The climate is the obvious consideration when choosing the ideal time to visit Kangerlussuaq, located just above the Arctic Circle. From May to September, temperatures are relatively mild if not exactly balmy, hovering around an average of 10-12 degrees Centigrade. Mosquitoes and black flies can be an irritant in these months. From October through to April, temperatures in Kangerlussuaq start at 10 degrees below freezing and get colder, so specialist protective clothing and boots are a must. Daylight hours are also a consideration. In June, it barely gets dark at all, while in December there is less than two hours of daylight.
Kangerlussuaq is not a destination blessed with a multitude of flights, so ticket prices do not fluctuate much by season. Weather conditions from October to March can limit the number of flights able to land at Kangerlussuaq, so tickets can be marginally better value outside of these months. Greenland’s National Day is also the longest day, June 21, so flying in to Kangerlussuaq around this date can be a little more expensive.
Kangerlussuaq is a settlement on the west coast of Greenland with its origins in a US air base established in 1941. These days it is the island’s main transport hub and the site of the main commercial airport for international flights. Greenland’s outstanding natural beauty and unique climatic conditions are making it an increasingly popular tourist destination. For most visitors, Kangerlussuaq is the first port of call and its dramatic situation on the mouth of a 118 mile (190 km) long fjord is immediately impressive. Visitors drawn by the spectacular Greenland ice sheet can find excursions from Kangerlussuaq to the Russell Glacier, about 12 miles (20 km) away, by car or dog sled. Visitors who are not deterred by temperatures in Kangerlussuaq that can average around -20 degrees between November and March are rewarded by the spectacular celestial display of the Northern Lights. The clear skies and stable weather over Kangerlussuaq make viewing conditions ideal. Wildlife enthusiasts are also attracted to the region. Hiking through the tundra around the town offers opportunities to spot arctic hares, caribou, musk oxen and gyrfalcons, the world’s largest species of falcon. Alternative means of transport include snowmobiles or the hardy Icelandic ponies stabled in Kangerlussuaq. Adventurous visitors are also offered ice cave exploration, climbing and rappelling. Eating options are necessarily limited in such a small settlement as Kangerlussuaq, but fans of Thai food may be surprised by the authentic dishes on offer at the Polar Bear Inn. At Kangerlussuaq airport, the restaurant offers elegant Greenland delicacies including reindeer and musk ox steaks.
In the winter months from November to around March or April, four-wheel drive SUVs or traditional dog sleds are the only options for travel around Kangerlussuaq or excursions around the region.
Airport transfers are not a major issue at Kangerlussuaq as the settlement clusters around the terminal and most accommodation options are within walking distance. There are shuttle buses and taxis operating at the airport serving the town.
(prices quoted are from London)