This article is all about Greenland travel! Here we break down what you will need to know in order to plan your trip along with a few recommendations. We want to make sure your Greenland travel experience is perfect. So, sit down, take notes, and let’s get to traveling!
Greenland Travel Tip #1: Budget Accordingly
Greenland travel can be expensive therefore we recommend that you plan your visit in advance. Keep an eye out for discounts, set price alerts if necessary and measure all your options before booking. The most common method of travel, in this case, may not be the best one for you. You may find that booking a cruise can also be useful when planning to travel to Greenland. Cruise pricing usually includes the cost of charter flights.
Greenland Travel Tip #2: Pick a season
Greenland’s seasons affect both your travel experience once the country is reached as well as your experience in getting there. If you decide a cruise is your preferred method of travel keep in mind that, despite the fact that most cruises only operate during the Summer months, ice conditions can still disrupt the route schedule and lead to missed ports. Because middle seasons are unpredictable in Greenland most travelers chose to visit either during the winter (December-April) or the summer (June-August). Visit Greenland in the season that best suits your interests. Greenland has a long list of activities and things to do. The most celebrated festivals in Greenland are those of Christmas, New Year’s, and The National Day (June 21st). Greeting the Sun Tradition is also a major Greenlandic custom that occurs on the 13th of January.
Greenland Travel Tip #3: Pick an airport / method of travel
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 remember that there are no direct flights to Greenland therefore you would have to fly from Iceland or Denmark, that is if you’re not taking a cruise of course. Greenland travel can be expensive and inconvenient due to the lack of roads and rail lines between communities. While traveling through Greenland you will be fully dependent on boats, small planes, and helicopters. Don’t fret too much, most towns are suitable for walking.
Greenland Travel Tip #4: 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. It’s the biggest island in the world after all!
Greenland Travel Tip #5: Plan your hikes
If you’re among the people who travel to Greenland for the scenery we say: GO FOR IT! Climb! Hike! See! Our only advice is to plan accordingly. Greenland has lush greenery or snowy white unconventional paths which are perfect for hiking. Just keep in mind that due Greenland’s low humidity, mountain crests will appear closer than they actually are.
Greenland Travel Tip #6: Read about Global Warming
It is very easy to get swept up in the beauty and fun of traveling around Greenland and enjoying yourself, which by all means, we recommend you do! But, 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 avoid offending anyone or sounding insensitive we recommend you read scholarly articles about climate change and its affect 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.
Greenland Travel Tip #7: Visit at least one museum
Calling all history nerds and anyone who has a general history in different cultures! Let’s face it; Greenland has a very unique culture compared to the rest of the world. The majorities of the tourist visiting Greenland do not share Inuit customs or, for that matter, have heard the languages being spoken. For these and a plethora of other reasons we advise those who visit Greenland to dedicate an hour or two in honoring a foreign culture while also educating themselves. For example, did you know that about 2,000 years ago Greenland was completely unoccupied by humans? Can you name any other country that has a similar history?
Greenland Travel Tip #8: Look into the northern lights
Officially known as Aurora Borealis, the northern lights are a natural phenomenon that is often seen around midnight and best witnessed during the winter months on a dark clear night. Greenland is one of the best places in the world to observe this magical event. If you find yourself traveling to South Greenland it is possible to witness the northern lights towards the end of August. Why not take full advantage of your trip to Greenland?
Greenland Travel Tip #9: Visit Ilulissat
Ilulissat is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to a natural phenomenon! “Greenland’s Ilulissat Icefjord is the sea mouth of Sermeq Kujalleq, one of the few glaciers through which the Greenland ice cap reaches the sea. Sermeq Kujalleq is one of the fastest (19 m per day) and most active glaciers in the world.”1 It’s only logical that the city name be Greenlandic for “Icebergs”. Ilulissat 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 few of its surrounding icebergs! Do not miss out on everything Ilulissat has to offer!
Greenland Travel Tip #10: Learn a few Greenlandic words
Greenlandic is the official language of Greenland and belongs to the Eskimo branch that is closely related to the Inuit languages in Canada. The Greenlandic language has an agglutinating structure where an entire sentence can be spoken in a single word. Cool right? Greenlandic is divided into four dialects, the one spoken depends on your location. West Greenlandic is the official language and the one children learn in school usually along with danish and sometimes english. Learning a few words will make your Greenland travels easier and make the locals very happy. Important word or phrases to learn include:
Hello – Aluu
Yes – Aap
No – Naamik
Thank you – Qujanaq
You are welcome – illillu
See you / Bye – Takuss
How are you? – Ajungi?
Icebergs – Ilulissat
Maybe – Immaqa
One person – Inuk
Dog – Qimmeq
Congratulations – Pilluarit
We hope our tips were helpful to your planning process. Now, go visit Greenland!
Stay tuned for next week’s article and remember…travel should always be fun!