West Greenland Winter – Icebergs, Glaciers and Inuit Settlements
- Flights Reykjavík – Ilulissat – Reykjavík
- Hotel overlooking the Ice Fiord (4 nights)
- Wild winter landscapes
- Glacial Photography
- Sunset by boat in the Ice Fjord
- Possibility of aurora borealis
- Superb short walks to fine viewpoints
- Oqaatsut village settlement (3 nights)
- Ilimanaq village settlement
- Colourful wooden houses
- Two nights in Reykjavík, Iceland
- Aerial photography (optional)
- Dog sledging (optional)
- Greenlandic local life
Wild Photography Holidays are excited to add a brand new winter trip to Greenland. The dates of these first two departures have been chosen to make the most of the fabulous winter landscapes and low light that can be found in Greenland at this time of year. The sunrises and sunsets tend to be spectacular and the big arctic skies are dark enough for the possibility of aurora. We start and finish the trip in Reykjavík giving participants the chance to add a few days in Iceland before or after the main trip. Our main Greenland base, Ilulissat (formerly Jakobshavn) means “Icebergs” in the West Greenlandic language. Each year, the massive Jakobshavn Glacier calves some 35 billion tons of icebergs into the sheltered waters of Disko Bay and the ice fiord. It is the only UNESCO World Heritage Site on the world’s largest island. Towers, arches, and walls of ancient blue ice thrust skyward from the water’s surface. The whole fiord gives an ever-changing vista as huge icebergs float past in dramatic light en route to open sea. It’s believed that an iceberg that calved from this magnificent glacier sank the Titanic itself. A first sighting of this unique arctic wonderland is guaranteed to make your photographic heart beat faster. In wintertime the snow cover means that dog sledging becomes a normal way of transport for the local people who hunt and transport fish. A huge country, it is populated rather sparsely only around the coast. Indeed, there are no roads to anywhere except in and around the settlements and the only way to travel is by boat, air, dog sledge and foot. Travelling by boat, we navigate the ice filled waters at sunset. We sail to small settlements still alive with ancient traditions with a culture still very much tied to the ocean and prevailing weather conditions. Spending two nights in one settlement allows us to really get ‘under the skin’ of daily life there. Brightly coloured wooden houses sit on snow covered rocky bluffs; small fishing boats bring in Halibut, Crab plus the occasional Seal. There may be an optional opportunity to experience some aerial photography and dog sledging. This is a truly an inspiring adventure exploring locations that are only now becoming more accessible to photographers.
Contact the WPH office for Information regarding the tutors on your departure
For full details please download the trip description PDF
Day 1: Arrive Reykjavík
Transfer from Keflavík, Iceland’s international airport to our hotel in the heart of Reykjavík. We meet in the evening for introductions, a trip briefing and dinner together in town.
Day 2: To Ilulissat Greenland
This morning we take a flight north over Iceland followed by Greenland’s vast ice cap. Our destination Ilulissat is on the west coast of Greenland. Our hotel is perfectly situated overlooking the ocean, which is often littered with ice floating away from the icefiord. The hotel is modern, well run and with great selection of food including many vegetarian options. We spend the afternoon exploring by foot the photographic potential of the area including sunset over the Kangia Icefjord.
Day 3: Sail to Ilimanaq Settlement
This morning we sail in our traditional wooden fishing boat past the massive icebergs of the Kangia Icefjord to the Inuit settlement of Ilimanaq. The settlement is situated south of the ice fiord giving us the opportunity to see and photograph the Kangia Icefjord from a totally different perspective. Ilimanaq settlement is one of Greenland’s oldest. We will try to time our return journey with sunset, the most spectacular time to be passing through the majestic icebergs of the fiord.
Day 4: Around Ilulissat
Sunrise can be special from many areas close by the hotel. This morning we hope for a spectacular showing of the pastel blue/pink skies that are common in these parts, lighting up the landscape in a manner that is special to Arctic Greenland. Mid afternoon we set off from the hotel to walk through the snowy landscape where we find some fabulous viewpoints over the ice fjord. We take it slowly as it seems that there is something worth photographing at each corner. We will be out exploring into the sunset hours.
Day 5-7: Oqaatsut
After breakfast we board a small private boat sailing to the tiny settlement of Oqaatsut. This settlement has only forty permanent inhabitants, a school with approximately four pupils, a small grocery shop and a community house. Oqaatsut, formerly Rodebay, is an Inuit settlement in the Qaasuitsup municipality; the modern name of the settlement is Kalaallisut or “Cormorants”. There is not a single road here, just colourful wooden houses on stark rounded snow covered rocks. Each little house is uniquely built and painted in a different colour. Around the houses we find all the paraphernalia associated with Greenland in winter; sledges, dogs, fish racks, animal skulls, sealskins and furs. Fishing and hunting are the main occupation of the inhabitants, often we find fishermen trying their luck through holes in the local sea ice. To the south is a small harbour where a multitude of small fishing boats are moored or frozen in the sea ice. Our boat will drop us at the sheltered harbour, we will probably have to walk a short distance across the sea ice to get to solid land and our hotel. Our tiny hotel is in the middle of the settlement and is owned by Ole a local man who is also the Mayor of Ilulissat! The rooms are warm, comfortable, well furnished. There is an excellent windowed dining/meeting area with fine views of the surrounding settlement and mountains. Shower and toilet facilities are shared. We spend the following two days exploring and photographing Oqaatsut settlement and the surrounding landscape. Ice from the fiord makes it’s way here and is often lit up with a spectacular light. The light pollution is minimal and we are easily able to find great aurora locations in our immediate surroundings.
Day 8: To Ilulissat
After breakfast we board our boat for the return journey to Ilulissat and the ice fiord. Arriving back mid morning we are in plenty of time for exploring Ilulissat further. There will be a last chance to photograph magnificent icebergs in the sunset followed by dinner and a presentation of images taken during our fabulous arctic adventure.
Ice Fiord Hotel
Day 9: To Reykjavík
Hopefully this morning there will be a final opportunity to photograph sunrise before breakfast and our midday flight to Reykjavík. We meet in the evening for a final celebratory dinner.
Day 10: Homeward flights
After breakfast, or before if your flight is very early, there is a Flybus transfer to Iceland’s international airport for homeward flights.
You may be thinking of extending your stay in Iceland for a few days, if this is the case just get in touch and we may have some ideas to help you plan this! Sometimes it is possible to tie up a Greenland trip with one of our Iceland trips. The particular option is often attractive to our participants who travel a long way for our trips.
This is the ‘aurora’ time of year and wherever possible we will try to capture these incredible phenomena. All of our tutors are experienced ‘aurora’ shooters and will be passing on their expert knowledge to ensure that you go home with some good high quality images. We will need clear skies for aurora photography.
- Transfers from/to Keflavík (Iceland) airport
- Flights Reykjavík – Ilulissat – Reykjavík
- All meals
- All accommodation
- Boat tours in as per itinerary
What’s Not Included
- International flights to and from Iceland
- Beverages or additional items ordered during meals
- Anything not mentioned in the included list
This is included in the price of the holiday, single/double rooms are the norm with private bathrooms. The exception is three nights in the settlement hotel of Oqaatsut. Here, there will be two persons to a room with shared bathroom facilities. There are hot showers. It has to be noted that this is a rather remote Inuit settlement. The standard of rooms and furnishings are very warm and comfortable. Single supplements are available for this trip and will ensure a single room with private facilities in all hotels except Oqaatsut Settlement.
Our main base in Ilulissat is the Hotel Icefiord. Check out their website for images and videos.
Complete Itinerary and Full Details
This page is only a brief summary. A complete itinerary and more details can be found in our trip description PDF
It is important that you read this full day-to-day description and further information for this holiday before making your booking.