On an uninhabited island between Qaqortoq and Nanortalik in Southern Greenland lies the only heated outdoor spa in the country, complete with a view to icebergs and pointy mountain peaks.   

In other places in the country, especially on the volcanic island, Qeqertarsuaq, in the Disco Bay and in East Greenland, there are many known areas with hot springs, but it is the geothermal springs on the island of Uunartoq which steals the show.

Greenlands only heated outdoor spa, complete with a view to icebergs and pointy mountain peaks.

“It was very relaxing! A lot of hot springs are too hot – you cannot stay in very long. But this one was almost like body temperature so you could just stay in there all day if you wanted to! It felt really good! And it was not commercialized. You get to appreciate the luxury of nature.

OPPORTUNITIES FOR TOURS FROM BOTH QAQORTOQ AND NANORTALIK

Tour organizers in both Nanortalik and Qaqortoq offer frequent boat tours to the island throughout the summer, and it is common knowledge that people will bring along a picnic basket and a bottle of champagne to the springs. The clientele on an average afternoon is usually a mixture of locals and tourists splashing around in the 38 degrees warm water.

In a typically local way the conditions may seem a bit spartan when viewed by international standards, but the charming part about Uunartoq is this touch of “do-it-yourself” atmosphere that Uunartoq exudes. This is an experience that is so directly in touch with nature in such a unique place, that every visitor immidiately surrenders to the beauty of the surroundings.

UUNARTOQS MANY LEGENDS AND HISTORICAL EVENTS

The hot springs at Uunartoq have been known for thousands of years. During the Viking era there was even a Benedictine Abbey in the fiord close by Uunartoq. One old story is about Leif Ericsson who, a thousand years ago, decided to go for a swim so that he would be clean and presentable before setting sail and going off towards the west in search of new land.

In spite of the allure that the island has had on those passing by, it has never been permanently settled. Maybe this is a result of the stories about ghosts that, according to hearsay, haunt the springs, and who often hide in the sea and summer fog common in the area.

The real reason could, of course, be the sparse vegetation and the harsh climate so close to the Ice Cap, and in a fiord filled with icebergs. But who knows?

What we do know, however, is no matter which way you choose to look at it, Uunartoq has been a key excursion area for thousands of years in Southern Greenland.

  • Uunartoq is close to the settlement of Alluitsup Paa between Qaqortoq and Nanortalik in South Greenland.
  • Greenland Sagalands in Qaqortoq organize half day tours to Uunartoq from June to September in cooperation with Blue Ice.
  • In Nanortalik, Nanortalik Tourist Service organizes tours to Uunartoq during the summer months.
  • The source of the heat in the spring is not due to volcanic activity, but to the geothermal subsoil, which heats the water in  the spring, when soil layers rub against each other.
  • The hottest spring in Greenland is at Qeqertarsuaq, reaching up to 60degrees Celsius (140degrees Fahrenheit), while the spring at Uunartoq reaches temperatures of about 38 degrees Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit).