Upernavik is a prime town for travelers who want something between an organized holiday and a self-sustaining Arctic expedition. The off-the-grid factor in Upernavik is great thanks to its high northern latitude and a sun that disappears for three months a year. But with oodles of surrounding villages, lively maritime traffic in the summer, and easy connections from tourist hotspots, one still feels comfortably connected to the rest of Greenland.
Flying into Upernavik on a small propeller plane, you land on the snowy hill high above town. And so at the first sight of Upernavik you see exactly what adventures await. A bay dotted with thousands of islands, the spectacular Upernavik Icefjord to the north and the world’s largest bird cliffs, Apparsuit, directly to the south. An open-air museum revealing colonial and Viking histories. And a town full of interesting Greenlanders, each with his own narrative about daily life in Upernavik.
And so at the first sight of Upernavik you see exactly what adventures await.
- Upernavik has approximately 1160 residents in town, plus those in 9 surrounding villages. It has more surrounding villages than any town in Greenland, and there are more residents in the villages than in Upernavik
- Upernavik means “the springtime place”, as it was a popular destination for Inuit for trading and fishing.
- Upernavik has the world 's northernmost open-air museum.
A VIBE OF CHANGE
Upernavik is filled with contrasts. The town’s fishermen are central to the Greenland fishing industry, yet they are isolated enough along the northwest coast to have their own language dialects, even from village to village. Inuit traditions like ice fishing and hunting for sea mammals are revered in Upernavik, yet climate change increasingly jeopardizes their sustainability and paves the way for more diverse and globalized industries to enter the region.
Whether these changes come to Upernavik next year or in the next decade, our pioneering spirit and culture of adaptation will show its strength. We welcome new opportunities to mix with old favorites, as playing a good football match or grilling fresh caught trout will certainly always remain.
A BAY OF ISLANDS AND ICE
The Upernavik archipelago has islands as far as the eye can see, literally thousands, and thanks to the Upernavik Icefjord, you may get the pleasant surprise that a distant island turns out to be a massive iceberg instead.
Getting in the water to see this collection of islands and their many villages is a must, and the summer months with midnight sun are the perfect time to do it. If you get the chance, go north to the Upernavik Icefjord or go village hopping by kayak in any direction you please. In winter, add an extra element of adventure by trading these open water craft for sled dogs or snowmobiles. With only the northern lights to illuminate the way, the sled dogs and drivers rely on their internal compass for guidance.
Getting in the water to see this collection of islands and their many villages is a must, and the summer months with midnight sun are the perfect time to do it.
- There is no hotel in Upernavik, but there are a few guesthouses with toilets, showers, and Internet access.
If you prefer to keep your feet on solid ground, take to the mountain rivers where Arctic char are so plentiful you will wonder if we stocked the waters just for your arrival. And if you come in August you can be witness to muskox hunting season in the Upernavik backcountry.
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