Nuuk – the capital of Greenland
Urban living, ghost towns and beautiful fjords
Nuuk is the capital of Greenland, balancing commerce and culture with fresh air and stunning views. Nuuk’s embrace of both traditional and modern lifestyles can be seen in the city’s dynamic cultural life. The city bursts with local entrepreneurs, nature-oriented foods and sustainable activities, which makes this city an ideal destination for eco tourists.
Every day, all year round, people travel to Nuuk, the capital of Greenland, and make this town the busiest in Greenland. Nuuk is also the largest town in Greenland. But, while Nuuk hosts a distinctly urban feel (despite its relatively small population of 17,000 people), nature is never far. The iconic mountains of Quassussuaq/Lille Malene and Ukussissat/Store Malene can be scaled on a hike just outside downtown. It’s not long after departing Nuuk Harbour that the fjords transition to a true wilderness of snow-capped mountains and barren islands. The surrounding areas are perfect for sailing excursions, whale watching and hiking tours however mostly in spring, summer and autumn. In wintertime, skiing and snowboarding is the thing.
Visiting the Capital
A lot of people ask what the capital of Greenland is like. Nuuk is always worth a visit and we include it in several roundtrips where Nuuk is part of a larger tour of Greenland. Tourists come to Greenland for various reasons and to explore various activities and experiences. Nuuk offers most of them but not all of them.
You should visit Nuuk to experience the Capital of Greenland, to go whale watching in the fjords of Nuuk and to explore the beautiful surroundings. The fjord system is the second largest in Greenland (and the world) – large enough to easily contain the Faroe Islands.
However, if you wish to experience large icebergs and go dog sledding, Nuuk is not the place as it is not possible to go dogsledding at any time of the year neither are the big icebergs in the large fjord system. This is why we usually offer Nuuk in combination with other destinations, and as an embarking and disembarking city for the popular coastal ferry Sarfaq Ittuk.
The Capital of Greenland – also from a cultural perspective
In the eyes of the Greenlanders, Nuuk’s population makes Nuuk a big city. And it is big. In fact, it takes several hours to walk from one end of Nuuk to the other, as the town itself has gradually spread across a large area. For instance, the suburb of Nuussuaq would be Greenland’s second-largest town had it been a separate town.
Cultural life is thriving in Nuuk, which is not only due to the architectural gem of the Katuaq Cultural Centre in the heart of town, but since the many people make it possible to practice all sorts of cultural activities. This not only includes traditional Greenlandic culture, which can be found in most villages in Greenland, but also genres such as classical music, rock and Arctic hip-hop have a scene in the town.
A place not to miss is the National Greenland Museum where you find the famous Qilakitsoq Mummies. Nuuk Art Museum has changing exhibitions of modern art, and your guests should also visit the old church situated in the colonial part of Nuuk.
Restaurants in the capital
When you come to the capital of Greenland, you must try some of the wonderful restaurants in town. The average standard of living in Nuuk is high, which gives rise to a lot of interesting restaurants and cafés. At Hans Egede Hotel, for instance, you will find the Sarfalik restaurant, serving amazing versions of Greenlandic cuisine.
Not far from there, you can taste Greenlandic sushi at the Thai restaurant Charoen Porn. Just across the street, the kitchen of Café Esmaralda is also popular among diners. Nuuk is located close to the Baffin Bay, making it chillier in town than in the fjord system where summers are lush. The fjord system is also home to Restaurant Qooqqut Nuan. A quaint eatery which can only be reached by boat, it serves delicious dishes and boasts some outstanding views.
The sea and the whales of Nuuk and Greenland
A whale photo safari in Nuuk is a must when visiting the capital of Greenland, and so are the fascinating boat trips to the old, abandoned settlements near the town. In the waters surrounding Nuuk, humpback whales and minke whales are common visitors so always make sure you bring a good camera!
If you do not have time to go sailing, make a quick stop to the point behind Tele Greenland. From this vantage point you can get a great view of both the town and the suburbs, but also of the fjord where your guests are likely to spot a whale swimming by.
Northern lights in Nuuk
Nuuk is a great place to watch Northern Lights even though Nuuk is a larger town with more light pollution that any other place in Greenland. But even so, your guests do not have to venture very far into the back country before they might be able to see the beautiful Northern Lights on a dark and clear night sky.
Sports in Nuuk
Nuuk is an excellent winter sports resort. Next to the airport your guests will find the foot of several ski slopes. Three lifts make sure that they can find new slopes all the time. Snowboarding is very popular too, and it is also possible to try out snowmobiles outside of town. If your guests enjoy cross-country skiing, they can gain access to a lot of tracks directly from within the town.
If you visit in summer, the capital of Greenland also has a nine-hole golf course, which has a lot of natural obstacles as it is placed in beautifully undulating terrain and as is possible anywhere in Greenland, the hiking opportunities – whether you prefer an easy ramble or desire something more strenuous, are aplenty!