World's Greatest Places 2021
Nuuk, the capital of Greenland.
Christophe Stramba-Badiali—Haytham Pictures/Redux
July 20, 2021 6:33 AM EDT

Big things are happening in one of the world’s smallest capitals. The Arctic city of Nuuk, with some 18,000 residents, is poised to become the world’s first certified “sustainable capital” by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, which sets internationally recognized environmental-­protection standards in tourism. A new coastal path highlights the city’s deep connection with nature: Phase 1 is now open, featuring wooden footbridges that skirt the picturesque mountainside. In the coming years, Phase 2 will highlight national heritage sites like the Herrnhut ruins. There are plentiful viewing platforms to absorb the scenic splendor, and Nuuk takes advantage of low light pollution: northern-lights sailing trips allow visitors to view the aurora in true Greenlandic fashion, making a solid case for a future spot on the International Dark-Sky Association list. —Lauren Breedlove

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