Kangerlussuaq is a settlement on the west coast of Greenland near the end of a fjord of the same name. Its Danish name is Søndre Strømfjord, and until the early 1990's was home to a U.S. military base known as Bluie West Eight. The settlement and the airfield share a symbiotic relationship, with most residents being employed by it in one way or another.
The Greenland ice sheet begins at the upper end of the valley to the east of town and is a spectacular sight to behold. The ice sheet can be reached at the end of the gravel road which leads out of town from near the east end of the runway. The nearest point of ice is Russel's Glacier, about 20 kilometres from town, but the road is fairly flat so that the entire hike can be completed in a good Kangerlussuaq summer day, though it is generally more fun to take 2-3 days and spend some time near the ice, and perhaps continue further up the road to some of the lakes edging the ice, with small icebergs floating in them. Be prepared for colder temperatures near the ice, as it can significantly decrease the temperature of the surrounding air, and set up a constant daytime "ice breeze" of cold air blowing from the glacier. The image at the top of the article shows that glacier.
Kangerlussuaq is located under a spot known for strong auroral activity. Visitors during the winter months should be able to see spectacular displays of the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) at night. Kangerlussuaq's stable weather conditions give a 99% chance of visual between November and March.
Air Greenland operates scheduled flights between Greenland and abroad.. Air Greenland flies to destinations in Greenland and Copenhagen from Kangerlussuaq Airport, utilising Boeing 757 and Airbus A330-planes. Air Greenland is the only company flying between Kangerlussuaq and domestic destinations.
Arctic Umiaq Line launched a weekly coastal ferry connection between Nuuk, Kangerlussuaq and Uummannaq in Spring 2006.
The Norwegian line Hurtigruten uses Kangerlussuaq as the start and endpoints for their Disko Bay cruises.
As with most settlements in Greenland, ground transportation is very limited. Hiking maps of the area from Sisimiut to Kangerlussuaq are available from Scanmaps and small huts are placed strategically along the route. Some experience in hiking is necessary, as traffic is sparse, and trails disappear.
In the winter, the same route can be used for transport on dog sleds. Contact the tourist office to arrange a trip.
The cafeteria at the Kangerlussuaq Airport is probably the largest of the few eateries in town. The cafeteria typically serves standard offerings such as sandwiches, burgers, curries, and other European fare. The 'AniButik Og Cafe' at the Polar Bear Inn located near the Science Housing Facilities on the South side of the town has great food. They serve authentic Thai food, curries, burgers, and their famous hot dogs. There is a take-away pizzeria opposite the airport terminal, next to the Post Office.
The 'upscale' restaurant adjacent to the main airport cafeteria (located through the far doors at the end of the cafeteria) is quite pricey, but, offers Very delectible native Greenlandic meals with Reindeer, Musk Ox etc along with a nice glass of wine which is hard to come by.
Thanks to undersea fiber optic cable links to Europe and broadband satellite, Greenland is well connected with 93% of the population having internet access. Your hotel or hosts (if staying in a guesthouse or private home) will likely have wifi or an internet connected PC, and all settlements have an internet cafe or some location with public wifi. Ask around if you need help finding it.
See also: International Telephone Calls
The international telephone code for Greenland is 299.
Tele Greenland is the only telephone and internet provider. Mobile phones have coverage in all larger villages, including 3G internet access. The mobile phone system in Greenland is GSM 900/1800, and with the exception of one or two settlements the system covers all the inhabited areas of Greenland. Note that roaming charges are international (as Greenland is outside the EU), and much higher than someone from EU would pay inside EU.
Post Greenland is the company responsible for postal service in Greenland. It has reliable services, but as you might imagine, it takes a while for your letter or postcard to arrive. Post offices can be found in all major communities in Greenland. Business hours are typically Monday-Friday 9:00am-3:00pm. Mail from Greenland takes about four to five days to reach Europe.
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