Uunartoq Hot Springs in Greenland

Jan 1, 2015 0 comments

Hot springs are abundant in South Greenland, but the island of Uunartoq is home to the only hot springs in the country that are warm enough to bathe in. Uunartoq island is located in the Kujalleq municipality in southern Greenland, close to the settlement of Alluitsup Paa. The island lies halfway between Qaqortoq and Nanortalik and can be reached on a daytrip by boats from each of these two towns. Scattered around the island are a number of pools fed by hot water springs bubbling up from the ground below that keep the water temperature a balmy 34-38 degrees even during the freezing winter. What’s unique about Uunartoq is that the hot springs are in a completely natural environment in the middle of a grassy field. There are no tarmac bus car parks, no spa complexes with expensive additional products and nor is it overrun. The only structures fashioned by the hand of man are a gangway and two modest sheds in which to change. The ruins of a nunnery stand nearby. Pieces of icebergs drift offshore, and many whales frequent these waters.


Photo credit: Greenland.com

The hot springs at Uunartoq have been known for at least a thousand years. During the Viking era, the Norse settlers constructed bathtubs with boulders around the springs creating a medieval spa. The Benedictine nuns living on a neighbouring island in a convent dedicated to Olaf the Holy helped the sick benefit from the health-giving powers and pain-relieving effects of Uunartoq's warm water. Legends dating back to this period tell how the island’s warm waters cured the sick, relieved their suffering and helped them regain their health. When the Norse settlers disappeared, the Thule race, the ancestors of present-day Greenlanders, took over. Qerrortuut Inuit ruins dating back to the late 18th and early 19th century can still be found on the island.


Photo credit: Greenland.com


Photo credit: Greenland.com


Photo credit: Greenland.com


Photo credit: Greenland.com


Photo credit: Greenland.com


Photo credit: Greenland.com


Photo credit: Greenland.com


Photo credit: Greenland.com


Photo credit

Sources: Geocache / Greenland.com / Wikipedia


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