Summer in the Far North | Qaanaaq
At the northernmost town of Greenland, the sun circles high above your head all day and night, from April to August. Large glaciers tumble down into the sea. This is one of the few places in Greenland where you may have a chance to see narwhal, the legendary whale with a tusk like the unicorn. A local hunter who knows the wildlife, weather conditions and culture of this area intimately, will welcome you to life in the High Arctic. Click on the Itinerary tab to read more information about each day of the tour, and then reserve your place on this exploration of North Greenland by clicking on Book Now.
Arrival to Qaanaaq
Your flight from Ilulissat will take you over Melville Bay, with the inland ice on your east and countless icebergs below. You may be able to spot the heart shaped mountain of Uummannaq, the towering rock of Kullorsuaq, and the flat mountain-top beside Pituffik.
Upon arrival, we will pick you up at the airport. Settle in to your accommodation, and explore the small town. In front of the supermarket, which also serves as post office and bank, there are always people meeting, talking or just enjoying the sun. Walk along the beach, where there are kayaks, meat racks, and dogsleds parked for the summer. Hunters arrive and depart in their boats at high tide, and children are playing around.
We will have a short meeting with the hunter, who will take you out tomorrow.
To the northernmost settlement
Siorapaluk, the northernmost settlement in Greenland, is 60 km to the north. By boat, we sail past icebergs, and explore one of the fiords on the way. The first fiord to the north is summer fishing grounds for Arctic char. Locals set up their tents, take care of their nets, and enjoy the summer days with children and grandparents. The next fiord has several nesting grounds for little auks. The mountains are lush and green here, because the birds fertilize the land.
The settlement of Siorapaluk has about 40 residents. Siorapaluk means beautiful sand, and the beach in front is pure white sand. You will be a guest at the hunter’s house here.
The fiord of Siorapaluk
There are many ways to enjoy the summer here in the High Arctic. We will follow your interests and have a good time together. The following are some examples of how you can spend the day.
The glacier at the bottom of the fiord is a beautiful place. You can spend a day in the fiord, watching out for seals, listening to icebergs and glaciers, and stretch your legs on a walk to get a nice view over the fiord.
A half an hour walk or 5 minute boat trip will take you to nesting grounds of little auk, where thousands of birds fly together, forming a black cloud that changes shape every second. There are usually locals here catching the birds with a big net. They are preserved as traditional food, that will be a treat at Christmas.
Just walking along the beach in either direction from Siorapaluk is also a nice way to spend the day. Bring lunch with you and enjoy a beautiful day out in the nature. If you walk up the hills at the back of the settlement in early summer, you may see baby arctic hares hopping between the rocks and flowers.
We sail further north
We will sail north from Siorapaluk, as far as ice conditions allow. There are many glaciers on the way, and a good possibility that we will see seals sunbathing on the ice. On the horizon to the west, you will see the mountains of Canada in the distance. Past the westernmost point of Greenland Ullersuaq (Cape Alexander), we will take a look at the ice conditions. If there is a lot of ice we may have to return south, as our way back home can become blocked. If the way is clear, we will sail further past green hills and waterfalls, towards Etah.
Etah used to be the northernmost settlement of Greenland. There are people in Qaanaaq and Siorapaluk who spent their childhood here. Today some huts still stand and hunters come to hunt muskoxen. Take a walk to the glacial lake in the valley and you may be able to spot some on the way.
This night will be spent out in the nature. Depending on weather and ice conditions, it may be in a tent or one of the huts along the way.
A summer day in the Far North
Let’s enjoy the nature of the High Arctic. It can be a hike with views of glaciers and icebergs, a seal hunt, fishing for arctic char, photo tour, or anything else that interests you.
Return to Qaanaaq
Today we will return to Qaanaaq. But before we go back, we can either spend good time around Siorapaluk, or make a visit to the former settlement of Qeqertarsuaq. The scenery here is majestic, and some houses are used as summer houses or stopovers on hunting trips. You can visit the church and school building, the small cemetery, and the Inuit ruins not far from the settlement. Or if you like to enjoy the view from the boat, explore the coastline of the two large islands of Kiatak and Qeqertarsauq, and enjoy the many icebergs floating by.
The last day in Qaanaaq is free time. It’s a nice walk either towards the east or west along the coast, or if you go up the hill behind the town, you will have a great view over the fiord, and reach the icecap in 2 or 3 hours. The ice cap here is a gentle slope of ice with streams of ice cold glacier melt running down here and there. Be careful not to slip, and take a walk on the huge field of ice.
Enjoy your last night in the far north. The sun is up all the time, so you can take a long evening walk under the midnight sun. In August the sun starts to get low, so there will be beautiful colours at midnight.
If you will explore inside the fiord, take an optional boat trip to Quinissut. We will sail past the cliffs of Inuusat (meaning “like people”), rugged and steep with waterfalls and fantastic rock shapes that gives the place its name. When we cross the broad mouth of the fiord east of Qaanaaq, watch out - this is one of the places where narwhal frequently pass. Shortly after, we arrive to the glacier front where you might see some seals. We will land just beside the glacier and take a walk. The land here is beautiful, there are ruins of old houses, and great views of the glacier and icebergs.
Depending on the flight schedule you may have half a day or almost a full day. Some carvers in Qaanaaq are extremely skilled, if you are looking for a souvenir. Contact us if you need advice on this.
Enjoy the view on your flight back south. Now you know how big the icebergs you see below are. We wish you good weather!
Let us know if you would like to make changes to this itinerary, or extend your stay in Qaanaaq. We will make a program for you. If you wish to make a stop at Ilulissat or Kangerlussuaq on your way home, we will be happy to make arrangements. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Accommodation: 3 nights in Qaanaaq, 3 nights in Siorapaluk, 1 night in tent or hut
- Boat transport: 5 days from Day 2 to 6
- Local Guide: 5 days from Day 2 to 6
What to bring
- Sleeping bag
- Pocket knife
- Personal medication
- Food for the 5 day boat trip, if you have special preferences
- Layered clothing. Ideally, you should pack a thermal underwear layer (top and
- bottom), activity layer (e.g. hiking pants and shirt), insulation layer (e.g. fleece or down jacket), and outer layer of windproof clothing (top and bottom). You may not need all of this on any particular day, but you should have it available. You should always bring a windproof jacket, regardless of the weather.
- Warm hat, gloves, buff or scarf, gloves
- Sturdy shoes (e.g. hiking boots)
- Sunglasses, sunscreen & sun hat (depending on weather)
- Camera with extra batteries
- Day pack
- Water bottle
- A plan for your trip will be made following your wishes, and this will be discussed with your local hunter guide. Please note that the actual itinerary for this tour will follow weather and ice conditions. The final decision on what can be done each day will be made by your guide, who knows the local weather signs and has a network of information on the movement of ice animals and weather.
- Various arrangements can be added to this itinerary: Flight tickets, extra days in Qaanaaq, stays in other towns in Greenland, etc. Please inquire for anything that you need, by contacting us at email@example.com.
- For families with children, we have a discount. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.orgPlease contact us at email@example.com.
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