Uummannaq and its surrounding fjord is a photographer’s paradise that completely changes character, but loses none of its grandeur, as the seasons change.
During summer in Uummannaq, sailing trips will take you to where the Qilakitsoq mummies (Greenland’s oldest mummies) were discovered, to the brilliantly yellow “Arctic Desert” with rocks more than 1.5 billion years old, to nearby settlements, impossibly steep bird cliffs, actively calving glacier faces, and past icebergs that are at least as big as those found in Ilulissat.
Whale watching tours give you the best chance of getting close to these summertime marine visitors, and you can also go fishing for cod, redfish and other fish species that are plentiful in the waters around Uummannaq. Make sure you buy a fishing license first.
A sculptural iceberg in Uummannaq’s frozen fjord. Photo by Erez Marom
Back on land, and despite the small size of the island, there are several marked hiking trails. Often these lead to mountain lakes, but the most popular is the relatively short hike to Santa’s Cabin. For more experienced adventurers, it is possible to climb Uummannaq Mountain if you have the technical skills and equipment, and for long-distance trekkers, the nearby Nuussuaq peninsula and Upernavik mountains offer a wealth of options for hiking expeditions and are unknown beyond the local community.
When the sea freezes over during winter, the long wait for the large number of Greenlandic sled dogs tied up around Uummannaq comes to an end. Options ranging from 2 hours to several days means that everyone can travel as the Uummannaq hunters still do and experience this traditional form of arctic transportation. Take a quick dogsled on the sea ice near Uummannaq, visit one of the nearby settlements or glaciers, try your hand at long-line ice-fishing (halibut is the prize catch), or possibly even accompany a hunter as he searches for seals and small game.
Dog sledding back to Uummannaq. Photo-Aningaaq R Carlsen
Alternatively, get your adrenaline pumping and travel further faster on the Arctic’s modern form of winter transportation – the snowmobile. Or, if you want to travel in heated comfort – simply drive across the sea-ice in the latest 4×4.
Whichever way you choose to get around, don’t forget to look up, as the Northern Lights often dance brightly in the skies above Uummannaq.