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Trip to Scandinavia - Help regarding Arctic Circle

Trip to Scandinavia - Help regarding Arctic Circle

Mar 7th, 2004, 04:27 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 66
Trip to Scandinavia - Help regarding Arctic Circle

Hi, am from India and my husband and I are planning a 4 week trip through Scandinavia this summer, possibly in June. We are still working on our overall itinerary which we will submit for all the expert advice on the good old Fodors Forum, hopefully its not too late to get all our bookings in place. However, we are very keen to have a wonderful Arctic experience, and being from a tropical country like India, I'm sure you will appreciate our excitement at being part of a proper "snow and ice" experience.From what we have seen so far, we will need to return at least for one week later on in life for a proper Scandinavian Winter holiday, but would like to get a taste of the Arctic this time around if possible.

Hence we are trying to decide between two Arctic options - a five day trip around the Svalbard region in North Norway by way of a cruise, or a 5 day excursion to Ilulissat in Greenland. Both are expensive, both are remote, and both seem to offer us a kind of experience we will never otherwise get to have. However, I'm sure they are different in their own ways,for example I understand there are more polar bears in Svalbard but more icebergs in Greenland, and so on.

Has anyone been to any of these places ? Any ideas, suggestions, feedback, tips etc that can help us decide which of these two we should aim for is greatly appreciated. Thank you.
dyscover is offline  
Mar 7th, 2004, 07:01 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 118
I haven't been to either but have been to both Norway and Iceland a couple of times. And I've at least talked to one person who came back from a Greenland trip.

I think you've already got the idea dyscover, "expensive, remote, and unique". Greenland is definitely iceberg land, and from at least travelogues I've seen on TV Svalbard has got its shared of bears. If you want to do one of those, I think you've already got the right pictures to compare.

Another thought - of the two it might be easier to arrange the Svalbard trip from travel you're already doing in Norway. But Greenland as far as I know generally leaves from Iceland which would be more cost for the air fare involved.

On the other hand, you might consider something else - if you were going to Iceland, you can go snowmobiling in Iceland on the glaciers. You've got the ice there year round so depending on what you want it might be an alternative. There is so much that Iceland has to offer, you might get your "snow and ice" but also have lots more to see/do than you would in Greenland or a cruise.
sneezey is offline  
Mar 7th, 2004, 03:42 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,622
I travelled to the east coast of Greenland from Iceland--it's definitely a wonderful and iceberg-laden trip! I took a three day trip and stayed in Angmassilak, and took daytrips out from there.

Iceland is wonderful in itself, as well; it's one of my favorite places on earth, so far.
Amy is offline  
Mar 7th, 2004, 09:54 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 66
Thanks guys, to be honest I had ruled out Iceland since I had the impression it was more green than white and mostly geysers and stuff. We were in NZ last year and had our share of volcanic parks in Rotorua. But the snow mobiling thing Sneezey mentioned definitely sounds interesting so I need to revisit the idea of going to Iceland. May I request you for more information on where this is done in Iceland, so I can get a head start on the research for that ?

You're right also in that it is going to be relatively easier and cheaper to get to Svalbard since we are going to Norway, but I don't know if we will see a lot of pack ice or icebergs there in June/July. Thats what I need someone to tell me as I don't want just another "glacier edge" cruise. I somehow have this haunting image in my head of icebergs lit up by the Midnight Sun that I can't get out of my mind. These are the demons that ardent travellers have to deal with I guess !

Amy, could I trouble you for a little more information about your visit to Greenland, things like when and where and how it was and maybe how much ! And any other information that anyone else has is most appreciated. Thanks.
dyscover is offline  
Mar 8th, 2004, 08:39 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Eastern Greenland for fabulous icebergs! There's nothing like seeing the sun shine through them. I stayed in Ammassilak; we were picked up by helicopter at the Kulusuk airport and flown to Ammassilak by the same guy who checked us into the hotel and later served our dinner! Multi-talented, he was. It was July, so of course the Arctic summer, but on the same trip (in Iceland) we did snowmobile on a glacier. The Icelandair website has details on a lot of this (and its current prices) under "Vacations". My trip to Greenland was back in 1996 (Hard to believe it's been that long ago!) so I forget what I paid, and of course it would change quite a lot.

It was absolutely lovely and unlike anything else, but you might want to consider going a little earlier in the year (April or May) if you can for the best "icy" experience. Of course the glaciers and icebergs will stay the same, but you can go dogsledding up until May!
(You know, I really do have to get back there...)

The accommodations weren't 5 star, but perfectly adequate. Another highlight was a boat trip to a small (8 family) village that was two hours away. Incredible, but not terribly good for the easily seasick (that would be me.)

Let me know if I can help with any other questions~~happy travels!
Amy is offline  

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