The city of Nuuk is, in many ways, worlds apart from other capital cities, but it is a surprisingly easy city to visit. Outdoor enthusiasts find a multitude of things to do, from wilderness tours, wildlife spotting, hiking and kayaking, to snowshoeing, fishing and hunting. It’s a photographer’s delight with a canvas of ever-changing landscapes of glaciers and icebergs, whale sightings and Northern Lights. Foodies find culinary adventures. Artists admire the world-class museums and art galleries.
We spent a few days in Nuuk and discovered this Arctic metropolis has it all. It’s rare to find a capital city that offers a cosmopolitan experience with a backcountry twist. You can spend a day in the wilderness hiking, boating to icebergs, or nature bathing, then dine at a gourmet restaurant at night.
We ventured out and explored this colourful 6-kilometer town in every direction. It was fascinating to meet the local Inuit and Danish people who are artists, office workers, fishermen and hunters, and learn how each one of them contributes to maintaining a culturally rich heritage.
Continues further down the page...
Here are our 7 ways in which Nuuk offers a city break with a difference:
During the summer, whales often come close to shore and are quite easily sighted. There are up to 15 species of whales that visit Greenland’s waters. The most common are the fin whale, humpback whale, and minke whale. We saw a humpback whale spout and swim past us in early June – it was a thrill!
In wintertime, visit Nuuk to watch the Northern Lights and be amazed by this natural phenomenon.
Adventurers who love to hike, ski and camp will find plenty of opportunity in the backcountry, countryside & wilderness. Fly into Nuuk, then head out and experience nature at its best. Walking through town to see the iconic colourful houses along the waterfront is a must. Don’t Miss! Hike above Nuuk for unbelievable vistas. Check Visit Greenland’s Ultimate Greenland Hiking Guide for routes.
Take a full day boat tour from Nuuk into the fjord, with a visit to the settlement of Qoornoq. Depending on the time of year, you can also see local whales breaching. Our lunch was spent floating in the surreal bay surrounded by icebergs, eating sandwiches of smoked cod and reindeer. It was a symphony of ice music as we quietly listened to icebergs cracking and colliding. We chose Nuuk Water Taxi for our day trip to see the stunning scenery of the area’s inlets, go in search of whales, see the northern lights, and explore the region’s icebergs and coastal settlements. Captain Anders’ knowledge of hidden special places made this a ‘must-do’ outing for anyone visiting Nuuk.
Downtown Nuuk offers a lovely Art Museum filled with a selection of older art from European traveling artists. Greenland National Museum and Archive is Greenland’s largest cultural history museum. The museum preserves the history, art and images from all over the country. In addition, Katuaq is a cultural venue that offers musical, theatrical and visiting exhibits throughout the year. Legends and traditions are reinterpreted by local artists, musicians, and designers. Music and sports fans can enjoy a variety of concerts and events, many of which are free. Connect with the Greenlandic people through a homestay or a traditional kaffemik in a local’s home.
Forage for berries and herbs, go fishing and catch your own fish, or buy organic, exotic, top quality meats from local hunters at a great price.
Nuuk takes nature bathing to another level. Visitors can take in the outdoor surroundings and be at one with nature by taking an icy dip in the Nuuk harbor with locals every Sunday morning. Rumor has it there will even be a mobile sauna coming to Nuuk in the near future.
There are several options for lodging in Nuuk. We stayed for a few nights at Hotel Hans Egede, an excellent 4-star hotel. The largest hotel in Nuuk is located on the city centre’s main street, less than 6 km from the airport. Guest rooms are comfortable and spacious. We had all the amenities needed for a pleasant stay. The staff were helpful in every way and we gave a “green” thumbs up to the water filling stations in every hallway so guests can easily fill up their eco-friendly water bottles.
Guests have many dining options to choose from at Hotel Hans Egede including:
Here’s how to get to Greenland. Currently, there are two airlines that operate regular services to the capital city of Nuuk: Air Greenland and Air Iceland Connect. We enjoyed the service of Air Greenland for our round trip from Reykjavik, Iceland to Nuuk. The service was a lovely 3-hour flight on a well-equipped Air Greenland Dash 8. Excellent comfort, refreshments and friendly service by the flight attendants and crew made it very memorable. We had inflight service 3 times on our 3-hour journey by one of the friendliest flight attendants in our recent memory. The pilots made sure that this flight was unforgettable because of their informative dialogue and friendly attitude.