It’s no secret that Greenland is not really a sun, sea and sand destination. Although we do have all three of those things (most of the time!), people don’t come to sunbathe.
But this doesn’t mean that the weather is always bad in Greenland – just sometimes.
Believe it or not, bad weather is one of the things we love most about Greenland. Yes, you read that right. We love bad weather! It’s the best excuse to get together with friends and family, snuggle up, and forget the world outside.
Check out our 7 favourite things to do in bad weather in Greenland.
We love to share our history and our culture with our guests, and one of the best ways to do this is through museums. There are museums in all major towns in Greenland and also in many smaller towns and settlements as well. From Greenland’s National Museum in Nuuk, to art museums in Nuuk and Ilulissat, to tiny museums located inside local houses in Ittoqqortoormiit and Kulusuk, there is a real variety of different kinds of museums to choose from.
Some towns have what we call “open air” museums, which means they are spread across a number of original local buildings, so are mostly inside. In other words, don’t be deterred by the name – you can also visit them in bad weather!
Gather with locals
Forsamlingshuse – literally, “gathering houses”, are a real staple of modern Greenlandic culture. They are a kind of community centre where all kinds of events take place – from flea markets, to music performances, to dance classes, to bingo. There are forsamlingshuse in most towns, but you’ll have to do a bit of investigation, as events are not generally advertised to tourists. Try checking bus stops or notice boards for flyers, or asking local people what’s on.
Immerse yourself in everyday culture
Greenland’s cultural centres are an easy opportunity for tourists to experience some local culture and mingle with local people in a natural setting. There are currently three official cultural centres in Greenland, with the biggest and most well-known, Katuaq, being located in Nuuk.
Katuaq is located in Nuuk’s city centre and contains a cafe, art exhibition space, concert hall and cinema/theatre space. Its big windows looking out onto Nuuk’s pedestrianised high street make it the perfect place to cosy up with a cup of coffee and some Greenlandic delicacies and watch the rain or snow fall outside.
Taseralik is Sisimiut’s cultural centre and it is also an impressive, modern building in a beautiful setting. Looking over the lake and mountains, it is worth braving the harsh conditions to make it to this idyllic spot where you can enjoy a warm drink at the cafe, some art in the exhibition space or a movie or theatre production in the concert hall.
Sermermiut cultural centre in Ilulissat is not as new or modern as the other two but is just as lively. It is located just up the hill from the town centre, opposite the Pisiffik and Elgiganten stores. Pop by to see what’s going on.
Swimming and Spa-ing
Not the most obvious bad weather activity, but bear with us.
Nuuk has a fantastic modern indoor swimming pool that houses an indoor multi-pool, a warm water pool, a hot tub and a cafe. The main pool stretches right up to the building’s huge glass windows, so you can swim while enjoying the view over the bay. Get more information on the pool’s website.
Kangerlussuaq also has an indoor swimming pool (located on the other side of the airport, close to Kangerlussuaq Youth Hostel and the grocery store). It doesn’t have fixed opening times but it’s worth passing by to see if you can hide from the weather with a relaxing dip.
Turn up the ‘treat yourself’ factor by indulging in one of Greenland’s many spa experiences. Hotel Sisimiut has an Arctic Spa, complete with sauna and outdoor hot tub, that can be used individually or rented exclusively. Ilulissat Guesthouse has recently opened a panoramic sauna with a unique view over the icefjord. South Greenland, meanwhile, is gaining a reputation as a ‘wellness region’ or ‘one giant spa’, with its natural hot springs and its very own spa.
Coffee and cake
It’s hard to get more Greenlandic than coffee and cake. There’s always a good reason for it, but no reason is better than bad weather.
The Greenlandic kaffemik (meaning “via coffee”) is a traditional gathering that celebrates a special event, like a wedding, a birthday, or the first day of school. If you spend some time in Greenland, you may get invited to one. You can experience a kaffemik as a tourist product, which is more about being invited into a local’s home and enjoying coffee and cake with them than attending an actual celebration.
If you are in a major town in Greenland, you are never far from a cafe. For those who get the craving when they’re somewhere more remote, well – you’ll just have to start making some friends!
Go to church
The majority of Greenland’s population are Protestant Christians, which means you’ll find a church in most towns and settlements. Generally speaking, they are open and tourists are welcome to go in and take a look or attend services. If there is an event such as a wedding or a funeral underway, you are welcome to watch, but please be respectful and keep your distance.
Liz is a member of the Content and Relationship Management team at Visit Greenland. She has recently completed a Master’s degree in Global Tourism Development, and hopes to continue conducting academic research on cultural tourism in the Arctic.
Ilulissat is the third largest town in Greenland, and the iceberg capital of the country. The spectacular Ilulissat icefjord finishes just behind town and spills out natural sculptures of ice into the bay around Ilulissat. This means that there is hardly a viewpoint in the city which does not have a backdrop of majestically floating icebergs.
Browse culture and nature (outdoor, hunting, fishing, cruises) related activities, as well as combination of both types.
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