Greenland is the world's largest island with - enormous fjord systems and the world's smallest capital.
ABOUT half of Greenland's 55,000 inhabitants live in the large towns along the country's west coast,
including Nuuk the capital. Enormous fjord systems and skerries are typical of the whole region, and there are opportunities for boat trips during most of the year with a good chance of seeing seals and whales.
A safe destination
War and the threat of terror are unknown phenomena in Greenland, and the country is a safe, secure destination. All airports and harbours conform to international Security Regulations. Greenland is located in the Arctic and is therefore subject to extreme climatic conditions. This means that safety requirements within the transport sector are among the most stringent in the world.
The Gulf Stream reaches this part of Greenland, preventing the sea from freezing over in the winter. The airport at Kangerlussuaq has regular scheduled flights to Canada, Iceland and
Denmark throughout the year, and also is also the hub for all internal flights in West Greenland. In the area around the airport there is an extensive network of unpaved roads (extensive for Greenland, that is) along which you can cycle or take a 4-wheel drive vehicle to the edge of the inland ice. If you do this you are sure to see some of the many reindeer and musk oxen which roam through the mountains.
Kangerlussuaq - (Danish: Søndre Strømfjord)
The gateway to Greenland called Kangerlussuaq "the great fjord" with its International Airport, and the place is known for the rich population of musk oxen and reindeer and, not least, the impressive ice cap, located in the "backyard" and is easily accessible to area visitors. You can also stand up on the ice cap in the company of a skilled and tell eager guide. Kangerlussuaq is a former American airbase, but today Greenland's main airport..
The musk oxen around Kangerlussuaq come originally from an East Greenlandic herd introduced into the area during the
Sisimiut - "those who live at the foxholes"
Sisimiut has 5500 inhabitants and is the second largest city in Greenland. Sisimiut is thriving while traditional in the best sense. Here are sled dogs, fine colored houses and an interesting museum area. Located just north of the Arctic Circle, Sisimiut is the northernmost "open water city" and the southernmost hundeslædeby in Greenland. Therefore, you as visitors alike to experience sailing in the deep fjords and sleigh rides, if the snow has fallen.
The main occupation in the coastal towns is fishing for prawns and Greenland halibut, but visitors show more interest in the many fine char rivers. The Greenland arctic char spend winter in the lakes, but head into the fjords in the spring to fatten up, before returning to the rivers in August and September. If your taste is for rather larger fish, you may have the opportunity to hook a record-sized shark in the area around Maniitsoq, which is also an ideal place for kayaking.
Greenland's National Museum is in Nuuk, one of the smallest capitals in the world, and among its exhibits are the well-preserved mummies of a group of women and children who are thought to have died around 1475 when their boat capsized. The museum is in the oldest part of the town, where the buildings date back to 1728, the time when the Norwegian missionary Hans Egede lived here. His former residence now houses the reception building for the Greenland Home Rule Parliament, at which official guests of the country are
Tourists are fascinated by the mixture of old and new that is such a feature of the large towns. Urban bus routes,
Restaurants and Internet cafés have arrived, and you cannot fail to notice the many snowmobiles parked at the roadsides and on the outskirts of town in the winter and spring months.
Sisimiut, immediately north of the Arctic Circle, dog sleds are used in the traditional way, and the sled drivers are ready to take guests on long or short tours.
The region as a whole offers many exciting activities during the spring, all connected with the snow and ice. Every year a Snow Sculpture Festival is held in Nuuk, with the participation of both novice and experienced snow sculptors from Greenland and abroad. The powder snow at Maniitsoq is ready and waiting for the skiers who are carried up to the top of the mountains by helicopter.
For most things in life, it is best to start with an overview, and the Ilulissat Icefjord is no different. This icefjord, one of the northernmost UNESCO World Heritage Sites, is a massive collection of icebergs that have calved from the Sermeq Kujalleq glacier one by one. It is necessary to first get a bird’s eye view so you know exactly how grand of a scale the Ilulissat Icefjord has.
your first sight of the Ilulissat Icefjord will actually be from the window
of an airplane. It’s a nice view, but get an even better look by flightseeing
with a helicopter or fixed-wing plane.
What are Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis?We are near the Arctic Circle, and in summer the sun shines 24 hours a day for later this year to turn black and leave the stage to the colorful northern lights
- Aurora Borealis.
The best time to visit Greenland? Definitely in the summer! In the months of June, July and August, the cold, icy country isn't as cold as it can be, and - best of all - you get to experience the weird phenomenon, midnight sun.
The dates for midnight sun depends on where in Greenland you are. You have to be north of the Polar Circle in order to witness this peculiar wonder of nature, and as you travel north, the midnight sun-period encreases. In the magnificent Disko Bay on the west coast, for example, you can experience the never-setting sun from approx. May 25 to July 25.
Midnight sun actually makes the days feel endless. Birds never stop singing and children are playing football in the streets at midnight. If you travel north in Greenland, you might be able to almost follow the midnight sun and have eternal sunshine (or at least, eternal daylight) on your whole trip. A great way to travel in Greenland is by boat: all towns are situated near the coast, and they are rarely connected by roads. Moreover, you can get really close to icebergs and calving glaciers on a ship, and at the same time marvel at the ample wildlife populating the ocean. This website offers an 8-day cruise
in the Disko Bay along Western Greenland: www.worldofgreenland.com/. The site only has the one cruise to offer, but it looks all right, and is not too expensive.
The weather changes a lot in Greenland. In the summer the highest possible temperature is around 15C (60F), but if you travel by sea, you need to prepare for heavy winds, rather low temperatures and a lot of shifts between warm and cold, between sunshine, clouds and heavy fog. The moral is: bring everything from winter coats to sunglasses and T-shirts.
The Arctic Circle Race - the world's longest cross-country skiing race at over 160 kilometres/100 miles - takes place at Sisimiut each year, with competitors spending the night in tents. In Kangerlussuaq you can spend the night in a hotel made of ice, where the drinks are served in glasses made from ice as well! It is only to be expected that the hotel's opening times are limited.