A place like no other, Greenland is one of the most off-beaten destinations to visit. Surrounded by the magnificent mountains, stunning glaciers, and unique wilderness, this island offers a never seen before Nordic beauty.
Greenland is the world’s largest island and is part of the Kingdom of Denmark. This massive isle is home to a mere population of almost 57,000 residents. The locals call Greenland ‘Kalaallit Nunaat’ or the land of the people.
The unique blend of Inuit and Danish blood has given rise to a distinct Greenlandic society. The captivating and rich culture on the island displays both ancient yet modern ways of living. This is just one of the reasons why Greenland attracts inquisitive travelers to the native Inuit culture.
Nevertheless, Greenland is also one of the best places to experience Arctic solitude and a clean environment.
The island, although having scenic landscapes, stands apart from the rest of the destinations around the world. Thus, it requires thorough planning and decision-making.
To start your Greenland adventure as smoothly as possible, here is everything you need to know before visiting the island:
What is the best time to visit Greenland?
Greenland’s climate and the weather are always subjected to unpredictability. Greenland has namely three seasons: Summer, winter, and spring.
Greenland’s summer that occurs from mid-June to late August is brief yet intense. This season offers excellent cruise sailing as the fjords melt off. Travelers can take boats to visit glaciers and local settlements. Some parts of Greenland remain bright and sunny as well as feature greenery all over.
Wintertime on the island comes between November and February. This is supposed to be the best time to visit Greenland for adventurers and experience real Arctic nature. As the island gets covered with snow all over, you can enjoy classic winter activities such as dog sledding.
March and April mark the spring season and observes the Arctic Circle Race, the toughest cross country ski racing in the world.
However, it should be noted that seasons vary between different regions in Greenland. For instance, winter in Qaanaaq, north-western Greenland, lasts for nine months whereas in the south it can only last for three months.
So, depending on what you would like to experience, it is always suggested to do in-depth research on the region you are visiting in Greenland.
Should I travel via Iceland or Denmark to Greenland?
By flight, you can reach Greenland either through Reykjavik (Iceland) or Copenhagen (Denmark). There are two major airports in Greenland, the largest located in Kangerlussuaq. All direct flights coming from Copenhagen land here.
From Reykjavik, you can fly to Nuuk, Ilulissat, Narsarsuaq and Kulusuk. Moreover, if you are visiting Iceland, it is recommend to add Greenland as part of your trip.
How to travel around Greenland?
Around 80% of Greenland is covered in ice. Hence, roads are not fully developed to get across places. The only mode of transportation is boats, planes, ships, and helicopters that take you across towns and villages in Greenland.
For shorter or local trips, Greenlanders sail in the summer while in winter, dog sledding and snowmobiles are used.
What to experience in Greenland?
Well-known and famous activities of Greenland are only available in certain seasons. A few to experience include:
- Dog sledding – This activity, offered north of the Arctic Circle, starts in January and continues till April. In the Greenlandic winter, Dog Sledding is an experience of a lifetime. Additionally, you can also enjoy a dog sled tour that is a multi-day trip. These expeditions take you through beautiful towns, across frozen lakes and hilly terrains.
- Northern lights – From September until late March, Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis can be observed in Greenland. Although this phenomenon occurs all year round, it is best experienced on a clear night sky during winter. As there are fewer artificial lights in Greenland, it is one of the best places to see these mystical lights.
- Whale watching – The majestic whales can be spotted from a close range on boat trips in Greenland. The summer season has particularly a lot of whales swimming and popping close to the boat. Along the stretches of the coastline, approximately 15 species of whales such as humpback, beluga, and minke can be seen often.
- Midnight Sun – In the northernmost towns of Greenland, the midnight sun occurrence is visible between late April to late August. The more you head towards the north of the island, the brighter the sun appears. If you are traveling closer to the Arctic Circle, the midnight sun happens from early June to mid-July.
What are the top places to visit in Greenland?
Exploring this fascinating land can be daunting for first-time travelers. Here are some of the best attractions you must visit in Greenland:
Nuuk, the capital city of the island, is located in West Greenland. It is home to around 18,000 inhabitants. One of the best places to learn about Greenland’s history and indigenous roots is by visiting the Greenland Natural Museum in the city.
The museum has a collection of various hunting equipment, carvings, and Viking artifacts. The most interesting out of all the collections are the mummies of women and children which are 500-year-old.
2. Ilulissat Ice-Fjord
Ilulissat Ice Fjord is the most visited area in Greenland and a UNESCO world heritage site. It is one of the spectacular sights including the Sermeq Kujalleq and is responsible for calving around 10 percent of Greenland’s iceberg.
3. Uunartoq hot springs
Hot springs are found throughout Greenland but the best ones are situated in the inhabited Uunartoq island. Surrounded by mountain peaks and icebergs, three natural heated hot springs merge into a small pool.
Located in East Greenland, Tasiilaq is the largest town and occupies only 2000 inhabitants. The town is set amid the breathtaking scenery on a fjord and encompasses towering mountains. Tasiilaq is one of the most isolated settlements around the globe which means you are bound to have a unique experience.
Behind the Tasiilaq town, one can find the Flower Valley, a popular place for hikes. In summer and winter, activities such as skiing trips, dog sledding, sea kayaking, and more can be enjoyed.
5. Hvalsey Fjord Church
This is one of the best -preserved pre-Colombian building constructed around the 1300s. The Hvalsey Fjord Church is a popular tourist destination in Southern Greenland. You can walk around the stone halls and learn more about the Norse ruins.
Greenland is slowly seeing a growth in its tourism sector as many travelers from around the globe are curious about the remote island. Including this destination in your Nordic journey offers a mystical experience.
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