Narsarsuaq in South Greenland | Facts about Narsarsuaq in Greenland
Narsarsuaq means 'the great plain' – so the Americans found it to be the obvious place to establish a landing strip when looking for places to do stopovers in 1941. The Americans have since left again, and the landing strip now functions as the gateway to entire Greenland. Planes depart to Copenhagen, Iceland and Nuuk, and smaller helicopters can carry you to the towns in Southern Greenland.
Hiking in Narsarsuaq in Southgreenland - Photo: David Buchmann
Life in the village of Narsarsuaq
Narsarsuaq is a village with 140 residents. The number of residents thus doubles when a full plane touches down. If the return flight to Copenhagen is fully booked as well, the number of residents actually triples for a short while. On those busy days, the airport gets quite crowded and is buzzing with life only to be completely deserted a few hours later. The vast majority of the villagers are employed with connection to either the airport or the large hotel down the road. In fact, the hotel is one of Greenland's biggest with its 93 rooms.
If you are looking for bigger adventures, you can take a 15-minute flight by helicopter to Narsaq where you can roam one of the most scenically situated towns in Greenland.
The church in Narsaq in Southgreenland - Photo: Anders Peter Amsnæs
The museum and the old depots
The museum neighbours the airport and presents a rather nice exhibit about the local community throughout the ages. The presence of the Americans is obviously noticeable. However, the Northerners who used to live here have also left their mark on the area. Into the actual rock wall across from the airport, you can also find old depots used by the Americans for storage.
Photo: Mads Pihl - Visit Greenland
Northerners in Qassiarsuk
Located opposite Narsarsuaq, on the other side of the fjord, is the sheep farming village of Qassiarsuk, which lies where Erik the Red once settled in Brattahlid. The village is situated in a beautiful, green landscape adorned with red gravel roads. The dust rises, creating lovely red clouds, when people race by on three-wheeled Hondas. In Qassiarsuk, you can explore the ruins and reconstructions of Erik the Red's former farm as well as his wife Tjodhilde's church. This is the first church built on the American continents. Right here in tiny Qassiarsuk!
Qassiarsuk in Southgreenland -Photo: Mads Pihl - Visit Greenland
Igaliku is another village located not far from Narsarsuaq also formerly inhabited by the Northerners who named the episcopal residence Gardar. Here you can see the ruins of their former bishopric, which in 2000 was the scene of an oecumenical church service marking the millennium of the introduction of Christianity to Greenland and Leif the Lucky's discovery of the North American mainland. Clerical visitors from all over the world attended the service, which was also visited by Queen Margrethe II of Denmark and Prince Henrik travelling on the Royal Yacht Dannebrog.
Igaliku in Southgreenland - Photo: Mads Pihl - Visit Greenland
The Greenland Ice Sheet near Narsarsuaq
In Narsarsuaq, you can experience the Ice Cap in two ways. You can either walk to it by following the road through the Floral Valley and climb up the mountain, or you can go there by boat and experience the Qoorooq glacier from the seaside. Whichever way you choose, you are in for a treat. And they are of course not mutually exclusive either, and both ways offer completely different experiences.
Mountainbike in Narsarsuaq - Photo: Mads Pihl - Visit Greenland
Hiking and experiences in Narsarsuaq
Southern Greenland is made for hiking, providing you with plenty of great and inspiring routes to take. Use Narsarsuaq as the point of departure for your hikes or walk from sheep farm to sheep farm.
It is also easy to find a good spot for fishing – just go to the harbour (but do remember your fishing licence), and you can also rent both mountain bikes and sea kayaks at the local tourist office.
Guide to Greenland holidays
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