Attractions in Greenland are of a rare, untouched beauty. The whole island is ripe for hikers – no rules on where you can go. Your only limits are your own physical prowess and ability to navigate the vast snow-capped plains. Of course, you can just skip all that and rent a snowmobile or hire a dog sled to take you from one landmark to the next.
Agness and Cez of eTramping have even prepared ten of them today, just for you. All that’s left is for you to mentally insert yourself in each and dream of what could be. Let’s explore them together below.
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#1 The Capital of Nuuk
If we’re going to talk about attractions in Greenland, we can’t miss the very first town there! It should be noted that we’re referring to town in the modern sense of the word. Vikings have had settlements in Greenland long before 1728, when it was established.
Aside from its spectacular surroundings, Nuuk is home to many cultural landmarks, including:
- The Lutheran red-wood Nuuk Cathedral;
- Katuaq – the cultural center for art lovers;
- Greenland National Museum – housing plenty of ancient artifacts of the land;
#2 Whale Watching
Most often, people go on Arctic cruises just for the scenery, humongous icebergs or beautiful fjords, and whale-sighting. Who can blame them, though? Whether you want to see beluga whales, bowhead whales, or the horned narwhals from the comfort of your Greenland cruise ship – it is the place to be.
The best time to see them would be between the months of May and July. Warmer temperatures allow for the ice to melt, increasing your chances of spotting the great sea creatures. Be on the lookout for pods of dolphins as well!
#3 The Northern Lights
The Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) is possibly one of the most iconic attractions in Greenland and the Arctic Circle. Its stunning green wavy patterns up here in the cold North attracts thousands upon thousands of starry-eyed travelers each year.
Just remember to visit in the colder months, as that’s the only period you can really get a good look at them. The summer midnight sun basically makes them impossible to view at all. We recommend you watch them from the towns of Qaqortoq and Kangerlussuaq if you want the full picture. Both literally and figuratively.
Did you ever expect one of the attractions in Greenland to be a set of mummies? They’re not exactly thousands of years old like Egyptian pharaohs of old. Still, the tomb at Qilakitsoq used to house eight Inuit mummies (which are now in the Greenland National Museum). They are half a millennium old, and a great reminder of Inuit tradition during the 16th century.
#5 Unnartoq Hot Springs
If you’re looking for a dip near the Arctic Circle, that can be arranged. The island of Unnartoq is one of the most beautiful natural attractions in Greenland – especially when the tundra flowers are in bloom. But what really attracts travelers are the hot springs here.
They are about the only ones in Greenland which are safe enough to bathe in. With just the right temperature at an average of 38 degrees Celsius, you’re free to warm up your body and spirits after facing the Arctic frost.
#6 The Blue River
Aside from the historical attractions in Greenland, the island also houses some of the best kayaking spots on the planet. Petermann Glacier is one such haven for fans of the sport. When the glacier melts, it creates the stunningly beautiful Blue River.
Its name is not just for show, as the glacial silt gives it its famous coloring. Row your boat in the area and you can spot polar bears looking for fish. Much to their confusion and dismay, the fish never bother to show up.
Now, Greenland is the least densely populated “country” in the world. But obviously, Nuuk isn’t the only permanent settlement on the island. If you’re visiting the town of Ilulissat by chance, take the time to tour the Sermermiut settlement nearby.
It’s been abandoned for quite some time, but it’s a great place to witness 4000 years of Inuit history. Plus the glaciers in the area are very picturesque. It was even added it to the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Here’s another cozy town on the eastern coast of the island. The colorful cabins are what you might expect from the locals. It’s mostly a fishing and hunting settlement, though the town still has many modern-day amenities such as a hospital, museum, restaurants, etc. There’s even a helipad nearby which offers flying tours of the area.
For over 50 years, it has been one of the more popular attractions in Greenland. Skiing and kayaking are some of the favorites of the place, though the cuisine and local culture aren’t to be ignored either.
If you remember, we mentioned that Qaqortoq is a great place to admire the Northern Lights during winter. Aside from that, the town really seems ripped straight out of a fairy tale. Depending on when you visit, the hilltops will be covered with gorgeous northern flowers. Quite a change in scenery from all the snow and icy glaciers.
But one of the most interesting attractions in Greenland has been carved right into the face of the rocks nearby – and around the city as well. In the mid 90s, Aka Høegh and multiple other artists gathered around to sculpt actual faces (among other things) in the stone, in an exhibition aptly named “Stone & Man.”
#10 The Eqi Glacier
Get up close and personal with one of the most marvelous attractions in Greenland. Boat cruises can approach the giant glacier so travelers can admire the huge chunks of ice breaking off and crashing into the frozen waters.
The explosive sounds you’d be hearing are the result of huge bubbles of air forming among the ice. Since the glacier is about 5 kilometers wide, you’re definitely going to have a spectacular time admiring the calvings. Make sure you don’t get caught in the splash!