost of the single supplement aboard Viking Sky. The land portion single supplement is $2,990, and the combined single supplement is $11,985.

How long is the flight from Australia to Norway?

Flying time to Dubai is between 11 and 14.5 hours, depending on your Australian capital city of departure. Flight time from Dubai to Oslo is 7 hours 15 minutes.

What are the average temperatures at this time of year?

The temperature varies along the route. In Norway, temperatures during the day can get up to the high twenties Celsius. In Iceland it is considerably cooler with a temperature range of around 10 to 16C. Greenland has an arctic climate with average temperatures that do not exceed 10°C.

What is the best currency to take on this journey?

The best currency is Euros, in small denominations. i.e. 100s, 50s, 20s, 10s.

How much spending money do I need for the entire trip?

Because almost everything is included, we would suggest an amount of 1000 Euros per person as being ample for the whole journey.

Are credit cards acceptable?

Credit cards are widely accepted throughout the journey and ATMs are available along the entire route. However it is not recommended to rely on these as your main source of funds.

Do I need vaccinations for this journey?

No vaccinations are mandatory on this route but we would recommend you seek advice from your doctor. Tetanus should certainly be up to date.

Can I extend my stay in Copenhagen at the end of the tour?

Yes, it is possible to stay on in Copenhagen after the group departs. Our consultants will be happy to make the arrangements for you. If you wish to take up this option, all arrangements must be confirmed before leaving Australia.

Do I need any visas for this tour?

No, visas are not required on this tour.

A lot of companies have many expensive optional extras on their tours. Do you?

We don’t believe in a lot of expensive ‘optional tours’. Our itineraries are designed to make the best possible use of time and to include all the must-see sights, plus additional surprises. Therefore, practically everything is included in the tour cost.

Is the water safe to drink en-route and what is the general standard of hygiene?

The standard of hygiene is high along the entire route and tap water is of a high quality and perfectly safe to drink in all the countries we visit.

What is the standard of the hotels?

The hotels are generally 4-star quality, comfortable, clean and all with en-suites.

Are there internet facilities en-route?

Most of the hotels we use have internet facilities. There are also many internet cafes in the near vicinity of the hotels offering even cheaper access.

Do mobile telephones work?

Telstra and Optus mobiles work throughout the entire journey. You will need to ensure you have global roaming. Contact your service provider for further details.

How much should we tip the guides and porters?

There is no need to tip guides or porters as all tips and gratuities are included in the tour cost.

Reading

Listed below is a selection of books which you may wish to read prior to, or during, your journey.

Pole to Pole

Michael Palin

Frost on my Moustache

Tim Moore

Season of the Arctic

Paul Nicklen & Hugh Brody

Seasons of the Arctic

Sheila Burnford

Imagining the Arctic

J C H King & H Ladki

Lost Places – A Journey in the North

Lawrence Millman

Angels of the Universe

Einar Mar Gudmundsson

Independent People

Halldor Laxness

Sophie’s World

Jostein Gaarder