Greenland travel guide (Dreamstime)

Greenland


Greenland

Your full Wanderlust guide to travel in Greenland

 

Whether you want to crane your neck at the cruise ship-dwarfing icebergs of the north, or hike the green-cloaked mountains of the south, Greenland is full of contrasts.

If you’re looking for peace and quiet, head to the remote, raw wilderness of the Arctic Circle or the isolated and culturally-rich east.

Whatever direction you head in, Greenland is bound to offer you an adventure of a lifetime. Start planning your trip with our guide now…

Where in Greenland should you visit? 

Whether you want to float past giant bergs in a kayak, spot polar bears jumping through the ice, or get your feet on solid ground, Greenland offers adventures to suit every type of traveller. It all depends on which part you visit…

North Greenland 

Calling all iceberg junkies, sun addicts and dog lovers. The north of Greenland is for you. Drive your own dog-sled as you can taste the crisp air and appreciate the stunning scenery rushing past. Don’t miss the UNESCO-listed Illulissat icefjord, where icebergs shimmer on the water’s surface like a thousand shards of glass under a sun that never sets.

South Greenland 

One glimpse of the south and you’ll see how Greenland got its name. Hike from farm to farm across the mountains, looking down at the sea ice flowing past. Feel a warm welcome from the villages you visit and listen to the locals’ cultural stories. Warm up in a natural hot spring and appreciate the power and beauty of nature all around you.

The Arctic Circle 

The urban city of Sisimiut, with its orange glow radiating warmth from its brightly coloured houses is a real comfort inside the vast, remote and rough Arctic Circle. Sisimiut is the perfect base for adventure, from where you can hike the never-ending white-powdered landscape, spot polar bears, Arctic foxes and whales, and kayak among the glittering icebergs. If you want a real polar adventure, this one’s for you. 

Learn more about Arctic Greenland

East Greenland

The east is for those who like to get outside all year round. This mountain-dominated part of the country offers ample opportunities to strap on some skis, paddle a kayak, climb the steepest of slopes and walk across the Ice Cap. Don’t forget to pause to appreciate the unique culture of the Innuit communities in the east. And keep your eyes peeled and fingers crossed for the northern lights.

Learn more about the east of Greenland

How to get to explore Greenland

By expedition ship 

Undoubtedly the most exciting way to explore wild, vast and remote Greenland is by expedition ship. Cruising through the deep blue in between towering mountains and floating bergs will make you feel like a true adventurer.

But it’s not all about being on board. Most ships these days offer ample opportunities to get off the boat and into kayaks, zodiacs and hiking boots, ensuring you get a closer look at the exciting world around you…

By air

A view of east Greenland from the plane (Dreamstime)

A view of east Greenland from the plane (Dreamstime)

For a quicker way to Greenland, opt for a flight. Both Air Greenland and Air Iceland Connect offer flights to Greenland all year round, although it's worth noting that flights are far less frequent in the winter months. 

Getting around Greenland

Husky-sledding in Greenland (Dreamstime)

Husky-sledding in Greenland (Dreamstime)

Rugged and remote Greenland has hardly any roads so most people take to the air or seas to get around instead. Options include helicopters, planes, ferries and ships. Make sure you embrace dog-sledding while visiting the country, too.

When is the best time of year to go to Greenland? 

The climate in Greenland is sub-Arctic: summer is surprisingly comfortable, averaging 17°C, but temperatures plunge as low as -40°C in January.

Peak tourist season is mid-May to mid-September. However, when you should go depends entirely on what activities you’re interested in. Whenever that may be, make sure you’re prepared for changeable conditions. 

Summer in Greenland

Summer in Greenland (Dreamstime)

Summer in Greenland (Dreamstime)

The short Greenlandic summer starts in June and finishes around early September time. If you’re not a fan of snow and would prefer more greenery, wildlflowers and waterfalls then summer is for you.

You also have a higher chance of seeing more diverse birdlife as well as whales. And if you’re energetic you can enjoy scenic hiking, cycling and kayaking all under the midnight sun that never sets.

Learn more about hiking in Greenland

Winter in Greenland

Winter in Greenland (Dreamstime)

Winter in Greenland (Dreamstime)

Winter in Greenland runs from October to May and is perfect for anyone who gets excited over all that white stuff – you’re guaranteed a white winter in Greenland.

Expect snow adventures such as skiing, snowmobiling and dog-sledding. For a chance to see the northern lights, visit between September and April. Make sure you jump aboard a ship for a tour of the immense icebergs, too.

Learn more about the northern lights in Greenland

Wildlife experiences in Greenland

It's not just the snow that makes Greenland so majestic - the wildlife is spectacular, too.

Whether you're listening for the snow to crunch under the weight of a polar bear's paw or feeling the splash on your face from a nearby whale diving under the icy waters, Greenland will offer you the chance to spot rare creatures...

1. Polar bear 

You'll most likely see Greenland's rarest and most exciting animal on the sea ice, feasting on seals. 

2. Humpback whale

Increase your chance of a whale sighting by visiting the southeast coast in summer.  

Sail through east Greenland and in the Davis Strait and baffin Bay to see walrus. Learn more

4. Reindeer

Head inland during summer to see hundreds of Greenland's grazing reindeer, also called caribou. 

5. White-tailed eagle

Find Greenland's largest bird on the southern part of the west coast of the country. 

6. Musk Ox

To see tens of thousands of these hefty and furry creatures, visit the wild herds in Kangerlussuaq. Learn more

Is it safe to travel in Greenland?

Take precautions when hiking in Greenland (Dreamstime)

Take precautions when hiking in Greenland (Dreamstime)

The most dangerous thing about Greenland is the weather – not just because of its Arctic temperatures but also because of its unpredictability.

When hiking, it’s essential to tell people where you are going and when you expect to be back. Conditions can change quickly so take it seriously, pack survival rations and be prepared for the cold.

A polar bear in Greenland (Dreamstime)

A polar bear in Greenland (Dreamstime)

Essential information for Greenland

Capital of Greenland: 
Nuuk

Population of Greenland: 
56,600

Languages in Greenland: 
Inuit (Greenlandic), Danish

Time in Greenland: 
GMT – 3 (March – October GMT – 2)

International dialling code in Greenland: 
+299

Voltage in Greenland: 
220 AC 50 Hz

Visas for Greenland:
If you are a UK, USA, Australian or European national, then you do not need a visa for Greenland. 

Money in Greenland:
Danish Krone (Dkr) ATMs accept foreign cards. Travellers cheques are not widely accepted.

Greenland travel advice: 
Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Greenland tourism board: 
Greenland

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