Top Things to Do in Nunavut

Fall in Love With One of Earth’s Last Wild Places

Milda Varniene

|June 7, 2019

Milda is a content writer with a particular interest in philosophy and nature. She is passionate about wildlife and all the nitty-gritty details of travel.


Remote and wild are the first words that come to mind when you think of Nunavut. With today’s vacationers seeking the world’s wild places more than ever, Nunavut might well be the next travel craze.


Nunavut is Canada’s youngest, largest, and northernmost territory. A huge expanse of wilderness, Nunavut is more than a destination - it’s a raw form of living. Populated by only a handful of indigenous Inuit people, the ancient local culture is rooted deeply in the stark, frozen landscapes that surround it. If you’re wondering “What is Nunavut famous for?”, you’ve come to the right place. Read the Top Things to Do in Nunavut and find out why this far-flung destination deserves a spot on your bucket list.

Discover Mind-Bending Landscapes

Nunavut Travel Canada Town

Town In Nunavut, Canada

Picture yourself standing in a vast open space. The stillness is only broken by the soft crunch of snow underfoot. The tundra wind blows through the purple saxifrage, one of the first flowers to bloom in the Arctic spring. Welcome to Nunavut. This surreal place is the size of Western Europe, with a population of just 35,000, of which about 85% is Inuit.

Nunavut’s communities are not connected by highways, but rather by sea and air. The only means of travel aircraft, powerboats, snowmobiles or dog sledding. Most tourists travel to Nunavut and between its distant communities by air.

Another fascinating way to reach Nunavut is to hop on an Arctic cruise. You might even have an exciting chance encounter with the mysterious bowhead whale en route!

Get Up Close to Arctic Wildlife

Polar Bear Nunavut Floe Edge Canada

Polar bears

Wildlife watching is among the chief Nunavut tourist attractions, and no wonder, given its rich marine life, world-class birdwatching and 750,000 population of caribou. Of course don't forget the shaggy muskox, one of the most ancient herbivores on the planet.

Prepare to meet rare and unique Arctic animals in their natural habitats. In Spring, the floe edge--the place where ice meets open water--becomes a feeding ground for animals such as beluga whales, narwhals, bowhead whales, and polar bears.

Listen to the Stories of Nunavut People

Inuit People Dog Sledding

Inuit People Dog Sledding

The residents are known as the Nunavummiut, or the people of Nunavut.

They are generally warm and welcoming, open to sharing their intimate knowledge of the surrounding nature. During our tours, you’ll have the opportunity to learn more about Nunavut’s mysterious lands straight from local Inuit guides.

For thousands of years, the harsh conditions of the Arctic tundra has defined the lives of the Nunavummiut. Their ancestors taught them to respect animals, cultivate patience, and keep together to survive. Hunting groups led by elders traveled across the barren lands with the seasons to their summer and winter camps. Together they kept to tight communities, navigated the storms and built igloos. This was their way of life for centuries.

Today, Inuit life has changed. They no longer need to rely on hunting to survive but their special connection to nature remains undiminished and never ceases to fascinate.

Immerse yourself in Nunavut Culture

From drum dancing and throat singing to wildlife prints and soapstone carvings, Inuit art is famous worldwide. 

The Inuit have been expert carvers for thousands of years and usually learn carving techniques by watching elders. When visiting Nunavut, you’ll see soft stone carved into dancing bears, birds, whales, and human figures, but beware - they might just enchant you!

One of the major places to visit in Nunavut is Cape Dorset, an artists' enclave and center for drawing, printmaking and carving. 

Cape Dorset, Nunavut: The Epicentre of Inuit Art

Originally, soapstone carvings were very small and some suggest they served as amulets. Today, Inuit artists use various kinds of materials from caribou antler to oil and stone. Both the old and new Inuit art pieces give a rare opportunity to dive deeper into the myths and legends of the Inuit. If you would like to get a better idea about Inuit art, then check out the works of Kenojuak Ashevak and Pudlo Pudlat, some of the most famous Inuit artists.

Inuit art explores such themes as shamanism, the spirit world and the relationship with the environment. Mere words are never enough to express the profound power of Inuit art.

Find Hidden Gems in 5 National Parks

Mount Thor Baffin Island Nunavut Auyuittuq National Park

Auyuittuq National Park

Nunavut is blessed with some of the most stunning peaks and glaciers in the world.

Some of the best places to explore Nunavut’s untamed wilderness are the national parks. Choose your next destination from five pristine landmarks: Auyuittuq, Sirmilik, Quttinirpaaq, Qausuittuq, and Ukkusiksalik National Parks. Each of them is very remote and with their own unique charms.

From Mount Thor featuring the Earth’s largest vertical drop at 4,101 ft (1,250 m), to the world’s biggest flock of greater snow geese and white, backpacking the national parks tops the list for fun things to do in Nunavut!

Auyuittuq, Sirmilik, and Quttinirpaaq National Parks are the most popular options for hikers. Cross the Arctic Circle, wander together with caribou or simply contemplate some of the world’s most phenomenal nature. If you’re looking to experience remote wilds at their most extreme, explore Qausuittuq and Ukkusiksalik National Parks. 

Experience the Nunavut Northern Lights

Northern Lights Canada Nunavut

Northern Lights in Nunavut

If you’re looking for a place where you can connect with something bigger than yourself, Nunavut’s wide-open skies might have exactly what you need. In the wintertime, this distant territory in Northern Canada showcases one of the world’s most awe-inspiring natural wonders, the Northern Lights.

Perched on the top of the globe, Nunavut is one of the best places to view the Aurora Borealis. The vast stretches of land, lack of light pollution and pure air are ideal to see spectacular vistas. While the best chances to witness the Aurora Borealis is in winter, you can also embark on a thrilling Northern Lights hunting adventure during early spring and autumn (from October to April).

When visiting Nunavut, you might come across Inuit artwork of the Northern Lights. For centuries, the celestial lights have captivated the Inuits’ imagination, with good reason. You might even say that the view is — out of this world!

 

Has Nunavut captured your attention? Let your imagination go wild as you start planning your next (or first) Arctic vacation!

Want to see Nunavut for yourself? Start planning your trip to Nunavut today.

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