7 things to do in Kangerlussuaq, Greenland

Kangerlussuaq

Kangerlussuaq is on the west side of Greenland, 200 km from the ocean and just north of the Arctic Circle. It is a village with a population of only about 500 people, but it is home to the island’s only international airport, where flights from Denmark are available year-round, so almost all travelers begin their acquaintance with Greenland from here.

Understand [ edit ]

Kangerlussuaq
Orig. Kangerlussuaq
Kangerlussuaq in 2010 (4).JPG
Useful information
Population 499 inhabitants (2016)
Time zone UTC-3

Kangerlussuaq isn’t much of interest on its own, but it is, like everywhere else in Greenland, embedded in the grand landscape between the fjord and the glacier, so there are plenty of opportunities for trekking, and in winter for all sorts of fun things like dogback riding. The northern lights are also almost guaranteed in the winter – if you’re lucky with the weather, of course. Kangerlussuaq’s climate, however, is quite good, with little precipitation. In winter, of course, it is cold: the average temperature is around -15 o C.

There has never been an Inuit settlement here, and some civilization emerged only in April 1941, when, after the German occupation of Denmark, the Allies, who needed bases in the North Atlantic, decided to prevent the occupation of the Danish territories of Iceland, the Faroe Islands and Greenland. In Kangerlussuaq, then called Bluie West-8 and later known by the Danish name Søndre Strømfjord, which simply means “big fjord”, the US army, in agreement with the governor of Greenland, built an air base in a few days. During the war, cargo from America to Europe passed through it, but the base did not have much importance – the main flows went south. In 1950 the treaty between Denmark and the United States expired, and the base was transferred to the Danish government, but at that time the Cold War was already in full swing, and the base in 1951 was transferred back to the United States, signing a new treaty. The population of Kangerlussuaq, which consisted mainly of military personnel and service personnel, reached 8,000 people at the time. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the military base has lost all meaning, and in 1991 it was transferred to Greenland (which at that time had already left the European Union and was given broad autonomy from Denmark), and almost all U.S. troops were withdrawn. But it turned out that the landing strip – almost the only one in Greenland – was capable of receiving large planes, and the base was converted into an international airport, which became the main hub of Air Greenland, and the remaining population redirected to tourism services.

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How to get there [ edit ]

By air [ edit ]

1 Kangerlussuaq International Airport ( Mittarfik Kangerlussuaq ). Greenland’s main airport. Here all year round and almost daily flights fly Air Greenland from Copenhagen, and in the summer sometimes from Reykjavik (not from the international airport, but from the city airport). In summer, Air Iceland flights are also added from Reykjavik (international airport). In addition, the same Air Greenland flies from here all over Greenland, in particular to Nuuk several times a day, Ilulissat, Sisimiut, Narsarsuaq and other airports. In summer, the terminal is open 24 hours a day. It houses a hotel with a restaurant, as well as a tourist office. sen 2019

By ship [ edit ]

In Kangerlussuaq there is a seaport, or rather a pier (a couple of kilometers from the airport, on the road that leads to the northern shore of the fjord), but there is no passenger sea connection, the passenger line along the west shore does not go there. In the summer, cruise ships sometimes enter the fjord.

Transportation [ edit ]

There is a regular shuttle from the airport terminal to the hotels, but if you are without luggage, it is easier to walk.

Attractions [ edit ]

1 Museum ( on the back side of the runway). Apparently the only cultural attraction in the area. The small museum tells the history of Kangerlussuaq since the founding of the military base. dec 2017

2 Church ( on the back side of the airstrip ). A wooden building of rather simple architecture, painted red. jan 2018

What to do [ edit ]

If you go to the track, take reasonable precautions. Always, and especially if you’re going somewhere for several days, you should know what you’re doing-either have enough experience or go as part of an organized group led by experienced people. Don’t go alone. Have enough food with you; be dressed for the weather and keep in mind that it can get cold quickly, and it is always cold near a glacier. Wear shoes with hard soles, ideally mountain boots. Take mosquito repellent with you. Count your strength – if you have never walked 15 kilometers a day, you can hardly walk 40 in Greenland.

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