Greenland is truly a magnificent place and it is almost impossible to keep track of all the wonderful things you can experience there. The island offers both a lot of cultural experiences and a very different nature that few outside Greenland, Iceland, Canada and Alaska are accustomed to. The great selection of sights and experiences oblige you to plan which things to see, so you make sure to experience the mustsee sights.
Be Inspired by the Big Arctic Five
The safest way to make sure you see the absolute greatest of Greenland is to go for the Big Arctic Five. The Big Arctic Five is a term which refers to what you should see and experience in Greenland as a tourist, and they include dog sledding, the Northern Lights, the ice, the people and whales. If you don’t experience these, or at least a few of them, you really haven’t experienced Greenland fully, and you’ll have to return Which doesn’t sound so bad.
Don’t Walk – Go Dog Sledding!
One of the things that everybody who has ever dreamed of going to Greenland wants to do, is going dog sledding. Dog sledding is really typical for Greenland, and while doing it, you’ll experience both nature, culture and the feeling of doing something physical. You see the unlimited sky, ice as far as the eye can see, and maybe some icebergs, water and animals and you’ll want nothing else. While sledding you’ll talk to your dog sled driver and try being in his shoes for a while. For the Greenlandic people dog sledding isn’t just a fun way to get around and to amuse the tourists, it is one of their most basic forms of transportation due to all the ice. If you decide to try dog sledding you shouldn’t expect a nice, calm experience, where you just sit quietly on your but for a while. You’ll be exhausted at the end of the day, both from sitting on the bumping sled, but also from running aside or behind it if you try controlling the sled yourself.
Be Enlightened by the Northern Lights
One of the most famous aspects of Greenland is the Northern Lights, also known as Aurora Borealis, showing in the long winter nights, lightening the sky in swirls of magenta, red, green and blue. This really is the most unifying part of Greenland, bringing young and old together in awe of the multicolored light show in the sky. You won’t have to pay any admission, to buy tickets in advance or dress nicely, since the Northern Lights are free to behold, there’s enough light for everybody and all you really need to experience it, is to be dressed in warm clothes.
The lights are sure to make you feel like a common speck in the universe, and gives the area a sense of mystique and wonder. The magic is most likely to happen between September and April, and the longer and darker the nights, the bigger the chance for a colorful night sky. Even the Greenlanders hasn’t gotten used to this wonderful display of nature, and you might see people stand in the street just looking up at the night sky.
Bury Yourself in Experiences with Ice and Snow
Everybody who thinks of Greenland automatically thinks of ice and snow. When you see pictures from Greenland you see a white landscape, maybe decorated with some polar bears, Northern Lights or dog sleds. It is of course pretty hard to avoid seeing ice and snow when you visit Greenland since 85 % of the island is covered by it, but you should still make a small effort to see some of the famous sights like Ilulissat Icefjord or the Ice Sheet. Ice is a fundamental part of every Greenlanders life, it is part of their culture, their environment, their everyday life and ice plays a big role in any type of traveling or transportation. Luckily for the people of Greenland, the ice and snow is beautiful, and together with the Northern Lights and animal life, it adds a magical feeling to the entire island. There is nothing that beats a dog sled ride across the never ending Ice Sheet at night time, with the Northern Lights lightening up the sky!
Partake in Adventures with the Natives
The fourth most awesome part of visiting Greenland is meeting the Inuits living and loving in Greenland. The natives love their island, they’re outdoor people and they live closely with the nature and animals, many of them living directly of the land and sea. You’ll meet the people in their everyday life, you’ll meet them in the streets, towns, shops and everywhere you go, and they’ll show you their land by dog sled, boats and hunting parties. If you’d like to experience Greenland as the natives do, you can join them on their fishing or hunting expeditions, you can join them at kaffemik where everybody is welcome and lots of coffee and cake are consumed, or you can just talk to them on your way around the island. You can even stay at a local family’s house, eating, sleeping and living like they do you can’t get any closer to the people than that!
The Greenlanders are a very friendly people, who are more than happy to show of their favorite places and sights, and will be happy to give you any kinds of advice about your further traveling.
Get Swooped of Your Feet by Whales
A thing that many people forget about Greenland is the many whales in the sea and near the coast. When you think of Greenlandic sea creatures you often think of seals, fish and prawns, which are important parts of Greenland’s exports. We often forget the whales, which of course is very sad and derives us from experiencing something entirely wonderful. If you visit Greenland, make sure to go whale watching at least once and to keep your binoculars near. You’ll experience a completely quiet boat with everybody staring directly into the water, looking for the smallest sign of the ocean’s biggest creature. And if you’re lucky, you’ll get awarded for your patience by a whipping whale tail, a break of the water surface made by a curious baby whale or maybe an entire pack of whales moving alongside the boat.
There definitely is a lot of things to see and discover when visiting Greenland, but these are your absolute mustsees!
Text and images by Visit Greenland