Situated in a fjord system known for its abundant whales and seals, hiking, and mineral deposits, Narsaq is also a hub for sheep farming in South Greenland.
Narsaq has Brugseni and Pilersuisoq supermarkets that stock a little bit of everything. You should aim to bring all your outdoor equipment with you or rent equipment from the Blue Ice Café in Narsarsuaq.
To buy souvenirs, check out the range at the Narsaq Hotel, Ulu Netcafe, and the museum
In Narsaq you can explore a mountainous landscape that hides some of the rarest minerals on Earth, and then relax with a locally-brewed “Qajaq” beer made with thousands of years old water from icebergs.
While Narsaq does not have a large number of organised tours for visitors, its stunning backcountry is perfect for those who enjoy charting their own course to see what they can discover. Barely known Norse ruins lie buried in the valleys of Narsaq, pristine rivers teem with fish, and hidden mountain lakes overlook spectacular views of icebergs in the fjord. You never know what you might find out here. Perhaps even some Tugtupit – a rare, semi-precious stone that fluoresces under UV light.
Narsaq is located between the Tunulliarfik Fjord and Sermilik Fjords, closer to the open sea than Narsarsuaq. Visitors must first arrive at the international airport in Narsarsuaq and then catch either a boat or helicopter transfer to Narsaq, while domestic travellers also have the option of catching the Sarfaq Ittuk passenger ferry.
The best time to visit is June – October when hiking, fishing and sailing are at their peak. During winter, most organised excursions from towns in South Greenland hibernate though it is still possible to enjoy the pristine snow if you have your own gear.
Narsaq is a small town where most people walk to wherever they want to go. There are taxis, however, if you want to travel further afield on the gravel roads or give your legs a rest.
For excursions in the area, the most common way to get around is with a boat (all year) or on foot (summer), and with a snowmobile, skis, or snowshoes (winter).
Narsaq's accommodation options include private rooms with their own or shared facilities, sleeping bag dormitories with shared facilities, and a privately rented house that also includes a hot tub! All are located within town, with the exception of the farm stay. You can also free-camp anywhere on the outskirts of town, as long as you avoid the farmers’ fields. Please stay clear of the flat areas with bright green grass.
Narsaq is thought to be the place where Eric the Red first settled before moving to Brattahlíð (now Qassiarsuk). Narsaq is home to the Landnám homestead – one of the oldest Norse ruins in the area and whose footprint is still clearly visible near the centre of town. You can also hike for a couple of kilometres and visit the remains of a church at Dyrnæs not far from Narsaq, though you’ll have to use your imagination to identify the structures.
A visit to the Narsaq museum may help as one of its permanent displays tells the story of the Viking settlement of South Greenland. Housed in some of the town’s oldest buildings, the museum also showcases information on more recent local history, and hosts travelling exhibitions each year.
Geology enthusiasts might also want to start at the museum to view rocks and minerals (including the rare Tugtupit) that have been found in the area. There is a permanent exhibition on the Dyrnæs-Narsaq mineral complex for which Narsaq is famous, and it’s always a good idea to know what you are looking for before heading into the hills to see what you can find.
If rocks are not your thing but you enjoy hiking, the mountainous backcountry around Narsaq is perfect for discovering unbeatable views, hidden lakes, and pristine rivers that are ripe for fishing (remember to buy a fishing license before you begin). If you are visiting during May, you can even join the exodus of local people to one specific river where the aim is to catch the first Arctic char of the season.
The most popular hikes are to the top of the two mountains that rise directly behind Narsaq – Tasiigaaq and Qaqqarsuaq – and out to Narsaq Point (Nuugaarsuk) with its unobstructed views up the Tunulliarfik Fjord towards Narsarsuaq. Long-distance hikers also have the option of trekking to Qassiarsuk – a 60km journey through a UNESCO World Heritage-listed countryside of sheep farms, green river valleys, raw mountains, and ice-filled fjords.
If you would prefer to get out on the water, join one of the sailing trips that take you to explore the ice. A short iceberg safari will take you for a close-up view of those that have been calved off nearby glaciers, or travel to the glaciers themselves in a half-day excursion that also takes you past bird cliffs and a scenic waterfall. The waters around Narsaq are rich with marine wildlife including whales, seals and salmon – so keep a sharp eye out as you sail.
However you choose to spend your day, it almost has to end with a cold, locally-brewed beer. The small Greenlandic brewhouse Qajaq draws some of the water it uses from ancient, pure water icebergs and carefully selects local ingredients to create unique lagers, ales, and “Bock” beers under the guidance of American and German brewmasters. While Qajaq beer can now be found throughout Greenland, go straight to the source while you are in Narsaq.
For those who do not want to self-cater, there are a handful other dining options in town. The cafe/restaurant at the Hotel Narsaq serves lunch and light meals during the day, and then turns into a lovely restaurant with an à la carte menu during the evening. Your other options are Ulu Netcafe which serves fast food, and Café Inugssuk which offers snacks, locally brewed “Qajaq” beer, and live music every Friday.