On flights from Europe back to the US I have had the opportunity to see Greenland numerous times from above. It’s amazing to see this massive landscape, especially on very clear days. The largest island in the world, bigger than France, Great Britain, Germany, Spain, Italy, Austria, Switzerland and Belgium combined.
Imagine what you’ll experience being there in person. Here are my top 9 reasons to visit.
Photo courtesy of Quark Expeditions
Experience Authentic Inuit Culture
88% of Greenland’s 56,000 residents are Greenlandic Inuit. They are descendants of the Thule people (ancestors of all modern Inuit) who settled in Greenland between 1300 AD and 1400 AD. Visit the various communities to discover what life is like, how the Arctic environment and sea have defined the Greenlandic gastronomy and learn about their traditions of hunting, dog sledding and handicrafts that have been passed down for generations.
Visit the World’s Largest National Park
National Park in northeast Greenland is the world’s largest national park. Largely uninhabited, a small group of approximately 40 residents call the area home (staffing weather and monitoring stations). This stunning, unspoiled region is home to a wide range of wildlife and is an important breeding ground for polar bears and walrus. The park also offers some of the most spectacular scenery.
Being remote, the park is best accessed on an expedition cruise.
Photo courtesy of Oceanwide Expeditions - Oliver Richter, Leica Akademie
See the Northern Lights
The best time to see the Northern Lights is from late August to early April. Because of its stable micro-climate, there are more clear nights in East Greenland, perfect for the dramatic displays.
Spot Arctic Wildlife
Despite the harsh environment, a large number of land mammals, whales, marine mammals, fish, birds and insects are found in Greenland.
The polar bear is Greenland’s most iconic animal, and found primarily along the North and Northeast coastline. Other mammals include musk oxen, reindeer, Arctic wolves, Arctic fox, Arctic hare and the rare wolverine.
Sixteen species of whale are found in the region, ranging from narwhal and beluga to blue, fin and humpback whales. Most come to feed in the abundant waters in the summer, though the bowhead, narwhal and beluga stay through the winter. You’ll also find numerous species of dolphins, porpoises and the orca as well.
Six different types of seals and walrus and can be found in coastal areas in the summer.
Bird lovers will enjoy spotting Puffin, birds of prey like the White-tailed eagle and peregrine falcon and 230 other species.
Over 250 species of fish are in Greenland’s waters. The most common are salmon, Arctic char, Arctic cod, Greenland halibut and the oldest vertebrate animal in the world, the Greenland shark.
Polar bear and walrus photos courtesy of Lindblad Expeditions
Visit the Smallest Capital in the World
Nuuk is the smallest capital in the world with only 16,000 inhabitants. It is also the most northern capital, only a few miles further north than Reykjavik, Iceland and Greenland’s oldest town, founded in 1728.
When in town, stop by the Nuuk National Museum and archives where you’ll discover collections, exhibitions and cultural heritage. The museum features 500 year old mummies and artifacts related to Greenland archaeology, history and art.
Photo courtesy of Silversea Expeditions, taken by Denis Elterman
Cruise Prins Christian Sund (Prince Christian Sound)
Prince Christian Sound is a scenic fjord in Southern Greenland, with steep cliffs, views of amazing mountains, glaciers and floating icebergs (tiny to gigantic pieces of ice as big as the ship). It’s accessible only in the summer (by ship) and by helicopter in the winter, weather permitting.
Another amazing waterway is the Tasermiut Fjord.
Taking a Hike
Unplug and recharge as you hike through lush meadows and breathtaking scenic alpine areas, truly a place that feeds your soul beyond imagination.
Paddle the same water the Inuits have paddled for thousands of years. Kayak in the fjords along the rugged coastlines…nature at its best.
Off the Beaten Path
Greenland is remote, and a destination yet to be fully discovered. No crowds to get in the way of an exceptional experience.
Photos courtesy of Quark Expeditions
The best way to discover this beautiful part of the world is by cruise, and better yet on an expedition cruise. When a few days of scenic cruising and a stop in one town is what you want, a cruise is perfect for you. Those more adventurous and wanting to spot Arctic wildlife, take zodiaks to get up close views of icebergs, kayak and hike in areas you never imagined were so beautiful, and see more of the authentic Inuit culture, an expedition cruise is you best option.
Interested in learning more about cruising options? I'm a small ship cruise
specialist and I'd love to help you. Reach out to me HERE or call 602.540.7338.
Laurie Marschall - Owner and Founder