Greenland Holidays, Events, Climate and Sightseeing

Greenland: Holidays, national customs, food

Public holidays

Date Holiday
January 1 New Year
6th January Holy Three Kings
March April Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Monday
1st of May Labor Day
four weeks after Good Friday Day of prayers
six weeks after Easter Assumption Day
seven weeks after Easter Pentecost
June 21 National Day, Ullotuneq
December 24-26 Christmas
December 31 New Year’s Eve

Source: Countryaah – Greenland Holidays

Cultural events

The return of light

The return of light is celebrated everywhere, but at different times depending on the geographical latitude:

Mid-January: in Illulissat

at the beginning of February: in Upernavik

at the end of February: in Qaanaaq

Dog sledding competitions take place everywhere around Easter.

Aasifvik Summer Festival

The traditional gathering of the Inuit in summer has now become a kind of festival.

School enrollment in early August

The festival is celebrated across the country.

Sporting events

March: Shark Challenge Shark

fishing in the Uummannaq area.

A limited number of participants are invited to fish for sharks through an ice hole. The sharks can be up to 6.5 m long and weigh 600 kg! The Greenland shark can be found at depths of 400-600 m in winter. It is a brown shark that is widespread in the fjords of Greenland.

End of March: The ice golf competition is carried out with red balls on the ice.

It takes place on the 9-hole golf course in Uummannaq in North Greenland.

End of March: Nuuk Snow

Festival Sculptures are carved from 3x3x3 m snow blocks by different teams.

End of March – beginning of April: Artic Circle Race

The cross-ski race is a challenge for every cross-country skier. The 160 km race is one of the toughest ski races in the world. It is held in Sisimiut on the west coast.

End of April: Arctic Palerfik

At the end of winter there is a three-day sleigh ride to the Ilulissat Fjord. In the footsteps of Knud Rasmussen’s training route, you can enjoy the impressive landscape.

End of July: Arctic Team Challenge

During the five-day race on the island of Ammassalik, different teams compete against each other and cover a distance of 250 km.

Mountain biking, mountaineering, climbing, glacier hikes and canoeing are the required disciplines.

August: Arctic Marathon

The Arctic Marathon or Ice Marathon usually takes place in August in the Nuuk area.

Early October: Polar Circle Marathon

The marathon takes place in the Kangerlussuaq area. Due to the extreme route, the participants should expect that their time is approx. 1 hour longer than the usual time!

National customs

Kayak (Qajaq in Greenlandic)

The kayak is a one-man boat covered with seal skins. The men’s boat was and is used for hunting in summer. It is individually adapted to its owner.


sleds Dog sleds were used for hunting in winter instead of kayaking. In contrast to Alaska, dog sledding is still widespread in Greenland. Approx. 12 dogs are harnessed to a sledge.

Mask dance and drum dance – myths and legends are told in this traditional way.

Drum dancing has been practiced in a widespread area of the Arctic for thousands of years. This ranges from eastern Russia, Chokotka, Alaska and Canada to Greenland. It served on the one hand as a pastime in the long and cold winter nights, but also as a way of resolving conflicts between two opponents. Other functions were the advertising dance of women or the dance of the shaman. He was placed half-naked in the middle and put into a trance state with the drums, in which he called on the spirits for help. Anything could happen during a session of this kind.

The mask dance is a typical Greenlandic Inuit form of entertainment and amusement. In the narrow, dark earth houses, the faces were painted in black, white and red, and the dark time was passed by “faxing”. Today the form of entertainment is cultivated, for example, in the National Theater of Greenland.

Food and drink


The cuisine of Greenland is dominated by meat and fish, most of which are eaten raw.

Traditionally, whale and seal meat are on the menu.

Whale itself is eaten as a raw whale steak or as mattak, which is the raw skin of the beluga whale.

Seal meat is prepared as a stew. The meat takes on a chocolate brown color.

Caribou steak, which is shot in summer during the hunting season, is also popular.

Greenland sheep meat is quite expensive. It is extremely tasty when smoked.

Reindeer steak is another specialty of the country.


Coffee and tea are drunk permanently. Kaffemik, the morning coffee with pastries, is a kind of social institution.

Alcoholic beverages are mainly beer and wine.

Stronger spirits are quite expensive.

Greenland: Sightseeing

  • Presents the way that GL stands for the nation of Greenland as a two-letter acronym.

UNESCO World Heritage Site

Ilulissat Icefjord

The fjord represents the eastern end of the Jakobshavn Isbra Glacier, one of the largest glaciers in the world. The glacier flows at a speed of 20-35 m per day. The Ilulissat Icefjord is located 250 kilometers north of the Arctic Circle on the West coast of Greenland and is part of Denmark.The fjord is 40 km long and 7 km wide. The fjord is bordered by the Sermeq Kujalleq glacier. There are icebergs in the fjord that broke off the glacier during the summer months and fell into the fjord as huge masses of ice. At the exit to the sea there is a moraine deposit below sea level on which the icebergs stick. Here huge icebergs rise from the sea. The Ilulissat Icefjord in Greenland was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2004.


Brattahlid ruins from AD 1,000.

In Qassiarsik, Brattahlid, the first church in Greenland was built at the urging of Erik the Red’s wife, who had converted to Christianity. Today only the foundations and ruins of the subsequent buildings can be seen

Special places


Ilulissat, the former Jakobshavn, is the third largest settlement in Greenland with around 4,000 residents. The city where Knud Johan Rasmussen was born is now the city most visited by tourists.

Particularly interesting is the Ilulissat Kangerlua glacier, which glides into the sea at a speed of approx. 25 m per day. It is the largest of its kind outside of Antarctica. Icebergs break off regularly and fall into the sea. Incidentally, this process is called calving.

Sisimiut City

Sisimiut, the former Holstein town, has 5,250 residents and is located approx. 75 km north of the Arctic Circle.

The Bethel church in the village was consecrated in 1775 and is still there today.

Not far from the city you can visit the archaeological remains of the Sqqaq culture.

Sisimiut-Kangerlussuaq Trek

With a length of 150 km, the Sisimiut-Kangerlussuaq Trek is one of the most spectacular in the world. The hiking trail leads through a fascinating ice landscape.

Special buildings

Reconstruction of houses

In Qassiarsik you can admire the reconstruction of a Viking long house from the 10th century. The owners were entitled to a special, lockable sleeping box. The other family members were allowed to sleep on the insulated outer walls. The slaves had to be content with sleeping on the uninsulated outer walls.

Inuit Turf House, Torfhaus

In Qassiarsik you can also admire the reconstruction of a grass house from 1870. Houses of this type were the winter houses of the Inuit.


House You can visit Santa’s house in Uumannaq.

Anyone who would like to find out more about Santa Claus can find more at:

Modern architecture

Nature Institute

The building consists of two buildings clad with Canadian cedar. The two buildings are connected by a glass hall opening to the south.

Architects: KHRAS Architects

Address: 2Kivioq

3900 Nuuk

Katuaq Culture Center

The modern wooden building was designed on a triangular floor plan. An essential criterion in the design was to make the light show of nature tangible.

Architects: Schmidt, Hammer + Lassen

21 Imaneq

3900 Nuuk

Museums in Greenland

Greenland National Museum in Nuuk

The museum in the capital Nuuk was founded in the mid-1960s on the old colonial port. The visitor will find numerous artifacts about the history of Greenland from around 4,500 years. The museum also has an advisory role on archaeological issues. The central register of excavations, ruins, tombs and historical buildings in Greenland is also kept here.

Nunatta Katersugaasivia

Hans Egedesvej 8

Box 145

3900 Nuuk

00299 – 322611

Upernavik Old Town Museum

The museum was created in the early 1950s from a private collection of the Dane Andreas Lund-Drosvad. The village of Upernavik, with around 1,150 residents, is located on the west coast of Greenland

Upernavik Museum

POBox 96

3962 Upernavik

Tel.: 00299 – 961085

Churches in Greenland

Church of the Redeemer Nuuk

The Church of the Redeemer is located in the Greenlandic capital Nuuk. The red wooden church was consecrated in 1849 and the tower was added in 1884. The small church has been the country’s (Protestant) cathedral since 1994.

The church’s organ dates from 1970

St. Nicolai Cathedral in Gadar

The church was founded as the bishopric of Greenland.

Natural beauties

Ilussat Icefjord

The Ilussat Icefjord was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004.

Disko Bay

The iceberg that did the Titanic’s undoing began its journey here.


Two whale jaw bones form the city gate to Qeqertarsuaq.

Northeast Greenland National Park

This park is one of the largest national parks in the world. It is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Here, at one of the northernmost points on earth, you can watch musk ox, polar bears, caribou and other animals.


The region of Savissivik was hit by a particularly high number of meteorites, which is why the region is also called savik, which means something like iron or knife.

Gunnbjørns Fjeld

Gunnbjørns Fjeld with a height of 3,733 m is the highest mountain in the Arctic.


With a length of approx. 300 km and an area of 13,400 km 2, the Scoresbysund is the largest fjord in the world.

Ice caves

The second largest ice caves in the world are located here. The largest are in Antarctica.


Island There are hot springs on the island. In the almost original springs you can relax at a pleasant 34 degrees and watch icebergs go by.

Natural phenomena

Midnight sun

For more information, see the highest sun levels

Northern Lights

The Northern Lights – Aurora Borealis – can be seen until April in the south of Greenland best in August.

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