If you’re a winter junkie, you’ll love the ability to ski and dogsled wherever you go. Sure, the deep, dark winters can be troublesome – but the folks of Greenland stay cozy and warm, and spend their time storytelling and enjoying each other’s company. Of course, there’s also the Northern Lights. In the summer, Greenland gets non-stop sun action. This is a good time for rock climbing, hiking, and sea kayaking. The people from here are of Danish and Inuit blood, making for a unique culture altogether. When you want that unique travel experience, Greenland is the place.
Places to Visit in Greenland
- Nuuk (main town)
- Disko Bay
- Southwest Greenland
- Southern Fjords
- Ilulissat Fjords
- Greenland National Museum
- Paamiut Museum
Unique Things to See and Do in Greenland
- See the icebergs at Ilulissat Kangerlua
- Eat reindeer soup
- Take a ski tour, or try heli-skiing
- Dive for historic shipwrecks
- Dogsled or snowmobile across Greenland
- Hiking in the East Greenland mountains
- Kayak around icebergs
- See the Northern Lights
People first arrived in Greenland somewhere between 4,000 and 5,000 years ago (yes, that’s a pretty big time range) when the sea froze in the straight at Thule in northern Greenland creating a bridge. Since then, six different Inuit cultures have traversed to Greenland, and today’s population of Greenlandic people comes from the final wave that arrived in the 9th century.
In the 9th century, the Norse settlers also arrived with Erik the Red. They didn’t last long, and nobody knows quite why they disappeared. You can see ruined Norse settlements in South Greenland and in Nuuk.
English and Norwegian explorers started arriving in Greenland throughout the 16th and 17th centuries, and whaling became a major industry throughout the 18th century. The Europeans traded with the Inuit, and much of their trade is documented in today’s traditions – for example, the Inuit still use European glass beads in their national costume.
In 1721, Hans Egede from Denmark-Norway arrived looking for the Norse settlers. Instead, he ended up converting the Inuit into Christians. Most Inuit today are Lutheran evangelists.
While Greenland is a “modern” society, Greenlandic people still hold onto to their traditions. The dogsled is still used frequently, although snowmobiles are very popular. Access to Internet and telephone is easy. But behind every door, myths and legends stay strong.
Getting Around Greenland
Greenland is not an easy place to navigate. For the most part, there are no roads connecting the towns. Your best bet is to hire a local guide to help you get around.
Boats, helicopters, and small planes are the most common ways to get around Greenland. Air Greenland services most settlements. There are also many passenger ferries, including routes to the Arctic Circle.
Best Time of Year to Travel to Greenland
Greenland basically has two seasons: summer, and winter. Summer is the time of the Midnight Sun, which is an experience in itself.
Did you know…?
Greenland is the largest island in the world, and 80% of its landmass is covered in ice.
Did you ALSO know…?
Greenland is a part of Denmark, but is mostly self-governed. It’s not a part of the European Union.
Winter lasts about six months, and all of Greenland shifts in atmosphere. It’s a good time for dogsledding, skiing, and the Northern Lights. The darkness is hard for some people to deal with, as are the cold temperatures, but you’ll have a uniquely Greenlandic experience during this time.
There are still a few hidden gems to visit in this world – check out these great places that are well off the beaten path for some truly unique and memorable experiences.