Exploration is part of the human condition. We’ve always longed to know what is over there, in the distance, in parts of the world we’ve yet to see ourselves. There’s a joy in discovering and learning something that has never been known before. There are few places in the world that remain untouched and unaltered, but Greenland is one such place.
This is where the Atlantic Ocean engulfs crumbling icebergs and where vibrant colours can been seen splashed across a snow-capped and seemingly lifeless landscape. But Greenland is on the radar of some adventurous souls who want to explore a land far from tourist landmarks, café WiFi passwords and entry queues.
With a name like Greenland you might think that the country is a lush European paradise full of paddocks and greenery but, in fact, the country is almost entirely covered by ice caps and glaciers. Greenland is also home to the biggest glacier outside of Antarctica, Ilulissat Icefjord, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Read more: Plan your own trip to Greenland
You could say Greenland is a land of legends. This is where the Vikings once ruled, and one of the stories that have emerged is that the island was named Greenland in an attempt to lure people to the almost uninhabitable place. With a population of around 60,000 people, Greenland is now a self-governing territory of Denmark, although there are some attempts for it to become completely independent.
Greenland is not the type of country you visit on a whim. It’s the kind of destination you dream about exploring and decide to, after dreaming and saving, to take the leap and see a part of the world that few ever get the chance to visit. But the picturesque beauty of the place is likely to leave you wanting more. Here are some of the main things to see and do while you’re here.
The Northern Lights can be seen in a few different parts of the world, including Scotland and Norway, but some of the most impressive light shows are said to come from Greenland. The chances of seeing the green spectacle is relatively high, too, so holiday-makers can expect to go home with a whole bunch of memories and photos of the occasion.
One of the most visited attractions in Greenland, if you can call it that, is the UNESCO Heritage Site Disko Bay where glaciers break off into the ocean. Listening to the crack of the ice and watching as it floats away into the distance is a sight to behold. Whether or not you’re lucky enough to see the glaciers move and break-off, the view is truly spectacular.
Once you’ve had enough of all that bitter cold weather, you can receive a bit of respite from the hot springs. They can be found throughout Greenland, but some of the most popular is located in the south in Kujalleq on Uunartoq Island. Here you’ll find a variety of hot spring pools that stay at a very comfortable 34-38 degrees, even during winter.
If there’s one way you’re going to get a close up look at Greenland, it’s got to be by going dog sledding. The sound of the dogs panting and their paws hitting the snow, along with the views of the mountains passing by will have you falling in love with the country and the dogs who love nothing more than running through the snowy scenery.
Imagine staying up until midnight and watching the sun set over a group of icebergs out at sea. You might feel like you’re dreaming, but that is a very real occurrence in Greenland. The sun stays in the sky throughout the day and much of the night, which is only visible in the north of the Arctic Circle.
Greenland may be large but since much of the island is covered in ice, much of it is inaccessible. That means that hiking routes are truly remote. But this place isn’t devoid of life or excitement, the outdoors comes alive and you can expect to see few people during a hike and a variety of wildlife. Some of the animals includes foxes, wolves, reindeer, eagles, walruses, seals and owls.
The kayak is a cultural form of transport that people have been using for thousands of years here. Traditionally the kayak was used while hunting, but now you can take an excursion and spot whales, seals, birds and visit small seaside towns.