Nuuk

From Wikitravel
Jump to: navigation, search

Nuuk, [1](Greenlandic:Nuup) also known by its Danish name of Godthåb (Good Hope), is the capital and administrative centre of Greenland, with a population of around 15,000 (about 1/4 the entire population of the country). It is the smallest capital in the World, which makes it very easy to walk around; as well as the most Northern. It is the Cultural, Financial, Business and Touristic Capital of Greenland.

Nuuk is the most populous town in Greenland with 15,862 residents, making it one of the least populated national capitals in the world. Today, the bustling city, by Greenlandic standards, is home to the Katuaq Culture Center, the National Museum as well as many other popular tourist attractions; it offers a good range of shops like the Nuuk Shopping Center and interesting shops to browse into, like Anori Art, which has the largest amount of objects around Greenland outside the National Museum.

New and modern buildings with a Scandinavian Twist confront the old houses in the Old town, which date back to its foundation, with their colourful painted houses. Nuuk can be seen in 4 days, but around Nuuk there are far more things to do, which could keep you busy for weeks.

Understanding[edit]

History[edit]

If you would have taken a time machine to Nuuk at the times of the Vikings, you would have found a few farmsteads made of turf and mud, with snow on the rooftops and smoke coming out from the chimney, and a very light glimmer of a fire from inside, where the Norse would spend all the time in the winter along with the cattle, and you wouldn't see anything else. Going to the outer parts of the fjords, you would find some small Inuit tribe moving along the coast to the sea, for hunting and fishing, and possibly raiding the Norse for food.

This place was not too bad for having a harbour just inside a fjord but near to the sea, but it is not a good place for placing a capital of a country right here. Nuuk was first written about around when the Church and the Union of Kalmar was documenting how many Churches and villages were in Greenland, also archaeologists have found many small Viking hamlets around the fjords near Nuuk, which at the time was called the Western Settlement, the smallest of all the Viking settlements; but also many Inuit huts. At that time there wasn't a Nuuk, but small farmsteads and Inuit tribes, the only time Nuuk will become a hole town is when it is at the time of its foundation, in 1728. In 1261, the Norse of the Western Settlement, with the unhappiness of the Alþingi (The Norse Parliament), they gave the independence to the Church of Nidaros (Today Trondheim)in Norway, recognizing the King of Norway as their leader, but it preserved its own laws.

The Western Settlement was last recorded in 1341 by Ivar Bardarson to represent in the Church in Igaliku and to document the Churches in Norse Greenland. At a point, a small ice age came right during the 14th-15th centuries, which could give a clue not only for the disappearing Western Settlement, but also for all the Norse in Greenland. The temperatures during that time fallen to 6 and 8 degrees in the summer, which was absolutely freezing.


During the early 1800s, the missionary Hans Egede founded the town of Nuuk as a trading post after failing in Kangeq in 1721. After a freezing winter, with many of the colonists dying or going back home to Denmark, with the few left Hans Egede founded a fort, and called Nuuk Godthåb or Cape of Good Hope. Hans Egede was trying to find the Norse that disappeared from Greenland, but at the time they thought that they only loosed contact, and Hans Egede wanted to Christianize the Norse of the Western Settlement, thinking that they were still Catholic or even worst, going back to Paganism. Between 1733 and 1734, a Smallpox epidemic killed most of the population, as well affected some Inuit communities, and Hans Egede went back to Denmark. Nuuk became then seat of government of Greenland shortly after he left. In 1733, Morovian missionaries were allowed to build a church in the area of Nuuk. Morovian missions absorbed the Inuit of the Nuuk Fjord, which wanted to convert to Christianity as well as interpreters and missionaries too, also for trading seal, leather and other precious things, which for Europeans was fast becoming a powerful colony. By the 1800s, the local tribes saw a disaster in their local culture, especially around Nuuk, so a interesting and intelligent man called Hinrich Johannes Rink published the first newspaper in Greenlandic, with a Greenlander as the main editor and headquarters in Nuuk, called Attuagagdliutt.

During the War, there was much more independence feeling, because Nuuk, as its capital was temporarily out of Danish sphere of government, making it more self-sufficient. In the 1960s, Denmark started to modernise Nuuk, for modernise Greenland, to keep foot with time. In 1979, Godthaab was renamed to Nuuk with the Homerule act and it was headquartered in Nuuk. Today Nuuk houses over a third of population, both by Greenlanders and Danes. In January in hosted the Arctic Olimpic Games in 2016.

Culture[edit]

Climate[edit]

Climate Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Daily highs (°C) -7 -7 -8 -3 0 3 6 6 3 -1 -3 -6
Nightly lows (°C) -10 -10 -10 -6 -1 -1 3 3 1 -2 -5 -8
Precipitation (mm) 40 47 49 40 55 61 86 85 89 66 73 54

Averages of Nuuk between 1961-90

Nuuk, like most other areas in Greenland, features an arctic climate, with normally two seasons, summer and winter. The best time to visit Nuuk is surely during Summer time which is from early June to early August, when temperatures can go up to 10°C. The current Weather Forecast can be seen at the Kalaalit Nunaata Radioa [2].

Spring is still very cold for the average traveller it can last for 8 months! Spring temperatures are cold compared with Europe, it can go in March down to a bone cracking -5°C, but it cannot take away the magic of this city. It is advisable to take still heavy winter jackets, boots and scarves and gloves.

Summer is when most local people go out of their winter mood and go down even in T-shirts to enjoy the short yearly warmth, and also to go on holiday to Southern Greenland, or better called by the local people "The Banana Coast", for the sheer freezing condition in Nuuk nearly all year. It won't be too hot because it can reach only up to 15°C.

Autumn is the time between winter and summer, where temperatures go back down to 0°C or -5°C, so has to be another time for heavy winter clothing. There are some Marathons and festivals during this time.

Winter is the most magical time of the year, where all over the stunning fjord of Nuuk is covered on ice, you are allowed to walk on it, but don't do if no one else is doing it, it might be not thick enough and there might be the danger of falling in. Nuuk at this time is always covered in snow, and what makes it even more magical is at Christmas Time. Many Greenlanders and Danes go back home directly from work and friends and families go and see each other and stay for dinner, copying their twin town, Copenhagen.

People[edit]

Tourist information[edit]

Get in[edit]

There is no road or rail system connecting cities within Greenland. The only practical means to travel is by boat or air. On foot is less practical and far more strenuous.

Nuuk is easily accessible. There are daily flights from Kangerlussuaq and regular flights to other towns in Greenland. There is also service to Reykjavik airport in the summer. From mid-March through October there are flights from Keflavik International Airport in Iceland. There are also boats schedule to stop in Nuuk from Easter to Christmas.

By plane[edit]

Nuuk has one airport (IATA: GOH), which is located about 4 km northeast of town.

  • Air Greenland [3] offers connections to various destinations in Greenland and to Keflavík, Iceland during the summer months.
  • Air Iceland flies year-round to Reykjavík, three times a week during the summer and twice a week during the winter months.
  • Air Nunavut based in Iqaluit, NU, Canada offers charter service to and from Greenland.

By boat[edit]

Arctic Umiaq Line has a passenger terminal to Maniitsoq-Sisimiut-Aasiaat-Uummannaq and Paamiut-Qaqortoq-Narsaq-Narsarsuaq.

Royal Arctic Line and Blue Water are cargo-boat companies operating out of Nuuk.

Get around[edit]

Iceberg in Fjord, Summer

Nuuk is easy to get around on foot; it has the most advanced road network of any Greenlandic town, with over 100km of roads in the town. There are also buses and taxi services that make it easy to get from A to B in Nuuk. In the winter, there are illuminated ski trails around the city making it even easier to get around quickly.

Nuuk has a small bus company (Nuup Bussii A/S), or you can rent a car.

See[edit][add listing]

Katuaq Culture Center in the summer.

The old colonial town is located on the east coast side of the town centre. Here you will also find the statue of Hans Egede, Hans Egede's House and church.

Museums[edit]

Greenland’s National Museum, as well as the Nuuk Museum of Art both host cultural and historical exhibitions. Famous mummies, historical costumes and amulets can be found in the national Museum. The Museum of Art has over 300 paintings for visitors to enjoy. Also in Nuuk is the Culture House, which focuses mainly on contemporary art exhibitions and live performances.

  • Nuuk Art Museum, Kissarneqqortuunnguaq 5, P.O. Box 1005, 3900 Nuuk, Greenland, (+299) 32 77 33 (), [5]. F-Su 10-11:30 & 13-16. The museum is a private museum with an expansive collection of soap stone, ivory and wood carvings as well as the largest collection of paintings by Emanuel A. Petersen. Adults: DKK 50, Children and Students: DKK30.  edit
  • Katuaq Culture Center, Imaneq 21, 3900 Nuuk, Greenland, (+299) 32 33 00 (), [6]. This center is ideal for large meetings and conventions being held in Nuuk. There is also a cafe and restaurant on site that can be used by the public.  edit
  • Anori Art, P.O. Box 890, 3900 Nuuk, Greenland, (+299) 32 78 74 (). Also a souvenir shop Prices from DKK20.  edit
  • National Museum of Greenland, Hans Egedesvej 8, P.O. Box 145, 3900 Nuuk, Greenland, (+299) 32 26 11 (), [7]. Open 10-16 daily.. Contains exhibits spanning over 4,500 years of Greenlandic history, covering both Inuit and Norse culture. Admission: $5, EUR4.  edit

Whale Watching[edit]

Three species of whales are usually sighted in the fjord system around Nuuk. Humpback, minke and fin whales are almost always present from May to November and there is a good chance of seeing them on a cruise or sailing excursion.

Do[edit][add listing]

Guided Tours[edit]

With so many different sights in Nuuk, the best way to explore the city is on a guided tour. On these tours, the guides will tell you everything about the city, as well as the museum and culture center. These types of tours can usually be arranged with the local tourist offices.

Fishing boat and cruise ship in the Nuuk harbor in April.

Cruises[edit]

Nuuk is a popular starting point for many Greenlandic cruises, most likely because there is so much to do in the capital of Greenland.

Sailing[edit]

Sailing in Nuuk is the ultimate opportunity to see whales, seals as well as the beautiful landscapes where the sea meets the mountains in the fjords. The fjords are often filled with icebergs as well. Sailing trips that stop in Nuuk usually sail from Ilulissat to Qaqortoq.

Hiking[edit]

In Nuuk, hiking enthusiasts can journey to the top of Sermitsiaq or Lille Malene, both of which are landmark mountains near Nuuk. They both take just a few hours to reach on foot and the views are amazing from the top. It is also possible to hike to the Norse Settlement Sandnæs, which is the largest Norse farmstead in Western Greenland.

Several hiking routes start from Nuuk:

  • An easy hike from the Circuslake around the mountain Little Malene follows a marked trail.
  • A unmarked trek goes up Big Malene and offers a view over Nuuk from above. Parts of this trail is on mountain sides with large boulders or steep climbs up loose rocks.

Skiing[edit]

There are several illuminated cross-country ski runs in Nuuk; many of the runs are several kilometers in length. Most of these runs are to the southeast of the town. Alpine skiing is also popular in Nuuk; the town has an 1100-meter lift for it ski runs. Heliskiing is also available just North of Nuuk for thrill seeking tourists.

Nuuk Marathon[edit]

The Nuuk Marathon is held in August, but participants need to be prepared for wind, rain and single digit temperatures. The course is particularly challenging, and has many inclines and steep slopes to push participants to their limit.

  • Air Zafari Greenland ApS, P.O. Box 568, 3900 Nuuk, Greenland, (), [8]. Offers plane tours ranging from 1 hour to several hour expeditions. Most of their excursions are designed more for sightseeing. DKK1295-DKK4495/person depending on location and length.  edit
  • Arctic Boat Charter A/S, P.O. Box 1355, 3900 Nuuk, Greenland, (+299) 53 38 80 (), [9]. Offers boat charters and excursions, there is also equipment on board for rent for use when exploring at destination, including safety suits and a radio. 4 Hours: DKK9,700 Full day: DKK 20,200..  edit
  • Boat Charter Hans Egede, Christian de Renouard Salliarnaq 4 C – 106, P.O. Box 1241, 3900 Nuuk, Greenland, (+299) 32 96 75/(+299) 55 54 68 ().  edit
  • Br. Pederson Charter Service ApS, Iggiaanut 6-8, 3900 Nuuk, Greenland, (+299) 55 85 91/(+299) 57 99 86, [10]. M-F 8-12, 13-17. Sat 8-12. Mainly boat sales marina, but sometimes offers charters.  edit
  • Greenland Extreme, Gertrud Rask vej 14, B149, P.O. Box 1757, 3900 Nuuk, Greenland, (+299) 55 45 00 (), [11]. Offers excursions hunting, fishing and heliskiing from Nuuk. Some tours are seasonal and based on hunting season. Price: EUR3500/person.  edit
  • Greenland Travel - Nuuk, Aqqusinersuaq 5, P.O. Box 330, 3900 Nuuk, Greenland, (+299) 34 85 85 (), [12]. Offers summer and winter activities, most are seasonal offerings. DKK400-DKK12,900 depending on the type of tours..  edit
  • Kisaq Boat Charter (Outfitter Ellen Pedersen), P.O. Box 1236, 3900 Nuuk, Greenland, (+299) 55 55 77 (), [13]. Usually offers smaller/shorter tours around the Nuuk area/fjord in the winter months. In the summer, the boat charters longer cruises around Greenland, and is sometimes booked for freight. Price varies based on individualized tours..  edit
  • Kissavik, (+299) 55 34 92. Private Boat Charter.  edit
  • Martek ApS, P.O. Box 1473, 3900 Nuuk, Greenland, (+299) 48 73 48 (), [14]. Private Boat Charter available on the weekends for cruises and boat tours. Fishing, sight seeing and weekend tours. DKK 19,800.  edit
  • MR Charter, P.O. Box 5064, 3905 Nuuk, Greenland, (+299) 53 05 31 (), [15]. Offers cruises, boat trips and fishing trips to the surrounding fjord areas. Hourly: DKK950. Different prices also charged based on destination.  edit
Kayaks in Nuuk.
  • Sula Adventure, P.O. Box 378, 3900 Nuuk, Greenland, (+299) 52 23 33 (), [17]. Kayaking club. Offers kayaking trips of varying lengths (750DKK/person) and kayaking lessons. Also offers kayak rentals, and sales. DKK750.  edit
  • Tupilak Travel, Ilivinnguaq 1, P.O. Box 2291, 3900 Nuuk, Greenland, (+299) 31 32 18 (), [18]. Offers ice tours of varying length (4 hours to full day). Most boats travel up the fjord and near Nuuk. DKK650-1500.  edit
  • Visit Greenland, Hans Egedesvej 29, P.O. Box 1615, 3900 Nuuk, Greenland, (+299) 34 28 20 (), [19]. National Tourism organization for Greenland.  edit
  • 64 Degrees North, P.O. Box 783, 3900 Nuuk, Greenland, (+299) 32 16 70/(+299) 48 35 25 (), [20]. Climbing and rappelling tour operator in Greenland. Offers experience guides to take tourists on hiking trips (some tours are several days in length) to climbing and mountaineering spots near Nuuk. DKK900/ 4 people.  edit

Learn[edit]

  • The Greenlandic School of Journalism, +1-(513)-555-5555, [23].  edit
Atuagkat Bookstore in Nuuk.

Buy[edit][add listing]

Handmade seal skin gloves. They cost around 500 DKK but will serve you a long time. Ask for a shop near Colonial town.

Eat[edit][add listing]

  • Brugsen Cafe, Aqqusinersuaq 2, P.O. Box 152, 3900 Nuuk, Greenland, (+299) 32 11 22 (), [26]. Open: M-F 9-20, Sat 9-18, Sun 10-18. Large cafe located in Nuuk, very friendly staff.  edit
  • Cafe Barista, Spindlers Bakke 10C, 3900 Nuuk, Greenland, (+299) 32 11 14 (), [27]. 11am-midnight. The place to get good coffee, slushies, and sandwiches. When you enter Barista you will enter the Bar and Cafe, upstairs is where the computers for Teens or adults to use: you can go on the Internet and play games. DKK 25 for coffee..  edit
  • Cafe Chili, Aqqusinersuaq 9, P.O. Box 1336, 3900 Nuuk, Greenland, (+299) 32 40 60 (), [28]. 8-22. This cafe offers a varied menu, including many meat and steak dishes as well as Thai dishes. Some are available for take away. Almost everything is very reasonably priced on the menu. DKK30-110, Average: DKK75.  edit
  • Cafe Esmeralda, Aqqusinersuaq 6, 1. floor, 3900 Nuuk, Greenland, (+299) 48 22 03/(+299) 32 90 95 (), [29]. 10am-10pm, in weekends the bar is open to 1am. Pasta, wrap, burgers, omelets and sandwiches. DKK 100.  edit
  • Cafe Prego, Imanaq 30, P.O. Box 1336, 3900 Nuuk, Greenland, (+299) 32 95 55 (), [30]. 11-22. Italian themed cafe, offering pizza, pasta and sandwich dishes. They also offer a bar selection of drinks. DKK50-100.  edit
  • Charoen Porn, Aqqusinersuaq 5, P.O. Box 1459, 3900 Nuuk, Greenland, (+299) 32 57 59 (), [31]. Thai influence Restaurant with Thai decoration and Thai traditional clothes.With Great thai food with a Greenlandic touch, - mattag, halibut, whale, and musk, and Great Thai food ox DKK 100 for mains, DKK 300 for the big menu.  edit
  • Godthaab Bryghus, Imaneq 30, ''+299'' 34 80 60 (), [32]. This brewpub have good beer and good food. Burgers and steaks, often serves muskox, reindeer and lamb (also offers a tour for DKK100-150 per person depending on day and number of people). DKK 200.  edit
  • Hereford (c/o Hotel Hans Egede), Aqqusinersuaq 1-5, P.O. Box 1040, 3900 Nuuk, Greenland, (+299) 32 42 22, [33]. Located on the 5th floor of the Hans Egede Hotel. Offers great views of Nuuk and the surrounding fjord. Menu consists of mainly beef dishes. DKK 150-300+.  edit
  • Nipisa, Hans Egedevej 29, 1. floor, 3900 Nuuk, Greenland (next to the huge Santa Claus mailbox), (+299) 32 12 10 (fax: ''+299'' 311001). We-Sa 6pm-10.30pm, brunch Sa-Su 11am-2pm. Excellent gourmet food in the old Nuuk shipyard DKK 1000 for 5 course dinner with wine menu.  edit
  • Nuuk Seamens Diner (Hotel Seamens Home), Marinevej 3, P.O. Box 1021, 3900 Nuuk, Greenland, (+299) 32 10 29 (), [34]. Reasonably priced diner within the Seamen's Home Hotel, offers free breakfast to guests. Guests and non-guests are welcome to dine. DKK50-100.  edit
  • Restaurant Nasiffik, Iggiannut 2B, 3905 Nuuk, Greenland, (+299) 32 91 90 (), [35]. W-Sat 17-21. Steak House with full a la carte menu, open for dinner only (Wednesday-Saturday). Main: DKK90-180.  edit
  • Sarfalik, Aqqusinersuaq 1-5, P.O. Box 289, 3900 Nuuk, Greenland (In Hotel Hans Egede), (+299) 32 42 22, [36]. Gourmet food at reasonable prices. They have both a global menu and a local menu with muskox, carabou, seal, whale, etc. the course menu: DKK550.  edit

Drink[edit][add listing]

Downtown Nuuk offers a variety of locations for the enjoyment of alcoholic beverages, all within quick walking distance of each other. Nearly all pubs offer the same selection of beer (Classic on tap and Tuborg and Carlsberg in bottles) at the same (expensive) price (DKK60 for 40cl of draft), but beer from Godthaab Bryghus is also available.

Greenlandic coffee is prepared with coffee, whiskey, kahlua, whipped cream and grand marnier. It is prepared at the table in a little show and if you ask, you also get the story.


  • Daddys, (Next to Godthåb Bryghus).  edit
  • Kristinemut, (+299) 348094, [37]. Mo-Th: 1pm-midnight, Fr: 1pm-3am, Sa: noon-3am, Su: noon-midnight. The oldest bar in Nuuk. Very lively, offers Bingo on Sundays and live music everyday except Monday.  edit
  • Skyline Bar (c/o Hotel Hans Egede), Aqqusinersuaq 1-5, P.O. Box 1040, 3900 Nuuk, Greenland, (+299) 32 42 22, [38]. Weekdays until 24, Weekends until 3. Piano bar located on the 5th floor of the Hans Egede Hotel, frequented by locals. Sometimes local bands also play at the venue  edit


Sleep[edit][add listing]

Front of Hotel Hans Egede.
  • Apartment Rental in Nuuk (c/o Touring Greenland), P.O. Box 1584, 3900 Nuuk, Greenland, (+299) 31 44 14 (), [39]. Apartment rentals available through the Touring Greenland office.  edit
  • Budget & Comfort Hotel, Noorlernut 15, P.O. Box 89, 3900 Nuuk, Greenland, (+299) 26 37 26 (), [40]. Small hotel, Kitchen available for guest use with all amenities. There are also laundry facilities on-site for guest use.Free internet Single and Double rooms - $110-130..  edit
  • Hotel Hans Egede, Aqqusinersuaq 1-5, P.O. Box 1049, 3900 Nuuk, Greenland, (+299) 32 42 22 (, fax: +299 32 44 87), [41]. Hotel with 2 restaurants and 1 bar. Price for rooms includes breakfast buffet on 5th floor of hotel with lookouts over the fjord. Wifi and tv/phone are also available in rooms. Budget room: DK 1090, Single: DKK1490, Suite: DKK3200+, Luxury suites also available..  edit
  • Hotel Nordbo, Vandsøvej 13, 3900 Nuuk, Greenland, (+299) 32 66 44 (), [42]. Has 25 hotel apartments available in the center of Nuuk and on the southern part of town. Private entrances, private bathrooms and kitchens. Wifi and TVs in apartments. Can arrange to have a pet stay as well, must be approved by the management. Apartments come with 1-3 bedrooms. DKK1,000-1,700.  edit
  • Hotel Paarnat - Kapisillit, B285, P.O. Box 199, 3900 Nuuk, Greenland (Located in the nearby settlement of Kapisillit), (+299) 32 27 00 (), [43]. Cabin with 4 bedrooms that sleeps up to 12 people. DKK205/night/bed.  edit
  • Hotel Seamen's Home, Marinevej 3, P.O. Box 1021, 3900 Nuuk, Greenland, (+299) 32 10 29 (, fax: +299 32 21 04), [44]. All rooms come with free breakfast in the cafe. Located near the harbor, meeting facilities are also available. Single; DKK 955 or 1050 Double: DKK 1380.  edit
  • Hotel Centerbo (serviced hotel apartments), Samuel Kleinschmidtip Aqqutaa 11, PO Box 1470, 3900 Nuuk, Greenland, +299 326644 (), [45]. Serviced one-room hotel apartments with private bathrooms and private kitchenettes. Flatscreen TVs in apartments and WIFI as well. DKK 795.  edit
  • Hotel Nordbo Apartments (large one- and three-roomed hotel apartments), Samuel Kleinschmidts Vej 11, 3900 Nuuk, Greenland, +299 326644 (), [46]. Hotel apartments for 1-5 persons. One bedroom and three bedroom apartments with all facilities and private kitchens and private bathrooms with showers. DKK 1.000-1.685.  edit

Stay safe[edit]

As Nuuk is only a small town, with a population of about 15,000, there is more or less no crime, there are no slums, and no places you should avoid, you can walk around everywhere at anytime and stay safe if you just use your common sense.

Consulates[edit]

  • Be-flag.png Belgium, Aqqusinersuaq 23, 3900 Nuuk, +299 32 12 52 (, fax: +299 32 58 77).  edit
  • Lg-flag.png Latvia, Prinsesse Benediktesvej 297, 2920 Qaqortoq, +299 64 25 00 (, fax: +299 64 25 08).  edit
  • Nl-flag.png Netherlands, Kissarneqqortuunnguaq 9, 3900 Nuuk, +299 32 12 52 (, fax: +299 32 58 77).  edit
  • No-flag.png Norway, Issortarfimmut 13, 3900 Nuuk, +299 34 37 19 (, fax: +299 32 41 92).  edit
  • Sw-flag.png Sweden, Solbakken 6, 3900 Nuuk, +299 32 51 50 (, fax: +299 32 20 03).  edit
  • Uk-flag.png United Kingdom, c/o Air Greenland A/S, Nuuk Lufthavn, 3900 Nuuk, +299 34 31 10 ().  edit