Taking a helicopter scenic flight over an incredible landscape is a bucket list item for many people. Having the opportunity to land on a remote mountain peak as part of that experience makes it even more special – and is a highlight for anyone on vacation in Nuuk.

Sermitsiaq mountain is one of the icons of Greenland’s capital city - Nuuk. It stands independently forming its own island in the Nuuk Fjord, and its jagged peak features in countless images. 

Sermitsiaq mountain at dusk from half-way up Lille MaleneSermitsiaq peak at dusk, as seen from half-way up Lille Malene

A common excursion is to sail all the way around it on one of the many Nuuk Fjord tours available. But for a truly unique perspective, and to tick off that helicopter bucket list item, you can also take a scenic flight and do a wild landing near its summit.

Air Greenland helicopter in front of the summit of Sermitsiaq mountain on a helicopter summit flight from Nuuk | West Greenland

View of one of the possible landing spots on the helicopter summit flight from Nuuk. The peak of Sermitsiaq is in the background

I’ve been fortunate enough to do this excursion twice – once during Winter and once at the end of Summer.  Both times were absolutely spectacular!

Taking off on the Helicopter Summit flight from Nuuk

The trip begins at Nuuk’s airport where the pilot starts by giving a safety briefing at the helicopter. Mostly, this is about knowing where the emergency equipment is located and also what not to touch or step on when entering and exiting the aircraft.

Passengers being briefed on the safely features of the helicopter by the pilot | Nuuk | West Greenland

Pilot briefing passengers before we climb aboard for the helicopter summit flight

Then, once the rotors have reached full speed – it is off towards Sermitsiaq. 

taking off from Nuuk Airport on the helicopter scenic flight to Sermitsiaq summit | Nuuk | West Greenland

Taking off from Nuuk airport - en route to Sermitsiaq

The trip only takes about 10 minutes. But depending on the weather conditions, the pilot usually does a couple of circuits of the summit to ensure that everyone in the helicopter gets an awesome view of the peak and further into the Nuuk Fjord.

Landing near the summit of Sermitsiaq

Then it is time to land.

It is not possible to land right on the peak of Sermitsiaq, so the landing site is actually the ridge just below the summit.

During Summer, this is fairly straightforward as the pilot can see exactly where he’s putting the skids down. During Winter, when everything is covered with a thick layer of snow, the pilot may have to hover and compress the snow several times before being sure that it is safe to land. Either way, doing a helicopter landing in the wilderness is definitely interesting, and not something many people get to experience!

 

Once the helicopter is safely powered down, you have about 20-25 minutes to run around exploring from your amazing vantage point.  During Winter, this means scrambling through what can be quite deep snow – so be prepared with appropriate shoes!

On a summit flight to Sermitsiaq during winter there is deep snow at the landing spot | Nuuk | West Greenland

Bootprints in deep snow during a winter landing at the summit of Sermitsiaq

Our Winter landing site was relatively close to where the ridge drops down into the Fjord. One of my favourite views from that trip was to stand on the edge with amazing views down to Nuuk and along the Fjord.

Person standing at the edge of the ridge looking down on The Nuuk Fjord | West Greenland

The view down to the Nuuk Fjord from the summit of Sermitsiaq

During Summer, our landing site was a little further in. Rather than heading back over to the edge, I spent the entire time enamoured with the large lake that is hidden in the bowl between the ridge and the peak.  It was completely covered in snow on my last visit so I had no idea it even existed!

The large lake that lies hidden between the ridge and the summit of Sermitsiaq on the helicopter summit flight | Nuuk | West Greenland

The large lake hidden between the ridge and the peak of Sermitsiaq

There were also spectacular views towards the mountains over in Kobbefjord – and it didn’t matter which direction I looked, the scenery (and the light for photography) was magical. If you have the chance – try to time your flight for just before sunset!

A glimpse of Kobbefjord and the mountains beyond from the helicopter summit flight to Sermitsiaq | Nuuk | West Greenland

View towards Kobbefjord and the mountains beyond

Taking off back towards Nuuk

You’ll find that 25 minutes in such an incredible place goes very quickly, but lifting off from this spectacular high perch is not the end of the helicopter scenic flight!

As part of your journey back to Nuuk airport, the pilot takes you for a circuit or two over the city of Nuuk itself. Depending on the pilot, this circuit may take you on a wide circle around the city

Wide aerial view of Nuuk as we circle it on the helicopter summit flight | West Greenland

Wide aerial view of Nuuk during a Winter summit flight. Sermitsiaq is in the background

or over the very top of of it.

Taking pictures of downtown Nuuk as we fly over on the helicopter summit flight | West Greenland

Close aerial view of Nuuk during a Summer summit flight

Either way, it is a great opportunity to explore the city in detail from the air – especially if you’ve been in town for a couple of days exploring.

One thing to note

Depending on weather – it may not be possible to land on Sermitsiaq. If this is the case, the helicopter summit flight will land near the peak of Kingittorsuaq– an equally fabulous destination with different views of the spectacular Nuuk Fjord.

Explore Nuuk for yourself

If you are planning a trip to Nuuk, I recommend you begin by reading the Ultimate Travel Guide to Nuuk. This comprehensive online guide outlines everything you need to know about Nuuk and makes it easy to find and book tours of all kinds around Greenland’s capital.

I highly recommend that you get out on the water on one of the many boat tours that explore the Nuuk Fjord, but also book a helicopter scenic flight with Air Greenland Charter to make your trip to Greenland even more memorable. The helicopter summit flight is absolutely worth it!

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