The midnight sun is a beloved summer phenomenon, that provides warmth, life and joy in the lives of the Greenlanders - and for everybody else north of the Polar Circle.
The midnight sun is not so much about the sun being up at midnight. Its name implies that it is. Midnight sun is more about all the activity that occurs because the sun does not go down at night. 24 hours of sun a day means that the boundary between day and night is marvelously blurred in some hectic, beautiful summer months. Look forward to experiencing it!
When can I see the midnight sun?
The midnight sun is a beloved summer phenomenon that gives life, warmth, and joy to the lives of the Greenlanders. Everyone else travelling north of the Arctic Circle seem to feel the same way about the Land of the People in the summer (The Land of the People is one of Greenlandic name for Greenland).
The midnight sun only shows up in the summer months, just as the polar night and northern lights only appear in the winter months.
The best place to see midnight sun
You can experience the midnight sun anywhere north of the Arctic Circle. The midnight sun first appears in the national park in the far north of Greenland. Later you can experience it in the northern towns such as Qaanaaq, Upernavik, and Uummannaq.
The Polar Circle is placed where the southern limit of the midnight sun lies. The farther north you go the longer the bright nights last. In Ilulissat you will experience bright nights two months out of the year, and up in Qaanaaq, the sun is in the sky day and night for three and a half months.
The concept of time is not something that belongs to particular cultures. We all have some sense of time, but the common cycle of time is put to the test in the Arctic and Antarctic in the summer. Suddenly, one day can last 100 days and not the usual 10-12 hours you are so used to. It provides gentle and lovely energy from which both the Greenlanders and the travelers are tapping.
Experiences under the sun
Whether it’s short nights or the midnight sun, people in Greenland love those long, bright nights. The midnight sun gives life and warmth, and it is during the short summertime that everyone puts in everything to enjoy it. Sailing, grilling, playing. Fish are caught and eaten with pleasure on the beach, or they are frozen down for winter storage. Many people have a smoker oven, where they produce the nicest delicacies. You can often buy these either at the fish market, in the shops, or taste at the good restaurants.
You can go on the most beautiful sailing trips to, for example, Ilulissat Ice Fjord, where you sail between the golden, glistening, large icebergs. Kayakers, who have chosen to embark on the adventure of their lives, can use the whole 24-hours day to navigate between the ice floes.
Midnight sun in the Arctic can be observed at 66° 34′ north and north of that. In the southern hemisphere it similarly occurs south of the southern Polar Circle at 66° 34′ south. At the north pole itself, the sun can be seen 24 hours a day for half a year.
Bright Nights in Greenland
South of the Arctic Circle you do not have the midnight sun, but you have very bright nights in the summer – often so bright that it feels like the sun has not set. For example, in Greenland’s southernmost city, Nanortalik, the sun is in the sky for up to 20 hours a day. The great thing is that people understand how to take advantage of the night light.
Don’t worry; you won’t go crazy
Many hotels and other accommodations have blackout curtains in the rooms to block the midnight sun.
Polar night throughout the Arctic
Both Swedish and American film culture has enriched us with films where a bunch of vampires travels up north to hang around through the winter without having to think about the sun rising. Fortunately, they have not yet discovered Greenland, so we have our polar night to ourselves.
Greenland is not the only country with the polar night, of course. You will find it in the Northern Hemisphere in Norway, Sweden, Finland, Russia, Alaska (USA), Canada, Greenland, and Iceland. Sisimiut is the largest town in Greenland that is located north of the Arctic Circle (40 kilometers north of the Arctic Circle).
Greenlanders celebrate the end of the polar night, not least in Ilulissat.