The world’s largest island, Greenland is a captivating yacht charter destination in the Arctic for any adventure minded traveler. Just imagine cruising under the glow of the Northern Lights in the winter or the midnight sun in the summer, taking in a rugged, mountainous, and contrasting landscape that encircles the enormous Greenland ice sheet sitting at the heart of the isle. Greenland’s wildlife is just as rich as the topography and is extremely diverse: sea eagles, seals, whales, musk oxen, wolves, reindeer, and polar bears all call the island home. Whales can also be spotted swimming near land, particularly during the summer months and most commonly spied are fin, humpback, and minke whales.
Cruise through breathtaking Greenland fjords, get right up close to massive glaciers, go ashore and meet the Inuit natives, bathe in geothermal springs, visit the national parks, and bask in nature’s artwork as you gaze at the seemingly different designs carved into the icebergs—these are just a few examples of how your luxury yacht charter vacation in Greenland can become the adventure of a lifetime. My recommended route through this rugged beauty follows below.
Located at the eastern end of a deep fjord, the settlement of Kangerlussuaq was founded in 1941 when it was opened as an U.S. Air Force base during World War II. Americans remained there until 1992, and today, the Kangerlussuaq Museum explores the town’s history as a base and beyond. Located in an area that is abundant with local wildlife, it is also Greenland’s only direct access point to its signature ice cap, a definite calling card for travelers who wish to see a true wonder of the world.
Aasiaat welcomes you first with the charming sight of its colorful wooden houses. Located at the mouth of Disko Bay, Aasiaat is the ideal spot for kayaking, as come summer fin, humpback, and minke whales, in addition to bowhead, blue and sperm whales, all frequent these waters. It’s also the land of the midnight sun here, as the sun does not set from the end of May to the end of July.
QEQERTARSUAQ & DISKO ISLAND
Qeqertarsuaq town on Disko Island has a long and proud whaling tradition, and in keeping with that, a multitude of whales can be seen here in the summer. The Lyngmark glacier is the only place in Greenland for summer dog sledding. The experience is best in the seemingly never-ending light of summer evening hours, and the couple of hours it takes to hike to the top of the glacier is well worth the effort!
ILULISSAT & JAKOBSHAVN ICE FJORD
The fishing village of Ilulissat is perched at the edge of a 25-mile-long ice fjord that produces 20 million tons of ice per day. Naturally then, Ilulissat’s claim to fame is ice. With 37 miles of icebergs, the Jakobshavn ice fjord—a UNESCO World Heritage site since 2004—is considered one of the most beautiful places in all of Greenland.
Eqip Sermia, also known as the Eqi glacier, rewards adventurers with breathtaking views of one of the most photographed places in Greenland. The Eqi glacier is one of the most active glaciers in Greenland, and the odds of seeing ice fall from the enormous glacier are quite good. Though not as large as some other glaciers in the ice fjord, the Eqi glacier is more accessible that most, providing up-close views.
UUMMANNAQ & QILAQITSOQ
Have your camera ready and be out on deck as the ship approaches Uummannaq (which means “heart- like”), so named for the heart-shaped mountain that towers over the town. Here at your final stop, marvel at the traditional colorful houses perched atop the rugged terrain as you wander through town and reflect on an adventure like no other.