Just look at the two places Greenland proudly calls UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Unlike other popular worldly destinations – that often sell themselves with gorgeous photos void of humans but deliver a completely different reality – when you visit Greenland’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites, you get what you saw in the images. Wide and silent landscapes that make you feel small.
Kujataa (pronounced koo-ya-TAH) is Greenland’s newest pride and joy, making the list in late 2017. It is one massive region of fjord and green hills, and it covers five different spots where Vikings established farms back in the 10th – 14th centuries. They have all been revived by Greenlanders as preserved ruins but also as fully-functioning settlements and farms.
Why it is perfect for outdoorswomen and men: The relatively close proximity of several of the sites (about 30 km from each other) gives great multi-day camping & hiking opportunities. Blue Ice Explorer provides start and end boat transfers for a few self-guided hiking routes, but be warned that the terrain is challenging and only for experienced trekkers. Blue Ice Explorer also offer a series of boat tours to connect the sites – an easier alternative than hiking.
A tidbit of wisdom: The Norse and Inuit each had their own names for the same sites. Here, the Greenlandic name comes first.
Qassiarsuk = Brattahlid
Qaqortukulooq (and the nearby agricultural research station Upernaviarsuk) = Hvalsey
Sissarluttoq = Eastern Settlement
Tasikuluulik = Vatnahverfi
Igaliku = Gardar
How to get there: Air Greenland offers direct international flights from Copenhagen to Narsarsuaq in summer, as well as direct domestic flights from Kangerlussuaq, Nuuk and Paamiut to Narsarsuaq year round. Air Iceland Connect offers direct international flights from Keflavik to Narsarsuaq in summer.
Continues further down the page...
The Ilulissat Icefjord was Greenland’s first-ever UNESCO World Heritage Site, earning the status in 2004. It is a 61-km long fjord packed full of unimaginably large icebergs that have calved from its feeder glacier, Sermeq Kujalleq. As the fastest-moving glacier in the northern hemisphere, it is absolutely a ground zero for seeing a changing environment up close and understanding that one’s actions halfway around the world do impact far-away places.
Why it is perfect for outdoorswomen and men: There are so many ways to experience the Ilulissat Icefjord by land, sea and air that you could nearly focus your entire holiday around it. Self-guided hiking routes within the UNESCO area bring you close to the coastline, where you can hear the ice popping and breathing if you sit still. Small boat tours go out late every night to weave between the icebergs and catch the gorgeous evening light. There are even flightseeing tours by small helicopter or small propeller plane where everyone gets a window-seat view to Mother Nature’s horizon.
How to get there: Air Greenland offers direct international flights from Keflavik to Ilulissat in summer, as well as direct domestic flights from Aasiaat, Kangerlussuaq, Nuuk, Qaarsut and Upernavik all year round. Air Iceland Connect offers direct international flights from Reykjavík to Ilulissat in spring, summer and autumn.
As of summer 2018, Greenland can claim a third UNESCO site which adds to our catalogue of world class nature. Head to our main UNESCO page to learn more.