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Only recently defined as an island as recently as 2005 by American explorer Dennis Schmitt, Uunartoq (Greenlandic for “The Warming Island”) is situated just off the eastern central coast of Greenland, and is blessed with an utterly unique landscape that has a surreal, dreamlike quality unlike anywhere else in the world.
The main village of Uunartoq itself is situated in the Kujalleq municipality of Southern Greenland, and is home to just 305 locals. Don’t let its small size fool you however, as the settlement acts as quaint hub to amazing attractions and sights that are the epitome of Greenland’s quirky adventure holiday atmosphere. Hot springs, ice shelves, and glaciers are all incredible features of the natural surroundings of the island, while numerous excursions that set out from the centre of the village give cruisers endless options for intrepid hikes and unique experiences.
Uunartoq may be relatively remote, but the trip to this idyllic icy paradise is well worth the effort, at the very least to enjoy one of the rarest natural features to be found anywhere in the world. Uurnatoq is totally unique in being the only place within Greenland to have hot springs that are warm enough to bathe in. Although a quite common occurrence across the country, the hot springs on this intriguing island are perfect for swimming, featuring naturally formed rock pools and an awe-inspiring back drop of drifting icebergs and mountain peaks.
Just miles away from the pleasingly quaint village of Uunartoq is South Greenland’s largest town, and a charming and beautiful place in which to enjoy some sightseeing. The town centre is filled with colourful pastel shaded houses that overlook a gorgeous bay. Fishing boats float tranquilly to shore during the day, while at night, the waters are lit up by the local lighthouse and a row of lights upon the harbour. The culture project in the town ‘Stone and Man’ provides guided tours exploring the beautiful colonial buildings at the town centre, as motifs chiselled into the cliffs by Scandinavian artists.
Storfjeld and Ravnefjeldet
For a breathtaking view of the entire island, look no further than the guided hiking tours that weave their way through snowy slopes, lush green trails, and geothermic streams to reach the summit of the two highest peaks in the province, Storfjeld (Big Mountain) and Ravnefjeldet (Raven Mountain). Both these towering peaks offer outstanding views of the entire island, along with a route towards the first nanoraltik settlement on the coast of the island.
Souvenir shopping is a real treat in the region, with even the smallest towns being blessed with craft stores, workshops, artists and sculptors offering work for you to pore over and adore. None of the souvenirs to be found anywhere in Greenland are mass produced, with bones, stones and minerals used by many vendors to handcraft unique works of art, jewellery, and ornaments.
For some culinary delights, make the short trip into Qaqortoq and head into the centre of the town. Nanoq Steakhouse serves platters of marinated beef, rib racks coated with delicious sauces, and succulent lamb and veal cutlets. Further afield, the restaurant Ban Thai offers such delicacies as Thai Salad with reindeer, and exotic seafood dishes.
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