6 Reasons to Visit Greenland

Greenland was named by Erik the Red—working to attract settlers to join him in exile. Like all good marketers, he stretched the truth a bit. There’s an old truism that Iceland is green and Greenland is ice, though like many old sayings that’s only half the story. While the winters are long and dark in Greenland, it is also the land of the midnight sun. From hiking and hot springs to the Northern lights, Greenland has amazing experiences to offer every traveller. See our list of top reasons to make Greenland your next holiday destination.

#1. Northern lights

The northern lights, also known as Aurora Borealis, are a spectacular natural light show appearing at the Arctic Circle. While the lights occur all year right, you’ll find the view obscured in the summer because of the midnight sun. The peak time to view the northern lights is around midnight from September to April. Bonus: this astronomical treat is a completely free adventure. 

The lights are produced by the electrically charged particles emitted by the sun when they collide with the Earth's gases. 

What are the best places in Greenland to see the Northern Lights?

  • Kangerlussuaq
  • Sisimiut
  • Ilulissat
  • Nuuk
  • Kulusuk
  • Tasiilaq

In order to make sure you don't miss out on seeing Northern Lights, plan your trip for a couple of extra nights so you don't miss out - they aren't out every night! As well, checking the forecast can help guide when you head out to see the natural light show. 

#2. Arctic wildlife

There aren’t many places you can go on a wildlife excursion by sled. This northern island offers opportunities to explore in the Arctic and see Minsk whales, seals, sea eagles and reindeer. If you’re lucky you might even see a polar bear or arctic wolf.

Arctic wolves are only found in the Northeastern Greenland, in a bare patch of land where the ice sheet meets the sea ice pack. As well, if you'd like to see a herd of reindeer, they travel in packs along the west and east coast of Greenland, however these aren't the ones accompanied by Santa! 

6 Reasons to Visit Greenland - Arctic wildlife

Consider protecting your trip with Cover-More International Travel Insurance

#3. Hot springs

While there are many hot springs here, the most popular are on the island of Uunartoq. The temperature in the spring is a steady 38 degrees year-round. Contrary to popular belief, the springs are not warmed by volcanic activity, but geothermal subsoil. Legend has it that Leif Ericsson bathed in these springs before setting off on his voyage searching for new lands. Come here for a great view of Greenland’s natural and unspoiled landscape (with few facilities). Bring your own picnic for a great day trip.

#4. Hiking trails

While Greenland boasts the largest glaciers outside of Antarctic, glacier walking isn’t the only attraction for hikers. The rugged countryside offers trails for long distance trekking and casual day hiking. In South Greenland, a network of hiking trails links towns and villages to each other, and connect you to Viking history. For more dramatic scenery, head to East Greenland. Near Tasillaq you can hike up the mountains or through the Valley of Flowers. As the river flows into the valley, you’ll find fields of arctic flowers unique to the region.

As Greenland is an extremely large and barron country, with even the capital city being remote, we recommend bringing along a local hiking guide with you. To avoid finding yourself in the middle of nowhere, these guides will be able to help you stay on track, know how to deal with wildlife encounters and have access to Greenland hiking maps. 

6 Reasons to Visit Greenland - Hiking trails

Interested in travelling more of the North? Make sure to check out our highlights of Norway. 

#5. Coastal ferries

While cruises are a popular way to visit the icy island and see the amazing coastal scenery, coastal ferry offers many of the same views and a chance to meet the locals. The full route of the Sarfaq Ittuk takes four nights northbound and three nights southbound. You can also break up the voyage and visit towns along the way. Accommodations on board range from shared rooms with bunk beds to private cabins. Prices start around NZ$85.

#6. Midnight sun

If you love making the most of your days while on holiday, Greenland is a great destination. The midnight sun offers unique opportunities for sailing and sightseeing at night. Depending on where you are on the island, the midnight sun is visible from late April to late August. South of the Arctic Circle, where the sun does eventually set you’ll still enjoy 20 hours of sunlight during their summer months.

As you plan your Greenland adventure and decide what you’ll be doing, get a quote for adventure travel insurance from Cover-More. See our list of covered activities before you go.