This Waterfront Hotel in Greenland Has a New Glass-domed Igloo Perfect for Watching the Northern Lights

Welcome to your real-life snow globe.

Green Aurora borealis, Northern lights, seen from water taxi tour in Greenland

Stephanie Vermillion

If there’s one way to spend a quintessential night in Greenland, it’s counting seabirds and distant icebergs to fall asleep, then waking up to 180-degree views of falling snow. I did this all from bed in my glass igloo, with a private sauna — and a wood-fired hot tub — mere steps from the tiny home’s door.

That's how I spent one magical October night in Greenland’s new real-life snow globe, with 180-degree views from the Nuuk fjord out to the Sermitsiaq mountain. The first-of-its-kind glass igloo, which opened in summer 2022, was perfect for admiring ice, scouting the northern lights, or warming up in the igloo’s sauna.  

This cozy accommodation is the brainchild of Gerth Poulsen, founder of local tour outfitter Inuk Travel. He collaborated with Nuuk accommodation Inuk Hostels to build a picturesque glass igloo near the shore of this waterfront property.

Interior view of Nuuk Igloo in Greenland has bed and kitchenette with 360 view of waterfront

Stephanie Vermillion

“It’s always been our dream to start something where [travelers] can enjoy the northern lights from the hostel cabins; the area’s perfect for it,” Poulsen told me. The glass igloo, which welcomed its first visitors in May 2022, couldn’t come at a better time.

Getting to Nuuk: New Travel Options

Travel to Greenland’s colorful capital just got easier — and improved access will only continue in the coming years. In fall of 2022, Air Greenland and Icelandair unveiled a partnership to increase connectivity between the two islands. Iceland’s Greenland-bound flights now travel through Keflavik International Airport, not Reykjavik Airport, making the far-flung island more accessible for travelers coming from Europe and North America.

In 2024, reaching the capital will become even smoother when Nuuk opens its long-awaited new international airport, which is anticipated to significantly boost tourism. Inuk Hostels, and its new glass igloo, stand ready to welcome travelers with a unique Greenland experience. 

Inside the Igloo

I’ve booked overnights in bubble hotels to chase the auroras, but this one-bed igloo goes leaps and bounds beyond that. It’s not glamping; It’s an Arctic tiny home, with just about everything you’d need in one small space, including a kitchenette, stove, toilet, heating and cooling features, and drop-down tables for breakfast in bed. (And yes, Inuk Hostels offers igloo guests breakfast in bed.) The charming abode also boasts 180-degree glass windows perfect for spotting the northern lights or, when the winter weather hits like it did for me, watching snowflakes and icebergs from the warmth of bed.

In addition to coziness inside the igloo, you’ll find numerous ways to stay toasty in the igloo’s adjacent amenities. There’s the traditional sauna, with a small window overlooking the water. Alternatively, you can warm up in your igloo’s private wood-fired hot tub.

Exterior of sauna and interior of sauna with snow covered landscape and water views in Greenland

Stephanie Vermillion

The main lodge at Inuk Hostels, a short walk from the igloo, serves traditional Greenlandic fare like a reindeer or musk-ox burger, or lighter bites like salads and soups. Local Qajaq beer, made in southern Greenland, is also on the menu, as are cocktails, smoothies, coffee drinks, and wine.

For more of a cultural encounter, “Inuk Hostels offers Greenlandic traditional barbecue with storytelling about our ancestors,” said Poulsen, noting the tales include both historical and contemporary traditions.

Beyond the Igloo

While it’s tough to leave the warmth of your quaint igloo, it’s worth it. Nuuk brims with outdoor adventure and culture. Poulsen’s Inuk Travel team runs a host of experiences for hostel guests, such as paddleboarding in the summer or skiing in the winter.

Other excursions not to miss in Nuuk: backcountry snowshoeing hikes with local adventure outfitter Two Ravens; a trip to the Greenland National Museum for an explainer on the island’s history and culture; and a walk along the Nuuk boardwalk, which wraps around the coast.

If auroras top your bucket list, book a night on the water with Nuuk Water Taxi. The local team takes small groups deep into the Nuuk fjord, well away from light pollution, for three hours of northern lights hunting — the perfect start to a full night of aurora scouting from your igloo's bed.

Nuuk Igloo exterior with Sauna in view by the water in Greenland

Stephanie Vermillion

When to Visit Nuuk

With the recent boost in flights, Nuuk increasingly draws travelers year-round. Travel here in winter for a snowshoe or ski adventure, then watch auroras (visible from late fall through spring), and wake up in a snow globe.

Alternatively, Nuuk summers showcase Greenland’s milder side, with temperatures hovering between 40 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Adventures on the warm-weather docket include paddleboarding, kayaking, backcountry hikes, and late-night adventures beneath the midnight sun. And fear not: the igloo’s black-out curtains ensure a long, restful sleep all year.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles