About the Author
Hilda Madsen, a native of Ittoqqortoormiit who now lives in Tasiilaq, serves as the one of the welcoming faces at the town’s tourist information. Despite the shift in her locale, Hilda’s heart remains deeply rooted in the East coast of Greenland, an area she passionately calls home. Her love for her homeland is matched by an equal enthusiasm for her job, where she engages with tourists from across the globe. For Hilda, each interaction is an opportunity to learn about different cultures, customs, and people, while also sharing the breathtaking beauty of East Greenland.
The Wonders of Scoresbysunds Fjordsystem
Nestled in the northeastern corner of Greenland lies the town of Ittoqqortoormiit, the northernmost settlement on the East Coast. Founded in 1924-25 by the people from the Tasiilaq area, Ittoqqortoormiit, lying 847 km away from Tasiilaq, is an embodiment of a resilient community thriving in extreme conditions. This itinerary, curated by Hilda Madsen, a native of Ittoqqortoormiit, aims to provide a quintessential Greenlandic experience in this town brimming with rugged landscapes, unique wildlife, and rich history. As you traverse through this mesmerizing landscape, remember that the weather here can change rapidly. Always carry a satellite or cell phone, a GPS for navigation, a rifle for defense against wildlife, and warm clothes. Equip yourself with a good pair of hiking boots and a binocular, and most importantly, carry the spirit of an adventurer ready to embrace the splendid wonders of Ittoqqortoormiit.
Day 1: Arrival and Acclimatization
Welcome to Ittoqqortoormiit, a land where the colorful houses starkly contrast the icy landscape. On your arrival, settle into the cozy confines of the local guesthouse, a humble abode that promises warmth and comfort. Take a leisurely stroll around town to acquaint yourself with its charming simplicity. Let the tranquil rhythm of this small town envelop you as you prepare for the upcoming adventures. Relish the freedom of slow travel, relax, and immerse yourself in this Arctic haven.
Day 2: Visit to Walrus Bay
As the Arctic sun shines brightly, begin your day with a refreshing walk to the Walrus Bay, an idyllic spot adorned with an endless sandy beach stretching towards Kap Hope. Halfway through the trail, you’ll encounter the rustic charm of Emiilaaiva, a quaint hut that is a beacon of solace for many wanderers. In the summer, the bay transforms into an Arctic Riviera, the blue sea and the harmonious hum of locals fishing for Arctic char create a picturesque scene. History enthusiasts can explore the ruins of an American base established post-World War II, a stark reminder of the area’s past. A stroll around the bay promises sights of diverse wildlife, including the occasional musk ox and polar bear. Equipped with a new road linking the town and the bay, it’s a about half an hour walk. And if you desire a night under the stars, you can camp along the bay with a license arranged by the tourist office. The bay is also home to arctic flora, berries, and even mushrooms, offering nature lovers a chance to delve into the region’s biodiversity. After a day packed with exploration and lunch at the beach, you return to your guesthouse and end the day with a warm meal.
Day 3: Change of perspective
For day three, a boat trip organized by Nanu Travel is on the agenda. Be prepared to venture through the seemingly endless fjords, seeking out the elusive musk ox and a variety of bird species that call this region home. As you navigate the fjords, brace yourself for the breathtaking vistas that encompass you—a sight that will remain etched in your memory. Enjoy your lunch pack with some warming coffee ashore in one of the fjords, your guide and boat captain will know the right spot for a break.
Day 4: Local Sights and Greenlandic Food
On the fourth day, step back in time as you visit the local museum, which showcases historical costumes, tools, and photographs that narrate the tale of a life lived in isolation and harsh conditions. The local church, with its stark simplicity and spiritual ambiance, is another must-see. In the afternoon, experience a traditional Greenlandic meal at a local’s home. Revel in the hearty dishes crafted from local ingredients, providing you with an authentic taste of the region. As evening draws near, meander among the brightly colored houses that dot the town, absorbing the serene atmosphere of Greenland’s most isolated settlement and retreat to the Guesthouse for the reminder of the evening.
Day 5: Hike to Kap Tobin
Gear up for an exhilarating hike to Kap Tobin, an abandoned settlement, which is less than kilometers from Ittoqqortoormiit. But don’t underestimate the hike due to its distance. This trek, though challenging, rewards you with magnificent views and unique experiences. The terrain is demanding and requires crossing a waterfall and the tele mountain, with the highest point on this route being 270 meters above sea level. Arm yourself with a satellite or a cell phone, a GPS, and a rifle for safety against polar bears—a frequent sight in these parts. Upon reaching Uunarteq, you will witness vestiges of old Inuit stone huts and a small hot spring, which is the warmest in Greenland at 62 degrees Celsius. Spend the night in a tent under the Arctic sky, with a local service building offering essential facilities such as a shower, toilet, and kitchen.
Day 6: Boat Trip to Kap Hope and Back
On your last full day in Scoresbysund hope onto a boat to explore more of the area. From Kap Tobin you will head to Kap Hope. These waters are a haven for wildlife, and you might even spot a rare species or two. Soak in the surroundings in all its glory before you return to Ittoqqortoormiit. Upon your return, spend your last night reminiscing about the unforgettable adventures you’ve had, before setting off on your journey home the next day.
As your East Greenland expedition of the Fjordsystem in and around Ittoqqortoormiit concludes, you leave with a heart filled of adventure and unique encounters. Tales of adventure, lasting memories of the beauty of this spectacular environment. Once last glimpse on this vaste land of steep mountains and endless fjords before heading back to Iceland.