Like all Albatros Adventure Marathons, the Polar Circle Marathon is designed to be more than just a race. It's also about enjoying time together with family, friends and other running-minded spirits. Spectators welcome!
In order to register for Polar Circle Marathon, you must sign up for the tour package.
Whether it's culture or nature you're seeking, Greenland has the answer.
The Polar Circle Marathon is more than just a marathon - it's a journey through Greenland! Explore all that the country has to offer - from the dazzling northern lights to towering glaciers to the vibrant town of Ilulissat.
The Polar Circle Marathon takes place in Kangerlussuaq, Greenland, where endless ice and arctic tundra comprise the setting for this unusual race. Runners pass by glacier tongues and moraine landscapes on their way through the soundless, arctic desert. This is a rare opportunity to combine a trip to remote Greenland with a uniquely exciting race.
The itinerary is detailed below. This is what you'll be doing during your stay!
25 Oct 2023
Optional Pre-Tour Day in Copenhagen
On 26 October, the tour package officially begins. However, as our flight to Greenland leaves early in the morning, we strongly advise against booking same day connections. This means you should plan to arrive in Copenhagen one or more nights in advance. Pre-nights can be booked at the Best Western Hotel Hebron located in Copenhagen's city center. Hotel Hebron is less than a 5 minute walk from Copenhagen Central Station, which, in turn, is only a 15-minute train ride from the airport.
On Wednesday 25 October, we offer participants the opportunity to book a running sightseeing tour through the beautiful city of Copenhagen. Our local running guide will take us on an 8km tour through the historical streets, and we'll stop at the most famous and interesting sights. Please see Package Add-ons for more details.
In the evening, all Polar Circle Marathon participants - runners and spectators alike - are invited for a free, informal dinner at the Albatros Travel headquarters. Tapas will be served in our canteen, where you can meet and mingle with other participants and browse exclusive offers on running clothes from our partner, Craft. If you're missing anything suitable for Greenland, this is an excellent chance to stock up. You'll also receive your race packet, which contains your start number, race shirt, and more.
Any participants that do not make it to the dinner will receive their race packets at the airport on the morning of 26 October.
26 Oct 2023
Copenhagen - Kangerlussuaq: Optional Excursions
All participants will meet at Copenhagen Airport Terminal 2. The flight to Greenland departs early in the morning and Air Greenland does not cooperate with other airlines, meaning you must claim your luggage at Copenhagen Airport, clear customs, and check in again for the flight to Greenland. As check-in closes one hour before departure, we strongly recommend that you do not book a same day connection. Please see "Price Info" at the bottom of this page for details on booking pre-nights in Copenhagen.
A 4.5 hour flight will bring us to Kangerlussuaq where we arrive in the morning, local time (GMT –3 hours). Approximately 500 people make up the permanent population of this township, which was established by the American army during the Second World War and handed over to the Government of Greenland in 1992.
Upon our arrival, we'll check in at Polar Lodge, Old Camp, or Hotel Kangerlussuaq. The tour leaders will give a brief welcome at each place before the optional excursions will run. For those who haven’t booked an excursion it is possible to follow the tour leader on a hike to Mount Hassel or simply explore the area on your own. The guided walk up to Mount Hassel is a 2-3 hour hike that follows 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/ice the tour leaders will try to find an alternative route at a lower level.
In the evening dinner is served at Restaurant Roklubben.
Meals: Flight meal, lunch at your respective accommodation, and dinner.
27 Oct 2023
Today all participants will depart for the route inspection in the morning to get an idea of the challenge it is to run on the ice. Non-runners will also participate in the tour and can use the day as a sightseeing trip to the Greenland Ice Sheet.
The inspection tour heads 35 km east of the airport to Point 660, where participants will walk the marked route on the ice sheet. Remember that this will be a cold walk in freezing temperatures - a warm winter jacket, ski pants or similar, hiking or winter boots, hat and gloves are essential. Runners may want to bring their running shoes to test running in the conditions, but it is advisable to bring other, warmer footwear too.
We will drive in large all-terrain vehicles, which will take us along Watson River through the fantastic landscape that varies from lakes, fertile moor and dense scrub to large stretches of dunes and rock devoid of vegetation.
The road from Kangerlussuaq to the ice sheet was originally built by German carmaker, Volkswagen, who had a testing center on the ice. The testing center is now closed and the road is under the supervision of Sisimiut Municipality. The condition of the road is therefore not as good as it used to be, but is more like an adventure marathon route. The access to the ice sheet has also declined over the years, partly because of lesser maintenance and partly because of the retreat of the ice sheet over the past years.
Finally, we arrive at the edge of the ice sheet at Point 660 where we park the vehicles and walk onto 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'll suddenly realize that Greenland is in a category by itself.
In the late afternoon, there will be an information meeting about Ilulissat for participants who have booked the extension to Ilulissat.
Later on, all runners will gather at Hotel Kangerlussuaq for the race briefing, where the race officials and medical team will give the final information about the marathon and half marathon races.
If you wish to change distance* or make late registration for the Polar Bear Challenge this is also the time to do it. It is not possible to make late registration to the Polar Bear Challenge after the marathon race on Saturday. *Both full and half marathons are each limited to 150 runners, so change of distance and registration for the Polar Bear Challenge is due to availability and on a first come, first serve basis.
After the race briefing a pasta dinner will be served at Hotel Kangerlussuaq.
Meals: Breakfast, sandwich lunch, and dinner
28 Oct 2023
Marathon Race Day
At 7:00 in the morning, marathon and Polar Bear Challenge runners will drive in all-terrain vehicles to the starting point near the ice sheet. The marathon is scheduled to start at 8:30 and has a time limit of 7 hours. More information about the race can be found on the race infosection.
The marathon finish line will be located in front of Polar Lodge. From here, runners staying at Polar Lodge and Hotel Kangerlussuaq can walk to their rooms while a bus will take runners staying at Old Camp to their rooms.
The runners will be offered water and refreshments at stations posted along the route. In the finish area, a BBQ lunch will be served for all participants (including specators) between 12:00 and 15:30.
Half-marathon runners and non-runners can spend the day exploring the area on their own, but are also encouraged to cheer on the runners at the finish line. It is not possible to go to the start line to cheer the runners off, as the all-terrain vehicles are in full use.
In the evening, a semi-pasta dinner is served at Hotel Kangerlussuaq.
Meals: Breakfast, BBQ lunch, and dinner
29 Oct 2023
Half-Marathon Race Day
At 7:00 in the morning, half-marathon and Polar Bear Challenge runners will drive to the starting point near the inland ice, once again using all-terrain vehicles to get there. The half-marathon is scheduled to start at 8:30 and has a time limit of 4 hours. More information about the race can be found on the race info section.
At the finish line, the all-terrain vehicles will be waiting to take all runners back to Kangerlussuaq as they fill up. The last vehicle departs when the last runner has finished. The runners will be offered water and refreshments at stations posted along the route. In the finish area, a light lunch will be provided.
Full marathon runners and non-runners can spend the day going on an optional tour or exploring the area on their own. It is not possible to go to the route and finish line and cheer, as the all-terrain vehicles are in full use for the half-marathon.
In the evening, we will celebrate the completion of the Polar Circle Marathon & Half-Marathon with a festive Greenlandic dinner in Roklubben. The awards ceremony for the top three finishers in each category will also take place before the party kicks off under a (hopefully) northern lights lit night sky.
Meals: Breakfast and dinner (also light lunch for half-marathon/Polar Bear Challenge runners)
30 Oct 2023
Farewell Greenland or Hello Ilulissat
After breakfast, we will check out and travel back to Copenhagen or onwards to Ilulissat if you book the extension tour.
The flight to Copenhagen leaves just before noon so we have a final opportunity to enjoy a short stroll or jog around Kangerlussuaq.
We arrive in Copenhagen in the evening (CET). Once again, please note that we do not recommend same day connections from Copenhagen due to the late arrival from Greenland and the fact that luggage can’t be checked in all the way. Again it is possible to book post nights at Hotel Hebron in the city centre.
Meals: Breakfast and flight meal
25 Oct | 1.5 hours | 45 EUR
We've arranged a specially-crafted running tour for Polar Circle Marathon participants that you can book if you would like some sightseeing in Copenhagen and to stretch your legs before heading off to Greenland. The relatively short distances, the fantastic sights, and the vibe of the city makes it perfect for sightseeing while running. The tour departs at 15:30 from Rådhuspladsen (City Hall Square). From the statue of world famous storyteller H.C. Andersen, we will head towards the main sights in Copenhagen including the Parliament, the Queen’s castle and the Little Mermaid.
The route has been planned with the beautiful scenery of Copenhagen in mind and we will be running along the canals and the harbour as well as through some of Copenhagen’s many parks. We keep our tours very informal and run only in smaller groups, so there is plenty of time to ask questions about the sights, places, or people that we pass, or any other questions that you may have during the tour. The pace will be adjusted according to overall level of the participants, but you should expect between 5-6 minutes per kilometer.
About the Tour
Duration: Approximately 1.5 hours (starting at 15:30)
Distance: Approximately 8km (starting at the H.C. Andersen statue at City Hall Square)
- Local running guide
Northern Lights Tour
27 Oct | 2 hours | 45 EUR
The town of Kangerlussuaq is sheltered between the Greenland Ice Sheet, the fjord, and mountains, which all contribute to a stable climate with minimal cloud cover - they have roughly 300 clear nights per year. Adding to this, Kangerlussuaq utilizes artificial lighting sparingly and the backcountry’s cloak of darkness lies just a short drive away.
To begin our Northern Lights tour, we set off into the backcountry by bus. We'll quickly find ourselves in total darkness beneath Kangerlussuaq’s starry skies. Gazing upward, you will hopefully be able to see brilliant, green bands or flapping curtains of color waving across the celestial sphere. Shades of red, blue and violet are possible as well. This ethereal light display is the result of a scientific phenomenon where gaseous protons and electrons from solar wind collide with molecules in Earth’s atmosphere.
Color variations are due to the type of gas particles that collide, as well as the altitude at which they collide. Oxygen molecules at lower altitudes of up to 241 km (150 mi) produce the most common color, a yellowy green; then deepen to shades of red above 241 km (150 mi) high. Nitrogen produces blue hues at altitudes up to 96.5 km (60 miles); and vivid purples above 96.5 km (60 miles).
About the Tour
Duration: 2 hours
Disclaimer: Please note that the Northern Lights tour is weather dependent. In case of cloudy weather, the tour will be canceled and a full refund given. And because the Northern Lights is a natural phenomenon, we cannot guarantee its presence.
Departures: The Northern Lights tour is an evening tour - typically it will run from 20:00-22:00, but it may be pushed an hour later if the chances of seeing the Northern Lights are better later. Also, note that the date shown is only an indication. We will do the excursion when the forecast is best, so it could be the evening of any of the days that we are in Kangerlussuaq. Your tour leader and the staff will keep you updated once we are in Greenland.
26 Oct, 29 Oct | 4 hours | 95 EUR
Kangerlussuaq enjoys the unique pleasure of being the only place in Greenland where you can drive to the Ice Sheet. We will board a tundra coach - a special 4WD vehicle designed to handle ice, rocks, and uneven ground- and then drive partially off-road on the fascinating route to the magnificent Russell Glacier. The drive will take approximately 1.5 hours, and along the way we'll be on the lookout for wildlife such as reindeer and musk oxen.
The glacier is an impressive sight, with vertical walls of ice that rise as high as 60 meters. We will not walk on the glacier itself, but you'll have a chance to hike along the glacier's edge to truly appreciate its immense power. We'll get close enough for some great photo and video opportunities before heading back to Kangerlussuaq.
About the Tour
Duration: 4 hours
Departures: This excursion runs Thursday and Sunday. Participants will be allocated a date according to where they are staying, what distance they are running, who they are travelling with etc. Your race pack will indicate the date and time of your excursion (if booked).
- English-speaking guide
- Transport from Kangerlussuaq to Russell Glacier and back
Tundra Safari and Kangerlussuaq Sightseeing
26 Oct, 28 Oct | 3.5 hours | 70 EUR
Present-day Kangerlussuaq is a former American air base that has transformed into the main airport of Greenland. On this tour, we will do some sightseeing while our guide shares exciting stories - telling us about everything from primitive Kangerlussuaq to the origins of the base (from the Second World War to the Cold War) and its subsequent transformation into a modern international airport and small settlement. It is also interesting to learn about Greenland's culture and the ways in which its people have adapted to the harsh environment.
The area around Kangerlussuaq has Greenland's longest road, and using this we will embark on a roadtrip to meet the great Greenlandic nature. We will drive to the harbour to enjoy views of the beautiful Kangerlussuaq Fjord. We'll also drive past Kellyville, a small town 12 km from the airport that is centered on a research facility, and tour the old base area. We will visit the village kennel, where we'll get better acquainted with Greenlandic sled dogs (as the season is not open in Kangerlussuaq in October, we will not be able to go dog sledding) and their unique instincts. We'll have ample opportunity to take in the stunning nature along the way, and, if we are very lucky, spot musk oxen during this scenic 3.5-hour drive.
About the Tour
Duration: 3.5 hours
Departures: This excursion runs Thursday and Saturday. Participants will be allocated a date according to where they are staying, what distance they are running, who they are travelling with etc. Your race pack will indicate the date and time of your excursion (if booked).
- English-speaking tour guide
- 3.5 hour drive
30-2 Nov | 4 days | 1 195 EUR
What makes Greenland a truly unique destination is the combination of wild nature and the Inuit culture that has adapted to it through 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 are both 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 world’s last and largest wildernesses. With any luck, we'll be treated to a display of the amazing northern lights on one or more evenings.
Ilulissat is the third largest town in Greenland with just under 5000 residents, and offers a variety of tour possibilities. If we are lucky with the weather, there might be snow enough for the dog sleds to operate. Otherwise, a helicopter or small plane flight over the Iulissat Icefjord 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.
30 Oct 2023: Kangerlussuaq to Ilulissat
We'll check in for Air Greenland’s flight to Ilulissat. Upon arrival and transfer to the town, we check in at Hotel Hvide Falk. The hotel is situated at the waterfront with an impressive view over the Disko Bay where stray icebergs from the Icefjord, located just south of town, float by the windows. Restaurants, museums, shops and the harbour are all within walking distance.
The town of Ilulissat is picturesque, lively, and inviting. By Greenlandic 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 a fine collection of paintings of Emanuel A. Petersen. Since Ilulissat was founded more than 250 years ago, it has steadily grown and is today Greenland’s third largest city with more than 4000 inhabitants. Our tour leader will guide us on a walking tour through the town, showing us iconic sights such as the Zion Church and the fish market, and giving us an overall introduction to the town and all the possible activities to be done in the area.
31 Oct 2023: Ilulissat and the Icefjord
Ilulissat is rightfully called the Capital of Icebergs. South of the city, the enormous Icefjord cuts its way through the landscape. It starts 32km further inland, where the huge Sermeq Kujalleq Glacier is calving icebergs with a speed of 25 meters per day. It is responsible for the production of 10% of all of Greeenland's icebergs, making it the most productive glacier outside of Antarctica. These icebergs float down the fjord and out into Disko Bay, where the icy giants linger.
Its importance to glacial science and the stunning natural settings have put the Icefjord on UNESCO’s World Heritage list. After breakfast, we will walk to the harbour and embark on a 2½ hours boat trip on the Icefjord where we will get an up close and personal view of the impressive “floating mountains.” This is 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 Icefjord. Alternatively, you can go on some of the optional excursions if weather permits.
1 Nov 2023: Ilulissat
This morning, after breakfast at your hotel, we will go for a walk to the Sermermiut Valley. The hike is a must-do activity in the region and will take us approximately 2 kilometers south of Ilulissat, beginning at the old heliport. From there, we enter the UNESCO-area on a wooden path toward the famous ruins of Sermermiut. Sermermiut is an ancient settlement that has been home to many different Inuit people for more than 4000 years. The stone ruins of old turf houses are scattered on various hilltops that we will be able to see as we walk. We continue through the old settlement to Nakkaavik, a cliff whose name means 'the place to fall.' You can ask your guide about the origin of this haunted name. From here, we are treated to a breathtaking view of the Kangia, another name for the famous Ilulissat Icefjord with its many massive icebergs.
The rest of the day is at your own leisure, and you have the opportunity to book one of the optional tours (weather permitting).
2 Nov 2023: Ilulissat - Kangerlussuaq - Copenhagen
In the morning, we will head to the airport and take a domestic flight to Kangerlussuaq. From there, we board a flight to Copenhagen, where we will arrive in the evening (CET). Due to connection times, we do not recommend booking a same day flight home. Post-nights can be booked at the Hebron Hotel in central Copenhagen.
Meals: Breakfast and a flight meal
Hotel Hvide Falk
Shared double room - EUR 1195
Single room supplement - EUR 200
Shared double room - EUR 1295
Single room supplement - EUR 250
Flight Kangerlussauq-Ilulissat round trip with Air Greenland
English-speaking tour leader
3 nights at Hotel Hvide Falk
Guided city walk in Ilulissat
Boat trip on the IceFjord
Meals other than breakfast
Travel and health insurance
Single room supplement
Anything else not mentioned under “Inclusions”
Note: 2023 Flight times are not yet confirmed. The following are expected times only, and are subject to schedule changes.
The flight times may be subject to changes or delays.
Have a look at package prices below. Please note that prices do not include the race package.
Optional Copenhagen Stay
You can choose to stay at the Best Western Hotel Hebron Copenhagen before or after the race, and enjoy an evening in the modern capital of Denmark.
Dates: October 25 and 30 and November 2. If additional nights are needed, they can be requested, but are subject to availability.
Best Western Hotel Hebron Copenhagen
Best Western Hotel Hebron lives up to its name when it comes to charm and Scandinavian style. Built in 1898, the hotel has been lovingly maintained in an elegant, classic style boasting every modern amenity. We welcome you in our inviting reception area and do everything possible to ensure that your stay with us meets the same high standards.
Just beyond the entrance to the hotel is the heart of Copenhagen and all that it has to offer: Nearby attractions include the world-famous Tivoli Gardens, shopping galore, an array of inspiring museums, and a wide variety of internationally renowned restaurants.
All prices are per person in Euro
Old Camp- Ulo Wing
Shared double room - EUR 2195 SOLD OUT
Single room supplement - EUR 195 SOLD OUT
Old Camp - Qajak & Tuukkaq Wings
Shared double room - EUR 2295 SOLD OUT
Single room supplement - EUR 195 SOLD OUT
Shared double room - EUR 2395SOLD OUT
Single room supplement - EUR 295 SOLD OUT
Shared double room - EUR 2595 FEW ROOMS LEFT
Single room supplement - EUR 395 FEW ROOMS LEFT
Quadruple room share discount* - EUR -100 SOLD OUT
*Participants who choose the Quad share option will be eligible to be placed in a family room with up to 3 other participants of the same gender. The discount will not be deducted at the time of booking, but when the race is fully booked and the rooming situation is known.
Optional extension to Ilulissat
Hotel Hvide Falk
Shared double room - EUR 1195
Single room supplement - EUR 200
Shared double room - EUR 1295
Single room supplement - EUR 250
Extra nights in Copenhagen
Best Western Hotel Hebron - Copenhagen
Shared double room - EUR 100
Single room supplement - EUR 65
Roundtrip flights Copenhagen-Kangerlussuaq with Air Greenland
English-speaking tour leader
4 nights at chosen accommodation
Meals according to itinerary
Route inspection on the ice sheet
International flights to/from Copenhagen
Meals not stated in the itinerary
Cancellation insurance due to illness or injury prior to departure
Travel and health insurance (we strongly recommend you take out sufficient insurance)
Accommodation in Copenhagen
Additional tours and excursions
Anything else not listed under ‘Inclusions’
Marathon or half-marathon - EUR 300
Polar Bear Challenge - EUR 400
Race entry includes:
English-speaking race officials
Transport to the starting point
Manned drink stations including safety equipment
Start number and medal
Exclusive Polar Circle Marathon 2023 running T-shirt
Booking and Payment
The booking of a trip is binding for both customer and travel agency once the deposit (25% of the total trip price) has been paid at the time of booking on the booking.albatros-adventure.com website. The remaining amount, 75% of the total trip price, will be charged to the customer’s payment card as provided by the customer, 75 days before trip departure. Bookings made later than 75 days prior will require full payment immediately.
The email sent to the customer upon booking a trip acts as the booking confirmation. It is therefore of vital importance that the customer provides a valid email address.