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Greenland | 11 Reasons Why You Should Visit The Largest Island In The World

Greenland, the largest island in the world, has always been an Arctic wilderness. It is home to Earth’s largest fjord system and has impressive glaciers, making it one of the most prized polar treasures.

Greenland glacier
One of the countless Glaciers on the island, here from outside Kangerlussuaq

With its promise of exceptional wildlife, colorful tundra, and landscapes that seemed to have leaped out of a dream, it’s no wonder so many people want to embrace the Greenland magic.

If you’re debating about going to Greenland, these 11 reasons why you should visit Greenland will put you on the next available flight bound to the Arctic.

Ilulissat Icefjord Greenland
Floating icebergs from above

Top 11 Reasons Why You Should Visit Greenland

1. The Ilulissat Icefjord

One of Greenland’s biggest natural must-see is the iconic Ilulissat Icefjord, a declared UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Nothing can top the experience of seeing the Ilulissat and the Eqi glacier, one of the most active glaciers on Earth. It presents a chilling and captivating gallery of our planet’s history.

icefjord greenland
An iceberg floating around the Icefjord

Besides being visually stunning, these glaciers help scientists better understand climate change, ice-cap glaciology, and other related geomorphic processes. 

Ilulissat Icefjord Greenland
Ilulissat Icefjord from above
Ilulissat Icefjord Greenland
A huge iceberg floating around Ilulissat Icefjord

You can have a closer encounter with these glaciers through land, boat, and helicopter.

You also have the option to sail to these gigantic icebergs or, if you’re feeling more adventurous, hike along the trails at the edge of the Icefjord. 

eqi glacier greenland
Eqi Glacier

The icy waters around Ilulissat and Disko Bay is considered one of the best places in the world for whale sightseeing, while there are many places in the world where you can see one type of whales, like in Moorea French Polynesia and Moheli Island in East Africa is common to see humpback whales.

But the waters around Illusat is home to Humpback whales, Minke whales, Fin whales, Bowhead whale, Long-finned pilot whale, Killer Whales (Orcas) and the rare Narwhal. Nowhere else in the world can you see 7 different types of whales.

iceberg greenland
A huge iceberg with a hole.

2. Explore the Greenland National Park

With a total area of 870 miles, the Greenland National Park has earned the title of the largest national park in the world. And the biggest attraction in this massive space is its lavish flora and fauna.

Greenland landscape
Not only snow and ice on the largest island in the world.

Located in Northeast Greenland at Ittoqqortoormiit, the park is relatively inaccessible and requires you to sign up for a cruise expedition to visit the park.

lake greenland
A lake in the middle of nowhere along the Arctic Circle Trail hike

But the trip is all worth it! In the park, you can have your soul’s fill of crystal clear water towering between mountains and, like a fairy tale, watch giant walruses and polar bears roaming freely.

This Arctic paradise is an unforgettable and incomparable sight.

Greenland beach
White sand beach in the middle of the wilderness

3. Kayak Around Greenland

Kayaking is arguably one of the best ways to explore and experience Greenland. After all, the kayak was born here in Greenland.

After all, you can’t experience being so close to the giant fjords if you are inside a car.

Glide over the pristine waters along the coastline, the same waters that the Inuits were paddling and exploring thousands of years ago.

greenland villages
Small remote colorful village along the coast

From the surface of the sea, let the natural sounds of Greenland tell you their stories — from the slow crunching of the ice and the call of the seabirds to the howling of the wind. 

4. Go Mush in Greenland

A dog sled excursion to experience Greenland’s wildlife is something you may only do once in your lifetime.

An authentic tradition passed down the Inuit ancestry; dog sledding is worth experiencing.

And before you ask, yes, dog sledding or mushing is humane, and the dogs are happy and healthy!

Did you know Greenland Huskies descend from polar wolves? Go mushing with the sled dogs, especially from January to April, and you will be amazed at the wildlife of this Arctic terrain.

Only in Greenland can you possibly spot the exceptional Arctic wolf, ptarmigans, eagles, and lemmings. When in luck, you might even have a glimpse of an Umimmak, the Greenlandic musk ox.

Besides, dog sledding will also allow you to get to some of the more remote places that any other transport won’t. 

5. Witness the Aurora Borealis in Greenland

It is impossible to make a list of why you should visit the world´s largest island and not talk about the Northern Lights. 

Accurately labeled as the “biggest light show on earth,” these enchanting lights adorn the Arctic sky with green, red, and purple colors.

Get your dose of this dramatic display anytime between October and April, when there are 300 nights of clear sky.

The best place in all of Greenland to witness this light show is in Kangerlussuaq and Scoresby Sund.

6. Experience the True Inuit Culture

The people and local communities in Greenland are your best resources when you want to immerse in their culture and history. You’ll get a better idea of what it’s like to live in the Far North of the planet.

One of the must-visit areas is Thule, one of the northernmost areas of the world, where you can experience the Inuit culture firsthand.

The Thules first arrived in Greenland in the 9th century AD, and this community is now referred to as Qaanaaq.

If you want authentic information based on experience about dog sledding, hunting, and kayaking, these people are your go-to.

7. Hot Spring Zen in Greenland

Greenland is the perfect example that there would always be a yang to the yin. The hot springs of this country are exactly what you need to thaw those muscles and limbs after being exposed to the country’s bitter cold.

Greenland is home to hundreds of hot springs. They’re perfect for just zoning out and relaxing after a hard day of exploration.

Soak your sore muscles at the Uunartoq Hot Springs in East Greenland or Disko Island’s Hot Springs.

These natural hot springs can give you a comfortable and relaxing water temperature of 98.6°F to a scalding 140°F.

8. A Taste of Greenland Cuisine

Food, whether good or bad, will always be something you remember about a trip. And in Greenland, the food can certainly challenge you. It´s one of the least vegetarian and vegan-friendly countries in the world.

Greenland food,
Seal meat, reindeer meat, and love it or hate it Whale meet (the one in front), all typical local food.

Heads up, most tourists are shocked with Greenland cuisine because it is not heat-treated, and most are fresh mammal meat from its open seas.

And no, it is not going to be fresh fish from the sea but more of seals and walruses as your fresh meat. And like it or not, whale meat is also common to eat here.

This might be a little too overwhelming, but for fresh meat aficionados and buffs, this is a taste-worthy experience.

Greenland local beer
Local beer

9. Have Your Fill of Mummies and Vikings

Greenland is undoubtedly a land of surprises because who would have thought the Vikings would be associated with this land?

But yes, you can walk through every remaining part of Erik the Red’s thousand-year-old Norse colonies located in South Greenland.

This Viking explorer made his voyage from Iceland, ended up in a land covered in ice, settled himself in that land of ice, and called it Greenland. Today, the oldest and well-preserved vestiges are the Hvalsey Church.

greenland museum
Museum in Sisimiut, the second largest town on the island

The below-freezing temperature of the country naturally preserved mummies in Greenland.

The National Museum of Greenland is worth a visit because it has collections from 400-500 years ago. In addition, you can have your historical fill of the Inuit Archeological Collections and the Norse Collection.

What you can’t miss are the four mummified people who are buried in their full outfits. These people walked the Earth in 1475 and, until now, have not left their beloved Greenland.

10. Greenland’s Midnight Sun

During the Arctic summer, Greenland has 24 hours of daylight.

This makes it possible for you to get the most of your trip and explore as much as you can because you have more than enough daylight to bask in and enjoy the beautiful landscapes and wildlife of Greenland.

Greenland nature
The island is more than just ice and snow. And it never gets dark during the summer months here.

It’s more time to meet the locals, to sample Greenland food, and to truly experience this vast landscape. 

But it can be very hard to tell the time of the day since it´s never getting dark; if you are out in the wilderness, it might be 3 am, but you think it´s the middle of the day.

Arctic circle trail greenland
Me having a nap with my mosquito hat over my eyes on the arctic circle trail, its the middle of the night but with the midnight sun, it´s hard to tell and also hard to sleep.

11.Hike The Arctic Circle Trail

On the west coast of Greenland, is home to one of the best hikes in the world, the Arctic Circle Trail hike.

The 164km/102mile long Arctic Circle Trail hike starts from the tiny settlement and is home to Greenland’s only international airport in Kangerlussuaq to Greenland´s second-biggest city Sisimut on the west coast of the island.

Greenland Arctic circle traill
A red cabin, also known as the lakehouse, wich is free to stay in along the Arctic Circle Trail; the trail goes along the eastern side of the lake. This is normally where you sleep on day 6 on the Arctic Circle Trail. It´s free to sleep in the cabin, but clean up after yourself.

The hike takes you through the complete wilderness, so you have to be completely self-sufficient and carry all your food and camping gear along with you, and the chance of getting a fast rescue here is nonexistent if you would be unlucky to have an accident along the trail.

There are no shops, no guesthouses, or hotels on the Arctic Circle trail, but you do have some free cabins you can stay in.

Actually, there´s one cabin to stay in about every 15km, so you can do the whole trek by just sleeping in cabins for free. But most people bring a tent.

The Arctic Circle Trail is perfect if you want to get away from modern life for 10 days since there are also no wifi, internet, or phone connection along the trail. You are truly in the wild.

Greenland beach
Beach along the Arctic Circle trail

Travel Reminders When Visiting Greenland

Congratulations on deciding to embark on a Greenland adventure. This is one of the journeys that you would always look back on.

Greenland town
Towns in Greenland are very colorful.

Like any other trip, it is practical to know basic information about your visiting country. Unwanted and unpleasant surprises in foreign lands can ruin an otherwise delightful experience, so make sure that you are prepared.

greenland ice
A strange floating iceberg

Here are some travel reminders when you visit this cold part of the planet.

1. For the most part, Greenland is easy to visit, but depending on where you will be coming from, visas may be required. For example, visitors from Australia, Canada, UK, and the USA can enter the country without a visa, but folks from Russia and South Africa need one.

So do extensive research and prepare all necessary documents.

greenland iceberg
Floating icebergs are common along the whole west coast.

2. Expect minimal fruit and vegetable supply in Greenland as they mainly rely on fresh meat from the sea. As a result, your palate may be heavily challenged in this country.

3. Have the right equipment and at least some basic information for every activity that you will engage in. For instance, if you go hiking, make sure you have the proper footwear and gear.

4. Layering clothes is the best and most practical approach when dressing in Greenland. It is best to wear an outer layering of clothing that is waterproof and inner garments that are warm.

5. Get an experienced tour guide. In Greenland, you can’t go around walking in glaciers anytime and anywhere you want. Glaciers can shift suddenly and collapse. Follow directions diligently.

glacier greenland
One of many glaciers

Final Thoughts About Greenland

Greenland can offer you all the adventures that your heart desires. It can also be your place to reconnect with yourself and enjoy the very best things that life and nature have to offer.

This country can give you an unforgettable adventure. The journey itself is worth a million memories, so make sure that you take many pictures to remember every single sunset.

Top reasons why you should visit Greenland the largest island in the world
Top reasons why you should visit Greenland at least once.

Jim L Elliott

Saturday 25th of September 2021

We have tried to visit Greenland via cruise ship. We have booked two different cruises from the East Coast of the United States and both times the cruise line has canceled the cruises.

Our research shows that the only way to reach Greenland by air is to first to Iceland or Denmark and than get a flight to Greenland from there. We have found no flights from the US Mainland or Canada to Greenland.

Christian L.

Saturday 25th of September 2021

Yes that´s correct, only way to Greenland is by either going through Iceland and Greenland. Since there´s no immigration into Greenland, so entering Greenland from outside Iceland/Greenland is impossible, except if you got your own boat