Qaanaaq is Greenland’s northernmost town and is unlike any other Greenlandic town. It slopes gently down to the sea and features roads that are straight as an arrow with small houses lined up in rows.
The Qaanaaq area is the place to visit if you want to get really close to the Greenlandic Inuit culture. In fact, the settlement of Siorapaluk is one of the world’s most northerly settlements. Here the word authentic takes on a particular meaning. The landscape is very different and the conditions for family life are tough. You go to the Pilersuisoq supermarket to buy what the season demands and what you need to survive. The inhabitants are living examples of a hardy population that manages to react to the challenges thrown at it by life and the prevailing circumstances. Over the centuries the inhabitants in the town and settlements have survived by hunting sea mammals and polar bears – and they still do so today.
A HARSH WONDERLAND
Qaanaaq is found under the shining star known as Ultima Thule. The surroundings are harsh and the views are more spectacular than you could ever imagine. It’s here you’ll find kamiks, adroit kayaks, bearskins and skulls on racks, midnight sun, pitch black nights and the magical northern lights. Step into this universe, meet the Inuit and learn about a very different way of life. Remember to visit the white house that contains Qaanaaq Museum. It was from here that seven of Knud Rasmussen’s Thule expeditions began.
The town slopes down to the sea. The roads are dead straight and the houses are organised in rows. New houses and modern houses are beginning to appear on the slope. It’s not like any other town, and no other towns have experienced a similar development in their history.
In 1952 the Americans established Thule Air Base, which was extended just a year later. This had an impact on the original population from the settlement at Uummannaq, which was forced to move 100 km further north to the new town of Qaanaaq.
DID YOU KNOW?
- The range of goods in the shops changes throughout the year to match the needs of hunting families. Supply ships only visit the northernmost part of Greenland two or three times a year.
- ‘Ultima Thule’ is an old designation for the position furthest to the north, a point which moved as the world was gradually charted more accurately.
- Ultima Thule Husflidscenter is known and treasured in Greenland for its fine handicrafts. Tupilaks, animal skin gloves and jewellery made from walrus tooth and reindeer antler are found here.
- Stay at Hans og Grete, a nice hotel with a view of the sea and the ice. It’s also here that the town’s only restaurant is found.
- There are only a few organised excursions. Go on a dogsled trip lasting several days and sleep in tents. In the summer you can paddle by kayak or sail in a boat to the settlements.
- Experience millions of little auks. The area is famous for its bird cliffs.
- Just 30 km separate Greenland and Canada.
Experiences in Qaanaaq
Here you can get close to the Greenlandic Inuit culture, the harsh climatic conditions and enjoy magnificent views that’ll blow your mind. The town slopes gently down towards the sea and has dead straight roads with houses neatly lined up in rows.
Transportation to Qaanaaq
How do I get there?
Serviced by DASH8 and helicopter
From Copenhagen we head to Kangerlussuaq. From here you fly Kangerlussuaq-Ilulissat-Upernavik-Qaanaaq. We fly this route twice a week.
How do I get around?
Put on your walking boots and discover the town on foot. In the summer, you can sail with the local boats to the settlements. In winter, you can experience the town and Qaanaaq’s surroundings on dogsled or skis.