22 Photos That Will Inspire You to Visit Colorful Qaqortoq
Almost a year has gone by since I’ve returned from my trip to Greenland and yet hardly a day passes when I don’t think about my travels in the far-flung Nordic country. I was lucky enough to get a mere glimpse of Greenland during a trip last summer, spending a short amount of time in a couple of places near the southern tip.
Greenland is one of those destinations that take hold of your imagination forever. Truly, the breathtaking nature, sparsely populated and (mostly) unpolluted land, hospitable locals, and undiscovered wilderness are enough to make you never want to leave (especially if you’re from the concrete jungle).
I guess you could say that I fell in love with Greenland pretty fast.
From the little I saw of the world’s largest island, one place continues to stand out in my mind: Qaqortoq. Despite only having a population of approximately 3000 people, Qaqortoq is the largest town in southern Greenland.
What makes Qaqortoq so special you ask?
Situated in a fjord system unfolding out in the Labrador Sea, the bright Qaqortoq houses overlook a channel that regularly contains icebergs floating by and migrating whales breaking the surface of the water. The town is small, quaint, and easily walkable. Each road you walk will likely lead you to one of the many hilltops where you’ll find breathtaking vistas of the fjord below, each more stunning than the last. And of course, like most Nordic communities, Qaqortoq is not short on color. With the summer wildflowers in full bloom, a clear blue sky with warm rays of sun, and eye-popping primary colors found throughout town, I felt like I was in some kind of northern paradise.
It was here that I was lucky enough to be invited into a local's home for a kaffemik, a Greenlandic tradition involving coffee and sweet delicacies. Afterwards I simply enjoyed wandering around aimlessly through town, climbing up one of the hills, and photographing as much of Qaqortoq as I possibly could.
A view of Qaqortoq and its harbor from one of the surrounding hilltops. Located on an island with no roads leading in or out, the town is only accessible by boat or helicopter. Qaqortoq Heliport operates year-round, linking Qaqortoq with Narsarsuaq Airport and, indirectly, with the rest of Greenland and Europe.
A country easy to imagine covered in snow and ice, Greenland is actually quite bright and colorful during the summer months due to the blooming Arctic wildflowers, thriving plants, and green hillsides. Although summers are short, it's the only time that Greenland actually lives up to its name.
Thousands of years ago, the native Inuits lived simply in tents and huts, but after the arrival of Scandinavian settlers, colorful buildings were introduced into the nation's architectural style. A few hundred years ago the color of a house in Greenland signified it's purpose.
Today, you'll find residential homes, businesses, schools, and apartments in a rainbow of colors.
Did you know the flag of Greenland is the only national flag of a Nordic country without a Nordic Cross?
If you walk in a northerly direction you will eventually end up at a lake that borders the outskirts of town and acts as Qaqortoq's water supply. It's possible to go on a hike around the lake. Find information on tours at Greenland Sagalands.
One of the things I loved the most in Greenland was the bright colors found in all of the towns I visited. The local cemetery in Qaqortoq was no exception. Back home, I'm used to seeing cemeteries as grey, somber, gloomy places, but in Greenland they are lively, colorful, and overgrown with beautiful wildflowers.
I never found out what the story was behind this car, but I thought it was so funny and odd I couldn't resist taking a photo. If anyone out there can fill me in on how and why this car is mounted on a house in Qaqortoq I'm all ears!
A trip to Greenland is appealing for many reasons - stunning scenery, Arctic wildlife, diverse culture - but one of the things that stuck with me the most was how easy it was to be alone. I didn't have to go far to feel small, isolated, but also free, and to be humbled by the vast landscape.