With average yearly temperatures of 5˚C and a population of just 150, to say that Narsarsuaq is off the beaten track is no understatement. Yet, what this little Greenlandic village might lack in size is more than made up for in big, bold scenery, generous wildlife and a surprisingly thriving tourism scene.
Greenland’s leitmotivs of thrilling landscape and Viking history are majestically illustrated in Narsarsuaq. Jagged mountains plunge into glacier-dotted fjords, wildflower-sprinkled meadows stretch as far as the eye can see, while golden light bathes it all. Take silent filled hikes or kayak excursions to really explore what the little village’s surroundings have to offer, occasionally scanning the skies for the elusive white-tailed eagle.
The tangible quietness of Narsarsuaq is in great contrast to its bold and riotous Viking history. Norse Vikings, including the infamous Erik the Red, settled in the vicinity over a thousand years ago (985 AD). Their long and bloody history is well documented and ruins can be found in nearby Qassiarsuk, Igaliku, and Hvalsey.
Narsarsuaq’s placement in the Atlantic Ocean between Canada and mainland Europe made the little settlement a hub for U.S. activity during WWII. In 1941, the U.S. built an air force base (name Blue West One or Bluie) which served the Allies as a stepping stone to the battlegrounds. A 600-bed hospital (which was later increased to 1,000 beds) was also built to accommodate casualties from the D-Day landings and later, the Korean War.