Without a doubt, this was the most difficult and complex trip in all these years of tourism journalism.
To get to Greenland, a Brazilian departing São Paulo must face 4 flights and a final stage by helicopter, a short 15-minute flight over one of the largest fjord systems in the world to Ittoqqortoormiit, the most isolated city in Greenland, on the east coast of the island.
Greenland lies between the North Atlantic and Arctic oceans, northeast of Canada. Geographically, you will be in the North of the American continent; politically, on the rules and laws of Europe.
But to visit Greenland is to take a deep journey into Inuit culture, pejoratively called Eskimo. Traditionally a territory of fishermen and hunters, tourism now represents 60% of the economy of Ittoqqortoormiit, according to Mette Barselajsen, director of the tourism promotion office in the destination.
With unique access by helicopter, in the winter months, Ittoqqortoormiit has less than 500 inhabitants who live in colorful wooden buildings that almost disappear in the white scenery that takes over the destination, for most of the year.
And when those pushy Arctic people aren’t after hunting, the same hunters become tour guides on snowmobiles and even polar bear watching safaris.
Therefore, taking a trip to Greenland is disconnecting from the world (selfies and emotional posts are for after the trip) to dive into one of the most distant destinations on the planet.
One of the most traditional activities in the city is dog sledding.
These rustic strips of wood for human and cargo transport are pulled by groups of up to 12 dogs and go to more distant sectors, such as Gulfjelde or Kap Tobin, an abandoned village that only regains human life in the short summer season.
In Ittoqqortoormiit, the silence is only broken by the excited howls of the dogs, in the early morning, and by the crazy snowmobiles that scrape roads that merge with the white horizon, another tourist attraction in the region (this time, motorbike), bordering the Rosenvinge Bay (Rosenvinge Bugt) to Kap Hope, another local village that is deserted in the winter months.
With ¾ of the island covered in ice, Greenland has Scoresby Sund in Ittoqqortoormiit, the largest fjord system on the planet, where you can go kayaking in the summer months.
It’s really hard to face the cold outside.
In those tundra lands, the average annual temperature is -7.5°C, one of the coldest inhabited places on the planet, where high summer has thermometers reading 3.3°C.
On the morning of return, while the helicopter was waiting for Constable Point, the thermometer read minus 11 degrees, with a thermal sensation of minus 23 degrees.
And you want to know? I would do all again.
How to get
Leaving Brazil, the first leg of the trip starts at a major airport in Europe (Amsterdam, Paris, Frankfurt or London are some options).
From there it is necessary to fly to Reykjavik and follow another flight of about 50 minutes, from the domestic airport in the Icelandic capital, to Akureyri, in northern Iceland (www.airicelandconnect.com), where another flight to Constable takes place Point (www.norlandair.is), a 1h30 flight that leaves only on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
You will already be in Greenland, but as the proposal is to go to the most isolated side of the island, there is still a short helicopter ride to Ittoqqortoormiit, a scenic trip of just 15 minutes over glaciers and fjords (www.airgreenland.com).
When to go
The season runs from March to August, approximately, when the greatest number of tourists arrive, embarking on cruises that make summer itineraries in the Arctic.
But it is in winter that the city offers the most unusual attractions, such as crossings on dog sleds or snowmobiles, and the Northern Lights paralyze visitors with the dance of greenish lights in the sky, between September and April.
With more than 80% of its territory covered by ice, Greenland is the largest island in the world and has one of the lowest population densities on the planet (0.14 people per km²) .
The first inhabitants were the indigenous Inuit of North America, 4,500 years ago, and since then little seems to have changed there, even after the passage of English and Norwegian expeditions.
Since 1979, the island has been an autonomous region of Denmark, but with its own access rules. According to the destination promotion agency, “if you don’t need a view to Denmark [which is the case for Brazilians], you won’t need a visa to enter Greenland.”
Located on the west coast, Nuuk is the island’s capital and largest city, with a population of nearly 17,000. Greenlandic cities do not have land access, so displacements are made in small planes or by sea during the summer.
And the menu of attractions is as varied as the fauna that is exhibited in the region, such as foxes, hares, musk oxen, walruses, whales and, of course, polar bears.