Disko Island is among the 100 largest islands in the world and offers a host of incredible natural experiences. There are few places that bring you so close to the natural beauty of Greenland.
About Disko Island
In geological terms Disko Island is far younger than mainland Greenland and is therefore very different. Large parts of the island consist of tall, steep basalt mountains created by volcanic activity 25-65 million years ago. The island is interesting for many reasons, not least because of the great diversity in the flora found here. Its location between the low and the high arctic, and the presence of many hot springs provides rich vegetation compared to other sites of the same latitude and many plants thrive here.
An abundance of fish and other marine life in the waters around the island brings large numbers of migrating whales. In spring, the area is one of the best in the world from which to observe the great Greenland whales. In Greenlandic the whales are known as “Arfivik”, meaning “barrel-shaped”. In summer, humpback whales are regularly sighted just off the shoreline.
Qeqertarsuaq was founded in 1773 to serve as a whaler’s station. The small port town now has approximately 1000 inhabitants and enjoys a beautiful location with the basalt mountains as its backdrop. You can travel to Qeqertarsuaq from both Ilulissat and Aasiaat.
We recommend a walk to soak up the atmosphere of this immensely interesting place. The colourful Greenlandic houses form a striking contrast to the huge basalt mountains that lie behind. The museum is worth a visit for its collection by painter Jakob Danielsen and its portrayal of the town’s history. The museum is located right next to the harbour in an attractive wooden building that was formerly a shelter and served as a residence for the governor of North Greenland until 1950. The museum provides a good insight into the history of the region, particularly that of the Arctic Station.
Outstanding natural experiences
The terrain around Qeqertarsuaq is ideal for hiking and it is possible to take both short and longer treks. One of the tours that should be high on any visitor’s itinerary is the trip to Kuannit. Kuannit is the Greenlandic word for the shadow plant “kvan”. Besides its fertile land, the Kuannit area is also known for its characteristic basalt columns and many hot springs.
A short trip, which can and should always be squeezed in is to the “Udkiggen” – a point starting just south of the town and stretching all the way out to the coast. From here there is a formidable view of the southern part of Disko Bay, and whalers have long scouted for whales from this point.
A hike into the Blæsedalen is also an excellent option. On the way out to Blæsedalen you will pass the Arctic Station, owned and operated by the University of Copenhagen. From there the bridge passes over “Røde Elv”, after which the trail leads up to Blæsedalen. Thanks to the sub-arctic conditions, the valley is very fertile, and a significant part of Greenland’s flora is found here.