Greenland’s northern lights and icebergs in Kangerlussuaq and Ilulissat

The nature in Greenland is simply exceptional, not least during winter. It provides the setting for numerous experiences in the snow and below the northern lights. On this tour, which combines two of Greenland’s most popular destinations, Ilulissat and Kangerlussuaq, you can experience northern lights, sled dogs, dog sleds, impressive icebergs, and lots of snow-clad rocks.

You have the option of planning your visit to Greenland yourself or purchasing our excursion package, which includes the most exciting experiences for you to try. Among these is a ride on one of Greenland’s most traditional means of transportation – the dog sled.

The Greenland Ice Sheet at Kangerlussuaq

Kangerlussuaq Airport is Greenland’s busiest airport, but do not be alarmed by these words. Most arrivals and departures take place in the course of a few hours. For the rest of the day, you are surrounded by a wonderful tranquillity and infinite masses of snow. You have plenty of options to have fun in the snow here. We highly recommend that you go to the Greenland Ice Sheet, which covers about 80 % of Greenland and is larger than France, Spain, Germany, and Italy combined. On your way to and from the Greenland Ice Sheet, you might spot musk oxen, reindeer and mountain hares.

The Ilulissat Icefjord offers UNESCO World Heritage

Following three eventful days in Kangerlussuaq, it is time to visit Ilulissat located on the world-famous Ilulissat Icefjord. In 2004, the Icefjord was listed by UNESCO as world heritage, which makes perfect sense. Icebergs may shoot 100 meters up into the air – a sight that you will not soon forget.

Below the fluttering northern lights

Even permanent residents in Greenland cannot get enough of the northern lights. Nothing compares to the experience of witnessing the incredible northern lights move across the clear and frosty night sky. It is such an incomprehensibly beautiful sight. (Please note that the nights are too bright in April to be able to enjoy the northern lights. Instead, the long, bright nights are coming).

 

Included

  • Return flight Copenhagen–Kangerlussuaq with Air Greenland
  • Return flight Kangerlussuaq–Ilulissat
  • Transfers
  • 3 nights at Old Camp (shared toilet and shower) in Kangerlussuaq (On departure January 31st 2020 you have 3 nights at Polar Lodge in Kangerlussuaq)
  • 4 nights at Hotel Icefiord with private facilities in Ilulissat
  • Breakfast
  • Food and beverage on both flights between Copenhagen and Kangerlussuaq
  • 2 briefings
  • 2 town tours
  • Towels and bedding at the hotel and the hostel
  • All taxes and fees introduced to Greenland Travel up until the present day
  • Contribution to the Travel Guarantee Fund
  • 20 kg of checked baggage and 8 kg of cabin baggage

Day program

Day 1:
Flight Copenhagen to Kangerlussuaq, briefing, sightseeing, and possibly a tundra adventure (optional)

We board Air Greenland’s red plane in Copenhagen and head towards the airport in Kangerlussuaq, Greenland. The flight takes 4½ hours and at the end of it awaits an eight-day winter adventure in Kangerlussuaq and Ilulissat. A guide from our local tour partner will greet you upon arrival and help you check in to Old Camp. Old Camp is located a few kilometers from the airport and offers casual accommodation with kitchen facilities, a recreation room, and a souvenir shop.

Note! On departure January 31st 2020 you have 3 nights at Polar Lodge in Kangerlussuaq.

When you have checked in and unpacked, the guide with give you a briefing. You will get information about the area, the town of Kangerlussuaq as well as places to eat and places to go. You can also have your pre-booked excursions confirmed or book excursions then and there.

After the briefing, we will go sightseeing in Kangerlussuaq.

Sightseeing in Kangerlussuaq

Kangerlussuaq is a former American airbase. Today, it is in Greenland’s principal airport. You will hear the history of the place. The base opened during the Second World War and was very active during the cold war before it eventually became a modern, civil international airport. The Kangerlussuaq area holds Greenland’s longest network of roads, and we will follow them to visit some interesting places – and of course, see the incredible Greenlandic nature.

After visiting the harbor to see the fjord, we will pass Kellyville – a small research village 12 kilometers from Kangerlussuaq Airport. We will also visit the town’s kennels where you can get close to the Greenlandic sled dog. This tour of the town is a great way to get a quick overview of Kangerlussuaq and its surroundings.

If you have purchased the excursion package, you will head out to the tundra after the sightseeing.

Tundra adventure (optional)

Kangerlussuaq is unique in many ways, and when it comes to terrestrial wildlife, no other place in Greenland can compare. Musk oxen have a unique and interesting history in this area, as the big animals were first imported to the area in 1967. The project has been a huge success; the animals have thrived there, and today, the stock is estimated to be 10,000-25,000 animals, which is one the largest stocks of musk oxen in the world.

The Arctic tundra is widespread, and the musk oxen are free to roam all over the area. We cannot guarantee that you will get very close to the animals, but the guide always brings binoculars, giving you a great chance to spot the large cloven-hoofed animals (or some of all the other wildlife in the area).

The evening is your own to spend as you wish. You can either cook your own dinner or try out some of Kangerlussuaq’s eateries.

Day 2:
Kangerlussuaq on your own or possibly dog sledding and northern lights excursion (optional)

During winter, Kangerlussuaq is a pretty cold place, and many pose for a selfie in front of the thermometer hanging in the departure hall of Kangerlussuaq Airport. It displays the outside temperature, which may crawl far below 0 degrees Celsius, but as they say: There is no such thing as bad weather as long as you are wearing the right clothes.

The Kangerlussuaq area offers plenty of things to do. As mentioned above, Kangerlussuaq has Greenland’s longest network of roads, allowing you to take many long walks to enjoy the tranquillity.

If you have purchased an excursion package, today’s itinerary features either a dog sledding and northern lights excursion or ice fishing. April is often too bright for northern lights, so if you arrive after March, you will go ice fishing instead. You will not miss out on the dog sledding, however. At this time of the year, we have just chosen to move it to Ilulissat in Northern Greenland where there is more snow in April.

Two-hour dogsled ride (optional)

Dogsledding is an integral part of winter in Greenland. At least north of the Arctic Circle, where Kangerlussuaq is located. Therefore, you will be trying out this ancient Inuit tradition. Not many means of transportation have existed for as long.

The basic principle of dogsledding is still the same as almost 1,000 years ago. The dogs are harnessed and hitched to a simple wooden sled. And away we go. The sled driver will take you across the thick ice on the fjord with his dogs to give you a taste of what a person from Northern Greenland would call the real Greenland.

Extended northern lights excursion (optional)

If you arrive January – March, you will spend part of the afternoon on a 1.5-hour lecture about northern lights and the starry sky, which is so beautiful and clear in Kangerlussuaq. After the lecture, you will learn how to capture the northern lights best using your camera.

When we have enjoyed our dinner, we will drive for about an hour on the road towards the Greenland Ice Sheet. Then we will stop, tilt our heads back and look for the northern lights with the Ice Sheet as a picturesque backdrop. After almost three hours below the night sky, we will end the excursion with a strong cup of Greenlandic coffee. In connection with this excursion, locally, you can rent a tripod for your camera for DKK 75 per day.

Day 3:
Kangerlussuaq on your own or possibly an Excursion to the Greenland Ice Sheet (optional)

Today is another great full-length day in Kangerlussuaq, which you can spend as you wish.

Excursion to Point 660 at the Greenland Ice Sheet (optional)

If you have purchased the excursion package, you will be going to the Greenland Ice Sheet today. We will visit Point 660, which is located 660 meters above sea level. On our way to the ice, the 4×4 bus will take us through a stunning and varied area. Near the Greenland Ice Sheet, we will pass an incredible moraine landscape, which is covered by snow this time of the year, but still a very impressive sight. When the road stops, we must continue on foot, and we will now step up onto the actual Greenland Ice Sheet. Here, you will be standing on the absolute largest ice cube in the northern hemisphere and the second-largest ice sheet in the world. The ice is wavy, and some places offer a look into the universe of the ice, which is not always white. When the ice becomes compact and void of any air bubbles, it appears to be almost black and blue.

Along the journey back and forth, you may be able to spot reindeer, musk oxen, and perhaps even mountain hares and foxes.

Day 4:
Flight from Kangerlussuaq to Ilulissat, briefing, and tour of the town

Today it is time to continue to Ilulissat where more adventures await you. We will travel on board one of Air Greenland’s red Dash 8 planes. After a 45-minute flight, we will approach the town from above the stunning estuary of the Ilulissat Icefjord and land at Ilulissat Airport. Here, you will be picked up by Hotel Icefiord’s bus and driven to the cozy hotel in Ilulissat, which overlooks the water. A guide from our local excursion office “World of Greenland” will hold a briefing to tell you about the town, the area as well as interesting sights and places to eat. You are welcome to book excursions at this time or confirm your pre-booked excursions.

Then the guided tour of the town begins. Ilulissat is the third-largest town in Greenland and is considered to be one of four the main towns along with Nuuk, Sisimiut, and Qaqortoq. People have resided in the area for 4,500 years, but the actual town was founded in 1741. You will see many buildings that carry traces of the past. The most famous inhabitant of Ilulissat is without comparison Polar explorer Knud Rasmussen who grew up in the building, which now serves as the local cultural, historical museum. You can look forward to an interesting tour of the town with plenty of useful information for the days to come.

This evening, just like the others, is at your disposal. The hotel has a great restaurant, and the town has a nice selection of restaurants and cafés.

Day 5:
Ilulissat on your own or possibly a Sermermiut hike or sailing on the Ice Fjord (optional)

Disco Bay is one of Greenland’s most popular tourist destinations. Mainly due to the ice but also because the place is home to a particular beauty, has numerous cultural sights – and because it is an excellent example of how Greenlanders welcome the new while upholding old traditions.

As you would have learned at yesterday’s briefing, there are plenty of things do on your own. Visit the sealskin workshop where artisans sew the most beautiful sealskin products and create arts and crafts items from bone, tooth, and reindeer points.

Hiking to the former Inuit settlement Sermermiut (optional)

If you have purchased the excursion package, day 5 will take you on a hike to the abandoned Sermermiut settlement. Sermermiut has been populated for thousands of years due to its incredible location near the Ice Fjord. Although the surroundings are particularly beautiful, it was not the view that made the Inuit settle here millennium after millennium. Instead, they stayed due to the rich hunting grounds and the Ice Fjord, which still supplies food both for the locals and for export.

The remnants of the 4,000-year-old settlement, especially the kitchen midden from centuries ago, have proved a gold mine of knowledge for scientists, and some of that knowledge will be bestowed upon you today by our guides. You will be walking on a constructed wooden pathway, thus minimizing the risk of sinking belly-deep into the snow.

Sailing on the Ice Fjord (optional)

If you have purchased this package, you are about to experience one of the tour’s absolute highlights; the boat trip out to the mouth of the Ice Fjord where you will be sailing between the huge icebergs that are stranded here. For thousands of years, the ice has created a large sandbank on which the colossal icebergs run aground. Sometimes, when the pressure of the ice becomes too high – or due to melting – the giant icebergs can push free and continue into the Disco Bay.

On today’s excursion, we will get near these enormous icebergs, and because they have run aground, the boat’s captain and the officer know their way around the frozen giants – always keeping a safe distance.

Day 6:
Ilulissat on your own or a Sermermiut hike or possibly Igloo Lodge (optional)

The day is at your disposal, and your options are once again plentiful. Many travelers love to go out into nature and happily take the same walk to the Icefjord several times to see if the icebergs have changed position or shape. You will never tire of doing so.

Hiking to the former Inuit settlement Sermermiut (optional)

If you have purchased the excursion package, day 5 will take you on a hike to the abandoned Sermermiut settlement. Sermermiut has been populated for thousands of years due to its incredible location near the Ice Fjord. Although the surroundings are particularly beautiful, it was not the view that made the Inuit settle here millennium after millennium. Instead, they stayed due to the rich hunting grounds and the Ice Fjord, which still supplies food both for the locals and for export.

The remnants of the 4,000-year-old settlement, especially the kitchen midden from centuries ago, have proved a gold mine of knowledge for scientists, and some of that knowledge will be bestowed upon you today by our guides. You will be walking on a constructed wooden pathway, thus minimizing the risk of sinking belly-deep into the snow.

Igloo Lodge (optional)

On days 6-7, you can experience a real igloo where you will spend the night and, from here, go on some unique excursions.

Our subsidiary in Ilulissat, World of Greenland, has been very successful with their summer lodges at the Eqi Glacier and in the settlement of Ilimanaq. Now, they also offer winter lodges in the shape of igloos. You will be taken on a snowmobile to the wonderful winter landscape where we hope to see the northern lights dance in the sky in the evening.

Here, at the foot of the mountains, you will spend the night in an igloo (with the possibility of staying in a heated cabin). Igloo Lodge consists of five spacious igloos, each of which accommodates two people. Reindeer pelts and warm winter sleeping bags are covering the beds. There are also candles on the bedside table, which means that the temperature is around the freezing point inside the cab. It is in stark contrast to the down to minus 20 degrees Celcius/Fahrenheit outside. The wooden cabin by the lodge is where we will eat our meals. In the wooden cabin, there is also an outhouse type restroom.

While staying at the Igloo Lodge, you are going on a snowshoe trip where we head to a vantage point, overlooking the Kangia Icefjord. The trip to Igloo Lodge itself is also exciting. You are driven on snowmobiles for about an hour into the Ilulissat hinterland with amazing views along the way. You will be met at the cabin with coffee and lunch. Afterward, you will go on the excursions mentioned above, have an afternoon coffee with cake, dinner, and evening coffee followed by a look outside to see if the northern lights are out. Then you will stay overnight in an igloo, and, in the morning, breakfast is served and, finally, there’s the snowmobile trip back to civilization.

Please notice: If you are interested in our outdoor package, please contact us by phone or email, so we can check if there is space at the time you want to go. As mentioned, the other excursions are also included in the outdoor package. However, if you choose the outdoor package, some of these other excursions will be moved to other days than mentioned in this day-to-day program.

Day 7:
Ilulissat on your own

This is your last full day in Ilulissat, so now is the time to get your to-do list sorted and make sure that you can tick off as many points as possible. Pay a visit to the market where local fishers and sealers sell their catch of the day and visit the cultural-historical museum or the art museum.

As previously mentioned, Ilulissat has several great restaurants, and perhaps you can visit one more of them on your last night here.

Day 8:
Flight from Ilulissat via Kangerlussuaq to Copenhagen

Catch the last glimpse of the Ice Fjord as Air Greenland’s Dash 8 take you from Ilulissat Airport to Kangerlussuaq. From there, you will continue to Copenhagen where you will be arriving in the evening.

Map

Kangerlussuaq

Ilulissat

Kangerlussuaq

Greenland’s northern lights and icebergs in Kangerlussuaq and Ilulissat

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per person in double room
2 days  | 1 nights Tour no: 7044 Departure from Copenhagen Guaranteed departure

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Flight schedule (local times)

Departure from Copenhagen 09:05 AM

Return to Copenhagen 8:00 PM

Please note that departure times are subject to change by the airline.

Not included

Lunch and dinner

Travel insurance

Upgrade to a four-hour dogsled ride

Included in the excursion package is a two-hour ride. At an additional cost, you can extend this to a four-hour ride upon your arrival. This is subject to weather conditions and vacancies. The latter is rarely a problem on these trips, however.

 

Practical information 

Find the packing list for your trip here.

 

Baggage included 

20 kilos of checked baggage

8 kilos of cabin baggage (max. dimensions of cabin baggage: 55 x 40 x 23 cm).

 

Travelers with reduced mobility and wheelchair users

Unfortunately, this trip is not suitable for people with reduced mobility and wheelchair users. Greenland Travel’s difficulty level advise on the excursions are intended for travelers who are not disabled. Of course, we are happy to provide you with information on the suitability of the trip, taking into account the needs you have. Please note that if you choose this trip based on a conversation with Greenland Travel, it is on your responsibility, as we do not have medical competence for advice.

 

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You are always welcome to contact us if you have any questions regarding your trip or if you need advice or guidance.

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You can call us at: +45 3313 1011