Greenland is a travel destination quite unlike any other. With its breathtaking landscapes, glacial fjords and wonderfully unique wildlife, there are certainly more than a mere six reasons to pay the country a visit.
Because Greenland is so vast and remote, when you travel around it, it’s easy to put yourself in the footsteps of explorers from many centuries ago and feel as if what you’re seeing and experiencing is utterly new and undiscovered. It’s this magical feeling of being somewhere untraveled and untouched that makes Greenland such a mystical and inspiring destination. If you don’t find a reason to travel there listed below, we’ll buy you the plane ticket ourselves!
Appearing in the Arctic Circle, this natural light phenomenon is created by electrically charged particles from the sun, or, as local folklore would have it, by walrus’s playing around with human skulls! While the colorful lights move magically about in the skies all year round, viewing them in all their glory is best achieved from September to April at around midnight. With the Midnight Sun obscuring the light show during the summer months, if you want to see this awe-inspiring spectacle for yourself, try to plan your visit accordingly.
2. Arctic creatures from a different world!
Take a guided wildlife tour on a sled (of all things!) and witness some of the most beautiful and wonderfully captivating wildlife on Earth. With a wealth of opportunities to explore this Arctic region, you could be lucky enough to spot minke whales, huge sea eagles, wild reindeer, polar bears and arctic wolves. The latter two are definitely best viewed from the safety of a fast-moving sled!
Found only in the northeast of Greenland, and in a bare patch of land where the ice sheet meets the sea ice pack, arctic wolves and their haunting call, epitomize this region. Herds of wild reindeer can be found traveling in packs along the west and east coast – a stark reminder that Rudolph’s ancestors can be found in huge numbers outside of Santa Claus’s workshop!
Travel to the world’s largest national park, Northeast Greenland National Park, and you’re virtually guaranteed to see the country’s largest land mammal, the musk ox. With an average weight of around 400 kilos, these monumental beasts can easily be mistaken for a huge boulder, so keep your eyes peeled!
3. Feeling hot (hot, hot!) in the natural springs
With consistently warm temperatures of 38°C whatever the time of year, Greenland’s most popular hot spring is on the island of Uunartoq. While you may think that these springs are warmed by volcanic activity, they are, in fact, given their heat by geothermal subsoil. The legendary Icelandic Norse explorer, Leif Ericsson, is said to have bathed in these very springs before he set off on an intrepid adventure to search for new lands.
With stunning views of Greenland’s natural and unspoiled landscape, this legendary hot spring is the perfect place for a day trip and picnic.
4. Hike in the footsteps of the Vikings
Glacier walking is certainly a popular tourist pastime in Greenland, and rightfully so. But the country also has a vast network of hiking trails that link towns and villages to each other and bring you right back to the ancient time of the Vikings. With picturesquely rugged and raw countryside all around you, enjoy a less strenuous, more leisurely day-hike or plan a real Viking adventure and hike for days!
If it’s truly dramatic scenery you’re looking for, make your way to East Greenland, where you’ll find incredible hiking trails up the mountains or through the Valley of Flowers, which is close to the town of Tasiilaq. Unique to the region, you’ll spot many arctic flowers that bloom along the river and into the valley.
For a truly enjoyable hiking trip that ensures you see everything you’re supposed to see (instead of everything you’re not!) and gets you back to your hotel safely at the end, it’s recommended that you hire a local hiking guide. As even Greenland’s capital city, Nuuk, is remote, you can easily get lost without someone who knows the area well. Not only will a hiking guide keep you on the right track, but they’ll keep you out of harm's way when it comes to the local wildlife, too!
5. Cruising on a coastal ferry
Every year, thousands of people take cruises to visit Greenland and see the country in all its glory while remaining safe and warm on a luxury liner. But did you know that coastal ferries offer equally amazing opportunities to see the breathtaking coastal scenery? They also enable you to meet the locals, who can be a fantastic and friendly source of information. Book a trip on the Sarfaq Ittuk and enjoy its full route service, which takes four nights to travel northbound and three to travel southbound. It’s also possible to intersperse the trip with town visits along the route. Accommodation is comprised of everything from shared rooms with bunks to private cabins.
6. The land of the Midnight Sun
Greenland is the perfect destination for travelers who love to get the most out of every minute of their day, as the months of the Midnight Sun are prevalent here. Offering unique opportunities to pursue a wide range of outdoor activities during the night, the Midnight Sun is an unforgettable occurrence. While it will depend where you are on the island, you can see this spookily sunny phenomenon from late April to late August every year. Even in some areas south of the Arctic Circle, you’ll still be able to enjoy as many as 20 hours of sunlight during the summer season.
If we thought you had the time to read more, we’d list another six reasons why you should make Greenland your next travel destination. But, quite frankly, we respect the value of your time and are certain we’ve done enough to convince you! So, if you’re planning to visit this astoundingly stark but mystically magnificent island, be sure to plan your trip according to what you want to see and do and pack your travel bags with appropriate clothing.
With so much more to do than gaze wondrously at the Northern Lights on the world’s largest island (although that’s plenty, to be honest!), Greenland offers the adventurous traveler a whole host of things to see and do. While this land may not always be green, it’s always packed with fun, stark beauty and mystical intrigue.