I have just spent 10 lovely nights in Sisimiut! In my opinion, Sisimiut is quite an easy town to be a tourist in. It is easy to get to/from, and it is easy to find information once you arrive. You can get to/from Sisimiut by Air Greenland flights, by the 160 km Arctic Circle Trail, and by the Arctic Umiaq Line ferry, Sarfaq Ittuk. It seems that most tourists take advantage of these opportunities to be quite mobile. In Sisimiut, there are choices for accommodations, excursions, shopping, and local hangouts, but not so many that you feel like you are missing something perhaps. Information about excursions is readily available at all of the accommodations, and arrangements can be made on the spot.
Sisimiut is commonly the end point for trekkers who do the Arctic Circle Trail, so tourists and locals both help create the relaxed and quiet atmosphere. For those who want to relax in town, there are a number of nice cafés and shops to discover as well as the culture house, called Taseralik, the Arctic Technical Centre, and the Museum. For those who are looking for more activity, there are daytime sailing tours, helicopter flights, and two mountains close by to hike (551 – 775 meters / 1,808 – 2,543 feet). Finally, for those with a special interest in fishing, Sirius Greenland has two field camps where you can fish for all the Arctic Char your little heart desires! They can even help you with SCUBA diving! And of course, for those who want to get away from it all and enjoy the sounds of silence, the backcountry of Sisimiut is your oyster!
(From 30 April 2013) I had often heard East Greenland called the “forgotten side” of Greenland – so few residents, such harsh landscape, and all the way across that huge Ice Sheet! One might get the impression that it is a totally different country over here. Well, I am here to dispel that myth! At the end of the day, East Greenland is still Greenland! There are still quaint settlements to explore by boat, dogsledge, snowmobile, or ski (depending on the season). There are still smiling and happy people that provide great company and the most genuine service. There aregradual hills, steep mountains, and valleys of flowers to walk through or climb up, whatever you fancy. There are deep fjords with such still, striking blue water that you swear you are in a dream. And all of that is just 2 hours from Reykjavik, Iceland! So, “forgotten side”? Not quite!
I will make this post for the sake of keeping with the theme of this blog, but to be perfectly honest, Ilulissat does not need my help as far as promoting the town as a tourist destination! At all! So without any further ado:
Weather gods, Ice gods, etc. permitting… winter/spring in Ilulissat can offer you four of the Big Arctic Five aspects: Pioneering People, Icebergs, Northern Lights, and Dogsledding. Summertime can offer you three: Pioneering People, Icebergs, and Whales. But… keep in mind that Ilulissat, and also the entire country, is ALWAYS at the mercy of the environment and nothing is a guarantee. There is a Greenlandic word – immaqa – that translates to “maybe”. People do not always use it with the best intentions, but I choose to use it here in a positive way to prove my point. This spring (March/April) the temperatures have been so atypically warm that the normal winter tourism activities have had to adapt. Some dogsledge tours have had to reroute or reschedule because of thin snow cover. There has been a lot more free ice in the water so sailing tours have been more like “ice road truckers tour[s]”, so said one American tourist. Also, there are no farms or zoos or Sea Worlds in Greenland. Whales are wild animals, so people cannot just order that they jump out of the water right in front of them. The skies may be cloudy so perhaps the Northern Lights are not visible… About the only thing that can be counted upon as a constant is that there will always be Pioneering People here in Greenland who absolutely LOVE this country and who want to share it with others! And I suppose you can also count on there being icebergs as long as there is Inland Ice, and that is not going anywhere anytime soon!
So MAYBE you can check off all your to-do’s when you are in Greenland, but if not, I am willing to bet that simply being surrounded by breathtakingly beautiful people and landscape is enough to make you happy to be on this Earth 🙂
Kangerlussuaq is more than just the busiest airport in Greenland; it is a great winter bang-for-buck destination where you can experience 4 of the Big Arctic Five attractions – the Inland Ice, the Pioneering People of Greenland, Northern Lights, and Sled Dogs! There are also a few restaurants where you can dine on traditional Greenlandic specialties served in a modern gastronomic fashion. And, if you are the wandering type, just step out your back door and take your pick of walks along the mountains. The panoramic views from the fjord to the Inland Ice are truly one of a kind on Greenland’s west coast!
With a good book to pass the time between the day’s activities and dinner or Northern Lights watching, one could easily spend 5-6 nights here. But, if you like being on the go from one activity to the next, you could make Kangerlussuaq your next long weekend destination!
As for me, after 17 nights here, I am ready to move along to my next destination – Ilulissat!