Ittoqqortoormiit is not quite like the other towns. For many guests, just getting to Ittoqqortoormiit is in itself an adventure, as the town is almost as far as one can get from any other inhabited area in Greenland. The closest neighbour is the world’s largest national park with the Danish Sirius Patrol as the only human presence in a vast landscape dominated by small game, birds, polar bears, musk oxen, reindeer, walrus and 18.000 kilometers of rugged, pathless coastline.
The city is furthermore right next to the world's largest and deepest multi-branched fjord system, and a special basalt rock formation with horizontal lines running through the cliffs, is quite different from other parts of the country, marking the transition to the even more desolate area of Northeastern Greenland.
For many guests, just getting to Ittoqqortoormiit is in itself an adventure, as the town is almost as far as it can get from any other inhabited area in Greenland.
- Ittoqqortoormiit was founded in 1925 with settlers from Tasiilaq and a few families from West Greenland, in part, by Danish territorial demands on Greenland.
- The town has a population of 450 residents and the main source of income comes from hunting and tourism.
- The town has one grocery store and a couple of small convenience stores.
- The nearby National Park is the largest in the world and within its borders is the tallest mountain in the Arctic region, the 3.694 meter tall Gunnbjørn’s Mountain.
THE OCEAN AND THE ICE ARE KEY TO THE TOWN'S EXISTENCE
Even though the sea ice blocks ship access to the town for about nine months of the year, Ittoqqortoormiit has nevertheless become an important cruise destination for small expeditionary vessels exploring the nature, wildlife and culture of Northeastern Greenland.
Hunting and fishing at sea are the only ways the community can survive; in addition, the sea ice is like a road providing new routes through the countryside. During early spring, when the sea ice is still thick yet the sun is high in the sky, many of the local people will go out for a weekend on dog sledding or snowmobile trips. Tent camps and camping life are the norm for a short while, a reminder of the spring experience you will have when going out on the land with local guides. These tours reflect how tourism has evolved out of normal everyday activities by the local populace.
“I kayak all around the world, but Greenland is number one – especially East Greenland, and especially the Ittoqqortoormiit area! The people there now – the hunters – have a good life.”
SUMMER AND WINTER IN ITTOQQORTOORMIIT
You can choose to up the level of adventure by joining long tours on dog sled out on Liverpool Land, north of the town, passing several huts of historical significance used for hunting or research. The huts hide a treasure trove of wilderness stories.
During the short but intense summer period, kayaks are available for renting. Both short trips and long hauls through the ice-filled strait by Ittoqqortoormiit provides access to the uninhabited settlements of Cape Hope and Cape Tobin, as well as to the inviting albeit somewhat chilly beach at Walrus Bay. Cape Tobin is also known by its Greenlandic name, Uunartoq, meaning “that which one burns oneself on” because it is the location of the hottest hot spring in Greenland. The water temperature in the spring is 620 degrees Celsius.
During the short but intense summer period, kayaks are available for renting, both for short trips and long hauls.