25 Apr What to do in Nuuk, Greenland’s Capital
Join Agness and Cez, tireless travellers of the world, as they take you to Greenland and its capital city, with quite possibly the cutest name for a city ever, Nuuk!
Nuuk is home to just under twenty thousand people and acts as a safety buffer from the more rigorous icy conditions further up towards and beyond the Arctic Circle. Surrounded by stretched, glaciated valleys and dominated by a series of fjords, Nuuk has everything you need prepare you before you embark north. We like to see Nuuk as the gateway to Greenland, as it is the only place on the whole island that has roads suitable enough to allow cars to pass, and the south of the city opens up to an old fishing harbour on the Labrador Sea.
Having come from Scandinavia or Iceland via boat or plane, your first noticeable difference from life back home is just how calm everything is. People are smiling, wishing you a good day, and the general cadence of life is very slow. The temperature throughout the year doesn’t vary too much, a few degrees Celsius either side of freezing, but there are plenty of days where you will be graced with sun, and thus glimpse the looming but absolutely stunning Sermitsiaq Mountain that is visible from almost anywhere in the city.
So, what is there to actually do here? Well, before you set off on your amazing journey to see some of Greenland’s beautiful landscapes and mysterious wildlife, let’s have a gander at what will definitely take your fancy in the city:
The National Greenland Museum and Archives
With all signage and explanations in English you will learn tons about the ancient history of Greenland. After all, the island has been home to a number of ethnicities over the centuries, including Inuits, Eskimos, Vikings, Danes and Norsemen.
There are cool artefacts dating back two thousand years, and even five-hundred year-old mummies from an Inuit tribe! A touching sentiment is that many of these artefacts and pieces of history have actually been discovered by students from the local schools and university whilst studying archaeology and history.
City walking Tours
The locals love to walk, so why not join them?! There are walking tours that can take around two or three hours, covering all the important aspects of the recent history surrounding the growth of Nuuk. You will be told of the struggles between local Inuits and European Expats, and how they dealt with conflict and thankfully, the merging of cultures.
There are plenty of buildings and statues that will be presented, and you will even find a few nooks and crannies for some amazing camera shots of the city.
Visit Nuuk Cathedral
If you go to the three-hundred year-old cathedralthree-hundred year-old cathedral on a Sunday it will of course be packed, so you will surely meet some very friendly and chatty locals. This will give you an idea of the real sense of community that Nuuk has, which is humbling. Otherwise, it is nice to visit when it is quiet because its sweet and simple outline looks lovely against the white mountainous backdrop from one angle, and the harbour on the other; ideal for photographers! Its red exterior is usually decorated with flowers, like something out of a fairytale!
Katuaq Culture Centre
Not only will you see the latest movies, you will have the chance to catch some stunning art displays, with international artists showcasing their Greenland muses and inspirations; and some pleasant Greenlandic folk bands to tap along to. The building itself is of modern architectural design but the lighting inside is homage to the Northern Lights, which of course are occasionally visible much further north of the island.
There’s also a highly reputable café there, a good place to get some respite from the cold and enjoy cake and coffee.
Depending on the time of the year, this could be an excellent climb for the avid trekker and ice climber. Because of the layout of the multitudes of fjords, this mountain is actually on a separate island to Nuuk, but is around a forty-five minute boat ride from the city’s harbour. Some parts of the climb are classed as “scramble”, meaning you will need to use hands to help you elevate yourself. However, the difficulty is not that high, yet the views are breathtaking.
Other Treks are available
Because of the geographic phenomenon of the surrounding fjords, Nuuk is home to many trekking tour companies that offer various levels of challenging treks. Kobbe and Nuuk Fjords are particularly rewarding with glorious views of the blue sea and distant snowcapped peaks. It is the perfect idea for an adventurous day out.
Hopefully you will include Nuuk in your Greenland trip. It is worth exploring it and meeting the locals, and certainly worth readying yourself there before commencing the rest of your journey. It will be bliss, walking around the city with the freshest of air, and seeing such a random diversity in architecture. We would sincerely love to hear your thoughts and for you to share your Nuuk experiences!