UNESCO

Your jumping-off point for all things UNESCO in Greenland

1

Ilulissat Icefjord

2

Aasivissuit – Nipisat

3

Kujataa

As of 2018, Greenland has an amazing three UNESCO world heritage sites – each wildly different and with its own unique blend of culture and nature to showcase.

Use the map below to explore our UNESCO sites, find out what makes them so special and how you can experience their spectacle for yourself.

Ilulissat Icefjord – Inscribed 2004
This was Greenland’s first ever UNESCO world heritage site. The fastest moving glacier in the world feeds into this 61 km long fjord which is packed with fascinating icebergs all year around.

Aasivissuit – Nipisat Inscribed 2018
Greenland’s most recently inscribed site, Aasivissuit – Nipisat is still in the early stages of its development as a UNESCO site. It encompasses a huge area that stretches from the ice cap to the sea, and which has been an Inuit hunting ground for about 4,200 years.

Kujataa – Inscribed 2017
Kujataa is a cultural landscape that is located across five different sites in South Greenland. It celebrates both the Norse and the Inuit farming cultures, which have simultaneously shaped the people and land in the area for over 1000 years.

Ilulissat Icefjord

Greenland’s original UNESCO world heritage site never fails to impress

Ilulissat Icefjord is the channel through which ice that calves off of Ilulissat Glacier (Sermeq Kujalleq in Greenlandic) reaches the sea. Ilulissat Glacier is one of the most active and fastest moving glaciers in the world, and has been studied for over 250 years by scientists, helping to develop our understanding of climate change. As well as being an invaluable research site for scientists, the icefjord is a place where the everyday person can be humbled by the very real sight of climate change in action.

How can I experience this site?

Check out this article which outlines all the different ways that tourists can get up close and personal with the icefjord.

In summer 2021, the area leading up to the icefjord will be enlivened by a brand new Icefjord Visitor Centre, upon which work has already begun. The building will act as a touchpoint for tourists to get more information on the site, and is designed to blend in with the surrounding landscape.

Aasivissuit – Nipisat

Inuit Hunting Ground between Ice and Sea

Aasivissuit – Nipisat was inscribed as a UNESCO site in summer 2018, making it Greenland’s newest UNESCO site. Like the Kujataa site in South Greenland, it is recognised as a cultural landscape, as humans have helped to shape the area for at least 4,200 years.

The site is vast and stretches all the way from the ice cap to the sea. This area is actually the largest ice-free landscape in Greenland, meaning that throughout history it has acted as a valuable hunting ground for many different groups of settlers, and still does for Greenlanders today.

Since Aasivissuit – Nipisat is so new and covers such a large area, it is still in the early stages of being developed for tourism. The site is essentially a vast area of backcountry so there is a lot of work to be done to guide tourism experiences within it. Authorities are hard at work, though, and plans are being developed for each of the 7 sub-sites which make up the site as a whole. If you download this detailed map from UNESCO, you can see each of the 7 sub-sites marked in yellow. There are plans for permanent exhibitions at all 7 sub-sites, but it is the hope that the site will offer a ‘living experience’, and that tourists will be allowed the freedom to enjoy this vast cultural wilderness each in their own way.

How can I experience this site?

Greenland is unique in that its wilderness areas are unrestricted, meaning that anyone is free to roam and camp wherever they like in the backcountry. This makes the Aasivissuit – Nipisat site a dream come true for adventure tourists who are happy simply to sling a pack on their back and set off into the landscape.

A great way to experience the site on foot is by completing the Arctic Circle Trail – a 160 km long hike, a large part of which passes through the site. Check out our Go-To Guide to the Arctic Circle Trail for everything you need to know about this experience.

Experienced hikers who want more freedom are free to hike wherever they like around the site – but please take proper safety precautions. See our general Greenland hiking guide for ideas and more information on hiking.

Although they do not technically lie within the boundaries of the site, the towns of Kangerlussuaq and Sisimiut are located close by, and provide great bases from which to explore the site if you’d rather stay somewhere with all the modern conveniences. Kangerlussuaq is located at the “ice” end of the site, while Sisimiut is found at the “sea” end. There are loads of things to do in the towns themselves, and there are also plenty of tour operators based there who can help you plan your UNESCO experience.

The Aasivissuit – Nipisat site is recognised for its value as a hunting ground, and there are outfitters in the area whom you can accompany on a hunting trip for the authentic cultural experience of the site. Check out our trophy hunting page to learn more.

In winter, the snowy landscape allows for many different ways to experience this UNESCO site. Head to this page for some ideas on enjoying Aasivissuit – Nipisat in the winter. As the sub-sites are developed, there will be more and more opportunities for organised tours in the sub-sites themselves – so the future looks very bright for Aasivissuit – Nipisat! Visit the site’s website to stay updated on developments.

Because the site is so huge, and encompasses both the coast and the ice cap, there is actually a vast array of ways in which you can move through the area and get immersed in this cultural landscape.

Kujataa

Norse and Inuit Farming at the Edge of the Ice Cap

South Greenland is the lushest and most fertile part of the country, meaning that it has been home to farming culture in Greenland for over 1000 years. In the 10th century, Vikings settled in Greenland and established several farms in South Greenland. Today, the farms not only act as fascinating cultural ruins but have actually been revived by modern Greenlanders to work as fully functioning farms. This meeting of different cultures and their connection with the land is why Kujataa is known as a cultural landscape.

How can I experience this site?

Check out this article which outlines the specific UNESCO world heritage sites in the region.

This article focuses on the modern farms that are dotted around the region, and how you can craft a trip that moves between them.