20 Awesome Things To Do In Nuuk In Summer (+ FAQ)

Are you looking for the best things to do in Nuuk in summer?

In this guide, I have detailed my favorite Nuuk summer activities along with everything you need to know about spending summer in Nuuk, Greenland.

Me in Nuuk
Admiring the colorful houses

I first visited Nuuk in the summer of 2023 and I will happily admit that I was ill-prepared. My partner and I had spent much of the year traveling, and our trip to Nuuk seemingly snuck up on me quicker than I expected.

We had spent months debating if we should split the trip between Nuuk and another place in Greenland to make the most of our trip or spend the whole time in Nuuk.

We eventually decided to remain in Nuuk for the entire time and focus on doing everything possible in one week. After formulating a vague itinerary based on what we found online, we booked our core tours and headed to Nuuk.

Puffins in their nest
The arrival of puffins signals the beginning of summer in Nuuk

Within the first day, our initial plan fell into tatters as we discovered there was far more available, and we booked additional tours, moving some of our tours around to make space.

What followed was an incredible week of adventure and relaxation as we sampled everything the tiny Greenlandic capital has to offer.

In this guide, you will find my favorite things to do in Nuuk in summer. If you have any questions or feel I have missed your favorite thing to do while spending summer in Nuuk, please let me know in the comments below!

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When is summer in Nuuk?

Typically, summer in Nuuk starts in June and runs until the end of August. I find that the Arctic regions tend to skip spring altogether, as the snow and ice hang around until late May.

Once the land is released from its icy prison, nature quickly bursts into life, and the landscapes become far more colorful.

What is the weather during summer in Nuuk?

Nuuk sits below the Arctic Circle and experiences a cool summer with temperatures barely rising above 10°C (50°F). Throughout the summer, Nuuk is often blanketed in thick fog that rolls in from the Atlantic Ocean and can hang around for hours.

Below, I have listed the average summer temperatures in Nuuk:

  • May: Average high 3.9°C (39°F) – Average low 1.2°C (34.2°F)
  • June: Average high 8.4°C (47.1°F) – Average low 2°C (35.6°F)
  • July: Average high 11.1°C (52°F) – Average low 4.4°C (39.9°F)
  • August: Average high 10.2°C (50.4°F) – Average low 4.5°C (40.1°F)
  • September: Average high 6.5°C (43.7°F) – Average low 2°C (35.6°F)
Me looking out over the fjord
I had to purchase a wool sweater and thermals to deal with the temperatures!

These temperatures, however, do not factor in wind chill and it can feel much colder. When I was in Nuuk, I hadn’t considered this and had to buy some thermals and wear a woolen sweater.

How much daylight is there?

As a sub-Arctic city, Nuuk does not technically experience the true midnight sun, with the sun technically setting every day. During this period, the sky will not get dark; however, there will be a sunset that seamlessly merges into a sunrise each night.

By August, there will be nightfall, but the sky will still not get pitch black. The advantage of having these slightly darker skies is that there is the possibility of seeing the northern lights earlier than in other places in the Arctic region. I saw a faint aurora over Nuuk on August 8th.

Best things to do in Nuuk in summer

1. Explore Old Nuuk

In the center of Nuuk, along the coast, you will find Old Nuuk, the historic center of this small city. Nuuk was founded in 1728 by a Scandinavian missionary, Hans Egede. The new city was called Godthaab and was placed at the site of an already existing Inuit settlement called Nûk. In 1979, the city returned to its original name, Nuuk.

The old town has long been the hub of the city and is filled with charming traditional wooden houses and plenty of historical sites.

A church in OId Nuuk surrounded by yellow flowers
Flowers outside of the Church of our Savior in Old Nuuk in summer

The center of Old Nuuk is dominated by a large hill where there is a statue of Hans Egede perched on top. On the way to the top of the hill, you will pass the Church of Our Savior, which I found to be very picturesque with a field of yellow flowers in front of it.

Throughout the old town, you will also find many of the city’s museums, including the National Museum of Greenland and the Local Nuuk Museum. There are also several monuments and statues dotted around the old town, dedicated to various people throughout history.

My favorite spot in the old town was the old market, where hunters sell locally caught meat and fish. It provides a fascinating insight into the traditional diet of Greenland and is a great place to pick up some protein if you have self-catering accommodation.

2. Walk the seafront boardwalk

Heading south from Old Nuuk, you will find the Nuuk Boardwalk, which tightly grips the rugged coast. This boardwalk is one of the best places to walk in the city, as you can enjoy beautiful views out over the fjord.

The boardwalk works as the perfect pedestrian highway that takes you from the old town to the bottom of the peninsula, where you can find a more secluded beach and an area to relax and enjoy the views.

The nuuk boardwalk hugging the coast
The Nuuk boardwalk hugging the coast

Keep an eye out for seals resting on the edge of the water. If you are lucky, there is also a chance to see humpback whales in the fjord.

3. Take in the vistas at Myggedalen Panoramic View

Myggedalen Panoramic View is one of the most famous viewpoints in Nuuk. From the top of the hill, you will be greeted with a stunning panorama of colorful little houses perched on the rugged coast. The walk up to the viewpoint is easy, with the hill not being too steep on the side you walk up.

For the best views, go as high up on the hill as you feel comfortable. For those wanting to photograph the view, I suggest walking to this viewpoint in the afternoon, as there is better lighting.

View of the colorful houses of Nuuk
Myggedalen Panoramic View is home to the most famous view of Nuuk

This is also a great place to watch the sunset over the fjord, basking these colorfully painted houses in a beautiful golden light.

Despite its name translating as Mosquito Panoramic View, I did not experience any mosquitoes the two times I visited the viewpoint, although I might have just been lucky.

4. Enjoy a puffin-watching tour

One of the coolest experiences I had in Nuuk was taking a puffin watching tour with Nuuk Water Taxi. On this three-hour tour, you will sail towards the open ocean to an island inhabited by puffins.

The day I took the puffin tour was very foggy, and I was a little concerned we would not see any puffins! Luckily by the time we arrived at the island the shroud of fog lifted and we started to notice puffins fly past our boat.

A puffin stretching his wings
A puffin all puffed up and stretching their wings

You can’t dock on the island but the puffins nest on the steep sides and are best viewed from the boat. We spent around an hour watching the puffins go about their daily life, feeding, relaxing, and occasionally getting into squabbles with their neighbors.

The tour runs between May and September but for the largest number of puffins, you will want to take a tour in the middle of the season.

For puffin watching tours rates and availability check here!

5. Test your courage with a polar plunge

Have you ever wanted to test yourself with a polar plunge? In the center of Nuuk, there is a perfect little beach where you can run into the icy fjord water and experience just how cold this water is!

As the water in the fjord is constantly fed by glaciers and melting icebergs it tends to hover just above 0°C (32°F), even in the summer! While this may sound cold, it is known throughout the Nordics to be a revitalizing activity!

I tended to see people doing polar plunges in the morning, next to the Mother of the Sea statue, however, I am sure you can attempt them later in the day too on your own! Make sure you bring a towel and a thermos with a warm drink for after your plunge!

Jumping into the Fjord
One of the people from the boat taking their first polar plunge

Alternatively, on several of the tours I took, the guides let a few people do a polar plunge off of the back of the boat.

One of the best tours to do this on is the Nuuk ice fjord tour, where there is plenty of time to psych yourself up before jumping in.

I would like to say I took part but I was not daring enough, but looking back I wish I had as it would have been a very unique experience!

6. Relax while stand-up paddle boarding or kayaking

The Nuuk Fjord is the perfect place to stand-up paddleboard or kayak. The mountains provide plenty of shelter from the worst of the Atlantic weather and the water is rarely choppy. The only thing you need to keep an eye on is the icebergs that flow through the fjord.

You can opt to kayak or stand-up paddleboard either around Nuuk itself or for the more adventurous take a day trip deep into the ice fjord.

I chose to take a tour of the ice fjord to learn how to stand up paddle board. I had been wanting to try standup paddle boarding for a long time and decided it was a great idea to throw myself in at the deep end.

Kayaking around an iceberg
Just before this photo was taken the iceberg had flipped over!

Once reaching deep into the fjord you spend around 2 hours paddling around. It was one of the most peaceful things I have ever experienced as I sat on my board and just took in the views and absorbed the tranquility.

🇬🇱 FUN FACT: The kayak is an ancient Greenlandic Inuit invention. Called qajaq in Greenlandic, they were used for hunting and fishing. While kayaks have since changed and modernized, with Nuuk Water Taxi there is an opportunity to try paddling using a more traditional paddle.

7. Eat traditional Greenlandic food

Greenland is home to some incredible food, unfortunately, Nuuk has not quite been as blessed with a food scene as that of Ilulissat. Thankfully, there are a couple of places where you can try some traditional Greenlandic specialties.

My favorite spot for Greenlandic food was Killut, where you can order a sharing board of various Greenlandic delicacies.

The restaurant is located directly in the city center and is very easy to find! However, it is popular and I recommend booking in advance.

Traditional Greenlandic food
Greenlandic start board at Killut

When I visited our board consisted of mattak, dried whale meat, shrimp, snow crab, and smoked reindeer. For the main course, I had an incredibly delicious lamb dish.

The cafe in the cultural center also offers a Greenlandic tapas board that is also well worth ordering as a light lunch between two people.

🍽️ GOOD TO KNOW: Traditional Greenlandic food is generally items that can be sourced from the island, so it is not uncommon to see whale meat from minke, beluga, or narwhals on the menu along with dishes made using seal meat. The harvesting of these animals is essential to those native to Greenland. The animals are sourced in a sustainable way taking only what is needed to feed the people and every part of the animal is utilized.

8. Discover Greenlandic culture at the Qooqqut Festival

Each year in summer the Katauq Cultural Center hosts the Qooqqut Festival. The festivities take place in a bay within the Nuuk fjord system. The festival is designed to celebrate Greenlandic culture and arts.

Local artists hold workshops on traditional crafts and Greenlandic musicians take to the stage to keep the crowds entertained.

A white sandy beach
The beach close to Qooqqut almost looks tropical

As the sun lowers in the sky, movies are shown on a big screen. The festival is a family-friendly event and as a result, is an alcohol-free zone. Boats regularly take revelers to the festival site from Nuuk and it is possible to stay overnight in the area.

For more information about the festival keep an eye on the Katuaq website, where they will announce the event each year!

9. Shop for clothing made of musk ox wool

The wool obtained from musk oxen is known to be the warmest in the world! Obtained from the underlayer of fur from the musk ox, it is referred to as qiviut.

The unbelievably soft wool is far less bulky than sheep’s wool and is used to make many garments, although it is most commonly used for hats, scarves, and gloves.

In central Nuuk, you will find the aptly named shop Qiviut which sells a great range of items made from musk ox wool. Given the challenges of obtaining qiviut, it does come with a very high price tag. However, it is known to last for up to 20 years with good care and is well worth the investment.

Address: Imaneq, Nuuk 3900

10. Go whale watching

Nuuk Fjord is a great spot to go whale watching in summer with humpbacks returning each year to feed.

I took a 3-hour whale watching tour with Nuuk Water Taxi, where you travel throughout the fjord in search of these majestic creatures

Unfortunately, on my whale watching tour, we did not see any whales as they did their best to hide from us. I believe it is fairly rare not to see the whales and I met people later in my trip who took the tour and did see some whales.

11. Check out Nuuk’s Thai food scene

The first thing I noticed when searching for restaurants in Nuuk was just how many Thai restaurants there are dotted throughout the city.

Thai food is prevalent throughout Greenland and has in some cases been adapted to use local ingredients

As it is one of my favorite cuisines I opted to eat Thai food multiple times throughout the trip, with Restaurant Charoen Porn being my favorite spot.

Thai red curry
Megan’s Thai red curry from Restaurant Chareon Porn

The food was quite expensive but the portions were large and packed a punch when it came to flavor. The restaurant is open every evening and it is worth booking ahead to avoid disappointment.

Address: Aqqusinersuaq 5, Nuuk 3900

12. Have a drink at Daddy’s

In the center of Nuuk, you will find the bar Daddy’s (I personally still chuckle to myself about the name), despite its eccentric name it is a great hangout spot in the city.

The bar is lively throughout the day and the night, with sports on show during the day and live music starting in the evening. When I visited the bar there was a group of local musicians playing to the late afternoon crowd.

A local band playing at Daddy's
A great local band playing at Daddy’s

The bar has a great selection of drinks, including locally brewed craft beers from Godthaab Bryghus, I suggest trying the Nittaalaq Pale Ale.

At one end of the pub, there are also multiple pool tables, which is the perfect way to spend a lazy evening in Nuuk. The pub also shows sports, so if you are looking for a place to watch football in Nuuk this is your best bet!

The pub is open every day and on Fridays and Saturdays, it stays open until 4 am for those looking to party!

Address: Imaneq 30, Nuuk 3900

13. Go for a coffee at Kaffvik

For coffee lovers, I recommend heading to Kaffvik. Located a short walk away from the center of the city this little cafe is an excellent spot to grab a specialty coffee, where the beans have been roasted in-house.

Founded in 2018, the cafe aims to provide Nuuk with the freshest, most flavorful coffee possible to drink in-house or take away.

Along with coffee, the cafe sells a range of other drinks including tea, soft drinks, and alcoholic beverages. For those looking for an evening pick-me-up, try their espresso martini!

A coffee from Kaffvik
Megan enjoying her coffee from Kaffvik

I have to admit I am personally not a fan of coffee, but my partner is and she loved the flat white she ordered while I had a pot of tea.

The cafe is open every day from 11 am until 9 pm, on Friday and Saturday they open until 11 pm.

Address: Nuukullak 35, lokale 7, Nuuk 3900

14. Try deep-sea fishing in Nuuk

One of my favorite tours I took in Nuuk during summer was Catch ‘n’ Eat (sometimes also known as Fish ‘n’ Dish). On this tour, you will head out into the fjord and try your hand at deep-sea fishing.

At first, I thought this tour was going to be incredibly challenging, but fortunately catching the fish was easy.

Me having caught a cod
A New Facebook profile picture is incoming…

You will fish for cod and redfish, which are abundant in the fjord and seemingly have an overwhelming desire to be caught. I caught plenty of cod, but unfortunately, the redfish avoided my line.

Once you have caught enough fish, you will be taken to a remote restaurant in Qooqqut called Qooqqut Nuan. The chefs will prepare your fish and serve you three delectable dishes and a soup.

The tour is operated by Nuuk Water Taxi and runs between June and September.

15. Visit Qoornoq Island

Close to Nuuk is Qoornoq Island, home to a once-thriving settlement that was abandoned in the 1970s as the residents and jobs moved to Nuuk.

However, the properties on the island remained within the families of those who lived there and are still used as summer holiday homes. I highly recommend taking a day trip to the island where you can explore the island for around five hours.

Despite being semi-abandoned the island is full of history that dates back thousands of years. There is also a rare now-defunct railway system, the only one to be built in Greenland!

View of Qoornoq Island
Being on a boat is a good way to avoid the mosquitos!

After exploring the town you will board the boat and circumnavigate the island, seeing the harder-to-reach parts of the island and a waterfall that plunges directly into the sea.

The tour can be booked directly through Nuuk Water Taxi on their website or in their office in Nuuk.

16. Play a round of golf

Greenland is home to several unique golf courses, with one of them being in Nuuk. The course is located on the edge of the city, where the designers have managed to squeeze in a 9-hole course in unforgiving terrain.

Coming in at a Par 33, the course might appear to be easy but poses unique challenges that will not be found at more conventional courses. The 9-holes work their way between rocky outcrops that are unforgiving for those who are unable to stay on the fairway.

The course opens after the snow melts in late spring, and remains open until fall.

To book your tee time you will need to contact the club directly via their website, as it is run by volunteers reply times can be a little slow so I would contact them far in advance. You can rent all the required equipment from the course.

17. Learn about Greenland at The National Museum of Greenland

The National Museum of Greenland is the perfect place to learn about the history of Greenland, the people who have called it home, and how people survived on this unforgiving island.

Located close to the harbor in Nuuk Old Town the museum is spread across several buildings and has seven permanent exhibitions. The exhibitions follow the history of Greenland from the first people of the land to the country’s more modern history.

Traditional Greenlandic clothing
Traditional Greenlandic clothing on display

One of the most interesting exhibits in the museum is the Qilakitsoq mummies, which provide a fascinating insight into Greenlandic life 500 years ago. The mummies are so well preserved that you can still see the facial tattoos of the women who died.

The museum is open every day during the summer from 10 am to 4 pm. I recommend visiting as early as possible as I arrived shortly after 3 pm and found that I had to rush through the museum to see it all before they closed! The museum is free of charge on Sundays.

Address: Hans Egedesvej 8, Nuuk 3900

18. Peruse the exhibits at Nuuk Art Museums

The Nuuk Art Museum contains probably the best collection of art in Greenland. The gallery opened in 2005 after being gifted a private collection of artworks from local businessman Svend Junge and his with Helene.

The gallery has exhibits of various forms of art including paintings and more traditional Greenlandic pieces like Tupilak.

Since opening the collection has been added to and the museum has dedicated space for temporary exhibitions, where local artists can display their artworks.

Mother of the Sea statue
The Nuuk art walk is a great way to explore the city

Along with the traditional museum building, the Nuuk Art Museum has an art walk that will take you through the city where murals and statues have been placed throughout the city.

The art walk not only takes you to outdoor exhibits but also to smaller collections of art in other buildings throughout Nuuk.

A PDF pamphlet with a map accompanies the walk, and there is also an audio guide that details each artwork. The PDF and audio guide can be found here.

Address: Kissarneqqortuunnguaq 5, Nuuk 3900

19. Get close to nature while hiking

While Nuuk may not have roads that go much further than the city limits, the wilderness around the city and throughout the fjord can be explored by foot.

There are a few hikes from the city, with the easiest being the Quassussuaq hike which is a simple out-and-back hike to the summit of the hill. This route is easy to follow as you need to follow the ski lift to the top of the hill.

Once at the top, you will be greeted with fantastic views over Nuuk and the fjord.

Alternatively, Nuuk Water Taxi offers a Kapisillit hiking tour. On the tour you will sail into the Nuuk fjord to Kapisillit, from there you will complete a short hike, where you will be greeted with incredible views of the icebergs that fill the end of the fjord.

More experienced hikers should look to complete the Ukkusissaq trail, one of the hardest but most rewarding hikes from Nuuk.

20. Devour a burger at Kunguak Cafe

While searching for a place to eat lunch in Nuuk after one of our boat tours I found Kunguak Cafe directly on the old harbor. The cafe sells a range of burgers that hit the spot.

I opted for the cheeseburger with fries and it was simple yet delicious and most importantly not overly sauced. I enjoyed the food so much that I opted to go back a second time when needing lunch between tours.

Burger and fries
One of the best burgers I have ever had!

The cafe is open every day with slightly longer opening hours on Friday and Saturday. Given its location, the cafe tends to fill up quickly during peak hours, so I suggest visiting for an early or late lunch.

Address: Hans Egedesvej 29, Nuuk 3900

FAQ for those visiting Nuuk in the summer

Is it hard to sleep during the midnight sun in Nuuk?

I visited Nuuk in August when the sky did get dark enough to sleep relatively easily. However, most places will have thick blackout curtains which are great for sleeping. I recommend drawing the curtains at a reasonable hour to trick your body into feeling tired.

If you are planning on going camping or sleeping in the wilderness, I would suggest bringing a sleeping mask with you.

Are there mosquitoes in Nuuk during Summer?

I arrived in Nuuk having spent the majority of the summer in Rovaniemi, Finland and I did not think mosquitoes were going to be quite as bad as they were.

Nuuk is colder and wetter than other places and being closer to the sea I thought we would be clear of them. The first warning sign my partner and I got was when we saw a viewpoint referred to as Myggedalen Panoramic View or Mosquito Panoramic View in English.

Fog and clouds engulfing a mountain
Clouds and fog tend to hang around Nuuk in summer, keeping the mosquitos at bay

The mosquitos in Nuuk, were large and numerous even residing along the coast. The strangest place we found them was on a boat trip, where we went to a glacier waterfall and mosquitos were hanging around the cliffs! During the numerous foggy days, there are fewer mosquitos!

How many days do I need in Nuuk (in summer)?

I would spend at least 5 days in Nuuk to fully enjoy everything it has to offer. However, you should also factor in the challenging weather conditions when you plan your trip.

We almost lost a day in Nuuk because our early morning flight could not land and we did not know when they would be able to put us on a flight to Nuuk from Kangerlussuaq as all other flights that day were fully booked.

Do I need to book everything in advance?

Yes and no. Hotels should be booked as far in advance as possible as there are not many available and they quickly book up.

I booked many of my tours in advance as they appeared to be selling out but when we spoke to the tour company in person after arriving in Nuuk there was actually plenty of availability and even more tours available than we had seen online.

A Nuuk Water Taxi
You will see plenty of Nuuk Water Taxi Tours heading out into the Fjord

It is also worth booking the more high-rated restaurants in advance to secure a table.

Hotels in Nuuk

Nuuk is a small city with limited hotel options. When I visited Nuuk I didn’t book my hotel in time and nearly everything was sold out. However, we were able to secure an amazing apartment on Airbnb close to the center.

To avoid disappointment I recommend booking your hotel as early as possible as they do sell out quickly!

Hotel Nordbo – Has an onsite restaurant and is close to the Nuuk Art Gallery and the old town. Rooms also have their own kitchens.

Hotel SØMA Nuuk – Located close to the large harbor, this is a fantastic wheelchair-friendly hotel, with large and spacious rooms.

Hotel Hans Egede – Situated directly in the city center, few places are more central. The hotel also has a restaurant on the top floor.

Kulukis Downtown Hostel – A more budget-friendly accommodation option in the center of Nuuk.

I hope you have enjoyed my post about the best things to do in Nuuk in the summer. If you feel I have missed anything or left your favorite activity please leave a comment below!

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