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15 Best Things to do in Nuuk (Greenland)

15 Best Things to do in Nuuk (Greenland)

Nuuk is the capital of Greenland and home to a third of Greenland’s population. It was founded in 1728 when a Danish-Norwegian missionary named Hans Egede relocated here from Hope Colony. Nuuk means “cape” in Greenlandic.

Despite its relatively small size, there are plenty of things to do in Nuuk. The city also serves as a great base for tourists to explore the beautiful fjords and nature of Greenland.

Nuuk Cathedral

Nuuk Cathedral was opened in 1849 and is a great example of the typical Church architecture of nordic countries. It is built entirely of wood and is painted in the typical Falun red which also decorates countless Swedish and Danish houses and wooden churches.

Nuuk Cathedral really comes to life during National Day as it is one of the main venues of this annual celebration. Right next to the Nuuk Cathedral is the statue of Hans Egede, a famous writer of psalms.

It is situated on a small hill and offers a lovely view of the church and its surroundings.

Nuuk Cathedral

Nuuk Art Museum

Nuuk Art Museum offers 600 m² of ever-changing exhibitions as well as a permanent collection dedicated to art from the 19th and 20th centuries. Most interesting are the collections of carvings originating in Greenland.

These fascinating artworks were carved into soapstone, wood, and ivory. Not only does the Nuuk Art Museum offer interesting exhibitions, but it also organizes special events aiming to educate the youth.

Hans Egedes hus

Hans Egedes hus is where the famous priest and author Hans Egede lived during his life in Greenland in the 18th century. Hans Egede is very significant for the region as he founded Nuuk during his missionary efforts.

Today this humble private residence has been turned into a public institution serving as a venue for the Naalakkersuisut (government of Greenland) and the Inatsisartut (Parliament of Greenland).

The house has not been opened to the general public and can only be visited during special events.

Hans Egedes hus

Katuaq Cultural Center

The Katuaq Cultural Center is one of the most remarkable buildings in all of Greenland and offers a stark contrast to the typical Greenlandic houses found elsewhere.

This modernist structure was built in an L-shape featuring a backward-leaning screen inspired by the Northern Lights. The building serves as a venue for temporary exhibitions and concerts and also houses a cinema.

Checking out what the Katuaq Cultural Center has to offer is a great way to spend a few hours and the city’s only Shopping Center, the so-called Nuuk Center, is right next door too.

Katuaq Cultural Center

Photo: RUBEN M RAMOS / Shutterstock.com

Santa’s Mailbox

Santa’s Mailbox is probably one of Nuuk’s most surprising attractions. Thousands of letters addressed to Santa Claus arrive here every year.

Volunteers from Nuuk read the letters out loud and use Google Translate to create answer letters to the children who were hoping to contact Santa Claus at his house at the north pole.

The letters are emptied on December 24th every year. You can find Santa’s Mailbox right at the tourism office.

Whale Watching

Greenland is an ideal place for whale watching as there are large populations of humpback whales, fin whales, and minke whales found here. If you are lucky you can even spot some of the world’s rare whale species like the beluga whale or the narwhals.

There are several tour operators specializing in whale watching found in Nuuk such as Diskoline which offers tour packages suitable to all budgets and preferences. There are even kayak expeditions on offer that offer a particularly intimate and personal whale watching experience.

whale watching nuuk

Godthaab Bryghus

One of the best places to experience the local beer culture is the Godthaab Bryghus, a popular brewpub right in the middle of Nuuk. Not only does the place offer a great spot for a relaxing evening with friends, but it is also the largest brewery in Greenland.

How beer brewing in such a remote corner of the world works is explained in the public tours of the Godthaab Bryghus. The brewpub offers a large selection of classical beers as well as some experimental ones including ginger beer.

Apart from the beer, there is also a selection of tasty dishes to be enjoyed here.

Nuuk Fjord (Nuup Kangerlua)

The Nuuk Fjord (often also called Nuup Kangerlua) is the perfect place to experience the Arctic summer in stunning nature right in front of the doors of Greenland’s capital Nuuk.

Many people come here to go sailing as the fjord is remarkably beautiful and peaceful. Apart from the clear waters of the Arctic Ocean, there is plenty of colorful flowers to be found in the meadows surrounding the fjord.

Nuup Kangerlua

See the Northern Lights

The Northern Lights are one of the most impressive natural attractions of the Arctic, where “magical” light is glowing up the dark winter sky with waves of color that can be seen dancing in the sky. 

Even though the lights can appear between the end of August and the beginning of April, the best chance to witness this phenomenon is during December, January, and February.

nuuk northern lights

Take the Nuuk Water Taxi

The Nuuk Water Taxi is a local company offering unique excursions to Nuuk’s surroundings. You can go whale watching, experience ice fjords, or even make a paddleboat tour.

What almost all the tours have in common is the spectacular and untouched Greenlandic nature. When exploring the area by boat, visitors really get a sense of the remoteness of this part of the world.

The Nuuk Water Taxi also serves as a fast way to get from Nuuk to the settlement Kapisillit. The water taxi also offers tours aiming at experiencing the Northern Lights from the water, a very romantic experience.

Eat local Greenlandic food

Nuuk is a great place to try Greenlandic food. Most of the country’s cuisine is based on the meat of marine mammals, fish, and birds reflecting the living conditions and lack of agriculture in the Arctic climate.

Some of the dishes include very unusual food like whale blubber which can be very interesting for foreign visitors. Nuuk offers a big array of restaurants and while many of them serve international food there are also many great traditional venues like the Qooqqut Nuan.

Sculpture of Sedna (Mother of the Sea)

The Sculpture of Sedna can be found in the waters just a few meters off the coast of Nuuk in the city’s harbor. Sedna is an important figure in Inuit mythology and is part of a creation myth explaining how she came to rule over the Inuit underworld.

She is often referred to as the Mother of the Sea. Even though the sculpture is not particularly big or impressive it is worth a visit as the panorama from Nuuk’s waterfront is very scenic and not to be missed.

Nuuk Golf Club

The Nuuk Golf Club is often called one of the most unique golf clubs in the world and when coming here it is not hard to imagine why. The course stretches along the water and offers a mix of greenery and rock formations which makes playing here a real challenge.

The scenic beauty of Greenland’s remote nature is a real highlight of playing golf here. The Nuuk Golf Club offers a Par 33 course with 9 holes.  

Nuuk Stadium

Nuuk Stadium is a very humble venue for local sporting events as well as concerts. Since the installment of artificial turf in 2016, the playing conditions have improved drastically and the stadium is now licensed for UEFA competitions.

The stadium is mostly used for football games which makes visiting the stadium a good place to experience the local football culture.

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