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Facts about South Greenland

South Greenland is with some cause designated "The Garden of Greenland". It is green and vigorous and the climate inside the fjords is warm, which makes it possible to let different kinds of vegetables grow, e.g. potatoes, rhubarbs and carrots. In addition, South Greenland is an agricultural area and many locals earn a living from sheep farming. For this reason you will often come across sheeps when trekking in the mountains in the summer.
Aside from this, South Greenland is also the location in which Erik the Red settled and founded the settlement of the Norse in the year 985 A.D. Everywhere in the area you will find the remains from the Norse that lived in Greenland for about 500 years.
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The daily temperature in the summer time is about 15 degrees C, but it is not infrequent that temperatures exceed 20 degrees C being in the sun or sheltered. Temperatures are often warm in the hidden valleys — especially when the sun is shining, while it is often more chilly out in the fjords. Night temperatures are often about 5 degrees, whereas night frost may occur in the beginning of September.

Narsarsuaq was founded as an American air base called Bluie West One during Second World War. It was the largest of the American air bases in Greenland. However, in the late fifties the Americans no longer needed a base in South Greenland and the airport became Danish state property. Since then Narsarsuaq has operated as a civil airport and is today the gateway to South Greenland.
Narsarsuaq is designated a settlement in the Narsaq municipality and approx. 150 people live in this settlement. Besides the airport, there is a hotel, a hostel, a supermarket, a public school and a café.
Narsarsuaq is the starting point of tours offered by Topas in South Greenland. Usually we will be accommodated at the hostel.
Narsarsuaq hostel

Narsarsuaq hostel is situated approx. 600 metres from the airport in the same direction as Blomsterdalen -"the Flower Valley". The hostel accomodates 36 overnight staying guests who will stay in rooms of four to six persons. The toilet and shower facilities are shared similar to the well-equipped kitchen with plenty of room for cooking. In addition, the hostel has a living room and a large terrace with a grill. It is possible to rent sleeping bags.
Blue Ice Café

Blue Ice Café is the one and only café in Narsarsuaq located in one of the old huts dating back to the time when Narsarsuaq was an American air base. In the café it is possible to enjoy a cup of coffee, a croissant or an ice cream while enjoying the view of the azure fjord and the green mountains that surround Narsarsuaq. Blue Ice Café has a small selection of books on Greenland, internet access (a fee is charged), sale of souvenirs and entrance to the Narsarsuaq Museum, which partly contains interesting displays of the life and the activities of the Norse in South Greenland and from the time when Narsarsuaq was an American air base. Additionally, Blue Ice Café arranges excursions in the area and organizes boat transfers and trips in South Greenland.
Hotel Narsarsuaq

Hotel Narsarsuaq is the only hotel in the settlement with 78 rooms, mainly double rooms. Most rooms have their own toilet and shower, but some of the rooms have shared toilet- and bathing facilities. In the hotel a cafeteria, a restaurant and a bar represent some of the places to socialize in Narsarsuaq. Breakfast and lunch are served in the cafeteria and dinner in the evening is served in both the restaurant and the cafeteria. In addition the hotel has a sauna and a solarium at its disposal.

The small settlement of Qassiarsuk is located right opposite of Narsarsuaq on the other side of the Tunulliarfik Fjord. Most of the approx. 50 inhabitants earn a living from sheep farming. Guests travelling with Topas stay overnight at a sheep farm in Qassiarsuk or at a sheep farm in Nunatak, which is situated approx. 9 kilometres from Qassiarsuk.

In Nunataq we stay with a family that earns a living from sheep farming in a house without running water and installed electricity. The house accomodates 14 persons and has shared toilet and bathing facilities. In addition there is a shared kitchen and a stove running on gas. Electricity comes from a generator which only runs a couple of times during the day. You have to bring your own sleeping bag. Beware that there is no mobile coverage or roaming in the settlement.

Qassiarsuk is the place where Erik the Red built his farm, Brattahlid, as he settled in Greenland in the year of 985. It was also here that his wife, Tjodhildur, some years later had the first Christian church constructed in the North American continent. Today it is possible to see the remains from both the church and the farmyard and reconstructions of the church and the long house of Erik the Red. Everywhere in the area remains have been found from the time of the Norse settlers. The modern settlement Qassiarsuk was founded by Otto Frederiksen in 1924, as he chose to settle here and make an attempt to earn a living from sheep farming. There is a small supermarket in Qassiarsuk where you can buy the most necessary groceries. The settlement also consists of a church and a public school.

The settlement of Igaliko is located near the head of the beautiful Igaliko Fjord. During the Norse settlement the Episcopal seat of the Norse and a large farmyard was situated here. The ruins of the farmyard stand to this day and are an indication of an immense construction. As the excavations of the cathedral took place, a grave was found and it is believed to be the grave of the former Bishop Jon Smyrill Arnasson. The contours of the grave are preserved. The Igaliko of today was founded in 1782 A.D. as the Norwegian Anders Olsen decided to enjoy his retirement in the most beautiful place and wanted to earn a living from farming in the way that the Scandinavians did. Today the approximate 50 inhabitants - the majority being descendants of Anders Olsen - still earn their living from farming. The area around the settlement is one of the most fertile in Greenland. The settlement has a small supermarket, public school, village hall and church.
In Igaliko we stay at the hostel with shared toilet and bathing facilities. There are no cooking facilities, but it is possible to order food in advance. There are power admission and mobile roaming at the hostel.

Qaqortoq is the biggest town in South Greenland with approx. 3,500 inhabitants. The town is a cultural and educational centre in the region. Here is one of the three high schools in Greenland, a public school, a business school and a business academy. The town is famous for its art project "Stone and Man", which was started by one of the most known Greenlandic artists, Aka Høegh. She grew up in the town and still lives here. You will find several supermarkets, kiosks and restaurants in Qaqortoq.
In Qaqortoq Topas guests either stay at the dormitory or at the folk high school. The folk high school is situated in the outskirts of the town but still in walking distance from the town centre. Here are double rooms equipped with bunk beds, shared toilet and shower facilities and shared kitchen and living room.
The dormitory is used daily by students from the high school and the business school. However, in the summer period as the students go home on vacation, the dormitory is used for tourists. Both single and double rooms are available with shared shower and toilet. Shared kitchen facilities and a washing machine are available. Both the folk high school and the dormitory have electricity installed. There is mobile roaming and coverage all over the town.

Narsaq is situated at the head of the Narsaq peninsula and has approx. 1,700 inhabitants. Topas guests are accomodated in the Niviarsiaq Hostel, which is situated a 5 minutes walk from the town and the harbour. Niviarsiaq consists of a couple of sections, all with shared kitchen and living room. Breakfast may be included in the stay and is served at Narsaq Hotel - a 2 minutes walk from Niviarsiaq. Make sure to bring a sleeping bag since there is a fee charged for having the bad made.
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