About Nanortalik


Brief history of Nanortalik

Nanortalik formerly Nennortalik, is a town in Nanortalik Island, Kujalleq municipality, South Greenland. With 1,337 inhabitants as of 2013, it is the tenth largest town in the country. The name Nanortalik means “Place of Polar Bears” or “Place Where the Polar Bears Go” (from Greenlandic nanoq). It is the southernmost town in Greenland.

The first settlers

Because of its location, this area was one of the first parts of Greenland settled by the Norse and one of the last settled by the Inuit. The town was founded in 1770 as Nennortalik. In 1797, a permanent trading depot was set up in Nanortalik by traders from Qaqortoq (then Julianehåb). Due to poor harbour facilities, the town was moved three kilometers northward in 1830, where it remains today. Of the old town, only some scattered ruins remain..

Location & surroundings

Nanortalik is located on a small island (also named Nanortalik) on the shores of the Labrador Sea, roughly 100 km north of Cape Farewell, the southern tip of Greenland. The headland nearby is known as Cape Egede.

The surrounding district extends from the island of Qeqertarsuaq near Alluitsup Paa down to Cape Farewell and the 60 km long Lindenow Fjord on the east coast. The district covers a total of 15,000 sq. kilometers (5,800 sq. miles).

Nearby settlements are Narsarmijit, Alluitsup Paa (Sydprøven), Tasiusaq, Aappilattoq, Ammassivik as well as the following settlements with no more than 20 inhabitants each: Saputit, Nalasut, Nuugaarsuk, Akuliaruseq, Qallimiut, Qorlortorsuaq, Alluitsoq, and the weather station Ikerasassuaq.

Tasermiut & Torsukattak Fjord

Nanortalik is most well known for its towering mountain peaks and vertical walls in nearby Tasermiut Fjord. Names like Ketil Mountain (1500 m) and Ulamertorsuaq are familiar to mountain climbers from around the world. Torssukatak Fjord (located between Narsarmijit & Aappilattoq fjord), with the huge Thumbnail sea cliffs, and Pamiagdluk Island, are also within reach by chartered boat. The mountains in the region can easily be compared with the toughest routes in the Alps, and challenging ascents should only be attempted by experienced climbers.

Wild sealife & polar bears

Every spring Polar Bears drift in with the pack ice from East Greenland. Seals are common in surrounding fjords. The most common seal is ringed seal, followed by hooded seal and harp seal.

From August until October minke whales are common near the opening of the Tasermiut Fjord. Occasionally, humpback whales and orcas are spotted.


As there are no roads in between towns, most common transportation is by sea & Helicopter.

During summer seasons starting from June to September Narsarsuaq Airport operates as a point of entry from Europe to South Greenland.