Greenland should be experienced from the water! Go on a boat trip where huge icebergs float nearby on the water and hear the waves quietly caress the boat's hull.
Everywhere in Greenland, you can go on spectacular sailing trips to see the Ice Sheet and glaciers, look for whales, or merely sail from town to town. Greenland’s many beautiful fjords always offer dramatic nature; glaciers, steep cliffs, rivers and streams, rolling hills, needle-sharp mountain peaks, or icebergs. Being at sea is rarely boring! We offer boat trips all over the country.
Boat trips at Ilulissat
On Ilulissat Ice Fjord, you will experience a unique natural phenomenon, which is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The fantastic fjord with the ice-cold water and the large glacier at the head of the fjord is described in many other places on our website, so you can hardly have avoided hearing about it.
On a boat trip to the mouth of the Ice Fjord, you get to experience a special kind of grandiosity. Here, huge icebergs have settled at the mouth of the fjord. At this point, big icebergs get stuck on an underwater sandbank. The icebergs only move on when they have melted so much that they no longer encounter ground. They can also be lifted over the sandbank by large waves, coming from major calving of the glacier.
It is fantastic to sail among the icebergs. The officers on the boats come as close as safety issues allow, and you can fill your camera with amazing photography.
Try to go sailing in the daytime and, if possible, also in the evening in the golden glow of the midnight sun. It may sound a little extravagant to go on the same trip twice, but we know from experience that people have loved the diversity of the experiences.
There are other ice fjords in Greenland that are as impressive as Ilulissat Ice Fjord. However, the one in Ilulissat is unique because it moves so fast, and it is very easily accessible.
Boat trip to the villages of Oqaatsut or Ilimanaq
Isolated small communities are special in Greenland. They have internet and flat screens in the settlements, but life is lived at a different pace. Only two generations ago, most of the Greenlandic population lived in the many small settlements that lay like pearls on a string along the coast. Today, the majority of the population live in the towns, but around Ilulissat, there are still four settlements. Among these are Ilimanaq and Oqaatsut, also known as Rodebay.
The countryside is beautiful, and both settlements have beautiful old colonial buildings. The boat trip to both settlements takes approximately one hour each way, starting from Ilulissat harbor. You then get about two-three hours to walk around in the settlements. During the boat trips, coffee and tea are served.
Other Ice Fjords
Outside of Greenland, Ilulissat Ice Fjord is the most well-known. It is the most productive glacier fjord in the northern hemisphere, but you can also experience many other, beautiful ice-filled fjords. Of these, we will mention Sermilik on the west side of the Ammassalik Island in East Greenland, the ice fjords at Paamiut and Nuuk, Qoorooq by Narsarsuaq, and Sermilik (Bredefjord) and its many side fjords close to Narsaq and Qaqortoq.
Everywhere you go, you can go sailing with local people who know the fjords in and out.
Sailing in the pack ice
Sailing in the pack ice is not usually something one would aspire to do. Particularly not among the locals, because the pack ice can prolong the travel time noticeably, as you have to sail much slower. However, it can also be a beautiful experience when you sail in a good, safe boat.
The pack ice is a special phenomenon that you can experience, especially in East and South Greenland. Pack ice arises when the ice at the Arctic breaks up in spring and summer. Huge, flat ice floes now flow down the east coast and around Greenland’s southern tip, Cape Farewell and drift up into South Greenland. Here, the ice will eventually melt or drift to the sea in the Baffin Bay.
The pack ice consists of frozen sea ice of saltwater as opposed to the freshwater icebergs coming from the Greenland Ice Sheet. It packs up tightly where it appears, and it can be difficult and even dangerous to navigate in it.
We cannot stress enough that it can be dangerous to go too close to the ice, whether it is the Ice Sheet or large icebergs in the water. Beware, because there are untamed natural forces at stake here. When that is said, and you see it all from a safe distance, it is a sight you will never forget!
Boat trip at Qaqortoq
In Qaqortoq, you can go on a boat trip to the Twin Glaciers at the Greenland Ice Sheet near Narsaq. Along the way, you cross the wide Sermilik Fjord and the boat winds between the many drifting icebergs. On the other side of Sermilik, you find the Twin Glaciers in a side fjord to Sermilik.
At the Twin Glaciers, you can get off the boat and onto the cliff between the glacier. After a few hundred meters walk, you are in a spot where the glacier melts and breaks into pieces, and you can touch the Ice Sheet!
It is also one of the places where the locals clearly notice that the ice sheet has retreated in the last 30 years. In the 80s, the twin cubes calved directly into the fjord. Today, they break off the ice on land! But it is a wonderfully beautiful place, and you feel how small we as humans are when you stand right next to the giant Ice Sheet! On the way home, we sail past a bird cliff and a picturesque, small waterfall.
Boat trips in East Greenland
In Kulusuk and Tasiilaq, you have good opportunities to go sailing with our business partners. Trips are starting in both the village of Kulusuk and the town of Tasiilaq. The tours go, among other places, to the large Sermilik Fjord, located west of Tasiilaq in the strait between the island of Ammassalik and the Greenland mainland. Here, icebergs are usually not as big as the ones at Ilulissat, but the fjord is a lot more accessible as the ice is spread out more.
There are many other sailing trips you can go on in Greenland, so feel free to ask us for advice or read more about your destination elsewhere on our website.