Nuuk (Greenlandic meaning "The Headland"), 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 a quarter of the entire population of the country). The city is sometimes accused of being rather soulless, with many high-rise blocks.
Nuuk, along with most of the population centres of Greenland, has a tundra climate. Being on the coast helps moderate temperatures somewhat, and winter temperatures are not unlike those of northern Europe or central Canada. However, unlike in those regions, summers remain quite cool. For example, in July, the warmest month of the year on average, the daily mean temperature is only 7 °C (45 °F), with highs rarely above 15 °C (59 °F).
Autumn has the highest rainfall and snowfall, although it is fairly steady all year round.
|Climate chart (explanation)|
There are no roads or railways connecting cities within Greenland. The only practical means to travel is by boat or air. On foot is less practical and far more strenuous.
The capital's airport, because of length constraints of its runway, only accommodates small aircraft and domestic flights. Flying to Nuuk from abroad requires changing from a large airliner to a smaller aircraft at a neighbouring airport like Kangerlussuaq. The Nuuk airport is, as of May 2022, being considerably expanded and supposed to cater to larger aircraft once the expansion is done. This is expected to happen in late 2023, after which Nuuk should be considerably more accessible.
- 1 Nuuk Airport (GOH IATA) (about 4 km northeast of town).
- Air Greenland offers connections to various destinations in Greenland, including Kangerlussuaq which has flights to Copenhagen, a major airport. During the summer months they fly to Keflavík Airport, Iceland.
- Icelandair flies year-round to Reykjavík (domestic airport), three times a week during the summer and twice a week during the winter months.
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.
Nuuk has a small bus company (Nuup Bussii A/S).
- Nuup Bussii A/S, ☏ , fax: , [email protected]. Six bus routes. Ticket costs 21 kr for adults and is good for 60 min. Every part of town is easily accessible by bus.
- Nuuk Biludlejning, Iggiaanut 3a, ☏ , [email protected]. Rental cars and SUVs 400-775 kr/day.
- 1 Greenland National Museum (Greenlandic: Nunatta katersugaasivia allagaateqarfialu), Hans Egedesvej 8, ☏ , [email protected]. 16 Sep-31 May: Tu-Su 13:00-16:00; 1 Jun-15 Sep: 10:00-16:00 daily. The crown pieces of the museum are 500-year-old mummies discovered in 1978 and remarkably well preserved, with some of their facial tattoos still recognisable. Free entry in winter and on Sundays, DKK 30 in summer.
- 2 Nuuk Art Museum (Danish: Nuuk Kunstmuseum), Kissarneqqortuunnguaq 5, ☏ , [email protected].
- 3 Nuuk Cathedral (Greenlandic: Annaassisitta Oqaluffia). Also known as the "Cathedral of Our Saviour", the red wooden church building was established in 1849. During National Day celebrations, large crowds usually gather around the church.
The old colonial town is 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.
- 4 Statue of Hans Egede.
- 5 Hans Egede's House. Built in 1728 and reputably the oldest house in the country. The former residence of Hans Egede and later used for the country's prime minister. It is now used for government receptions.
- 6 Hans Egede Church. A wooden Evangelical Lutheran church.
- Whale watching by boat.
- Helicopter ride to the inland ice, Norse ruins and kaffemik at a nearby village.
Several hiking routes start from Nuuk:
- An easy hike from the Circuslake around the mountain Little Marlene follows a marked trail.
- A unmarked trek goes up Big Marlene 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.
Handmade seal skin gloves cost around 500 kr. Ask in shops near Colonial town.
- 1 Nuuk Center. First shopping mall in Greenland.
- 2 Atuagkat Bookstore (Danish: Atuagkat Boghandel), ☏ .
- 1 Cafe Esmeralda, Aqqusinersuaq 6, 1. sal, ☏ , [email protected]. 10:00-21:00, bar closes 01:00 on weekends. Pasta, wrap, burgers, omelettes and sandwiches. 100 kr.
- 2 Godthaab Bryghus, Imaneq 30, ☏ , [email protected]. This brewpub has good beer and good food. Burgers and steaks, often serves muskox, reindeer and lamb. 200 kr.
- 3 Sarfalik (In Hotel Hans Egede). Gourmet food at reasonable prices. They have both a global menu and a local menu with muskox, caribou, seal, whale, etc. the course menu: 550 kr.
- 4 Charoen Porn, Aqqusinersuaq 5, ☏ , [email protected]. Good Thai food with a Greenlandic touch: mattag, halibut, whale and musk ox 100 kr for mains, 300 kr for the big menu.
- 5 [dead link] Red Dragon (努克), Imaneq 30, ☏ , [email protected]. A self-described Chinese-Greenlandic fusion restaurant, with a wide range of dishes. Main meals from around 80 kr.
Central 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 (60 kr for 40 cl of draught), but beer from Godthaab Bryghus is also available.
Greenlandic coffee is prepared with coffee, whisky, 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.
- Barista, Spindlers Bakke 10C, ☏ . 11:00-00:00. The place to get good coffee, slushies, and sandwiches 25 kr for coffee.
- 1 Kaffivik, Nuukullak 35, ☏ . Su-Th 11:00-21:00, F-Sa 11:00-23:00.
- 2 Kristinemut, Aqqusinersuaq 7, ☏ . M-Th 13:00-midnight, F 13:00-03:00, Sa noon-03:00, Su noon-midnight. The oldest bar in Nuuk. Very lively
- 3 Daddy's, Imaneq 30 (Next to Godthåb Bryghus). Irish-inspired pub.
- 1 Hotel Hans Egede, Aqqusinersuaq 1-5, ☏ , fax: , [email protected]. Nuuk's largest hotel.
- 2 Hotel Seamen's Home, Marinevej 3 (At the harbour), ☏ , fax: , [email protected]. Check-in: 10ː00, check-out: 14ː00.
- 3 Hotel Nordbo, Vandsøvej 13, ☏ , fax: , [email protected]. From 895 kr.
- Hotel Centerbo & Nordbo Apartments, Samuel Kleinschmidtsvej 11, ☏ , fax: , [email protected]. 795 to 1 685 kr.
- 4 Hotel Aurora, Paassaasivik 8, ☏ .
- 2 Queen Ingrid's Hospital (Dronning Ingridip Napparsimmavissua), ☏ . The university hospital of Greenland, founded in 1953.
Nuuk is only a small town, with a population of about 15,000. Crime rates are very low, there are no slums and no places you should avoid.
You can choose among the destinations served by the boats and planes leaving Nuuk. The very adventurous can travel inland by foot or dog sled.