Ghost Towns in Greenland

The vast open landscape of Greenland offers everything from Arctic deep-sea fishing and scenic hiking to incredible cruises along the famously gorgeous fjords — perfect for the outdoorsy family. The country’s traditional culture and quaint lifestyle is an untouched gem and a prime destination for tourists looking to get away, get some culture and bask in the great outdoors.

Northern Lights, Greenland

© Yongyut Kumsri | Dreamstime

The incredibly unique landscape offers unending adventure for active families while being a bit lower on tourists’ radar than its more popular neighbor, Iceland — Greenland still offers an affordable getaway with a laundry list of scenic activities.

Scope out the country’s sweeping beauty and vast wildlife on daytrips, stay in quaint towns, shop, dine and experience epic glaciers on a tour. Stay at the Igdlo Guesthouse, conveniently located on the southwestern coast for around $90–115 a night. Talk to the hotel manager about renting a car and planning the rest of your trip, or opt for Hotel Avannaa’s balcony views of the sea for about $117 a night. Chat with locals and get the inside scoop on tours and events, but be sure to check out the ghost towns scattered along the coast.

With so much wide open land, Greenland’s population tends to be pretty spread out. The Greenland Ice Sheet covers a large portion of the country, forcing most Greenlanders to settle on the coast. With much of the population relying heavily on fish markets and food supply for income, citizens tend to move where the money is and as water temperatures drop and shift, fish move along the coastline, bringing Greenlanders with them.

Qoornoq - former fishermen village in Greenland

© Vadim Nefedov | Dreamstime

Whole populations of workers tend to pick up and move to where the fish are, leaving real-life ghost towns with incredibly low populaces along the coast. Explore famously abandoned towns Qoornoq and Kangeq, visiting the washed-out towns peppered with dilapidated homes. Trek over the hillside cottages and once-active establishments including a now rundown train station.

The summer months tend to bring some activity, but, for the most part, these settlements are completely empty. Rent a car and explore the surrounding vistas and almost completely open roads.