Greenland is a misnomer for this huge island over 80 percent of its land is covered with a white frozen icecap. However, coastal areas have plenty of green. Take advantage of this far northern region’s unusual conditions for a unique vacation in the ruggedly beautiful Arctic area.
Summer brings the midnight sun. Long days enable hiking and camping. In Tasiilaq arrange scuba gear and a guide for cold-water diving. Watch whales or gaze up through blue icebergs floating in the fjords.
Look for polar bears in northern and eastern Greenland, and Arctic foxes, Arctic wolves, caribou and muskox elsewhere. Bring binoculars to spot unusual birds, including auks, fulmars, guillemots, kittiwakes, mergansers, puffins and Arctic skua.
A very memorable part of a visit to Greenland is viewing the northern lights. Come from late summer to spring for the most colorful displays, in the capital, Nuuk, or other near-Arctic areas of Maniitsoq, Sisimiut or Tasiilaq. Because Greenland has minimal light pollution, the stars are particularly lovely against clear, dark skies. Western Kangerlussuaq has excellent viewing.
Popular winter activities include snowmobiling, snowshoeing, and skiing, both cross-country and heli-skiing. Try dogsledding, an activity that now has sporting competitions, but started with the Thule people centuries ago as transportation during their hunting and fishing expeditions.
The Ilulissat Icefjord icebergs are truly amazing learn about how climate change is impacting Greenland’s glaciers. Uunartoq’s hot springs offer year-round warmth.
Many cities have museums with information about Greenland’s history and traditions. In the north, learn about the Inuits who arrived via the Bering Strait about A.D. 700. In Qassiarsuk in the south, see a statue of the Viking Leif Eriksson, who sailed from Iceland to Greenland about 1,000 years ago,
Most villages are not connected by roads, so plan your Greenland vacation with flights or ferries between major locations. Flightseeing in a small plane is an excellent way of getting close enough to observe areas that are otherwise very difficult to reach.