Greenland is not the most obvious holiday destination, but it’s certainly a remarkable one. An ice sheet covers 80% of its surface, making it the least ideal choice for those who are looking to spend a holiday frolicking in sun-kissed beaches or basking in the bucolic beauty of the countryside.
However, those who wish to venture beyond conventional vacations will be richly rewarded by the fragile beauty and uniqueness of Greenland’s extraordinary landscapes.
It will test your limits
Full disclosure: There are many things you’ll have no control over while at the Arctic. Occasional harsh weather may put a damper on a well-planned itinerary. You may also have to unplug while you’re there. And yet, visiting the world’s largest island will be truly worth it.
For one, the experience of seeing glaciers and icebergs that are centuries in the making is without equal. Also, there aren’t many places where you can experience the midnight sun, an Arctic phenomenon that will allow you to laze underneath the warm sun — even at nighttime.
The sandy beaches of the South Pacific will always beckon, but a trip to Greenland guarantees experiences that will be difficult to replicate.
The Northern Lights are spectacular in Greenland
One of those difficult-to-replicate experiences is seeing the Northern Lights (or Aurora Borealis), a light show powered by Mother Nature. Science can explain why this dazzling phenomenon occurs — and why they may not show up. In Greenland, you don’t have to chase them.
Night comes early in South Greenland, and it is the perfect place to see the Northern Lights — during a dark, clear night and without the biting cold. If you’re headed northward, the Ilulissat Icefjord affords even more picturesque views of this captivating light show. It is best experienced from September to April.
While gazing at the luminous dancing sky, take a moment to soak in the natural landscapes that make up this arctic wonderland.
Get up-close views of an iceberg paradise
Despite being dominated by ice sheets, Greenland is best experienced outdoors.
The town of Ilulissat (which means “icebergs” in Greenlandic) lets you marvel at a naturally sculpted ice gallery. Whether you fancy hiking along the massive land and icescapes of this UNESCO World Heritage Site, or relaxing in a soothing cruise to watch humpback, blue, or fin whales from a friendly distance amidst the sound of icebergs cracking, this experience won’t disappoint.
The world’s most active glacier, Sermeq Kujalleq at Ilulissat Icefjord, located along the coast of Disko Bay, is another awe-inspiring handiwork of nature. It offers a spectacle to those lucky enough to see chunks of icebergs break off into larger glaciers and float out to blue waters. Like the Northern Lights, it’s a spectacle you don’t have to purchase tickets to see.
You can also discover the ice land’s history, culture, and traditions while indoors by visiting the Knud Rasmussen Museum, where you can immerse yourself in old tales of Inuit history and its peoples. If you're an art lover, pay a visit to the Nuuk Museum to admire the private collection of painter Emanuel A. Petersen.
It’s a good excuse to explore Iceland
One of the few ways to go to and depart from Greenland is via the Reykjavik Domestic Airport in Iceland. After spending a few days in Greenland, a few days in Iceland won’t necessarily offer a glaring contrast. But you’d be much warmer.
Take a leisure trip at Thingvellir National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that’s much greener than Greenland’s ice-capped Heritage Site — ironically, Greenland is more of an ice land than Iceland. It combines history and fascinating geography: waterfalls, valleys, breathtaking lava fields, and ravines, making it a must-visit.
Visit Iceland’s most active geyser, Strokkur, an ideal pitstop alongside Thingvellir National Park. It blasts water up to 15–20 meters into the air, all done by nature’s sleight of hand. Then cap your visit with a dip in the inviting waters of the Blue Lagoon, a fitting way to end an icy escapade.
A Greenland tour is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and that’s partly because going there requires a great deal of planning. Taking a trip with travel experts can make it a much seamless experience, and turn it into an even more worthwhile journey. Visit at the right time to make it a trip of a lifetime. Join our community, and ask us for more info about our Greenland & Iceland tour itinerary.