That’s right, international.
You’re sitting in a small fixed-wing plane on the way to East Greenland, passing by the world’s largest fjord system filled with icebergs as big as high-rise buildings. This is when you realise that you’re about to land in Kulusuk International Airport.
That’s right, international. There’s curiously no cities or motorways visible, no obvious signs of a metropolis that you would find if you flew towards larger hubs like London Heathrow or Singapore Changi. You probably expected that anyway, it’s part of the lure of Greenland.
The smallest international airport in the world
Soon, you land. Kulusuk: it’s set on a small island by the edge of the ocean in the middle of an archipelago at the mouth of an active fjord system. A mouthful, but for the first timer all these ice-capped mountains, water and ice is also a lot to take in.
It’s one of the smallest international airports in the world with only a gravel landing strip, but the view still rivals the most magnificent of aviation vistas. You are literally positioned right outside nature’s doorstep and ready for adventure.
Kulusuk airport operates as the central hub for East Greenland. It takes in visitors who arrive from Copenhagen, Nuuk and Reykjavik or are transferring by helicopter to East Greenland’s largest town, Tasiilaq and other settlements.
You are literally positioned right outside nature’s doorstep and ready for adventure.
“I visited Kulusuk in the winter. It was very relaxing - I was there on weekdays, but everyday had a Sunday-feeling to it. There was no one rushing about, having things to do”
Kulusuk, the gateway to the East
Many explorers use Kulusuk airport as a base to launch their activities. They can be as extreme as crossing the Greenland Ice Sheet or as simple as hiking to the closest settlement of the same name. You can begin hiking or sailing in the summer under the Midnight Sun, or cross-country skiing, ski touring, snowmobiling, and dog sledding activities in the winter.
The village life is also of cultural interest. The township of Kulusuk was formerly one of the largest in the East Greenland area due to its plentiful hunting and fishing grounds. In fact, Kulusuk's one-word name means ‘breast of a black guillemot’ bird, a type of game readily available in the area.
In the past 30 years, the community has decreased in numbers by forty percent, leaving 250 inhabitants in the settlement. This does not mean there is less to experience, but rather that you might need some time and an open mind to explore the many layers of settlement life unfold at its own pace. Here strong drum dancing and bone carving traditions, and attractions like the museum and church offer a good dose of local culture.
One traveller said, “I visited Kulusuk in the winter. It was very relaxing - I was there on weekdays, but everyday had a Sunday-feeling to it. There was no one rushing about, having things to do”.
With the lack of artificial lights from a big city, Kulusuk is also a perfect place to watch the starry night sky and the dance of the Northern Lights. The longer you stay, the more you’ll feel the normal concept of time slip away - especially with the advent of long summer and winter nights. Then you’ll really begin to feel that you’re on a small island by the edge of the ocean in the middle of an archipelago by...
With the lack of artificial lights from a big city, Kulusuk is also a perfect place to watch the starry night sky and the dance of the Northern Lights.
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