I woke up today to this fabulous proposition: stay at the world’s most remote hotel for free. In disbelief, I scoured through the details. The guest house is located in a tiny island off the coast of Greenland called Ittoqqortoomiit with a population of less than 500 people. If that doesn’t ring a bell, according to Wikitravel, it’s internationally known as Scoresby Sound. Though that doesn’t sound familiar to me either.
I checked the coupon myself, and this is a working deal, good through the end of December for travel only in March. If you book the Ittoqqortoormiit Guesthouse on hotels.com for 1-7 days in March, and you use the code REMOTE when you check out, you get 99% off your stay. The time restriction isn’t even so bad because March is precisely the time you’d want to be that high up in the Arctic, because it’s peak northern lights season.
So what is there to do in Ittoqqortoormiit?
Well, one of the most remote parts of the world has a whole lot of nature. There’s probably more polar bears than people in this region. So some amazing wildlife sightings would be a big part of your Ittoqqortoormiit vacation. The region also has a lot of muskoxen and seals. It also has some amazing landscapes. The city is next to the largest and deepest fjord system in the world, and near the Gunnbjørn Fjeld, the highest mountain in the Arctic Circle. Skiing, as you can imagine, is a favorite pastime as it’s winter for the majority of the year.
You can also enjoy snowmobile or dog sledding treks in Ittoqqortoormiit. Though you would have free housing, camping is a popular activity there, as long as you don’t mind the possibility of a polar bear sneaking into your tent. Aside from that, you can just enjoy the peace and solitude of being super isolated from the rest of the world.
Well, what’s the catch then?
Free housing? Check. Beautiful, untouched natural beauty, check! I happen to be free in March, so maybe this tiny island in Greenland is where I’ll spend a week, I thought. I started doing some research. The catch is that getting there is not only nightmarishly long, but also ridiculously expensive.
How do you get to Ittoqqortoormiit?
Even though it’s a part of Greenland, it’s the closest city to Iceland, so you have to fly through Iceland to reach it. That’s fair. WOW and WIZZ and Norwegian constantly fly there for $100. Sure enough, from a lot of major cities in the US and Europe, you can fly to Reykjavik for less than the cost of dinner for 2. The first problem is the flights from Iceland to this island don’t depart from Reykjavik. You have to fly again north to Akureyri. Depending on when you go, this could be anywhere from $150-200. It’s a beautiful and terrifying flight that takes you between snow-covered mountains. I’ve done it and I totally recommend it.
Now this is where it gets unbearable. There’s no direct connection from Akureyri to Ittoqqortoormiit. You have to fly to the nearest airport, which is at Narlerit Inaat (Constable Point). It’s about an hour and a half but it costs $380-450 EACH WAY. The Air Iceland Connect flights also only run Tuesdays and Thursday, so you either spend one night in Ittoqqortoormiit, or strand yourself there for a week.
But wait! You’re still not at Ittoqqortoormiit. Once you get to Constable Point, you need to take a helicopter to the helipad that can actually welcome visitors to this remote town. It’s a 15 minute ride that you can book with Air Greenland. I’m sure it’s stunning, but it costs almost $300 round trip. FYI these also only run on Tuesdays and Thursdays. So if your flight from Akureyri is delayed, you may be out of luck until the following week.
It’s now lunchtime and I’m certain I will NOT be going to Ittoqqortoormiit next spring. But I did all the research so I thought I would share. There you have it, that’s how you can stay in the remote town of Ittoqqortoormiit for free. Though I suppose if you can spare the $2000 and the 7 days it’ll take to just get there, I’m sure $100 a night at their guest house won’t kill you.