With an area of more than 2 million sq km’s, Greenland is considered as the largest island in the world. But just about 20% of this area is ice-free where the 56000 residents of the country reside. To give some perspective, there are only 0.03 people per square kilometer making Greenland the least densely populated country in the world.
I have always been enamoured with Greenland considering it’s large tracts of emptiness and it’s location far away from the rest of the world (it’s about 1300 kms away from the nearest landmass). While I generally write personalized travel posts, Greenland’s beauty encouraged me to research more about the country and plan a travel itinerary.
Tourism is just beginning to grow in the country and therefore I have listed the top 10 things to do or see in this mysterious land.
1) Northern Lights
Like the rest of Scandinavia, parts of Siberia and more, Northern lights (or Aurora Borealis) is one of the prime attractions if you are in the country between November to March. Qaqortoq, Ittoqqortoormiit and Kangerlussuaq are the best places to see this phenomenon. These lights occur due to the sun’s electrically charged particles colliding with the earth’s atoms in the atmosphere. Moreover, it is said that Greenland is the best place in the world to see the Northern Lights.
2) Midnight Sun
If Northern Lights is all about winter, the midnight sun is all about the summer. From the end of April to August, Greenland transforms itself into the land of the midnight sun making you do so much more during the ‘day’.
3) Mountain climbing
Considering it’s rocky landscape, Greenland serves as the perfect spot for mountain climbing with numerous peaks of 3000m in height. Stauning Alps, Watkins Range, Schweizer land, Evighedsfjorden, Cape Farewell among others are some of the best spots you will find for that perfect climb. Once you reach the top, the spectacular scenery that will greet you will surely be a sight to behold.
4) Hot Springs
While there are hot springs spread across Greenland, the ones at Uunartoq take the cake. The temperature is maintained at about 100 degrees Fahrenheit and they are an important attraction throughout the year.
Despite it’s harsh weather, Greenland provides a suitable habit for a variety of animals including polar bears, reindeer, musk oxen, humpback whales, walruses and more. For wildlife lovers, it’s an exciting place to see these animals up, close and personal.
6) Icebergs and more
With 80% of the country covered with ice, how can you miss these icebergs? How about a boat or a kayak ride through the icebergs or icefjords amidst the setting sun? Doesn’t that sound exciting enough? This is where you see nature in it’s true glory. The famous Ilulissat Ice-fjord is a UNESCO World Heritage Site as well.
7) Flight excursions
Since Greenland doesn’t have that many roads outside of the towns, there’s no better way to see the country than taking a helicopter or Cessna ride. From the icecaps to the mammoth icebergs, from the vast tracts of emptiness to the tiny towns sprinkled in between, you can see all this and more during these excursions.
8) Dog Sledding
One of the important means of transportation for Greenlandic people is dog sledding. Over the years, this has also become a leisure activity with tourists opting for dog sledding in good numbers.
Greenland is a hotspot for cruise traffic from across the Atlantic. There are also a variety of cruise ships which cover Iceland and Greenland together. If you get a chance to be on one, then don’t forget to miss the chance of a lifetime.
10) Museums and Souvenirs
There are a variety of museums spread across Greenland including the art museums in Nuuk and Ilulissat, the aviation museums in Narsarsuaq and Kangerlussuaq provide a sneak peak into the life of how the Greenlandic people went about their daily lives, their trials and tribulations.
And finally, just before you leave, how about some Greenlandic souvenirs?
Hopefully one day I will get a chance to visit myself and experience all this and more.
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