Greenland is a land of snow and ice: Greenland’s giant ice sheet covers an area of nearly 1.8 million square kilometers. The ice sheet has covered large parts of Greenland for the last two to three million years and at its highest point it is around 3000 metres thick, but the ice is melting at an increasing pace.
Located between the Arctic and the Atlantic Oceans, Greenland is the world’s largest island, but it sparsely populated: Greenland’s population is just over 55 000 and mainly Inuit. Around a quarter of the population lives in Greenland’s capital Nuuk. Greenland is part of Denmark but is an autonomous region with its own parliament.
Things to See and Do in Greenland
Greenland offers cruises through the stunning scenery in the icy waters around the island, trips to the ice sheet and visits to glaciers, opportunities to see the Midnight Sun and the Northern Lights, Viking settlers’ ruins from a thousand years ago and a chance to see traditional Inuit culture and way of life. Several species of whales can be seen on whale-watching tours around Greenland, and Greenland is also home to seals and walruses, polar bears, musk oxen and reindeer. Activities and sports available in Greenland include helicopter rides, dog sledge tours, heliskiing, mountaineering, paragliding, hiking, skiing, fishing and kayaking.
Greenland’s Climate and When to Visit Greenland
Greenland’s arctic climate means maximum temperatures of 10 Celsius (50 Fahrenheit) even in the summer, although in the southern and inner parts of Greenland temperatures can rise over 20 Celsius (68 Fahrenheit) between June and August. Temperatures vary regionally and Greenland’s coastal areas are colder than inland areas.
The season for skiing in Greenland is from February to April and the best time for whale-watching tours is from January to June. The Midnight Sun in Greenland can be seen north of the Polar Circle in the summer, and in some locations in Greenland, such as Ilulissat, the sun does not set at all between late May and late July. The Northern Lights can be seen in Greenland around the year.
Travel to Greenland and Greenland Tours
Air Greenland has flights to Greenland, and cruises to Greenland are an alternative way to travel. Several international tour operators offer holidays to Greenland and can arrange Greenland tours including cruises, whale-watching trips and helicopter rides to the ice cap. The website Greenland Guide provides a selection of travel agencies and tour operators that offer holidays to Greenland as well as a list of local tourist offices in Greeland and information about travel to Greenland.