Qasigiannguit offers the best of both worlds with plenty of outdoor adventure, but also strong cultural experiences.
Joining a cultural city walk when you first arrive will help you get your bearing and introduce you to the wonderful museum collection. Guided tours in Qasigiannguit will also allow you to meet the sled dogs to learn about their lives and their importance to the Greenlandic people, and also give you the opportunity to learn about the bright and intricate National Costume.
During winter, Qasigiannguit tourism operators offer the longest dog sledding adventures in the Disko Bay area. Local hunters and fishermen still travel in this traditional manner, and while a tour of a couple of hours (also available) will give you a taste of the experience, on a multi-day trip you can fully appreciate the unique bond between the musher and his dogs. Outfitted in warm, sealskin clothing these extended trips introduce you to the life of a Greenlandic hunter and may take you to the Saqqarleq Glacier, or all the way to Ilimanaq. They also provide some of the best Northern Lights viewing, far from the artificial lights of Qasigiannguit.
Ilimanaq – a setllement that can be reached from Qasigiannguit via boat or hike. Photo by Jessie B Evans
The endless days of summer are filled with hiking excursions and boat tours. Join a guided hike to local viewpoints as diverse as a waterfall, the beach of Kangerluluk (Paradise Bay), the point where Tasersuaq Lake meets the Eqalunnguit Fjord, and to the top of Qaqqarsuaq mountain for panoramic views over Qasigiannguit and Disko Bay. All of these trails are well marked and can be hiked independently, but you will miss all the stories and local knowledge of the guide who turns a standard hike into a rich experience. You can also do a supported thru-hike as an alternate way to reach Ilimanaq.
Getting out on the water is the other key element of a summer vacation in Qasigiannguit. Most people join a boat tour which allows them to visit Qeqertasussuk (where many of the artifacts in the museum were discovered), the abandoned settlement of Akulliit, or Kitsissunnguit – a group of islands where arctic terns and razorbill nest. Others prefer to go fishing, with cod, redfish, and halibut the most common catches (remember to buy a fishing license first). On any of these outings, you have the chance to spot whales and seals, or you can join a dedicated whale watching tour from Qasigiannguit that will take you directly to where these magnificent animals were last seen.
A whale safari in the Disco Bay. Photo by Mads Pihl
For the ultimate summer day trip, however, combine both water and land-based travel to visit the Saqqarleq Glacier. Bounce around the hinterland in a UTV, sail the length of the Tasiusaq Lake, crane your neck at enormous bird cliffs, and don crampons to step onto this slow-moving river of ice in a short glacier hike.
Finally, keep your eyes peeled for the musk ox that roam near Qasigiannguit. They are not commonly spotted on shorter hikes, but it is possible to come across them on longer hikes and musk ox hunting tour so it is a good idea to join a musk ox safari for the best chance to see these enormous animals. For hunters, it is also possible to trophy hunt for musk ox near Qasigiannguit.