Greenland - In the Ice of the Arctic Glaciers
The landscapes on the largest island on earth look like they are from another planet. The light of the midnight sun in summer and the green-violet waves of the northern lights in winter create an extraordinary atmosphere in the country of the far north - in the eternal ice of the Arctic.
Geography - The icy country in the north
Greenland is one of the northernmost areas on earth and the world's largest island. It lies in the middle of the Arctic Ocean and almost 85 percent of its area are covered in thick ice. Politically speaking, Greenland belongs to Denmark but it acts as an autonomous region. There is polar and subpolar climate. February is the coldest month with -21 °C on average. Further north, temperatures may be lower than -50 °C. It is considerably milder in summer with 11 °C in July. During this season, the south of the island is free from ice and starts to bloom.
Nature - The Nordic polar island in the change of the seasons
The name "Greenland" is rather misleading. The major part of the island is covered with thick ice all year. However, the south shows its green side in summer. You can spot bumblebees and butterflies in the Arctic summer. Despite the cold temperatures, over 600 plant species grow in Greenland, for example birches and willows. The national flower is the delicate Arctic willowherb. The country's beauty mostly consists of ice and snow. Majestic icebergs, gigantic glaciers and the wonderful northern lights above the eternal world of ice make Greenland an extraordinary travel destination. Its fauna is of great interest to lovers of nature. There is no other place on earth where you can watch whales and seals, reindeer, the Arctic fox, the musk ox and, of course, the snowy white polar bear in the wild.
Natural sights - Banana Coast, midnight sun and polar lights
The glaciers and icebergs of the Ilulissat Icefjord are among the most beautiful natural landscapes on earth. Great ways of exploring the Icefjord are trips with a cruiser or expedition ships. A special experience are the blue glaciers at the time of the midnight sun in summer. The diffused light falls on the bizarrely shaped masses of ice and creates a whole new world. In addition, the temperatures are much milder in summer. Winter has its own appeal. For half a year, the island is covered with masses of snow and ice. A ride with a dog sledge, ski trips and the magical polar lights are characteristic of this season. If you also want to explore the coastal area, you should visit the south-west coast of Sineriak Bananeqarfik. It is called "Banana Coast" by the locals because the climate here is not as harsh and the territory more easily accessible than other parts of the country.
Culture - From the Vikings to the Danish
The first proven discovery of Greenland tells of the Viking Erik the Red. He reached the island in 982 and named it "Greenland". The first ethnic groups came from northern Canada and established themselves. The tribes of the Inuit settled in the area of present-day Thule. The era of the Vikings lasted from the 9th to the 16th century. After that, Greenland sank into oblivion for a while. In the 18th century, the Norwegians saw the island's potential as a base for whaling. But the climate and the harsh landscape made it difficult for the people to built permanent settlements. Greenland is the country with the lowest population desity in the world to the present day. The Arctic is the only place on earth which is inhabited by fewer people. 88 percent of the people who live on the island are Greenlanders. The group of the Kalaallit constitutes the country's greatest tribe. The remaining twelve percent are Europeans, most of whom come from Denmark.
Cultural sights - Small towns and settlements
Despite the country's size, it only accommodates a few towns. Even the capital of Nuuk has a rural character. Many people live in Narsaq, Sisimut and Ilulissat. The biggest city in the south is Qaqortoq, which contains an interesting Inuit Museum. In addition, you find a wonderful open-air museum with artefacts from the Viking era in southern Nanortalik. Travellers see old Viking settlements in many places in this country.
Experience - The Greenlandic cuisine
The Greenlanders have been living on fishing for centuries, if not longer. Fish plays a major role in their cuisine. Tourists have the opportunity to taste whale meat and other specialities here. The Greenlandic cuisine was also influenced by the Danish one. Popular souvenirs are carvings from soapstone or whale bones. You can buy these and other art handicraft of the Inuit in the tourist offices. A special Greenlandic experience is a visit to Santa Claus. Thousands of letters and wish lists arrive on the island in the Arctic Sea every year. The house of Greenland's Santa Claus is only a few minutes outside of the town of Umannaq.
Activities - An action-packed winter idyll
Snow golf, snow scooter rides, glacier climbing - people who think there are no action sports in Greenland are very wrong. How about an afternoon spent heli-skiing? You heard right. A helicopter takes travellers to the mountain peaks, so that they can go downhill. If you want to play a game of snow gulf, you should note that the "greens" are "whites" here (made of ice) and the golf balls, which are usually white, are therefore bright red or green. Adventurous holidaymakers can go ice diving. There is no body of water which is as crystal clear as the Arctic Sea. Other unique attractions are the whale-watching tours with humpback, beluga and common mink whales or the classic but speedy dog sledge rides.
Travellers should note that Greenland does not really have a road network. That means that the country's towns are not connected and round trips need to be planned well. Helicopters, small charter boats and planes are the only means of transport within the country.
Travellers who like the cold season will love Greenland. The country is full of snow, ice and glaciers as far as the eye can see. In addition, adrenaline junkies can do extreme sports of a different kind here.