Want to discover an exotic destination? Go to Greenland! Map for those looking for adventures in unusual places must have the place as one of the main destinations, great for escaping from traditional tourist routes.
The largest island in the world “hide” in its frozen lands incredible natural landscapes and are cultural traits of an isolated people in one of the northernmost points of the planet.
Prepare your clothes to withstand the intense cold, but, first, discover the best cities and information that every tourist needs to know before this trip.
Greenland, map: what to see on the biggest island in the world
Although about 80% of its territory is covered by ice, Greenland has attractions and curious places for those who decide to discover what is in the country.
In the capital Nuuk, for example, tourists can visit museums that tell the story and present the Inuit (or Inuit) culture, people who inhabited the region centuries ago.
Farther north, visitors can challenge themselves traversing the Arctic Circle Trail and spend days hiking through the ice. Greenland is also the perfect place for the Northern Lights hunters, the phenomenon that colors the skies at night.
Here you will discover everything about Greenland that a tourist needs to know to plan their trip: where it is, what the weather is like and the best activities on the world’s largest island.
Where is Greenland?
“Greenland is on which continent” is a question some people may have, mainly because the country is not as popular as other destinations.
If this is your case, here you will put an end to this questioning.
The territory of Greenland is located in North America, east of the islands of Canada. The country lies between the Atlantic Ocean and the Arctic Ocean.
As we’ve already talked about, it’s the biggest island in the world. But what is the total area of Greenland? There are more than 2 million square meters, 2,166,086 km² to be more precise. Of this total, more than ¾ of the island is covered by ice.
Greenland belongs to which country?
Although geographically Greenland belongs to North America, politically what counts are European norms.
In case you didn’t know, the country has been considered an autonomous region of the Kingdom of Denmark since 1979, although the Danes have been present on the island since the 18th century.
How to get to Greenland?
To travel to Greenland, flights must go through two European destinations: Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark, and Reykjavik, Iceland, from where most connections depart.
In the capital Nuuk is the main gateway to the country: Greenland International Airport.
Interestingly, the capital only receives flights from Iceland, even though Greenland has political connections with Denmark. It is also from the International Airport that domestic flights leave for other destinations in the country.
We’re sure you’ve already noticed where Greenland is on the map — that huge piece of land, usually illustrated in white, between Canada and Europe.
Anyway, in case you don’t remember, we prepared a map of the country so you don’t have any doubts. Also take the opportunity to see where the main cities are and decide which ones to include in the itinerary.
What is the climate in Greenland like?
If you’re thinking about getting to know Greenland, you can now prepare snow clothes because the climate in the country is very cold.
For us Brazilians, the trip can bring the feeling that there is only one season in the country: winter!
The predominant climate is polar, where summers are milder and winters can be quite harsh. But the “softer” temperatures in summer are still down there: thermometers usually range between 6° and 10° degrees.
But if you’re willing to experience the routine of a cold place, winter is the right time. During the period, days are short, snow is constant and temperatures are negative.
What are the cities of Greenland?
Greenland’s territorial extension is not reflected in the number of cities in the country.
There are only 23 towns and small towns spread across its territory, as much of the Greenlandic area is covered with ice.
They are divided into five municipalities, as the country’s regions are called: Kujalleq, Qeqqata, Sermersooq, Avannaata and Qeqertalik, the last two arising from the division of Qaasuitsup, in 2018.
We list some of the most interesting cities and that bring together the best attractions for those who choose Greenland as a destination on their next vacation. Check out!
The largest city in the country, Nuuk is home to the International Airport, so the chances of getting there are great. How about taking a few days to discover the capital of Greenland?
Founded in 1728 by the Danish missionary Hans Egede, the city is the cultural, political and economic center of the country.
Nuuk brings the perfect contrast between modernity and the traditions of your nation. You can visit different museums that tell about the local history and culture, and, when leaving, browse the shops or stop at cafes and restaurants.
Want to know what to see in Nuuk? Take time to go to Annaassisitta Oqaluffia, Nuuk Cathedral, visit the National Public Library of Greenland and try a boat trip through Nuuk Fjord, the second largest fjord in the world.
This friendly name is from a small town that should be on your Greenland tour at some point.
Getting there is already a legal challenge: the city, which has less than 500 inhabitants, is isolated on the east coast of the country. Even small, she lives off tourism, in addition to hunting.
The colorful little houses that contrast with the snow, on the edge of the largest fjord in the world, will catch the attention of anyone arriving in Ittoqqortoormiit.
Third largest city in relation to the population of Greenland (4,500 inhabitants), Ilulissat carries in its name its fame: the icebergs, which means Ilulissat.
They are even considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site, such as the Ilulissat Icefjord, which stretches westwards to Disko Bay.
Enjoy your stay to, in addition to seeing and listening to the noise of the immense blocks of ice, try the local cuisine and go on a whale watching tour.
The largest city in southern Greenland, with 3,200 inhabitants, Qaqortoq offers its visitors different attractions. It has art, culture, commerce, nature, choose what you want.
Taking a boat to the island of Uunartoq is one of the great pleasures of the city. There are the thermal pools, with hot water that can reach 38º degrees, which are visited by tourists throughout the year.
Qaqortoq is also the starting point to discover the ruins of the Hvalsey church and the fjords around that destination.
Tourism in Greenland: what to do?
In addition to the most interesting cities, you certainly want to know what activities you can’t miss on your Greenland tour, right?
So take a look at this list of tours that we have separated for those who want to enjoy tourism in this destination.
Arctic Circle Trail
If you’re one of those people whose adventurous spirit always speaks louder, it’s going to be hard to resist the trail of the Arctic Circle.
The tour is ideal for Pathfinders, who travel about 160 km in a stretch of Greenland hinterland, between Kangerlussuaq and Sisimiut, on the west coast of the country.
The complete trail takes 9 to 11 days and allows passage through rivers, lakes and mountainous terrain, putting people in intense contact with the country’s nature. Prepare your equipment well, be sure to hire a guide and throw yourself into the adventure.
Dog sled and snowmobile tours in Ittoqqortoormiit
There’s nothing more classic than experiencing Inuit culture than a dog sled ride, dog sledding.
This is a very traditional way of getting around in Greenland, especially in more isolated places like Ittoqqortoormiit. The slower pace of the walk, led by a dozen dogs, allows you to better admire the white landscape around you.
If you prefer, another option is to do the same ride on snowmobiles, at a faster pace.
Kayaking in Scoresby Sund
The world’s largest and deepest fjord, Scoresby Sund will become even more giant on a kayak tour through its waters.
This is another attraction for those visiting Ittoqqortoormiit. The kayak tour is seen as a deep connection to the experience of the first immigrants to arrive in the country.
Glide through the waters among the huge icebergs, while seeing from afar the colorful houses that give life to the small town on the east coast of Greenland.
See the aurora borealis
This is one of the main attractions for the country as a tourist destination. Greenland is one of the best places to observe the Northern Lights.
The phenomenon that colors the nights, especially in winter, can be better appreciated due to the isolation in the country. In some cities, such as Kangerlussuaq and Ilulissat, it’s easy to find guided tours to see the show in the early morning hours.
Our tip is: warm up, take a bottle of coffee and get ready to make incredible records of one of the most beautiful scenes provided by nature.
Greenland’s museums are the best way for visitors from around the world to discover more about the country’s history and the culture of its people.
The capital Nuuk allows a true step back in time for those visiting the Greenland National Museum (or National Museum), with records of 4,000 years of history, and the Nuuk Art Museum, where paintings, drawings and handicrafts portray the local culture .
In Ilulissat, the house where the “father of Eskimology”, Knud Rasmussen was born, became the Knud Rasmunssen’s Museum, telling about his expeditions and the history of the region.
The Sisimiut Museum is an open-air museum that features a collection of archaeological expeditions and about the development of commerce, industry and navigation in Sisimiut.
Much of what you will learn about Greenland culture has roots in the Inuites, people who inhabited the region in the past.
Greenlandic, the country’s official language, is a good example. The language is derived from the language that the first inhabitants spoke.
Local handicrafts, which use materials found in the country, such as sheep wool, seal skin and reindeer horns, also reproduce the beliefs, mainly spiritual, of the Inuit culture.
Taking advantage of the tour of the local culture, you can’t miss the country’s culinary dishes.
Fish such as cod, salmon and trout, as well as lamb and sheep meat form the basis of the local cuisine. Nuuk, the capital of Greenland, is also well served by restaurants serving dishes from other countries.
Greenlanders like to celebrate too. Greenland National Day on June 21 is a reason for celebration and entertainment, just as the return of the sun is celebrated after long winter months.
Trivia about Greenland
If you’re going to visit Greenland, maybe choose to see some of the curious places in this place up close.
That’s right, there are attractions that are remarkable on the ice island. Did you know that the biggest national park in the world is in Greenland?
It is the Northeast Greenland National Park, with more than 970 thousand km². The site allows contact with wildlife and large glaciers, but you need a special authorization from the government for this tour.
Since we are talking about larger ones, the glacier that produces the most ice outside Antarctica is also Greenlandic.
Sermeq Kujalleq, or Jakobshavn Glacier, or Ilulissat Glacier, is responsible for 10% of the icebergs that come out of Greenland. Most likely, it was from there that the iceberg responsible for the famous incident with the Titanic broke free.