Welcome to Greenland

Greenland, an autonomous nation within the Kingdom of Denmark, can truly be said to be a world apart. The population numbers less than 60,000 in this, the most sparsely populated country and the largest non-continental island on Earth.

Icebergs and glaciers are the most famous features of the environment and its most impressive attractions for tourists. Colossal fantastic shapes of blue and white float on a sea of deepest azure. The inland ice, kilometers thick, appears static, but cracks and creaks as it shifts and expands.

Green mountains with beautiful wildflowers, breathtaking fjords, precipitous cliffs, hot springs, crystal clear skies, and clean air are all waiting to be discovered. Animals flourish in the sea and on land-seals, whales, polar bears, and reindeer to name but a few.

Bearing the climate in mind, transport here is somewhat unusual. There are virtually no roads between towns, so if you want to explore, it will be by boat, airplane, sled, or snowmobile. In fact, you’ll find that some of the best things to do in Greenland are active ones: dog sledding, snowmobiling, hiking, walking on the ice cap, and traveling its waters by boat.

Explore Greenland in Winter

WINTER IN GREENLAND
October – May

Seasons in Greenland are different to the seasons you probably know from back home. We only really have two definitive seasons – a long winter and a short summer.

Greenland’s winter may seem a little daunting according to our 8-month timespan of October to May. But do not fear – this doesn’t mean that we are freezing cold and off-limits for most of the year. On the contrary, every region of Greenland (except the National Park, which requires a permit) is easily accessible all year round.

Why visit Greenland in the winter?
Greenland is a true winter wonderland for most of the year. Snow carpets every city, town and settlement in fluffy white.

This, coupled with our trademark colourful houses poking out of the wintry landscape, completes the unique and iconic scene of Greenlandic winter. In the cities, short days mean warm lights in windows and long, cosy evenings enjoying local cuisine and culture. But Greenlanders love to be outside and don’t let the cold stop them – it is common to see locals zooming around town on their snowmobiles once the snow has set in. Further north, the water freezes in lakes and fjords to allow you to dogsled or ski across totally new terrain.

Of course, winter is cold. But winter temperatures vary greatly between regions, and in places where conditions are very dry and still, like Kangerlussuaq, -40ºC does not feel as bad as it sounds! As long as you dress right, you can enjoy the magic of Greenlandic winter in comfort and style.

TEMPERATURES
Because Greenland is so vast, it is hard to generalise about its weather and temperatures. They vary greatly between – and even within – regions. These temperatures represent the range of average temperatures throughout the winter season in the different regions of Greenland. These temperatures are only advisory and are averages over a period of years. You may encounter considerably colder or warmer temperatures on site.

During the winter, the wind can increase the effect of the cold and make it feel much colder than the thermometer shows. Always check the windchill when deciding how to dress.

Explore Greenland in Summer

SUMMER IN GREENLAND
June – September

Seasons in Greenland are different to the seasons you probably know from back home. We only really have two definitive seasons – a long winter and a short summer.

Greenland’s summer is short and changeable, and starts proper in June. There is a noticeable shift in the weather in April and May, but we do not really refer to it as Spring, as it’s not characterised by blooming flowers and trees leafing out – it’s more melting snow and higher temperatures. We usually say that summer finishes some time in early September, but sometimes the snow arrives earlier or later.

Why visit Greenland in the summer?
Summer in Greenland is a short burst of excitement. As the snow slides away, suddenly the landscape is revealed in a brand new light. The mountains go from white to grey and green, as waterfalls trickle down their sides to meet melting bodies of water. Sea ice breaks up and the fjords are decorated with magnificent floating icebergs. Flowers bloom and more wildlife comes out to play – birds fill the sky and the seas become alive with whales and fish. People move in new ways – we hike, run, cycle, sail, and kayak over the newly exposed terrain. And we have lots of time, as the days get long – they even never end in places!

TEMPERATURES
Because Greenland is so vast, it is hard to generalise about its weather and temperatures. They vary greatly between – and even within – regions. These temperatures represent the range of average temperatures throughout the summer season in the different regions of Greenland. These temperatures are only advisory and are averages over a period of years. You may encounter considerably colder or warmer temperatures on site.

Despite the relatively low average temperatures, the dry air in Greenland means that summer temperatures will often feel warmer than you might expect. Be prepared for T-shirt temperatures on a sunny summer day. However, the only sure thing about Greenland’s weather is that it is always unpredictable. So even in the summer, bring clothes that are suitable for heavy rain and wind.

Wildlife in Greenland

Polar bears, humpback whales, musk oxen, walruses, reindeer and white-tailed eagles are just some of the many animals you can experience on land, at sea and in the air around Greenland.

Despite the dominance of the inland ice Sheet, Greenland’s wildlife has a much larger domain than we humans have access to. The mountain world does not pose the same obstacle to land mammals, birds have their own motorways in the sky across fjords, oceans and mountains, and sea animals are interconnected to a global, boundless ecosystem. Therefore, it is also less crucial that the Inland Ice Sheet takes up 80% of the landmass in Greenland, which is often presented as a unique Greenlandic challenge.

Greenland has the world’s largest national park, and this is one of the reasons for the widespread and abundant wildlife. Greenland National Park is an Arctic paradise and wilderness located in the northeast corner of the country. As the national park is so vast and relatively accessible, it is only frequented by a small handful of visitors, which allows the wildlife in the park to thrive and propagate undisturbed.

In other regions of the country, the Greenlandic population has made a living for thousands of years from the Greenlandic fauna. With a coastline of 44,087 km, the sea in particular is of crucial significance to human survival. The marine fauna is still a key resource to this day, where seafood is exported to other countries and where Greenlandic designs made of sealskin are internationally recognised.

There are still many locals who fish or hunt. Greenlandic ingredients such as seal meat, reindeer, musk ox, lamb, fish, whale and seafood are therefore the cornerstones of Greenlandic gastronomy. In an Arctic climate where access to agriculture has been limited, these ingredients are packed with nutrients and are today being reinterpreted by talented chefs across the country.

Similarly, wildlife has played a vital role in Greenlandic culture, with animals appearing in a variety of ways, for example, in mythology and art. Likewise, the fishing and hunting culture has left its mark on Greenland with, for instance, the kayak and sealskin details on the national costume.

Greenland is strongly linked to its wildlife, which is versatile and widespread across the country. Whether your interest is in whale watching, bird watching or angling, Greenland is packed with opportunities to experience nature up close. Here we have compiled the most well-known animals that you as a tourist have the chance to experience. It is our most extensive index so far where you can learn more about Greenlandic wildlife.

ARE THERE PENGUINS IN GREENLAND?
Despite Greenland’s Arctic climate, there are unfortunately no penguins in Greenland. Most penguin species live on the South Pole, and the only penguin that live in the northern hemisphere is the Galapagos penguin, which lives on the Galapagos Islands, 8500 km from Greenland. Therefore, visitors must suffice with the Atlantic Puffins in addition to all the other black and white wildlife in Greenland.

CRUISE IN GREENLAND

cruise greenland

Cruising in Greenland is as popular as ever, and is the ideal way for travelers to feel like a pioneer, sailing in the wake of history’s great adventurers, while retaining all the familiar comforts of home. The sea and seafaring has always been vital to us, and for you as a guest it makes for an optimal way to tour large parts of the country.

Adventure tours of Greenland