Greenland’s climate is surprisingly diverse for terrain notorious for frigid temperatures. Areas along the coast where the vast majority of communities are located tend to be milder in winter and cooler in summer than the inland ice sheet. Average daytime temperatures in Nuuk are a brisk 23°F in December, but increase to a comparatively balmy 49°F in August.
Although summer temperatures can soar as high as 80°F along Greenland’s southern coast and inland areas, visitors should nevertheless wear waterproof outer layers and sturdy boots even in warmest months. Greenland’s dry air and low humidity may make cold winters feel more bearable, but visitors from wetter and more humid climates should drink plenty of water to acclimate.
Greenland’s northern two-thirds enjoy several days or weeks of endless sunshine, but even the territory’s southern portion never gets completely dark around the summer solstice on June 21. East Greenland enjoys approximately 300 sunny days per year, whose weather is also infamous for the fierce, but short-lived Piteraq winds.
Best Time to Visit Greenland
Summer may seem to be the best time to visit Greenland, when the sun is constantly shining and the weather is warmest. Unfortunately, Greenland’s notoriously expensive hotel and airfare costs are also at a premium. Summer is, however, the only time of year visitors can comfortably hike in Greenland’s wilderness or take boating and fishing trips along the fjords.
Winter may be Greenland’s darkest and most frigid months, but those willing to dress warm and brave the harsh climates will be rewarded by the territory’s most vivid Northern Lights views. Spring and fall, on the other hand, bring slightly warmer weather, but usually remain cool enough for visitors to enjoy Northern Lights sightings, dog sled excursions, and many other conventional cold-weather activities.