Jagged peaks and endless glaciers hide little-known Maniitsoq - a whale watching paradise and home to rich bird life, pristine rivers and the Eternity Fjord.
Maniitsoq has 2 main supermarkets – Brugseni and Pisiffik – in the centre of town. Smaller versions of these supermarkets can be found in other residential areas.
It is best to bring any outdoor/camping equipment with you as options are limited in Maniitsoq. Try the two supermarkets (don’t forget to look upstairs) for camping gas, dried trekking meals, and basic camping gear. Have a look in Rita Sport if you need an extra layer of clothing.
Souvenir shoppers should head to the Hotel Maniitsoq, which offers a variety of different products, or across the road to the yellow workshop where you may find master carvers creating tupilaks, jewelry, and other items.
Soaring mountains that have yet to be explored, innumerable glaciers, and deep fjords characterise one of the most impressive and wild regions of West Greenland. Mountain lovers and adventure seekers are drawn to the rugged beauty of the Maniitsoq area, which also offers rivers teeming with Arctic Char, vertical cliffs filled with birds, excellent whale watching (including from town), some of the best first-runs in the world for heli-skiers, and boat tours that visit an endless number of remote glaciers hidden in the fjords. Still relatively unknown, you are likely to see few (if any) other people making Maniitsoq a great destination for those looking for new adventures.
Maniitsoq as a town has a lot of character and highlights. Climb to the top of any of the many staircases in Maniitsoq for incredible views over the town and gorgeous photography opportunities.
Maniitsoq is located on the west coast of Greenland, about 140km north of Nuuk. It is easy to get there as the town has its own airport with flights from Nuuk and Kangerlussuaq, and is one of the stops along the route of the Sarfaq Ittuk passenger ferry. You can also travel with the fast boat shuttle that runs between Nuuk and Maniitsoq from May to November, and which also offers year-round boat transfers to nearby settlements.
The best times to visit Maniitsoq are February – April (skiing in all forms, snowshoeing, northern lights) and June – October (whale watching, boat tours, hiking, fishing).
The main part of Maniitsoq is quite compact and most people simply walk wherever they want to go. However, there is a bus service with a set route that calls past each stop every 20 minutes (more frequently for some stops during peak times), and there are also plenty of taxis. A taxi is also the best way to get from your arrival point into town – the number is +299 52 08 44.
For excursions in the area, the most common way to get around is with a boat (all year). In summer the other option is on foot, and in winter it is possible to travel via snowshoe, ski, or snowmobile.
There are two main accommodation options in Maniitsoq, ranging from a 3-star hotel with panoramic views over the fjord through to basic, shared accommodation. All are located close to the centre of town.
Maniitsoq is the gateway to the tallest and most impressive mountains on the West coast of Greenland. It is world renowned amongst heli-skiers and has attracted several of the world’s richest people and biggest brands over the years. It is also the perfect winter playground for cross-country skiers, ski tourers, and ski mountaineers with summit to sea skiing and untouched first runs.
During summer, the impressive peaks emerge from under metres of snow to reveal glaciers in almost every valley. A sailing trip to explore the majestic Eternity Fjord or the even closer Sermilinnguaq Fjord often includes whale sightings, abundant bird life, tall waterfalls and endless views of ice and jagged peaks. Or you can plan your own sailing trip with a boat charter from Maniitsoq.
Alternatively, head out on a whale watching tour where the captain specifically takes you to where these gentle giants (primarily the playful Humpbacks) were last seen. Although the boats always maintain a respectful distance, they offer the best way to get as close as possible and you may be lucky and have a curious whale swim right up to you.
The beautiful backcountry around Maniitsoq offers a wealth of opportunity for hikers and snowshoers. Day hikes on Maniitsoq Island and extended expedition routes are possible, with a handful of marked, but largely off-trail routes for experienced (or guided) hikers departing from Maniitsoq itself.
Finally, for people who enjoy river fishing, the pristine rivers around Maniitsoq offer some of the best Arctic Char fishing in the country. Staying for several nights at a comfortable fishing hut, you can enjoy the luxury of having a prime fishing spot to yourself and catch fish that weigh as much as 5kg. Remember, you must purchase a license before you start to fish.
In between whale-watching tours, skiing trips, or boat tours into the majestic fjords, there is still plenty to keep you occupied around Maniitsoq.
The four restored, historically important buildings of the Maniitsoq Museum introduce visitors to several talented artists from the Maniitsoq area (painters and carvers) and provide an opportunity to learn about the history of Maniitsoq and of Greenland as a whole.
Visit the artisans at the yellow workshop across from the Hotel Maniitsoq to discover their latest creations and perhaps make a direct purchase.
Climb to the top of any of the staircases of Maniitsoq (they are all public access even though they lead to private houses) for birds-eye views over the town, fjord and mountains. Particularly popular is the 470 stair climb to the “Eiffel Tower” (Sakkortusaavik) with its 360-degree panoramic views. Alternatively, a relatively easy hike of a couple of hours will take you through the surprisingly green flower valley hidden just behind it.
Take a picnic and relax on the benches at any of the viewpoints known as Nasiffik (there are three – Annertusoq, Tunoqqusaaq, Tikaasat). Whales come very close to Maniitsoq during the summer and you can clearly see and sometimes even hear them spouting as they surface.
Rug up in your warmest clothing and find a dark spot from which to watch the northern lights playing overhead (winter).
There are a handful of local dining options in Maniitsoq covering a broad range of food styles. Fine restaurant dining, Asian-style dishes, and fast food are all options, or you can simply buy ingredients from one of the supermarkets and make your own picnic.