Small colorful houses greet the eyes whether you arrive to Aasiaat by coastal ferry or propeller plane, but it is the large collection of custom artwork around town and the welcoming townspeople that set the tone for life in Aasiaat. As the educational headquarters of North Greenland, Aasiaat is becoming livelier by the year.
What Aasiaat lacks in vertical height on land it makes up for with a boat full of water adventures. Sailing, whale watching, fishing, and kayaking are some of Greenland’s best and time-honored entertainment, so you have everything to learn from Aasiaat locals, for whom the marine environment is so central to everyday life. Come to Aasiaat to experience Greenlandic culture and its close connection to the nature and sea.
“In Aasiaat I love the way all the houses are made of wood and are beautifully painted in different colors – very attractive! And they have good colors – not just your ordinary white!”
- Aasiaat is a town in North Greenland with approximately 3100 residents
- Aasiaat means “spiders” in Greenlandic.
- Aasiaat was founded by Niels Egede in 1759 as a trading post. He named it Egedesminde, to honor his father, Hans Egede.
- North Greenland Gymnasium, similar to a high school, is located in Aasiaat. Its enrollment grows gradually, particularly with students from other towns.
- The Assembly Hall features 24 paintings by the famous Danish artist, Per Kirkeby.
AASIAAT MIDNIGHT SUN MARATHON
If you don’t mind a bit of exercise on your holiday, the summer Aasiaat Midnight Sun Marathon is a challenging, yet breathtaking, alternative to typical city sightseeing.
There is always a Greenlandic twist to events, and in Aasiaat it is that you must run the marathon track a few times, as one is hard-pressed to find 42 kilometres of road up here. The silver lining is that with each loop, you notice something new and extraordinary about Aasiaat and its surrounding terrain.
While the city limits make a fine realm for the traveler seeking unique events and cultural discovery, the modest elevation causes nature lovers to turn their adventurous sights not to the hills, but seaside.
Whale watching is a year-round favorite with winter whales like the centuries-old bowhead holding down the fort in the chilly Aasiaat waters, even when all others have headed south. In summer, they migrate away making room for humpback, minke, and fin whales to do acrobatics to their flippers’ content. With a bay riddled with thousands of islands, the whales’ playgrounds can be many. We suggest you make good friends with the boat captain – he usually knows the whales’ most popular hangouts.
That same maze of islands also affords boundless exploration for kayakers. Rent kayaks in Aasiaat, or come with your own kit, to see Aasiaat from water level. A day of navigating through thin island channels and weaving amongst chiseled icebergs glistening under the midnight sun is a real Greenlandic experience. Couple that with a surprise personal visit from an underwater giant and you just might have your coolest kayaking trip yet!
- In summer, the Midnight Sun Marathon takes place in Aasiaat. In winter, residents frequently use the same tracks for cross country skiing.
- Aasiaat is a good place for whale watching year round
- Aasiaat has two accommodations: Hotel Nanoq and Aasiaat Seamen’s Home, one of only three
- The Arctic Umiaq Line coastal ferry, Sarfaq Ittuk, stops in Aasiaat twice weekly, once heading north and once heading south.
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