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50 Best Places to Visit in Greenland – An Overview with Top Tips

50 Best Places to Visit in Greenland – An Overview with Top Tips

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Despite having a population of only 56,000 people, Greenland has a large number and wide range of interesting places to visit – both cultural and natural.

East Greenland

1. Scoresby Sound

Our favourite place in Greenland! The world’s largest multi-branched fjord system features enormous icebergs, steep mountains, and plenty of Arctic wildlife. Visiting Ittoqqortoormiit and exploring this impressive fjord system by ship is a highlight of any trip to the Arctic.

For a chance to explore Scoresby Sund yourself please check out our Greenland Expedition Micro Cruises with 12 guests.

Exploring the Bear Islands in Scoresby Sund Secret Atlas

2. Ittoqqortoormiit

The most isolated of places in Greenland and a perfect destination for hard-core adventurers looking for the final frontier. Located between the world’s largest fjord system and the world’s largest National Park, Ittoqqortoormiit is primarily a community of hunters that continue to live a very traditional life.

You can visit Ittoqqortoormiit on our East Greenland Expedition Micro Cruise or Northern Lights Photo Tour with 12 guests only per voyage. 

3. Kulusuk Museum

Owned by Justine and Frederik Boassen, this is a small museum in a tiny settlement that focuses on the Tunumi Iivid people of East Greenland. The majority of museums in Greenland highlight the Kalaallit Inuit culture of West Greenland, so this is quite unique.  Most of the items on display were owned by Justine’s parents, and both owners are more than happy to tell the story behind each piece if you arrange a tour.

4. Stunk Artisan’s workshop

East Greenland has some of the best carvers in the whole nation. Call into the Stunk Artisan’s workshop in Tasiilaq to watch the artisans at work and buy directly from the creator.

5. Bluie East Two

Greenland is strategically located along the most direct flight path between North America and Europe. For this reason, it played an important role in WWII – with several air bases built by the Americans.  Bluie East Two, the only runway in East Greenland, was abandoned in 1947 and skeletons of the hanger, trucks, and tens of thousands of fuel barrels are still found on site.

It is a fascinating place to explore, though the Danish and Greenlandic governments have now started to clean it up to contain further damage to the otherwise pristine environment.

6. Tiniteqilaaq and Sermilik Icefjord

Another of our favourite places in Greenland to visit. Thousands of icebergs dancing a fine ballet, howling Greenlandic sled dogs itching to run, and rows of drying fish are all part of life in the small fishing/hunting settlement of Tiniteqilaaq (Tiilerilaaq).

It is the perfect place to get away from everything and experience a more traditional way of life in Greenland with stunning views, easy access to glaciers and the Greenland Ice Sheet, and the incredible Sermilik Fjord.

South Greenland

7. Nanortalik Museum

The oldest part of Nanortalik is essentially unchanged from when it was built in the 1800s. Ten of the buildings now make up showrooms of the impressive Nanortalik museum – the largest and most comprehensive local museum in Greenland.

8. Prince Christian Sound 

A highlight of sailing in Greenland, Prince Christian Sound is a narrow waterway (only 500m across in some places) that cuts between the tall mountains of Greenland’s South coast and the equally high mountains of an archipelago of islands. Numerous glaciers reach the water and calve large icebergs into the pristine fjord.

If you are lucky – you will hear the crack of a calving event echoing off the steep walls as you sail.

a cruise through prins christian sound in southern greenland

9. Tasermiut Fjord 

The Tasermiut Fjord near Nanortalik is one of the most impressive fjords in Greenland. Lined with tall mountains that present massive, almost vertical rock faces that reach heights of more than 2000m, it is a paradise for mountaineers, rock climbers, trekkers, and kayakers, as well as for less hard-core sailing trips. One of our must see places in Greenland to visit if you take a trip to the south.

10. Narsarsuaq and the Greenlandic Arboretum

The small town of Narsarsuaq is the gateway to South Greenland. Its airport, originally named Bluie West One, was built by the Americans for WWII but then converted into an international airport after it was handed over to the Greenlandic government in 1958. There are still remnants of the air base scattered throughout the area.

Narsarsuaq is also home to the Greenlandic Arboretum. This collection of trees and bushes from alpine and arctic tree-line areas in the Northern Hemisphere is one of the most extensive tree-line arboreta in the world, and one of the very few places in Greenland where you can actually see trees. 

11. Qaqortoq

Colourful houses that dot the face of a steep hill greet you as you sail into South Greenland’s largest town – Qaqortoq. Home to a well preserved historic centre, the extensive “Stone and Man” outdoor sculpture exhibition, the Great Greenland sealskin factory and showroom, and a wonderful backcountry dotted with remnants of the Vikings, Qaqortoq is the hub of South Greenland.

12. Uunartoq hot springs

Unlike Iceland, Greenland is not a volcanic island. There is not a hot spring around every corner. In fact, there are very few hot springs at all! One of the best is located on a remote island in South Greenland called Uunartoq. There you can soak in a natural pool of blissfully warm water with perfect views of tall mountains and of large icebergs floating gracefully by.

13. Viking ruins at Hvalsey, Qassiarsuk and Igaliku

South Greenland was where the Viking, Erik the Red, decided to settle during his exile from Iceland. He later returned with more people who sought a new life and established several settlements in South and West Greenland. Remnants of these communities are still scattered throughout the landscape. The best preserved examples are the Hvalsey Church near Qaqortoq, and the extensive ruins at Qassiarsuk and Igaliku. There is also a reconstruction of a Viking longhouse and Tjodhilde’s church in Qassiarsuk.

14. Sheep and Reindeer farms

With its milder climate and longer snow-free season, South Greenland is the agricultural belt of Greenland. While you won’t find too many crops growing (though the Upernaviarsuk Research Station near Qaqortoq runs experiments to see what could be grown), there are plenty of sheep farms and even a reindeer farm that provide meat to the rest of the country. Farm stays on these properties are a popular getaway for many Greenlanders and it is widely held that Greenlandic lamb is the best in the world.

West Greenland

15. Paamiut church

One of the most impressive and unique churches in Greenland is located in one of the least visited towns. The Norwegian style Lutheran church in Paamiut was built in 1909 and is one of the highlights of a visit to the town which is also renowned for its large population of Nattoralik (White Tailed Eagles).

16. Nuuk – Greenland’s capital

The world’s most northern capital city may be small (the population is just over 18,000 people), but it has a lot to offer the visitor. Museums, exhibition spaces, an art gallery, Greenlandic-fusion food, and a vibrant cultural scene fill the heart of the city. All of which is embraced by the world’s second-longest fjord system, impressive mountains, and a stunning backcountry. Nuuk is one of the most interesting places in Greenland to visit.

nuuk expedition cruise

To find out more about Nuuk please see our Ultimate Nuuk Travel Guide.

17. National Museum and Archives

The best place to learn about the history of Greenland – from the ancient Inuit cultures, to Viking settlements, to the colonisation by Denmark, through to the modern day. This story is told over several exhibitions housed in different buildings in the historic Colonial Harbour of Nuuk.

18. Nuuk Swimming Pool

Yes, really! Nuuk’s swimming pool is called “Malik” which means “wave” in Kalaallisut (the West Greenlandic language). One look will reveal how it got its name and also how it has won international architectural awards. It is open to everyone and includes a main pool, sauna, and hot tubs. It also holds “silent swimming” (ie no kids allowed and low lighting) every second Friday evening.

19. Katuaq Cultural Centre

Another architectural gem of Nuuk, Katuaq is housed in a building that looks like the magical northern lights that shine brightly over Greenland every winter. Inside, it contains one of Nuuk’s popular cafes – Cafetuaq, as well as the city’s cinema (movies shown in original language) and a steady rotation of art exhibitions. It is also the home of music concerts and if there is a band playing while you are visiting, we highly encourage you to grab a ticket. Greenlandic music is some of the best music you’ve never heard!

20. Nuuk Art Museum

The Nuuk Art museum hosts an extensive collection of historical and modern artworks of importance to Greenland. The permanent collection features works that span a wide range of styles by both Danish artists and some of Greenland’s finest creators. The museum also hosts several temporary exhibitions each year, runs community events, and has put together a self-guided audio tour of many of the statues that adorn the streets of Nuuk.

21. Kittat

The West Greenlandic national costume is as intricate as it is eye-catching. Creating this colourful masterpiece is a very long process that brings together several vastly different skills – including treating and sewing seal and other animal skins. You can learn about this complicated process and see local artisans at work at Kittat in the Colonial Harbour in Nuuk. You can also buy locally made sealskin souvenirs there.

22. Nuuk fjord

The world’s second-longest fjord system is the envy-inducing playground for those lucky enough to live in or be visiting Nuuk. Great fishing, impressive mountains, hidden coves, and off-trail hiking mean that you can escape into nature only minutes from the capital, and you are likely to have your patch of wilderness to yourself.

23. Kapisillit and the Nuuk Icefjord

Located at the far end of the Nuuk Fjord, Kapisillit is the only still-functioning small settlement in this part of Greenland. It is a popular weekend getaway for Nuuk residents with plenty of great hiking, including to the Nuuk Icefjord with its thousands of icebergs. It is also famous for its river that contains the only population of native salmon in Greenland.

24. Qooqqut Nuan

An old sheep farm in the Nuuk Fjord, Qooqqut Nuan now hosts one of the best restaurants in Greenland (Summer only) and  is another popular getaway for Nuuk locals. There are small but comfortable cabins available for rent, or you can pitch your tent anywhere in its surrounding, gorgeous backcountry.

25. Kangeq

A small settlement abandoned in the 1960s as part of the Danish Government’s program to repatriate the Greenlandic people to larger centres. Although there are a handful of new buildings (summer cabins for Nuuk residents), the majority of the buildings remain as they were left and are slowly decaying back into the landscape.

26. Nordafar / Færingehavn

This large fishing port received catches from over 1000 fishermen per day during its peak in the 1950s and 60s. It was abandoned in 1990 due to plummeting cod stocks, and its derelict buildings and eerie silence remain as a sharp reminder of changing fortunes.

Arctic Circle Region

27. Greenland Ice Sheet

The Greenland Ice Sheet (Greenland Ice Cap / Inland Ice) is the second largest ice sheet in the world behind Antarctica. It covers more than 80% of the country and, if it melted, would raise global sea levels by over 7 metres. Although you are never far from the Ice Sheet in Greenland, by far the easiest access is from Kangerlussuaq – the main entrance point to the country if coming from Denmark. There are daily tours all year round (snow permitting) and it is even possible to camp on the ice on an overnight excursion.

Greenland Facts Glacier Landscape

28. Russell Glacier

One of the easiest glaciers to access in Greenland is the Russell Glacier near Kangerlussuaq. The country’s longest road passes quite close to it and it is only a short hike before you are standing in front of its impressive 60m high face. Because you can access it by land, you can get very close, but be careful! It is an active, calving glacier so keep a safe distance to avoid falling icebergs! You should also keep an eye out for the herds of wild musk-ox that roam the area.

29. Arctic Circle Hiking Trail

A 160km long-distance hiking trail that stretches from Kangerlussuaq to Sisimiut along the Arctic Circle. There are no stores. There is no phone reception. And the trail itself is a foot-wide track through pristine wilderness. Hikers must bring everything they need with them but are rewarded with a true, unplugged, wilderness experience, far from everyday cares. You can extend the hike to begin at the Greenland Ice Sheet and walk from Ice Sheet to ocean.

30. KTI School – Greenland’s largest mineral collection

If you are interested in geology, you must visit Greenland’s largest rock and mineral collection in the foyer of the KTI technical school in Sisimiut. This collection showcases many of Greenlands rare (and more common) geology in labelled, well-lit display cases.

31. Assaqutaq

Assaqutaq is another settlement abandoned in the 1960s when residents were removed to larger centres by the Danish government. Located about 10km from Sisimiut, several of its important buildings have been renovated and are now used for school camps and even weddings! 

However, there are still plenty of derelict buildings to explore and imagine how life used to be for the Greenlanders. There is also a  beautiful hiking trail from Assaqutaq to Sisimiut wedged between the mountains and the fjord.

32. The UFO

Yes, Greenland has a UFO!  About 12km from Sisimiut and overlooking the stunning Kangerlusarsuk Fjord, the UFO is now a unique backcountry “hut” that is not widely known except locally. The hike takes you in a different direction to the Arctic Circle Trail, and offers gorgeous views and yet another chance to explore Sisimiut’s extensive backcountry.

33. Maniitsoq

A hidden gem, Maniitsoq is the perfect base from which to explore some of the tallest mountains and deepest fjords on the west coast of Greenland. A magnet for world class heli skiers during the Winter, the Maniitsoq area also has some of the best fishing rivers and whale watching in the country during Summer.

34. Eternity Fjord

As the name suggests, the Eternity Fjord seemingly stretches on forever. This impressive waterway is lined with jagged peaks that hide glaciers in almost every valley. No matter where you look as you sail up the Eternity Fjord there is a glacier, including the two rivers of ice that spill down directly from the Greenland Ice Sheet at its end. 

arctic yacht charter in greenland

35. Hamborger Sound

The protected waters of Hamborger Sound just north of Maniitsoq offer some of the best sailing in West Greenland. The scenery is incredible, and the smooth, calm water is a marked contrast to the tall, rough mountains that plunge almost vertically down to the ocean.

North Greenland

36. Aasiaat

One of the most important administrative centres of North Greenland, Aasiaat is visited by relatively few tourists. Located on one of the thousands of small islands that make up the Aasiaat archipelago, it is a fantastic destination for kayakers wishing to explore Greenland as the Inuit did.

It also boasts an amazing array of sculptures, murals and artworks, including 21 pieces painted by one of Denmark’s most famous painters – Per Kirkeby – during an extended visit in 1969.

37. Ilulissat Icefjord

Greenland’s first UNESCO World Heritage Listed area, the Ilulissat Icefjord is famous around the world for its gargantuan icebergs that can be as large as skyscrapers. It is also a mecca for pods of whales who come to feed in the nutrient-rich waters that are created as the icebergs scour the bottom of the fjord.  

Located within walking distance from the centre of Ilulissat, there are many ways to explore these icy cathedrals during summer, including on a boat tour, a kayaking tour, hiking, or on a scenic flight. Midnight Sun activities are particularly spectacular with the soft light from a sun that never sets illuminating nature’s ice sculptures.

cruise to greenland on an expedition micro cruise

You can find our more about Ilulissat in our Ultimate Guide to Ilulissat

38. Sermeq Kujalleq

The glacier that feeds the Ilulissat Icefjord is the fastest and one of the most active in the world. It currently moves at about 40 metres per day and calves around 46 cubic kilometers of ice every year – giving birth to the enormous icebergs for which Ilulissat is famous.

The glacier is located more than 80km from Ilulissat and is difficult to access, so your best chance to see it is on one of several scenic flights offered by companies in Ilulissat.

39. Eqi Glacier

A much easier glacier to access is the constantly calving Eqi Glacier just north of Ilulissat. Tours to the glacier allow for several hours in front of the massive calving face, and you can also stay overnight in a luxury eco-camp very close to the glacier.[

40. The Icefjord Centre

Opening in 2021, the Ilulissat Icefjord Centre is a meeting place for residents, visitors and scientists from around the world. Its exhibitions contain information about Ilulissat’s unique natural and cultural heritage, as well as the impact of climate change as monitored from this important research site.

It is located at the start of the boardwalk to the Icefjord itself – you can literally walk over its sloping roof to start your hike out there.

41. Oqaatsut

A small settlement located about 23km north of Ilulissat where it is possible to stay overnight and soak up the traditional vibe of a small Greenlandic village. During Summer, you can hike all the way from Ilulissat, sail, or join a kayaking tour to the village for incredible iceberg views and whale sightings.

42. Ilimanaq

Another small settlement close to Ilulissat, but located on the south side of the Ilulissat Icefjord. It features some of the oldest buildings in Greenland, a gourmet restaurant, and luxury cabins where you can watch the enormous icebergs and visiting whales playing in Disko Bay right from your own personal terrace or even from your bed!

43. Disko Island

Disko Island is unique in that it is the only volcanic area of Greenland. Its table-top mountains, black sand beaches, fantastic basalt formations, and emerald green valleys are different to anything you will find elsewhere in Greenland – and all set against the sapphire waters and enormous diamond icebergs of Disko Bay.

44. Qullissat

Qullissat was a coal mining town that operated on Disko Island from 1924 – 1972. It was closed down and its residents forcibly removed to larger centres soon after closing, leaving only abandoned buildings.

45. Uummannaq Island

It is said that you leave your heart in Uummannaq. Named for the heart-shaped mountain that dominates this small island,  Uummannaq and its surrounding fjords offer visitors some of the most spectacular scenery in all of Greenland.

Even Santa Claus chose to build his summer home here – with a view of enormous icebergs set to the sounds of howling Greenlandic sled dogs

46. Qaanaaq

Greenland’s northernmost town is one of extremes and a destination for those seeking the most remote adventures. This small community of hunters and fishermen doesn’t see the Sun for 3.5 months of the year, then lives under the full glare of the Midnight Sun for another 5 months during the summer.

Sailing, hiking, dogsledding and snowmobiling are the way of life up here – often with the goal of catching something for dinner.

General

47. Pilersuisoq supermarkets

Ok – we admit this seems like an odd suggestion, but you’ll understand if you go. If you are in East Greenland, North Greenland, or in a small settlement – a visit to the local Pilersuisoq supermarket is an eye opening experience. Inside, you will find everything from the usual food staples that you would expect (well, maybe – it depends on whether a supply ship has come in recently), through to clothing, household equipment, fishing/boating equipment, rifles and even reindeer antlers.

Given the small size of these populations and their isolation, the one shop in town has to stock a little bit of everything that everyone could possibly need. Take your time and see what the strangest thing you can find is.

48. The local football field

Another odd suggestion, don’t miss a visit to the local football (soccer) field in any town in Greenland. You may get lucky and see a match, but it is more about experiencing the vibrant green of astroturf in a land of rocks where green patches are typically few and far between. 

In particular, you should make a special effort to find a high point overlooking the football fields in Uummannaq, Qeqertarsuaq and Aasiaat.

49. The local hunter’s/fisher’s market

For the freshest (and cheapest) meat and to identify what is currently being hunted/caught in the area you are visiting, head to the town’s hunter’s/fisher’s market.

Depending on the time of year and where you are, you may find anything from the more internationally typical cod and shellfish, through to Greenlandic specialties such as seal meat, whale meat, blubber and mattak, reindeer (caribou), musk ox and walrus. It all depends on what has been caught in the past day or two.

50. The local harbour

There are no roads connecting towns in Greenland. For this reason, more Greenlanders own boats than cars, and the fjords and coastal waterways of Greenland are its primary highways. This makes the harbour the focus point and lifeblood of Greenlandic towns.

Depending on where you are and at what time of year you are visiting, you may be lucky to see fishermen or hunters coming in with their catches, or to see one of the supply ships that are an essential part of Greenland’s infrastructure.

If you would like to visit Greenland please check out our Expedition Micro Cruises with 12 Guests that explore Greenland’s wildest places.

For more information on how to get to Greenland please see our How To Get To Greenland Guide.

Explore Greenland On Our Blog

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