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DANISH KRONE (DKK)
Visit Greenland because there is so much to experience. This country is located between the Arctic and North Atlantic Ocean. This massive island of extremes offers impressive contrasts and exceptional landscapes. Due to
Greenland’s topography, one might assume that it is a barren and unimportant country when in reality it is quite the opposite.
Greenland might have rugged and forbidding terrain but it is just that, that makes this country such a stark beauty. Greenland offers spectacular wildlife including whales, polar bears, and reindeer. Greenland has a wonderful array of flora and fauna, so much so that its north-eastern part is home to the world’s largest national park.
Greenland is special in more ways than one. not only is this country the northernmost on the planet is it also mostly covered by a massive sheet of ice!
The total land area is about 2,200,000 square kilometres (804,000 square miles) but 85% of the island’s land surface is completely covered by ice! Greenland also boasts about 40,000 kilometres (24,800 miles) of coastline!
WHY WE LOVE
Greenland is one of the most spectacular places in the world. It is difficult to access but once reached its remoteness and stark beauty will render you speechless. Greenland reminds you of nature’s vastness in comparison to our smallness. Unlike the majority of places in the world, Greenland remains mostly untouched. This allows you to witness virgin land where you can experience genuine and authentic tourism.
Visit Greenland and discover the magnificence of the country.
The tight-knit Inuit communities offer astounding insight into Native Artic culture. Even the land is rich! Greenland is home to fascinating animals such as polar bears and reindeer as well as precious gemstones.
Greenland’s waters are also spectacular in that they feature magnificent icefjords and massive icebergs. These majestic glaciers change our entire perspective of the world. And of course, must we not forget the ever-inspiring Northern Lights, also known as Aurora Borealis, which takes over Greenland’s winter night sky.
“I've always been fascinated and starred at maps for hours as a kid. I’ve especially been most intrigued by the uninhabited or lonelier places on the planet. Like Greenland, for instance… a chain of icy, mountains islands, uninhabited.” Andrew Bird
Did you know…?
- 80% of the landmass of Greenland is covered by ice.
- Greenland is the largest island in the world. (As Australia is actually considered a continent)
- Greenland translates to “Kalaallit Nunaat” which means ‘land of the people’.
- Many scientists have estimated that Greenland’s ice sheet is over 500,000 years old.
- This beautiful country is geographically a part of North America, but politically it is part of Europe.
- The most popular form of owned transportation is a boat.
- Summer is always sunny! Literally, the sun does not set from late April to late August.
- You can see the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) in the Winter!
- Greenland is hosting the coldest marathon on Earth, the Polar Circle Marathon, every year in October
GREENLAND TRAVEL GUIDE
Where to go
If you visit Greenland, you should definitely visit Ilullissat. This picturesque town is famous for it’s beauty and astounding icebergs. Oqaatsut is another place you should add to your list. This fishing village is brimming with boats and smiling faces. Imagine, a town with more boats than cars! Kangerlussuaq is yet another fantastic place in Greenland. This mountainous region is known as the ‘backcountry’ and is every hiker’s dreams. Kangerlussuaq is home to the only road that leads travellers to Greenland’s famous Ice Cap! Talk about exclusivity. If into a variety of outdoor activities that include fly-fishing, hiking, and snowmobiling than you must visit Sisimiut. Every town mentioned above is impressive and highly recommended but lastly we’d like to discuss East Greenland. Do not over look this area for it is wildly interesting. Its remoteness allows you to connect with Nature in ways you never have before.
How to get there/around
Preparing yourself to visit Greenland is exciting and may seem like a difficult task but it doesn’t have to be. If you are traveling from North America or Europe, remember that there are no direct flights to Greenland therefore you would have to fly from Iceland or Denmark. While traveling through Greenland you will be fully dependent on boats, small planes, and helicopters as there are actually no road systems linking towns. Don’t fret too much; most towns are suitable for walking.
When to go & What to do
There are many things to do in Greenland in both the summer and winter months. If you’re travelling in winter we suggest you go dogsledding, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, or set out to watch the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis). Moon and star-gazing are also highly recommended. Summer is also an exciting time in Greenland because it offers you the opportunity to witness the Midnight Sun. These months are perfect for hiking, kayaking and whale watching. Also, don’t be afraid to visit during the short transitional months. Although spring is short in Greenland it is a magical period of revelation where the snow melts and vegetation starts to show. Autumn is perfect for those looking to save a bit of money and marks the beginning of the Northern Lights. For the nature lovers, you may consider the beautiful Arctic Circle Trail, a 160 km backcountry trail between Kangerlussuaq and Sisimiut.
What to pack
This depends on what season you will be travelling in, as a general rule of thumb, it is important to remember that, layers are your friends! Sunglasses, SPF, a backpack, and extra woollen socks are also necessary year round. The winter months require a lot of fleece and wind-proof clothing; make sure all areas of your skin are covered. Gore-tex jackets and trousers are ideal, so are wool mittens. Come prepared with heavy-duty pullovers and ear covers.
The summer months require the typical hat, scarf, jacket, and gloves combination. A woollen shirt and fleece jacket are also recommended. Try to be practical. You will be outside most of the time therefore wearing several layers will allow you to adjust according to the weather.
What to see
There is definitely a lot to see in Greenland for it is a country that is unique in every way. Make sure you dive into the local community and visit Inuit villages. This is an opportunity to do once-in-a-lifetime activities while witnessing epic animals like whales or furry ones like the Greenlandic Dog. Don’t miss the glaciers and Icefjords and don’t forget to take the time to visit the National Park, which just so happens to be the biggest in the world (via expedition cruises). The Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) and The Midnight Sun are also phenomena worth seeing.
Some travel insights from our experts about Greenland
- Ilulissat is a magnificent location to see northern lights. Go snowshoeing, snowmobiling or dogsledding to be a bit far from the town and fully appreciate this unique natural phenomena. The northern lights season is from September to April.
- Even if you are an experienced kayaker, the waters in Ilulissat have many dangers that you should be aware of, related to icebergs and very cold temperature. This is why we always recommend to go with someone who has experience in these kind of conditions and with all the safety equipment. Even if you are planning a long expedition or a one-day trip we can find you in an experienced guide through our network of kayak experts.
Do: Dress appropriately and pack seriously, especially in winter. Temperatures in Greenland can drop as low as -20 degrees in the winter. Please pack and dress accordingly.
Do: Keep daylight in mind. The amount of Daylight one receives is especially important for those suffering from depression or a light and/or glare sensitivity. Keep in mind that each season has it’s own daylight which provides a special atmosphere. The amount of light or darkness you receive depends on the latitude of your location. Greenland’s uniqueness is not only due to its size but also its environmental diversity.
Do: Plan ahead. Greenland has lush greenery or snowy white unconventional paths, which are perfect for hiking. Just keep in mind that due to Greenland’s low humidity, mountain crests will appear closer than they actually are, so you should definitely plan accordingly.
Do: Read up on current issues, especially Climate Change/ Global Warming. Climate change and global warming have been center stage to various topics of conversation when discussing Greenland. You will find various articles, forums, and chat groups all dedicated to this topic. In order to avoiding offending anyone or sounding insensitive we recommend you read scholarly articles about climate change and its impact on Greenland. You may also visit valid news website like Time and The Guardian to familiarize yourself with what’s going on and the environmental impact.
Do: Visit Ilulissat. Ilulissat is home to a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a natural phenomenon, the Ilulissat Icefjord! It is the third largest city in Greenland making it small enough to experience in a few days while also being large enough to capture and give you insight into Greenlandic culture in it’s entirety. Imagine traveling through a city in Greenland while having a full view of its surrounding icebergs!
Don’t: Eat whale meat. Yes, we know that whale is a staple within Greenlandic cuisine as it is an important part of Inuit culture and has been for many years one of their only source of supply. Unfortunately whaling has increased due to the tourist demand while some species are becoming threatened. The Narwhal and the Bowhead Whale roaming the area are highly endangered species and it is up to us to consume alternatives.
Don’t: Call Greenlanders, eskimos! "Eskimo" is a common term used in Alaska to identify the Inuit and Yupik people of the area. Despite being accepted in Alaska, this term is considered derogatory in other places of the world due to its assignation by non-Inuit people. “Eskimo” was said to mean "eater of raw meat." The Inuit people of Greenland refer to themselves as "Greenlanders" and or "Kalaallit".
Don’t: Assume Danish is the official language. The Greenlandic language has an agglutinating structure where an entire sentence can be spoken in a single word. The language is divided into four dialects; the one spoken depends on your location. Kalaallisut aka West Greenlandic is the official language and the one children learn in school usually along with Danish and sometimes English.
Don’t: Shy away from the “Eskimo Kiss”. It is important that we make a distinction between what is commonly referred to as the “Eskimo Kiss” and the Eskimo people. This bullet point is not referring to any group as a whole but rather to non-erotic but intimate greeting, rubbing noses, used by people who would often have little but their nose and eyes exposed to the harsh cold.
Don’t: Litter. This one is a no-brainer but please help locals keep their land clean!
Cuisine delights (3 best dishes)
Greenland’s national dish is Suaasat. This arctic soup is made from fish, seal, reindeer, or sea birds. The animal broth is made thick by using starches such as barley, rice, or potatoes.
Why not try something completely out of the ordinary? Wild birds like sea gulls are consumed in Greenland and offer a new and exciting way to connect to taste.
Another food that is wildly consumed in this region is Caribou. Meats can be boiled, dried, frozen, fermented, or like in the Caribou’s case, eaten raw. It is important to note that only the liver is eaten raw, this usually occurs immediately after the hunt.
CHATTING CORNER – SURVIVAL GUIDE
- Hello - Aluu
- How are you? - Ajungi?
- What is your name? - Qanoq ateqarpit?
- My name is ….- (name)-mik ateqarpunga
- Where are you from? - Suminngaaneerpit?
- I don’t understand – Paasinngilara.
- Where is the restroom? – Naak WC –ii?
- Do you speak English? – Tuluttut oqaluttarpi?
- Help! – Ikiu!
- Yes – Aap/Aappi/Suu
- No –Naa/Naamik.
- Thank you – Qujanaq.
- You’re welcome (you too) – Illillu.
- I’m sorry - Utoqqatserpunga
- Good Morning – Kumoorn.
- Good Night – Kunaat.