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12 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Greenland

Find Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Greenland

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|August 20, 2021
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Greenland is a beautiful wilderness and is fast becoming an increasingly popular tourist destination – although don’t worry, this vast island will never feel crowded! We’ve compiled a list of 12 of the top-rated reasons to visit this amazing destination, with attractions to suit every kind of traveler:

1. Visit the spectacular Ilulissat Ice-fjord

A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2004, this is one of Greenland’s most visited areas, and it’s easy to see why. This section of coast in Disko Bay is strewn with icebergs and ginormous glaciers can be seen calving, a process during which the iceberg breaks off from the glaciers and floats serenely out into the coastal waters. If you’re fortunate enough to time your visit just right (this can be seen from the land, unlike other ice-fjords in Greenland). You’ll bear witness to this breathtaking natural spectacle, giving you an unforgettable memory.

2. Watch whales thrive in their natural habitat

whale breaching icerbergs in the ocean in greenland

Whales are extraordinary mammals and nothing can quite prepare you for the sight of one up close. Fortunately, in Greenland, when the fjords have melted in the months of May, June and July, you can often see whales gliding effortlessly between the icebergs and along the stunning coastline. Take a guided boat tour and view humpback, minke, and fin whales. If you’re very lucky, you can see blue whales, killer whales, narwhals, beluga whales, sperm whales, and pilot whales. While sightings aren’t guaranteed, most visitors will get to see them if they go at the right time of year. Tours typically leave from towns like Qeqertarsuaq, Nuuk, and Aasiaat. The most popular tour operators are Disko Line and Greenland Adventures.

3. Explore Nuuk and the Greenland National Museum

As the capital and administrative center of Greenland, Nuuk has a wonderful museum with collections featuring hunting equipment, kayaks, carvings, and Viking finds. These artifacts help to paint a picture of what life was like in this vast region hundreds of years ago. See mummies of women and children that were discovered in 1978 and which are around 500 years old. They are so well preserved that you can still see some of the tattoos on their faces and even the colors of their clothes.

The Godthab Fjord is arguably Greenland’s most picturesque region, with fascinating old buildings and a colonial harbor. Tours regularly depart from Nuuk. 

4. A timeless natural attraction – The Northern Lights

northern lights in the night city in winter

The natural light show that is the Aurora Borealis is an unmissable sight in Greenland. Just make sure you visit in the winter and check with locals or a tourist information office about the best time and place to see them. Typically, traveling to Greenland between November and March gives you the best chance of seeing the Northern Lights, although they’re best viewed with clear skies from December through February. Visible across Greenland, they’re best viewed from Qaqortoq (south), Ittoqqortoormiit (east), and Kangerlussuaq (west). These spots provide the best views.

5. Take a dip in the Uunartoq Hot Springs

hot spring and pond pool in greenland

Hot springs are found all over Greenland. But the hot springs on the uninhabited island of Uunartoq are an ideal temperature for bathing. They’re just a short boat ride from the town of Ilulissat. Here, you’ll find three naturally heated springs that have merged into a small pool, in which you can take a gloriously warm dip while marveling at the surrounding mountains. There are literally thousands of springs elsewhere in Greenland, most notably on Disko Island. There are around a hundred more on the eastern side of the country.

6. Browse the Qaqortoq Museum

black house in qaqortoq town in greenland

With its brightly painted houses that climb up the hillside above the harborQaqortoq is a rock-bound fishing village and a wonderful place to visit on any trip to Greenland. The Qaqortoq Museum is housed in a 19th-century building that was once the Julianehåb colony manager's house. The museum displays artifacts from the Dorset, Thule, and Norse cultures.

7. Remnants of Eric the Reds Norse colonies

turf house in tunulliarfik

The Viking ruins are a popular tourist attraction in Greenland and Eric the Red's thousand-year-old Norse colonies are certainly worth a visit. Take a journey back in time and see how these tough, hunter-gatherers use to live.

It's estimated that as many as 5,000 Norsemen lived throughout Greenland, but why their settlements died out is a mystery to this day. There are a few other Viking ruins in the region, such as the Hvalsey Fjord Church (the oldest in Greenland) and Brattahlid near the town of Qassiarsuk, just a 20-minute boat ride from Narsarsuaq international airport.

8. Rub noses with the Eskimos

old eskimmo settlement in ilulissat area

The ancient Eskimo settlement of Sermermiut is just 2 km from the town of Ilulissat and was first discovered at the beginning of the 20th century. With wonderfully preserved remnants of indigenous Eskimo cultures from the Arctic, this ancient village is abandoned. But there are still plenty of artifacts that tell their own story of life here more than 2,000 years ago.

9. Boat and ferry rides

summer harbor view in greenland

There are plenty of options for exploring Greenland by boat or ferry. You can get out onto the bays and fjords for as little or as long as you wish. One of the best ways to see this incredible country, cruises can be short and take you among the icebergs to a glacier. They can also be long and continue over a period of days, in which you get to see many more areas of the island than you would by any other means of transport. 

You can also join the locals on one of the many ferries that dot the small coastal ports. This offers a great opportunity to see more of the country while meeting and mingling with friendly local people.

10. Gone to the dogs!

dogs resting after sledding in winter in greenland

There’s no better or more unique way to explore Greenland’s vast wildernesses than on a dog sled or a snowmobile. While only possible when snow is on the ground, these tours and excursions are popular in the winter months. Some of the best places to take them are Disko Bay, Tasiusaq fjord, Qaanaaq, and Thule.

11. Take a trip to Tasiilaq in East Greenland

The largest town in East Greenland – but with a mere 2,000 inhabitants – Tasiilaq is on the island of Ammassalik, around 100 kilometers south of the Arctic Circle. Situated among scenes of unrivaled natural beauty, the town is on a fjord surrounded by huge, imposing mountains and has a small river running through it.

Behind the town is Flower Valley, a popular place for hikes, skiing trips, and dog-sledding tours. During the summer months, you can hike, climb, take a helicopter ride over the ice sheet and glaciers, sea kayak between icebergs, go whale watching, or fish.

12. Take a walk on the ice cap from Kangerlussuaq

glacier hiking in kangerlussuaq

A small town with less than 500 people, Kangerlussuaq is a popular starting point for the 200-kilometer hike known as the Arctic Circle Trail and affords the closest access to the Greenland ice sheet. Only 30 kilometers away, a half-day tour enables you to get to the ice sheet and walk on its surface. An unforgettable experience, this is one of just a few places from which the ice cap can be reached without the use of a helicopter.

And there you have it – 12 outstanding reasons to visit Greenland!  

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