I inhale the fresh air while majestic blue icebergs calve out in the fjord.
Standing here in Narsarsuaq airport, the first word that strikes me is ‘grandeur’. I inhale the fresh air while majestic blue icebergs calve out in the fjord and flowering bluebells illuminate this verdant landscape. As I look over to the other side of the fjord to where Erik the Red had his farm, ‘Brattahlid’, it dawns on me why he called the country Greenland.
An unforgettable hiking trip
My backpack is bursting with provisions for three memorable weeks of hiking here in the summer warmth of southern Greenland.
We’ll be hiking to Qaqortoq and Narsaq before making a loop back to Narsarsuaq. It’s a route that offers impressive landscapes, small but colourful villages with their friendly inhabitants, cheap lamb, and a silence I’ve never before experienced.
Our group is made up of my mother, father, sister, and boyfriend. Along the way we meet a family with a one-year-old daughter and two retired grandparents. Hiking in southern Greenland is for people of all ages, provided that you come here with a passion for adventure and magnificent scenery.
It’s a route that offers impressive landscapes, small but colourful villages with their friendly inhabitants.
During our hike we find edible plants and go fishing in the many rivers that flow through this landscape.
Mecca for lovers of the outdoors
Southern Greenland is a hiker’s paradise. You’re free to do as you want and any form of civilisation is miles away.
You won’t find signs, markers, or even hiking trails here. You’re like an explorer off the beaten track.
In the evening we fry fish we’ve caught ourselves and flat bread on our camping stove. It never gets dark in Greenland at this time of year, so we’ve left our watches at home. We simply sleep when we’re tired and wake up once our batteries have been recharged. What a feeling of freedom.
During our hike we find edible plants and go fishing in the many rivers that flow through this landscape. I will remember one river particularly well. Lakseelv, which means “salmon river” in English, which is ironically teeming with trout. There were hundreds of fish, and in ten minutes we caught at least ten trout.
Kayaking Championship in Qaqortoq
During our trip we pass several Greenlandic settlements where smiles flow freely and where the locals show great curiosity.
Our arrival at Qaqortoq coincides with the Greenland Kayaking Championship, so the town is buzzing. That evening we watch the prizes being awarded and throw coins up into the air together with the locals to wish the winners good luck. Later we’re invited to a party at the hotel as the host’s friends are among the winning kayakers.
The Danish ship that brings supplies to the town hasn’t brought champagne for some while, so we raise a congratulatory toast using white wine instead. There’s also a barbecue with the other guests at the hotel. Two kayakers have caught trout from their kayaks, which are grilled over the barbecue much to everyone’s delight.
"The most impressing thing about hiking in Greenland is the silence – to hear absolutely nothing! There is nothing disturbing the nature. You just look and see and listen to the silence.”
- Nature Appreciator
“I walked in to the Ice Sheet and spent a couple of nights camping and hiking. It is quite different than anything I have seen before! You get there and then there’s just this vast Ice Sheet that forms the whole horizon! There’s nothing really like it anywhere else in the world!"
- Nature Lover
Kaffemik – a lavish experience
“Do you want to join me for kaffemik?” asks a shepherd when we knock to ask if we can pitch our tents on his sheep field. “Kaffemik” is the Greenlandic version of the Danish “kaffebord”, and can loosely be translated as coffee and cake in English. After several days alone in the wilderness, we suddenly find ourselves sitting bunched together with an entire Greenlandic family enjoying an abundant array of cakes. After days living off campfire food, fish, and herbs from the mountains, we hikers welcome this hospitality and all the cakes.
Greenlandic explorer Knud Rasmussen once said, “No country in the world offers the traveller such a profusion of experiences as Greenland.” Queen Margrethe of Denmark also once said, “No one who knows northern Scandinavia can escape feeling at home.”
And I can only agree. Greenland’s harsh, authentic, and wild nature has also taken me by storm. The feeling of freedom and craving for adventure bubbles within you in this landscape, and after returning home from the trip, I have to say that Greenland has well and truly captivated me. See you soon, Greenland – I promise.
Article by Katrine Dybkjær - Visit Greenland