Kangerlussuaq is a small town of only 500 people with two primary reasons for its existence:
1) It has some of the most stable weather in Greenland and so hosts the main international airport for the country, and
2) it is located closest to and has the easiest access to the Greenland ice sheet, less than 30 km away.
If you want to “warm up” in preparation for hiking the Arctic Circle Trail, there are two main day hikes out of Kangerlussuaq:
Or if you would like to save your feet, Albatros Arctic Circle‘s main summer tours are out to the Russell Glacier, Point 660 and a Musk Ox Safari. Kangerlussuaq also has a small museum which largely tells the history of the building of the airport and the important role it played during WWII.
With Greenland Outdoors, you can enjoy nature-focused tourism experiences (trekking, kayaking and camping) that are built on the founders’ passion for sustainability and local knowledge.
If you haven’t had enough of hiking, there are several beautiful day-hikes you can do from town.
- Palasip Qaqqaa is the most popular – a 3-5 hour hike to a viewpoint standing 551m above the airport and harbour.
- Nasaasaaq is more challenging – a 5-6 hour hike to the very obvious pointy mountain standing 784m above the town. This can also be done as a side trip from the Arctic Circle Trail. Rather than following the trail all the way into town, look for the cairn with both red and blue painted markers on it. You will see a trail leading off to your left up towards the mountains – this is the trail to Nasaasaaq. You can camp at the wide saddle just before the exceptionally steep final climb to the summit. You can then ascend in the evening or morning, depending on the weather. Be aware that the final climb to the summit is slightly technical and involves 2 ropes.
- The UFO trail – yes, you can hike out to a UFO from Sisimiut! This trail is 12 km each way and takes you through a different valley than the one you hike on the Arctic Circle Trail. It is an absolutely beautiful hike and quite easy, apart from the distance covered. If you want to shorten the walking distance, you can take a boat some of the way towards the hut. Boat transfers can be arranged through Hotel Sisimiut, Sisimiut Private Boat Safari and Sisimiut Tour Boat.
- Assaqutaq is an abandoned village about 10 km from Sisimiut. It is a gorgeous hike with the fjord on one side and the mountains towering above you on the other, and not without some small technical challenges to keep you on your toes (nothing major though). We recommend you arrange a boat transfer out to Assaqutaq with either Hotel Sisimiut, Sisimiut Private Boat Safari or Sisimiut Tour Boat and hike back.
There are also several walks on offer around the town (you can pick up descriptions at Hotel Sisimiut):
- Tele Island has interesting ruins, graves that are 4,500 years old, and an explanatory trail designed by Sisimiut Museum. It also offers amazing views back to the main part of Sisimiut and down along the coast to the south of the town.
- Hotel Sisimiut has also designed two walks to assist you in exploring the town itself. The “Town Walk” (6km) takes you along a beautiful coastal road that you would be very unlikely to venture out to otherwise, and their “Art and Culture Memorials in Sisimiut” walk (7km) leads you past granite carvings and other interesting cultural artifacts, many of which you would likely not find just wandering around.
If your feet are screaming “enough!”, don’t despair – there is still plenty to do in Sisimiut.
- Hotel Sisimiut offers a wide range of day tours during the summer including bike rental, sea safaris, jig fishing and ATV tours.
- Get rid of the sweat, dirt, bog, sunscreen and insect repellent by treating yourself to the Arctic Spa Experience at Hotel Sisimiut.
- Try greenlandic food at Hotel Sisimiut’s Traditional Greenlandic Buffet (Saturday evenings in summer and Sunday evenings in winter). If you’re not around on a weekend, head to the Taseralik Cultural Centre or Hotel Seamens’ home Sisimiut (Occasionally Greenlandic food is served)
- Visit Sisimiut museum, which focuses on the history of the area including 4000 year old archaeological artefacts of the Saqqaq people (the first inhabitants of the area). It also contains a collection of dog sledges from across the Arctic region and boats from Sisimiut’s shipyard.
- For those interested in geology, visit the extensive rock and mineral collection at KTI Secondary School. The small, family-owned shop Mersortarfik Panigiit specialises in sealskin but also sells many other souvenirs including Greenlandic rocks and minerals.
- Check out what’s on the Taseralik Cultural Centre – you may be lucky enough to catch a live performance of Greenlandic music!
- Go souvenir shopping at the Sisimiut Artists workshop, the “Pop-up” souvenir shop, Mersortarfik Panigiit, Qiviut (especially for products made from Musk Ox wool), Hotel Sisimiut and the Seaman’s Home. Or make your own Greenlandic souvenir at Hotel Sisimiut.