When to go and what to see in Greenland


Greenland is the land of majestic fjords and harsh northern nature, where those who are tired of idleness on tropical beaches come. The island gives guests a meeting with pristine nature, the cleanest air, and a unique experience of unique non-manmade sights.

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Video: Greenland. Rough. Unspoiled. Secluded.

Recreation and entertainment.

Greenland beckons fans of Arctic exoticism, eager to see the northern lights (Orora borealis) and incredible polar mirages (Fata Morgana).

Greenland is ideal for a dynamic vacation. The hiking trails are superbly organized and not difficult for most people.

Panorama of Ilulissat Greenland skiers.

Hiking, dog-sledding tours, kayaking, skiing, snowboarding, rock climbing, wildlife watching, and boat trips are popular with visitors to the island.

Hunting is strictly regulated, it is forbidden to take out the carcasses of animals. To fish, you must purchase a license from the tourist office ($13.1 per day, $35 per week).

Many travelers come here to see whales; the local waters are inhabited by 8 species of them. In summer, whales come close to the coast and spectacularly jump out of the water.

Husky puppies Whales Polar bear Ice golf championship in Uummannaq to celebrate the end of the polar night

Greenland’s distinctive Greenlandic festivals are great fun for visitors to the island. In February Greenland hosts the “End of the Polar Night Festival”, in March tourists rush to the International Snow Sculpture Festival in Nuuk. The grand festival “Festival of the longest day of the year” is June 21.

Some of the most impressive tours are airplane or helicopter tours to Greenland’s inner glacier. From a height of two kilometers, tourists view the grandiose ice mass and the lagoon in which huge white blocks accumulate. If you’re lucky, you can see the birth of a new iceberg.

Lodge in Illokkortoormiut, a town in eastern Greenland Dog sledding

General Information

Greenland is an autonomy of Denmark, bordering Canada and Iceland. The island is located to the northeast of the North American continent and is washed by the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans.

Greenland is the largest island on the planet, its area exceeds 2,000,000 square kilometers, but only 1/5 of the surface is not occupied by ice cover. If the Greenland glacier suddenly melts, the global sea level will rise by 7.4 meters.

Greenland from a bird’s-eye view Old Church in Sissimiut

Greenland is an “iceberg factory,” of which up to 15,000 icebergs form here annually. The ice monoliths are carried by currents across the oceans; some quickly melt in warm waters, and some travel several thousand kilometers. One of the Greenland icebergs caused the sinking of the Titanic in 1912.


On the ice-free coasts, the climate is maritime and subarctic, with frequent strong cyclones bringing heavy precipitation. The average winter temperature is 6°, in summer +3 . +15°. In the area of the glaciers, the climate is continental arctic, with frosts down to -60°. Snow can fall at any time of year.

Flora and fauna

Greenland vegetation is sparse: dwarf willows, mountain ash, birches and junipers are found on the southern shores, while only lichens can be seen on the northern shores.

A member of the Umingmaktormiut tribe, 1924.

Much richer fauna, the expanses of the island are inhabited by polar bears, hares, polar wolves and Arctic foxes, relict musk oxen and caribou deer. Swans, loons, geese, gulls and snowy owls nest in Greenland. Local waters are rich in fish (over 130 species) and mammals (about 30 species).

The best time for excursions is from May to July, a period of relatively warm weather and the longest white nights. For fans of winter holidays the best time to visit the island – April.

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History and Population

The first inhabitants of Greenland were Inuit (Eskimo), and the discoverer of this land among Europeans in the X century was Eirik the Red, who gave Greenland its present name, meaning “green land. At that time the southern coast of the island, where the Icelander landed, was indeed covered with green meadows.

In the 18th century, Denmark granted the island the status of its colony, and since 1979, Greenland received the right to conduct an independent domestic policy.

Now the island is home to about 60,000 people, 90 percent of whom are Inuit, the rest being Danish and natives of other countries. The vast majority of the population is Christian, with some natives worshipping pagan gods.

The city of Uummannak, view from the south. Late 19th and early 20th centuries. The city of Uummannaq as seen from the west. Late 19th – early 20th century Nordstjernen (Polaris) station, later renamed Thule. Late 19th – early 20th century. Nuuk, late 19th – early 20th century Snow clearing in Nuuk, late 19th – early 20th century Cryolite quarry in Ivittuut, late 19th – early 20th century Queen Margrethe II of Denmark

State System

Greenland’s polity is a parliamentary democracy within the monarchy of Denmark.

The Danish krone – the currency of Greenland

The formal head of the island is the Queen of Denmark, represented by the High Commissioner.

The national currency is the Danish krone.


Greenland is located in a zone of four time zones. Most of the island is 6 hours behind Moscow time in summer and 7 hours in winter.

Cities and attractions

Nuuk, the capital of Greenland, founded in the early 18th century, is the oldest city on the island and the smallest capital in the world, with a population of 15,000 people.

In Nuuk, it is worth visiting the National Museum with a collection of exhibits that give an idea of aboriginal life. In the halls of the museum are exhibited kayaks, dog sledges, traditional tools and hunting weapons, products of local craftsmen. The main value of the museum is the Inuit mummies, which are over 500 years old.

Nuuk – the capital and industrial center of Greenland Katuak Cultural Center with the only movie theater in Greenland Sisimiut – the second largest city with 5 thousand residents Santa Claus Mailbox

Popular with tourists Cultural Center Katuak, which has a cafe, movie theater, library, exhibitions.

Notable attraction Nuuk is a huge, taller than a human being, red mailbox, where children drop letters to Santa Claus.

The historical part of Sisimiuta with its ancient buildings built in the 18th century is interesting. Visitors enter the museum area through an arch made of whale jaws.

During a tour of the local shrimp and crab processing plant, tourists observe the production process and taste the freshest seafood.

Ilulissat is the third largest settlement on the island with a population of about 5,000. The residents are proud of their countryman, the famous Arctic explorer Knud Rasmussen. In the historic part of the town there is his house-museum, where you can see how the traveler lived, and get acquainted with the exhibits he collected on his expeditions.

Knud Rasmussen Museum A bench in Ilulissat Church of Zion

In downtown Ilulissat, the Art Museum and the Cold Museum are worth a visit.

Iron igloos The terrace of the Icefiord Hotel A collection of schnapps at the Mamartut restaurant The Kakortok Fountain

Kakortok is especially beautiful in summer when its surroundings are covered in wild flowers. The main attractions of the town are the square fountain, the only one on the island, and the sculpture “Man and Stone”. In the local museum, visitors learn the history of Kakortok. Of interest is the history of the local church, which was built in Denmark almost 200 years ago and was transported in a disassembled form by ship. The ship was wrecked off the coast of the island, but all the timbers survived and the church was built where it was intended.

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The settlement of Ausiaita attracts tourists with traditional embroidery and leather goods.

In the village of Kugatsiak, those who wish can watch seal fishing.

Santa Claus House

In Uummannak is the castle of Santa Claus.

Upernavik, the northernmost city in the world, welcomes visitors with cheerful weather even in the height of summer, the air here warms up to a maximum of +5 °. The local museum has an impressive collection of harpoons and kayaks.

Panorama of Uummannak Upernavik is the most northern city in the world!

In Itillek, located 200m from the Arctic Circle, you will stay with the locals, of whom there are only 130, see how they live and try refreshments tailored for guests. Before entering the aboriginal home, you must take off your shoes and the visit should last no more than 20 minutes.

In Kaggerlussuaq, tourists craving for a thrill can spend the night in an ice hotel.

The islanders’ dwellings, built of wood and painted in a monochrome color, are curious. Despite their apparent simplicity, they are comfortable to live in. Cute, bright and well-maintained cottages really bring the landscape to life.

Skorsbisand Fjord, 250 km long, is the largest and longest in the world. The Arctic views of the fjord with the giant icebergs fascinate.

Uncommonly beautiful Disco Bay with huge blocks of ice floating against the gloomy cliffs.

Disco Bay Ice Canyon in Greenland

The beautiful Ice Canyon is an amazingly beautiful and spectacular combination of bottomless water blue and snow-white gorge walls.

Polar Lights Over Semermouth

On the shore of Melville Bay, visitors go to the island to see and capture in photos the giant ice cliff.

All travelers marvel at Mount Uummannak, which consists of black, white, and red rocks, and changes color depending on the light.

And on the south coast, tourists marvel at the hot thermal springs, where the water heats up to 38 °, and that just next to the icebergs!

Tours to Turquoise Lake, one of the most beautiful colored lakes in the world, surrounded by giant ice slopes, are popular.

The Sermermeermiut Valley is famous for its rare cold-loving plants, of which there are up to 300 species in the area.


The cuisine of the local population is unusual for tourists: few people dare to eat a delicacy made of a mixture of grouse droppings and seal fat. Raw whale or walrus meat is also very specific and can cause an unexpected reaction of the body. The natives, on the other hand, enjoy such delicacies as a dish of narwhal fat, walrus brain and fermented plants extracted from the stomach of deer.

There’s no fear of trying the popular local dish of boiled seal meat served with onions and rice.

Greenlandic snack. People of the north eat only when they are hungry! Cafe Me and Ollies

In cafes and restaurants you will enjoy fish and seafood that are salted, pickled, boiled, and baked in ashes. Of the delicacies we can recommend crabs, shark meat, dried fish and eggs of local birds.

Common drinks are reindeer milk; kaffemik – Greenland coffee with strong alcohol and burnt sugar; specific black tea with milk, salt, fat and spices.

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For tourists on the island is open a sufficient number of catering establishments, offering international cuisine or fast food.

Tipping in Greenland is often included in the bill. A light snack will cost $8-$10, a heavy meal will cost $30-$40.

Dried fish and whale meat Seafood appetizers Blueberry pie

Useful Information

Greenland Banks can be visited weekdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursdays until 6 p.m.

To visit the island you should obtain a visa in advance at the relevant agencies in Iceland and Denmark, located in Moscow, St. Petersburg and other major cities of Russia.

Souvenir from Greenland

Import and export of foreign currency is not limited. You may bring no more than 200 cigarettes, 2 liters of wine and 1 liter of spirits, 50ml of perfume and 250ml of toilet water.

It is not allowed to bring fresh food, weapons and animals. Hunting guns must have a special permit.

You can take out handicraft products made of walrus bones only by providing a permit issued by stores or tourist office. The weight of exported meat or fish must not exceed 11 kg.

Hotels in Greenland are classified from 2 to 5 stars. Hotels in the highest category are located in Nuuk (Hotel Hans Edege), Ilulissat (Hotel Arctic), and in Sisimiut (Hotel Sisimiut). The average cost of a 2-bed room at a 3* hotel – $150.

Almost every town on the island is ready to provide guests with shelter: hotels, B&Bs, where guests are fully immersed in local life, eating with the owners, sheep farms and igloos.

Icefiord Hotel Arctic Hotel Sisimiut

To call Russia from Greenland from a cell phone, dial +299 (Greenland code), then the code of the desired city and the subscriber number. You can use TELE Greenkand A/S roaming service or pay-as-you-go phone cards sold at the post office.

The emergency telephone number is 911 and the fire department number is 113.

WI-Fi is available in hotels and at the post office. Throughout the island you will find Internet cafes.

Electricity is standard, with 220 volts. In the remote provinces, electricity is produced by generators and is supplied on a schedule.

For quality photography stock up on UV filters and lenses with clarified optics. In winter time video and photo equipment should be heated and treated with appropriate lubricant.

Aurora Borealis in Greenland


There is no crime or natural disasters on the island. The usual vigilance must be observed to keep personal belongings safe. The most important thing in ensuring your own health is the selection of clothing and footwear appropriate to the local climate. All things must be warm and reliably protected from wind and rain. If you want to go hiking on your own and not as part of the tour, you will need to hire a local guide and record their anticipated movements in the rescue service or in the tourist office. Be sure to take a map of the area, a radio, drinking water and waterproof gear.

Iceberg at sunset Seagull in the foggy skies of Greenland

Be sure to clean up all trash after a picnic or fishing trip.

Don’t take pictures of locals without their consent, and you must get permission to take pictures in a church.

In summer, the sun’s rays reflecting off the snow and ice generate strong radiation, so be sure to stock up on sunscreen and sunglasses.

Greenland is full of mosquitoes, so get the right products beforehand.

Some wild animals are carriers of rabies, so do not approach them, if bitten, seek medical attention immediately.

Avoid badly cooked food, drink bottled water only.

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Greenland’s most popular souvenirs are hand-crafted items made of animal bones and teeth, stones and wood. Visitors to the island are happy to buy intimidating figurines of the spirit Topilak. Women like bracelets, beads and rings made of local gems. When buying jewelry, you must be given a certificate Cites, which allows exporting products abroad. Many tourists buy national costumes, masks and paintings as a memento.

Store in Greenland Party in Nanortalik

Do not purchase whalebone crafts – they are not allowed to be exported.

Shipping goods to the island is not cheap, so the cost is quite high.

Stores are open on weekdays from 10 am to 5:30 pm, Saturday until 1 pm. Souvenir shops are closed later and work on Sundays.


The roads on the island are only in the populated areas and between Ivvittut and Kangilinnguit, their total length is 150 kilometers.

Locals and tourists travel by dog sled, snowmobile, watercraft, helicopter and light twin-engine airplane.

How to get there

Air Greenland flies several times a week from Copenhagen, Denmark to the Greenlandic cities of Kangerlussuaq and Narsarsarsuaq.

Air Iceland flies from Reykjavik in Iceland to the Greenlandic cities.



Greenland is probably one of the most unusual places on Earth. Rest there is strikingly different from traveling to “traditional” tourist countries such as Italy, Montenegro, Turkey or Egypt. Let’s find out what attracts tourists to Greenland, this icy land.

Where is the island of Greenland?

So, Greenland is not a state, as many people think, but only one of the regions of Denmark. It is notable for the fact that it is the largest island on our planet, with an area of more than 2 million square kilometers. Greenland is located in the north-east of the continent, washed by two oceans – the Atlantic Ocean and the Arctic Ocean.

Peculiarities of Greenland’s climate

The weather in Greenland is not very warm. Even in summer it is very cold by our standards: from +3°C in the northwest of the island to +10°C in the south. Not to mention the winter months, when the temperature may reach -47 ° C! At the same time in Greenland there are often strong piercing winds, thick fog and snow, which can fall even in summer!

In practice, all of the above means that any tourist should pay special attention to their clothing and equipment. Shoes must be warm and sturdy, outerwear – must have good wind protection. In the summer months take into account the strong sunlight and do not neglect the sunglasses, skin products and hats.

Greenland climate features

Greenland Cities

Greenland’s capital and largest city is Nuuk (Nuuk), located at the mouth of the Good Hope Fjord. Nuuk is populated by about 15 thousand people. By the way, the city itself is often called Gotkhob (which, in fact, means “good hope”), which was its name until 1979. Other relatively large cities are Kakortok, Manitsok, Sisimiut, and Tasiilak. All of them are concentrated on the southwest coast of the island, where the warm current passes: thanks to him the sea does not freeze in winter. In addition to the 18 cities in Greenland, on the largest island on Earth, there are about 60 settlements, the population of which varies from 1 to 600 Greenlanders. The total population of Greenland as of 2010 is 57,600 people.

Cities of Greenland

Attractions and entertainment in Greenland

Being in Greenland, it is simply impossible not to admire its nature – you will not find this anywhere else in the world! Therefore, the natural attractions of the island are the most popular for visitors. It’s worth visiting one of the viewpoints (e.g. Ilulissat Fjord or Vale Watching Spot in Nuuk) to see whales frolicking in the distance and the stunning coastline. Equally popular in Nuuk are the old neighborhoods, the local church buildings of Hans Eged Church and Savour Church, the Arctic Garden and Kayak Club, the Art Museum and Santa Claus House, and the National Greenland Museum.

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You can go skiing in the Ororuaq skiing area (near the capital’s international airport) – there’s a whole network of ski trails, as well as special trails for hiking excursions. You can also observe the harsh nature of the island during a trip to the fjords, renting a boat or going fishing, one of the favorite activities of the local population.

Don’t forget to appreciate the famous northern lights, the island’s ice sheet, the unique turquoise lake, the majestic mountains and other Greenland attractions.

Northern Lights over Greenland

Greenland Hotels and Restaurants

Traditional hotels are available in almost every settlement on the island except for small towns such as Upernavik, Kangatsiak and Itokortormit. Most hotels in Greenland have 3 – 4 stars, but this does not prevent them from being comfortable and modern. The largest and most popular hotels are Narsarsuaq, Qaqortog, Narsaq, Diskobay, Sisimiut, Kap Farvel, Hans Egede, Kangerlussuaq, Kulusuk and Arctic. Please note that room rates already include breakfast. In addition, it is possible to stay in a family guesthouse or on a sheep farm, which offers three meals a day at the same table as the family members you are staying with.

As for restaurants and bars, Greenland has enough to meet the needs of tourists. In addition to traditional Danish and international cuisine, they serve quite unusual, but very favorite dishes of the local population: “mattak” (delicacy of whale skin with a layer of fat), dried halibut, shark and seal meat, seabird eggs and other seafood. Black tea and a special Greenlandic coffee, “kaffemik”, are popular drinks. It is brewed with several kinds of alcohol and is spectacularly lit when served to the customer.

One of the popular hotels

Journey to Greenland – peculiarities

Note a few things that travelers need to know when visiting this island.

  1. It is best to go to Greenland from May to August, when there are polar white nights – in fact, it is a daylight day that lasts 24 hours a day. Equally stunning is the spectacle of the northern lights in the winter and fall months. And if you prefer the natural beauty to active winter holidays, Greenland awaits you in April.
  2. The best places for skiing are found around Nuuk, Sisimiut and the town of Manitsk, where you can ski even in the summer.
  3. There are no roads or railroads between towns in Greenland. The main modes of transport here are planes and helicopters: the national airline organizes many regular flights around the island. You can also travel around Greenland by ship, and between nearby cities by dog sled.
  4. Keep in mind also the fact that the entire territory of this huge island is divided into 4 time zones. Also helpful to travelers is the knowledge of Danish, which is used here along with Greenlandic.

How to get to Greenland?

The easiest and fastest way to get to Greenland is from the capital of Denmark. Copenhagen has direct flights to Kangerlussuaq and Narsarsarsuaq, where the national carrier Air Greenland flies weekly. The island can also be reached from Iceland. The local airline Air Iceland flies to the cities of Kulusuk, Nerlerit Inaat, Narsarsarsuaq, Ilulissat and Nuuk.

Citizens of CIS countries to visit Greenland, as well as Denmark, will have to get a Schengen visa at the Danish embassy or visa center.

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