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Midnight sun in Greenland | Experience the midnight sun

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Midnight sun in Greenland

The midnight sun is a beloved summer phenomenon, which supplies life, warmth and happiness to the Greenlanders' lives – and the lives of everyone else travelling north of the Arctic Circle in summer.

The midnight sun is not merely the fact that the sun is up at midnight. That is self-explanatory, really. Rather, it is the fact that the sun does not set at night. The fact that the sun shines 24 hours a day, thus erasing the line between night and day, creates some strange, hectic and beautiful months of summer.

Midnightssun in greenland
Photo: Rino Rasmussen - Visit Greenland

Bright nights

As mentioned above, the midnight sun is a phenomenon you only get to experience north of the Arctic Circle. In fact, the Arctic Circle marks the boundary of the midnight sun. One day, each year, on the Arctic Circle itself, there is half an hour of midnight sun. The same applies to the opposite, half an hour's polar night each year. But the further north you get, the longer the midnight sun will shine. In Ilulissat, for instance, you will get more than two months of midnight sun, and in Qaanaaq, the sun will shine day and night for three and a half months each year.

South of the Arctic Circle, the midnight sun does not shine, but you will still experience bright nights during summer – often so bright that it feels like the sun has not really set. In Nanortalik, the southernmost town in Greenland, the sun is up 20 hours a day, and people really embrace the light, making the most of the bright nights.

Midnightsailing in Greenland
Photo: Visit Greenland

Experiences beneath the midnight sun

Whether it is the short night or the 'real' midnight sun, people in Greenland love the long nights. The midnight sun supplies life and warmth, and because summer is brief, everyone makes sure to enjoy it while it lasts. They sail, barbecue and play. Fish are caught and enjoyed right on the beach, or they are frozen for winter supply. A lot of people also have their own smoking oven in which they produce tasty delicacies that you can either buy on the Board, in stores or taste in the great restaurants.

People visiting the country also seek out the midnight sun. They go out on the most stunning boat trips to the Ilulissat Icefjord, among other destinations, where you sail between the large, glittering icebergs. And the kayakers that have set out on the adventure of their lifetime can make use of the entire day to navigate between the ice floes. 

Midnightsun on ice in Greenland
Photo: Leif Taurer - Visit Greenland

Polar nights

Both Swedish and American film culture have supplied us with films in which a group of vampires seek far north to satisfy their peculiar appetite through the winter without having to fear the rising sun. Fortunately, they have not discovered Greenland yet, so we get to spend our polar nights in peace in the company of our dogs.

Speaking of polar nights, you will be glad to know that it is not the complete opposite of the midnight sun. The sun might not rise for several months up in Qaanaaq, but the reflection of the stars and the moon in the snow and the streetlights ensure that there is always some light. Moreover, the candles and lights inside the homes provide a golden light outside too.

Download Guide: The Big Arctic Five in Greenland

This guide is an introduction to “The Big Arctic Five” in Greenland, the most popular experiences in Greenland. Find out when and how to experience them.

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