Sailing to the Nuuk Icefjord
The Nuuk Fjord system is the second-largest in the world. It is a beautiful waterway that features tall mountains, a handful of small settlements (only one of which is permanently inhabited), and the opportunity to spot whales during the Summer months. Read on for a description of my ~160km journey to the end of the Nuuk Fjord where icebergs are born.
- Read the Ultimate Travel Guide to Nuuk
After several weekends of miserable weather, I was super-excited to head off under almost-blue skies towards Sermitsiaq, Nuuk’s iconic mountain.
We were not the only ones heading out
and the relatively mild temperatures (compared with my previous winter excursions into the Nuuk Fjord) encouraged us to sit outside for unobstructed views of the spectacular mountains that line the fjord.
Icebergs in the Nuuk Fjord
There has been a lot of iceberg activity around Nuuk recently – probably due to the very warm Spring we are experiencing. We came across several large icebergs along the way and our captain, Claus, took us for a loop around the biggest one.
A stop by Qoornoq
Our sailing route took us past the small, abandoned settlement of Qoornoq. Yes, I know it doesn’t look abandoned, and it isn’t – in Summer. The families of the people that used to live in the village have maintained the buildings for Summer cottages, and many spend at least part of the warmer months in Qoornoq. During winter (when I last visited), it looks completely different!
After floating and taking in the view near Qoornoq so we could enjoy a 20-minute coffee-break, we continued voyage deeper into the fjord. Large icebergs became more prevalent, and a solitary mountain marked the entrance to the icefjord.
Claus sailed us in for a closer look
to reveal a waterfall hidden within a crevasse
and huge numbers of sea birds nesting in the cliffs.
The Nuuk Icefjord
Given how early it was in the season (beginning of May), we couldn’t sail too far up the icefjord itself before encountering more ice than our captain was comfortable in navigating. In particular, while there may have been a route through the ice on the way in, he was very conscious that the ice could close behind us and block our way out.
Still – the views were amazing, and I clearly have to come back at the end of Summer so I can get up closer to the massive glacier we could see in the distance.
There was almost no wind when we first arrived, and I had a field day taking pictures of near-perfect reflections of icebergs and the sky in the pristine glacial water.
While we were busy clicking and drinking in the views, Claus appeared with a table and lunch for us! Al fresco dining in a pretty amazing lunch spot I have to say!
In total, we spent just over an hour eating, chatting and enjoying the silence and serenity of this very special part of Greenland.
Heading home from the Nuuk Icefjord
We started the long journey back once the breeze found us, and it wasn’t too long before we were sailing against quite a strong headwind. So much so, that Claus decided to sail home via a different, but equally stunning branch of the fjord system.
We were welcomed home to Nuuk by bright blue skies, colourful houses and Lille and Store Malene – that two mountains that sit directly behind Nuuk and are extremely popular for hiking during the Summer and snowshoeing / cross-country skiing during the Winter.
I can’t wait for the next opportunity to head back into the fjord to explore!
Explore the Nuuk Fjord for yourself
If you are planning a trip to Nuuk, I recommend reading the Ultimate Travel Guide to Nuuk.
You should definitely get out on the water with one of the many fjord tours on offer. There are options that are based solely around the scenery (like this one that I did), and others that include fishing (some also have professional chefs cook whatever you catch for your lunch!), visiting an abandoned village, or experiencing life in a small Greenlandic community.
A million thanks to Claus, Nuuk Water Taxi, and my fun travel companions for an incredible trip!