A flight to Ilulissat – West Greenland
An early morning approaches and with our breakfast bags in hand, we easily make our way from the city to Copenhagen Airport. Shortly after 9 AM we board the morning flight that will take us to the largest island in the world – Greenland.
With seat belts fastened and table trays folded up, we begin the first and about 4-hour long part of the flight to the small Greenlandic village of Ilulissat. On board the flight, expectations creep in and the tingle in the stomach grows when we hear the fantastic Greenlandic language spoken between the cabin crew and passengers. A few interesting short films about Greenland and its culture and a meal later, we begin our descent and the view outside the window now starts to get really exciting as we slide beautifully onto the runway in Kangerlussuaq.
Out in sub-zero temperatures to white mountain peaks and pastel-colored skies, Greenland welcomes us in the most charming way possible. The airport in Kangerlussuaq was built during World War II as an American airbase, but has been civilian for many years. However, the stop in Kangerlussuaq will not be a long one, as we will soon exchange our slightly larger plane with TV screens for a small propeller plane with room for only 30 passengers. Now we have a 45-minute flight to our final destination on the west coast of Greenland.
Once inside the small plane, we are welcomed on board with a warm smile from our flight attendant before we take our seats and watch the propeller on the wing start spinning. With a small jolt we are once again up in the air and this time it is impossible to take our eyes off the windowpane. Outside, white expanses, dark blue seas and winding fjord systems rise and as we approach the runway in Ilulissat, the sun has just made its way over the horizon.
We make a sharp right turn in the air and aim for the runway that runs parallel to the coastline and the small plane shakes as the landing gear folds out. When we get off the plane, we are once again struck by the fantastic light and fresh air that Greenland offers and we direct our steps towards the small arrivals hall or as the sign reads "Tikkitarfik". Now four exciting days of icebergs, culture, and fjords await – but first we just need to pick up our bags at the airport's only baggage belt.
Text & photo: Maria Malmborg, PolarQuest
Experience Greenland’s untamed wilderness with the elegant 12-passenger ship M/S Balto, designed to explore the most remote fjord systems, visit isolated Inuit settlements and take you to secret anchorages. Greenland’s spectacular coastline offers some of the most remarkable nature experiences. The Arctic landscape is dominated by ice-filled fjords, majestic peaks and vast tundra.