GATEWAY TO GREENLAND
The local saying goes that you are never without a friend in Kangerlussuaq, for you are always destined to meet a familiar face in this gateway to Greenland. All day long, travelers touch down in Kangerlussuaq to crisscross around the country and reach the rest of the world.
The lucky ones are the people who trade the buzzing transit hall for a spot in the hills where the loudest sounds are the thoughts in one’s own head.
“It seems in Kangerlussuaq that everything happens here. When we think about Greenland, we think about the Inland Ice and the dogs. To see both of those things, you have to come here!”
Discover that the only inland town in Greenland is really a diamond in the rough.
Look past the oddities of Kangerlussuaq’s military beginnings and beach-like temperatures in summer to discover that the only inland town in Greenland is really a diamond in the rough. A community with steadfast solidarity and a backcountry of the wildest degree stand here to put your adventurous spirit to the test.
GREENLAND ICE CAP
The Greenland Ice Cap is a mecca for travelers who wish to see a true wonder of the world. It is hard to believe that only a few decades ago it was inaccessible to most people. Like a mysterious and looming beast, the Ice Cap sent cool winds rolling down from its highest peak into Kangerlussuaq.
Fortunately the Greenland Ice Cap is easier to reach now, though it remains a force to be reckoned with. Watch as the glacier edge calves into river rapids below, leaving a jagged face of ice in its place. Or challenge your threshold for cold and spend a few nights camping on the ice while the wind whips around your tent. The opportunities to explore are diverse, but one thing is universal – nothing conveys Earth’s power like the Greenland Ice Cap.
Kangerlussuaq offers easy access to the Greenland Ice Cap, via a 25 km dirt road.
Kangerlussuaq and the 170 km fjord it rests on share the same name, meaning “big fjord”. The Arctic Circle crosses the fjord at its halfway point.
Kangerlussuaq was founded in 1941 when it was opened as a U.S. Air Force base. Americans remained there until 1992. Kangerlussuaq Museum exhibits the town’s history as an American base and afterward.
BREATHE THE BACKCOUNTRY
The appearance of summer foliage is the terrain’s invitation to traverse the hills and stand atop the mountain peaks. With an occasional herd of Arctic animals as the only cause for a traffic jam, solitude in nature is Kangerlussuaq’s specialty.
When the intense midnight sun has you wishing for a bit of relief, take refuge on the nearby waters. Kayaking in the fjord or along a string of refreshing lakes gives a whole new perspective on the vast Kangerlussuaq backcountry. Kayaking was central to Greenlandic hunting culture, and even though your adventure is purely for fun, channel Inuit hunters at sea as you slip into your kayak.
“Kangerlussuaq is a very special place because it is more or less only the airport. The town is not scattered around; there is not so much infrastructure. But it is amazing nature!”
“Kangerlussuaq reminds me of other remote communities I have been to. But then you get there and find that even remote places want take-away pizza and the convenience of a supermarket!”
A LIGHT SHOW OVERHEAD
When the nights become cooler and longer, the northern lights take their cue to begin a winter of light shows. It takes a bit of dedication to capture these cosmic dancers on film, but the Greenland Ice Cap and the colorful houses in Kangerlussuaq set the perfect composition. Sometimes dressed in green and other times in purple or red, but always enchanting, the northern lights illuminate the sky overhead.
Kangerlussuaq has more than 300 days of clear sky a year, making it one of the best places to see the northern lights which are visible between October and April.
Today, Kangerlussuaq has approximately 540 residents.