From Norway to Greenland: On the Trail of Erik the Red


Immerse in Norse mythology and folklore, as you trace the legacy of Erik the Red from Norway to North America via the Viking strongholds of Iceland and Greenland.

While Vikings are often portrayed as bloodthirsty heathens bent on carnage and violence, the Norsemen of Norway, Sweden and Denmark contributed much to global discovery. The actions of intrepid Viking explorers such as Erik the Red laid the groundwork for the ambitious sea voyages undertaken throughout the Middle Ages, and their navigational prowess continues to inspire adventure and discovery today.

Join Scenic Eclipse for an unforgettable journey to the lands and seas of the Vikings, and uncover the origins and histories of some of the world’s most breath-taking destinations. The World’s First Discovery Yacht™ will take you from Norway to North America via Iceland and Greenland, following a similar route to that taken by Erik the Red over a thousand years ago.

Here, we tell the story of how Erik the Red crossed seas and put a new nation on the map, before taking a look at some of the destinations where the legacy of the Vikings remains tangible.

Who was Erik the Red?

Erik the Red was a Norwegian-born Viking who became the first European to settle Greenland, a feat achieved in 985. Born Erik Thorvaldsson in 950, the Viking explorer earned the moniker ‘the Red’ for his red hair and beard, as well as his hot temper.

From his earliest years, Erik’s life was turbulent. His father, Thorvald, was exiled from Norway as punishment for murder, and as a result, the family fled the country when Erik was around 10 years old. So began Erik’s long voyage, a journey which, aside from periods of peace, would continue for the remainder of his days.

Traveling first to Iceland, Erik would go on to settle Greenland as part of a great odyssey of violence, upheaval and colonization – a Viking journey which unfolds in our interactive guide below.

It’s not clear in what year Erik the Red died, but what is clear is the legacy he left behind. Erik’s tail of banishment, reprise, discovery and eventual peace is the classic Viking tale, and has become an important facet of Norse folklore. This gutsy Norwegian put Greenland on the map long before man had dreamed up such navigation equipment as compasses, maps and sextants, and his passage from Norway to Greenland via Iceland is one of the great sea voyages of the Northern Hemisphere.

Tracing the Vikings through Iceland and Greenland

View of Kirkjufell

As part of a discovery voyage on board Scenic Eclipse, you’ll follow in the footsteps of Erik the Red and his Viking-age compatriots, journeying to lands of intriguing heritage and unforgettable natural serenity. Our Journey Designers were inspired to create a handful of itineraries based on the stories and traditions of the Vikings, including the Ultimate Viking Voyage – an unforgettable 31-day passage from Norway to North America, taking in the wonders of the Arctic and the Norse heritage of Iceland and Greenland.

Take a glimpse at the extraordinary highlights you can expect as you follow the trail of Erik the Red from Norway to the new world.

Seyðisfjörður

church of norway, colourful buildings
Hemmed in by the towering peaks of Bjólfur and Strandartindur, Seyðisfjörður is among the most celebrated backwater towns in east Iceland – lauded for its spectacular backdrop and artistic heritage. Taking its name from the deep fjord of Seyðisfjörður on whose banks it resides, the town played a significant role in the Icelandic fishing trade in the 19th century, but has since focused on cultivating an artistic, cultural spirit. Seyðisfjörður is characterised by its collection of colorful wooden buildings, which stand in contrast to the brooding, imposing landscape, unchanged since the Vikings passed through over 1,000 years ago.

Reykjavík

Reykjavik
Since its founding as a Viking settlement in 874, Reykjavík has grown to become the principal city of Iceland, and a destination of immense cultural and historic value. Settled by Viking explorer Ingólfur Arnarson (who is remembered with a statue in the modern city), the Icelandic capital was the biggest settlement on the island during the Viking era, and it’s safe to assume that Erik the Red would have passed through here on at least one occasion. Fast forward to the present, and you can enjoy an exceptional range of experiences in Reykjavík, including a visit to the world-famous Blue Lagoon and an arresting classical concert at Hallgrimskirkja Church, courtesy of Scenic Enrich.

Prins Christiansund

prince christian sound
After following in the footsteps of Erik the Red across the Denmark Strait, you’ll arrive in Greenland. Here, one of your first stops as part of our A Viking Voyage itinerary is a visit to the awe-inspiring Prins Christiansund – one of Greenland’s most impressive waterways. Flanked by rugged granite cliffs and imposing glaciers, this 65-mile fjord is located at the most southerly tip of Greenland, where it connects the Labrador Sea with the Irminger Sea. The passage through the waterway is only accessible in the summer months, with vast ice sheets blocking the route for much of the year. Cruising the route is worth the effort and timing, providing some of the finest views in all Greenland.

Narsarsuaq

small icebergs greenland
Nowhere in Norway, Iceland or Greenland will you feel closer to the legacy of Erik the Red than Narsarsuaq. This small settlement on the banks of Tunulliarfik Fjord is located close to the Norseman’s East Settlement home, where he lived and ruled over a thousand years ago. Here, amid dramatic peaks and windswept valleys, you’ll explore hiking trails and beauty spots where Erik the Red and his Viking compatriots once stood, taking in the sweeping vistas which come to characterise this beloved part of Greenland’s southern fjordlands. Take a moment to reflect on the distant past, as you savour the clean, clear air of this remarkable region. 

Explore the history with Scenic Eclipse

Inspired by the tall tales of Erik the Red and his Viking brethren? Trace the legacy of these ancient Norsemen from Norway to North America, with an unforgettable ocean cruise on board Scenic Eclipse. For more information and to book your place, visit the homepage or call us today on 855-430-4464.