What It's Like to Visit Nuuk

Nuuk is home to many historical sights. In the picturesque Old Harbour you’ll find dreamy wooden homes, nestled like pearls along the water’s edge. Nearby you’ll find the city’s oldest buildings on the grounds of the expansive National Art Museum, which houses a notable collection of artifacts from some of the first settlers, and beautiful paintings depicting Greenland in many eras. Arguably, the most iconic piece of art is a bronze sculpture depicting the Mother of the Sea. Her tale about the importance of nature is steeped in Greenlandic history, and to this day evokes strong emotion and respect throughout the country.

Photo: Nuuk, Greenland

Nuuk is a fantastic walking city

Everything is just a stone’s throw away, yet there are enough shops and street art to satisfy the urban explorer’s appetite. Imaneq Street is a must go destination for traditionally made goods. You can find a handful of standard souvenir shops, but most shops cater more towards local needs, thus giving the chance to find something unique and authentic. My personal favourite was Qiviut, a shop dedicated to selling knitted musk ox items. While they don’t come cheap, each garment is beautifully made, and perfectly suited to Greenlandic life.

The beautiful wavy structure of the Culture Centre ‘Katuaq’ is home to an absorbing collection of films and exhibitions. The small cafe by the entrance is a perfect spot to sit with a coffee and watch the world go by and contemplate what you’ve seen.

The food scene

As a first-time visitor to Greenland, I was apprehensive about the food scene when I arrived. Those fears immediately vanished during my first meal at the Hans Egede Hotel.

The musk ox steak paired with shiraz suggested by the wait staff was a perfect combination, and a meal that I revisited again during my stay.

Along with my other meals around Nuuk, I found myself thinking about how the produce in Greenland tastes like nothing I’ve ever tasted. Fresh, full of flavour and truly of the Earth.

The surreal surrounding nature

For those wanting to venture out in the fjords or mountains after you’ve settled into the city, there are many options. Adrenaline inducing off-piste skiing is available in the winter, midnight sun boat tours in the warmer months, and water based tours offer everything from whale watching and exploring abandoned settlements, to seeing if you can spot the edge of the glacier all year round.

The surrounding nature is surreal and magnificent to experience. Often the scale and vastness of the landscape can be hard to comprehend, offering a glimpse of the respect and connection that Greenlanders feel toward nature.

Photo: Sermitsiaq mountain, Nuuk

The city of the locals

As much as this city will keep tourists happy, it’s important to remember that this is a working town with a quarter of Greenland’s population living here. It doesn’t exist for tourism, like some other cities might.

Because of this, I felt like I was seeing a culture for how it really is. It’s a city of politicians, hunters, artists, chefs, fishermen and people who live in the moment, whilst not forgetting the past. Nuuk is a superb introduction to Greenland, and the awe-inspiring beauty of its citizens and landscape. It’s a great place to base yourself and see where the journey takes you.

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