International Tour Packages
A marathon holiday
This tour is not just a marathon with a side trip, but an exciting vacation that includes a fantastic marathon. The arrangement is organised as a normal holiday tour for the whole family to beautiful Greenland in the autumn. All participants have the opportunity to experience Greenlands magnificent nature and sights through planned outings and additional excursions.
The idea of a marathon in the midst of the magnificent landscape and on the ice cap of Greenland begun in September 2001, where a large group of Danish athletes flew to Greenland to compete in the first marathon north of the polar circle. Since then the race has grown to be an international event with runners from more than 20 different countries.
The Polar Circle Marathon is one of the most exclusive races in the world as the limited logistics in the area sets the maximum number of participants to 145, so don’t expect an atmosphere similar to most city marathons, instead, and for some much better, you will experience the silent remoteness of the Greenlandic nature and the battle is between you and nature.
The Basic Package starts and ends in Copenhagen, Denmark, which is the only airport that has overseas flights to Kangerlussuaq in October
Day 1 - Thursday 17 October
We leave Copenhagen in the morning. A 5 hour flight will bring us to Kangerlussuaq (previously known as Søndre Strømfjord) where we arrive in the morning, local time. Kangerlussuaq time is GMT –3 hours. Kangerlussuaq is the larger of Greenland’s two international airports for civilian air traffic. From here the domestic flights to the rest of Western and Northern Greenland originate. It is not a large town as such; actually Kangerlussuaq received town status as late as in 2001 and is part of the Sisimiut municipality. The permanent population is approximately 500 people, with most people employed at the airport.
The airport was established by the Americans during the Second World War at the inner end of the 170km long Kangerlussuaq fjord that has given name to the town. The air base was of strategic importance, both during World War II and the Cold War. At this time more than 1400 soldiers were situated at the base. With increased technological developments, however, the importance of the base gradually declined and the Americans finally left and handed over the area to the Government of Greenland in 1992.
Upon our arrival we check in at Polar Lodge or Hotel Kangerlussuaq (see description below). When everyone has checked in, the race officials and tour leaders will give a brief welcome after which the rest of the afternoon is at your leisure.
You also have the opportunity to go on one of the optional excursions, which you can read more about further down on this page.
In the evening we all meet for a barbeque dinner with a few specialties from Greenland.
A meal onboard the flight and barbeque dinner is included this day.
Day 2 - Friday 18 October
Route Inspection and Pasta Party
Today we start out with one of the highlights of the tour – inspecting the marathon route. We will be heading 35 kms east of the airport to the ice cap and en route your guides will inform about the various aspects of the course. The route inspection is also an opportunity for participants who are not running to take part in the excursion to the ice cap. We drive in large all terrain vehicles, which will take us through the wide Sanddrift Valley along Watson River. Not far from Kangerlussuaq we pass by the golf course and the 400 metre high cone formed hill, Suger Loaf. We continue through the fantastic landscape of lakes, fertile moor and dense scrub. Once in a while it is replaced by large stretches of dunes and rock devoid of vegetation. The altitude of the big, rounded hills do not exceed 700 metres.
A few kilometres from the edge of the inland ice the Russell Glacier winds through the terrain and we continue to point 660, one of the most beautiful ice landscapes in Greenland, with the inland ice dominating the background and a number of glaciers spreading out.
Finally we arrive at the edge of the ice cap where we park the vehicles and walk on to the ice cap itself. It is a great experience to feel the massive cold air from the ice, taste the pure crystal clear air and listen to the deafening silence. You suddenely realise that Greenland is in a category by itself.
The road from Kangerlussuaq to the ice cap was originally built by German carmaker Volkswagen who had a testing center on the ice and needed easy access from the harbour in Kangerlussuaq to the extreme conditions on the ice cap. The testing center, however, is now closed and the road is now under the supervision of Sisimiut Municipality. The condition of the road is therefore not as good as it has been, but more like an adventure marathon route. The access to the ice cap has also declined over the years, partly because of lesser maintainance and partly because of the retraction of the ice cap over the past years.
In the evening a traditional Pasta Party will take place.
Breakfast, sandwich lunch and pasta dinner are included this day.
Day 3 - Saturday 19 October
The Polar Circle Marathon
We will rise early and have breakfast. At 7:30 in the morning we drive to the starting point near the inland ice, once again using all terrain vehicles to get there. Both the half and full marathon will start at 9:30. Full marathon runners have 7 hours to complete, while half marathon runners have 4 hours. More information on the race can be found under “The Marathon”.
Half marathon participants will use the same start as the full marathon. They will follow the track on the ice cap and have their goal after the required 21.1 km. At the half marathon finish line the largest of the all-terrain vehicles is waiting to take all half marathon participants back to Kangerlussuaq when the last runner has passed the line.
The full marathon finishing line will be located in the parking area between Polar Lodge and Hotel Kangerlussuaq giving easy access for all marathon runners to their rooms and a hot shower.
The runners will be offered water and refreshments at stations posted along the route. In the finish area a sandwich will be provided. In the evening a buffet dinner is set up at Hotel Kangerlussuaq.
Breakfast, sandwich lunch and buffet dinner are included this day.
Day 4 – Sunday 20 October
Kangerlussuaq, walking tour and Celebration Dinner
After yesterdays strenuous efforts some may want to relax while others are up for more adventure. The program for today offers a guided walk up to Mount Hassel - also known as ‘Kitchen Mountain’ - just behind the airport. This tour takes about 4 hours. We start the tour from Polar Lodge and follow the ridge eastwards towards the inland ice. The higher we go the more beautiful it gets and, weather permitting, we will have a fantastic panoramic view from the fjord to the inland ice. If there is too much snow the tour leaders will try to find an alternative route at a lower level.
There will be a morning hike for early risers and an afternoon hike for those who needs a little more time to recover from yesterdays run.
Today you also have the opportunity to go on the optional excursions described below. The optional excursions will depart and return in time for you to join one of the hikes up Mount Hassel, so you can get a full day of activities if you like.
In the evening we will celebrate the completion of The Polar Circle Marathon 2013 with a festive Greenlandic dinner in Kangerlussuaq.
Breakfast, lunch buffet and Celebration Dinner included this day.
Day 5 - Monday 21 October
After an intense weekend we travel back to Copenhagen. The flight leaves just before noon so we have a final opportunity to enjoy a last stroll or jog around Kangerlussuaq.
Arrival in Copenhagen in the evening (CET).
Breakfast and a meal onboard the flight are included this day.
Optional Excursions in Kangerlussuaq
The nature is the biggest attraction in Kangerlussuaq with a wealth of opportunities. Regardless of where you are staying, an ‘excursion’ awaits a few hundred metres away and many can be reached by foot. It is recommended you stick to one of the many walking paths, as you could easily loose you direction in the undulated landscape.
As the options for activity in the town area are limited we offer a two optional excursions in Kangerlussuaq.
The optional excursions can be booked at the welcome meeting after arrival in Kangerlussuaq or, if you want to secure a specific day and time, you can pre-book the excursions when sending in your entry form.
Kangerlusssuaq has incredibly beautiful nature and is home to the massive musk ox. We will drive through the stunning tundra landscape in our 4WD truck and the guide will fill us in on the various wildlife in this area. Maybe we'll get the chance to spot musk oxen and learn more about these incredible creatures.
The musk ox lives wildly in the area around Kangerlussuaq. Whether we can come close to musk oxen, or simply look at them from a distance, is not predictable. But the guide always brings binoculars, so there is a very good chance of seeing these amazing animals and other wildlife in the area. Don't miss this exciting opportunity to explore the stunning nature and wildlife around Kangerlussuaq.
Duration: 2 hours
Chose between 4 departures:
Thursday 13:00, Sunday 09:00, Sunday 11:30, Sunday 14:00 (times are subject to change)
Price: DKK 260,- / EUR 35
Driving partially off-road we take the fascinating route to the spectacular Russell Glacier. The glacier is an impressive sight with its vertical ice walls rising as high as 60m.
We'll get close enough for some great photo and video opportunities.
The surroundings are spectacular, and chances are good for spotting musk oxen and perhaps even ptarmigans and snow hare.
Duration: 4 hours
Chose between 3 departures:
Thursday 13:00, Sunday 09:00, Sunday 13:30 (times are subject to change)
Price: DKK 595,- / EUR 80
Extend your stay and visit Ilulissat - one of Greenland’s most picturesque towns and see one of nature’s true wonders – the Ice fjord.
What makes Greenland a truly unique destination is the combination of wild nature and the inuit culture adapted to it through hundreds of generations. It is along the coast the people of Greenland live and it is in the towns and settlements that we find “the real Greenland”. Small colourful houses cling to mountainsides, culture and architecture enriched and limited by nature, and if you take just a few steps outside the town you’ll find yourself almost completely isolated, surrounded by one of the worlds last and biggest wildernesses.
Ilulissat offers a variety of tour possibilities. If we are lucky with the weather there might be snow enough for the dog sledges to operate otherwise a helicopter flight over the Ice fjord is a stunning experience. These extra excursions can be booked upon arrival to Ilulissat. Please note all optional tours are permitted by weather and/or number of participants and therefore cannot be guaranteed in advance.
Ilulissat and the Disko Bay
Day 1 - Monday 21 October
Kangerlussuaq to Ilulissat
We check in for Air Greenland’s flight to Ilulissat in the morning. From the plane it is possible to get a glimpse of the ice cap and the marathon route and - on a clear day - the unique Ice fjord approximately 10 minutes before landing.
We check in at Hotel Hvide Falk (White Falcon) – newly modernised and one of the best hotels in Greenland. The hotel is situated at the waterfront of the world famous Ice fjord with an impressive view over the Disko Bay. Restaurants, museums, shops and the harbour are all within walking distance.
Ilulissat is situated in the heart of the famed Disko Bay, an area of great natural beauty. The town itself is picturesque, lively and inviting. By Greenland standards it offers many cultural sights that - apart from the birthplace and museum of arctic explorer Knud Rasmussen - include a Hunting and Fishing museum and the fine collection of paintings of Emanuel A. Petersen. Since the foundation of Ilulissat more than 250 years ago, it has grown steadily and is today Greenland’s third largest city with more than 4000 inhabitants. The main occupation is fishing.
Our tour leader will guide us through town on a walking tour, giving us an overall view of the town the possibilities we have to explore the area.
Breakfast is included this day.
Day 2 - Tuesday 22 October
Ilulissat and the Icefjord
Ilulissat is rightfully called the capital of icebergs. In the Disko Bay, just off the coast of Ilulissat, the gigantic icebergs linger. South of the city the enormous Ice fjord cuts its way through the country. It starts 32 kilometres further inland, where the huge Sermeq Kujalleq Glacier, with a front more than 5 kilometres wide and several hundred meters high, is calving icebergs with a speed of 25 metres per day, equivalent to 20 million tons of ice or more than 10% of all icebergs in Greenland. This makes the glacier the most productive outside Antarctica. These facts and the stunning setting have put the Ice fjord on UNESCO’s World Heritage list.
After breakfast we walk to the harbour and embark for a 2½ hours boat trip on the Ice fjord where we will see the spectacular icebergs. We will get really close to the impressive “floating mountains” and see their true greatness. A good chance to get some stunning photos and an experience you will never forget. Remember warm clothes.
The afternoon is free to shop or walk to one of the nearby hilltops overlooking the Ice fjord or go on some of the optional excursions if available.
Breakfast is included this day.
Day 3 - Wednesday 23 October
We will go for a walk down to the Sermermiut Valley, approximately 2 kilometres south of Ilulissat. Sermermiut means “The People by the Ice”, and the place has been inhabited from 1400 BC to 1737. In 1727 when the first Danish commercial expedition arrived at the Ice fjord and discovered Sermermiut, some 250 people were living there. Today the area reveals a number of grass grown square craters marking the foundation of tuft houses. Kitchen middens show large numbers of bones from seals, birds, fish and whales. From the valley and the small bay, we walk along the fjord and up onto the hills with a grand view of the Ice fjord.
The rest of the day is at your own leisure with the opportunity to book one of the optional tours.
Breakfast is included this day.
Day 4 - Thursday 24 October
Ilulissat - Kangerlussuaq - Copenhagen
We go by bus to the airport in the morning and fly via Kangerlussuaq to Copenhagen. Arrival in the evening (CET).
Breakfast and a meal onboard the flight are included this day.
is a cosy hostel located in Kangerlussuaq about 200 metres from Hotel Kangerlussuaq and the airport arrival hall. The building was renovated, modernised and refurbished as a hostel in 2006. The total capacity is 16 rooms. Toilets and bathrooms are on shared basis in the hallway. The lodge has a small dining room where breakfast is served, a small kitchen with a stove, refrigerator and kettle, a souvenir shop and a computer where internet time can be purchased.
Read more about this Greenland hostel at the website of World of Greenland - Arctic Circle.
is directly connected to the main building in the airport complex. It has nice and fairly large double rooms with private bathrooms. Breakfast is served in the cafeteria next to the reception and Kangerlussuaq’s most exclusive restaurant is situated in the main airport building. Wireless internet connection can be purchased.
HOTEL ACCOMMODATION IN COPENHAGEN
Due to Air Greenland’s early departure from and late arrival to Copenhagen, same day connections from airports around the world may not be possible. In other words you must plan to arrive in Copenhagen the day before the Basic Package starts and leave the day after it ends.
We offer the following accommodation in Copenhagen on 16 October and 21 or 24 October:
Hotel Crowne Plaza Copenhagen Towers
Crowne Plaza Copenhagen Towers is a 4-star upscale hotel located close to Copenhagen Airport and only a short walk from the metro and train, which will take you to the centre of Copenhagen in 15 minutes. The hotel opened in November 2009 and offers modern designed rooms and comfort. The hotel is CO2 neutral and certified under the international “Green Key” standard. All rooms offer great views and WiFi internet. The hotel offers all its guests free pick up from and drop off to the airport.
Read more at http://www.cpcopenhagen.dk/en/
If you arrive earlier than 16 October or leave later than 21 or 24 October you can request extra nights upon booking. Extra nights are subject to availability and prices for extra nights may vary.
Put on your running shoes and take a running tour with Running Copenhagen, where a local guide will guide you through the city and its many sights. There is no better way to see Copenhagen than by running. The relatively short distances, the fantastic sights, and the vibe of the city makes it perfect for sightseeing while running.
We have set up a specialized running tour for Polar Circle Marathon participants that you can book if you would like some sightseeing in Copenhagen and stretch your legs before heading off to Greenland.
The tour departs at 15:00 from Kgs. Nytorv (easily accessible with metro if you stay at Crowne Plaza). From Kgs. Nytorv we head towards the quaint neighborhood of Christianshavn with its cobbled streets, old houses and beautiful canal. From Christianshavn we continue on towards Christiania. This freetown area has mostly been famous for its open cannabis trade, but the unique area is much more than that; its self governance, unique arts, ecology, architecture, and music. Your guide will explain the history and self-governance of Christiania and give you the latest update on the government’s efforts in cleaning up the place. From Christiania we head towards the City Hall Square and pass one of the harbor baths with views to the Royal Danish Library known as the “Black Diamond”. From the City Hall we run through the centre of town and back to Kgs. Nytorv.
The tour is approximately 8km long and the pace will be between 5 and 6 min/km depending on the overall level of the participants. Note that in certain parts of Christiania running is not allowed, so some walking will be necessary.