Ilulissat Icefjord, Greenland
Ilulissat Icefjord, Greenland

Ilulissat Icefjord

Studied for over 250 years, it has helped to develop our understanding of climate change and icecap glaciology. The combination of a huge ice-sheet and the dramatic sounds of a fast-moving glacial ice-stream calving into a fjord covered by icebergs makes for a dramatic and awe-inspiring natural phenomenon.
Photo by Tina Rolf

GREENLAND

North America

Greenland Travel Information

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Key facts

Capital:

Nuuk (Godthaab)

Location:

Northern North America, island between the Arctic Ocean and the North Atlantic Ocean, northeast of Canada

Currency:

Danish kroner (DKK)

Area:

2,166,086 sq km

Population:

57,799 (July 2021 est.)

Languages:

Greenlandic (West Greenlandic or Kalaallisut is the official language), Danish, English

Religion:

Evangelical Lutheran, traditional Inuit spiritual beliefs

TimeZone:

UTC-3

Tel Code:

+299

Weather

Climate

Greenland has a subarctic climate, with long, cold winters and short, cool summers. The average temperature in the winter is around -20°C (-4°F), while in the summer it's around 5°C (41°F). The coastal areas are generally milder than the inland regions, and the south coast has the warmest temperatures. The east coast is the windiest and coldest part of the country. Precipitation is relatively low, with most of it falling as snow in the winter.

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit Greenland depends on what you want to do and see. The summer months of June to August are the warmest and offer the longest days, making it the best time for activities such as hiking, kayaking, and wildlife watching. This is also the time when the ice cap starts to melt and the fjords become navigable, making it the best time for boat tours.

The winter months of December to February are the best time for activities such as dog sledding, skiing and ice climbing. The Northern Lights can also be seen during this time of the year.

If you're interested in both summer and winter activities, the shoulder seasons of May and September can be a good option as well.

Transportation

Airplanes

The most common form of transportation to and within Greenland is by airplane. Air Greenland operates flights between the main towns and cities within Greenland, as well as to Iceland, Denmark, and other destinations. These flights can be booked through various travel agencies or directly with Air Greenland.

Boats

Boats are also a popular form of transportation in Greenland, especially for those looking to explore the fjords and coastal areas. Many tour operators offer boat tours, which can range from day trips to multi-day excursions. Some companies also offer boat rentals for those who want to explore on their own.

Cars and Buses

Cars and buses are also available for rent in Greenland, although the road network is limited, and many areas can only be accessed by boat or plane. This is an option for those looking to explore the larger towns and cities, such as Nuuk and Sisimiut.

Dogsleds

Dog sledding is a traditional form of transportation in Greenland, and it's a popular activity for tourists. Many tour operators offer guided dog sledding trips, and there are also several dogsledding expeditions that run throughout the winter months.

Snowmobiles

Another way to explore the country during the winter is by snowmobile. These can be rented from various tour operators and are a popular choice for those looking to explore the ice cap and remote areas of the country.

Accommodation

Hotels and Guesthouses

Greenland offers a range of accommodation options, including hotels and guesthouses. These can be found in the larger towns and cities, such as Nuuk, Sisimiut, and Ilulissat, and offer a comfortable and convenient base for exploring the surrounding area. Many hotels and guesthouses in Greenland are family-run and offer a personal touch, as well as traditional Greenlandic decor.

Camping

Camping is a popular option for those looking for a more adventurous and self-sufficient way to experience Greenland. There are many designated camping areas throughout the country, and many tour operators offer camping equipment rental as well as guided camping tours.

Lodges

Lodges in Greenland are usually located in remote areas, providing a unique experience of living in the wilderness and getting in touch with the nature. These are usually basic accommodations but provide the opportunity to experience the vastness of the country and the northern lights during winter.

Backpacking

For those who want to explore the wilderness and the remote areas of the country, backpacking is an option. This is only recommended for experienced hikers and backpackers, as the terrain is challenging, and the weather can be unpredictable. It's important to plan ahead and to be equipped with proper gear.

Boat or Ship-based accommodation

Another option for accommodation is on a boat or ship, which allows you to explore the fjords, the coast and even the ice cap. These trips are usually guided, and the accommodation is on the ship or boat. This is a great option for those who want to see a lot of different places but want to avoid the hassle of packing and unpacking from one place to another.

Money

Money Tips for Travel

  • Research the currency and exchange rates of your destination before you depart.
  • Notify your bank and credit card companies of your travel plans to avoid any potential issues with international transactions.
  • Bring a mix of cash, credit, and debit cards--and possibly a travel money card.
  • Be aware of the fees associated with withdrawing money from ATMs and using credit cards abroad.
  • Make sure to have a backup option for accessing money in case your primary method doesn't work.
  • Consider using a card with no foreign transaction fees.
  • Be aware of the local customs and etiquette when it comes to paying.
  • Keep an eye on the exchange rate throughout your trip and try to make large purchases or withdraw large sums of money when the rate is favorable.
  • NEVER accept currency conversion at ATMs! Always get your home bank to convert at much better rates.
  • Think about getting a Wise or other travel debit card; these can provide much better rates and some free ATM withdrawals.

ATM and Credit Cards

  • Research the availability of ATMs and credit card acceptance at your destination before you depart.
  • Keep your ATM card in a safe place and be mindful of your surroundings when using it.
  • Try to stick to using ATMs that are affiliated with major banks.
  • Keep your credit card information safe and secure, and be aware of potential scams.
  • Make sure your cards have the necessary security features, such as chip and pin.
  • Be aware of the fees associated with withdrawing money from ATMs and using credit cards abroad.

Exchange Rates

  • Research the currency and exchange rates of your destination before you depart.
  • Consider using a card with no foreign transaction fees.
  • Be aware of the local customs and etiquette when it comes to paying.
  • Keep an eye on the exchange rate throughout your trip and try to make large purchases or withdraw large sums of money when the rate is favorable.
  • Be careful of places that may offer to exchange money at rates that seem too good to be true.

Mobile

When traveling, getting mobile access is very important these days. If you are working remotely, wanting to update social media, or need to access your banks SMS authentication messages having a reliable service is a must. At WhereNext we recommend:

eSIM

Services such as those offered by our partner, Airalo, allow you to easily order and install an eSIM for different countries or regions that you are traveling in.

Dual SIM phone

If you have a phone that supports dual SIM's then you can get a SIM on arrival for each country, this is probably better done at a telco store rather than at the airport.

Extend your home plan

Depending on where you live and your mobile service provider you may be able to extend your plan to cover mobile roaming at reasonable rates.

Keep your primary SIM

With the amount of accounts we all have that require two factor authentication via SMS, keeping a constant number for these accounts is a must.

Community

There are several online communities and platforms that you can use to meet people while traveling, both for making new friends or for networking professionally. Some popular options include:

Facebook groups

There are many Facebook groups dedicated to connecting people while traveling, from expat groups and travel communities to groups specific to certain cities or regions of the country. You can search for groups based on your interests or location and connect with others who share similar interests.

Meetup

Meetup is a platform that allows you to find groups of people that share your interests in your local area. There are Meetup groups all around the world, and they cover a wide range of topics, such as language exchange, sports, and cultural activities.

Internations

Internations is a social network for people who live or work abroad. It has a large community of expats and organizes regular events, activities and gatherings that allow members to connect and socialize.

Couchsurfing

Couchsurfing is a platform that connects travelers with local hosts, who offer free accommodation and a chance to experience the local culture. It's a great way to meet locals and make friends!

Reddit

Reddit has a large community, and there are several subreddits dedicated to connecting expats and travelers. You can use it to ask questions, get advice, and connect with others who are also living or traveling in the country.

Linkedin

LinkedIn is primarily a professional network, but you can also use it to connect with people who work in the same industry or have similar backgrounds. It can be useful to connect with people before you arrive and establish a few professional contacts to help you get started.

At WhereNext, we use Nomad List as a global community and then research more local ones for our destination. These are just a few examples of online communities you can use to meet people; please suggest any others that you think are appropriate for this destination.

Insurance

Travel insurance can provide financial protection and peace of mind for travellers in the event of unexpected situations or emergencies. It covers a wide range of needs--even some you might not expect!

Medical Coverage

Travel insurance can provide coverage for medical expenses if you become ill or injured while traveling. This can include coverage for doctor visits, hospital stays, and emergency medical transportation. It's also a good idea to ensure that your travel insurance covers COVID-19 related illness and delays!

Trip Cancellation and Interruption

Travel insurance can provide coverage if you need to cancel or interrupt your trip due to unexpected events such as illness, weather, or travel bans. It can also provide coverage if your trip is delayed or if your travel provider goes out of business.

Lost or Stolen Luggage

Travel insurance can provide coverage for lost or stolen luggage, as well as personal items such as passports and electronic devices.

Emergency Assistance and Evacuation

Many travel insurance plans offer emergency assistance services, such as providing information on local hospitals and doctors, assistance with replacing lost or stolen documents, and help with arranging transportation in the event of an emergency. At WhereNext we have partnered with Global Rescue for evacuation services, which are highly recommended if you are undertaking dangerous activities or are travelling to dangerous parts of the world.

Liability coverage

Travel insurance can also provide liability coverage in case you cause an accident or harm someone while you are traveling.

Travel insurance can provide financial protection and peace of mind for travellers in the event of unexpected situations or emergencies. It can help cover the costs of medical expenses, trip cancellations, lost or stolen luggage, and more. It's always a good idea to review the coverage and compare the different options available before making a decision. At WhereNext we both use and have partnered with Safety Wing for general travel insurance.

Entry Requirements

Here are some general travel tips regarding entry requirements that apply across all countries:

Passport

Make sure that your passport is valid for at least six months from the date of your arrival in the country you are visiting. Some countries will not allow you to enter if your passport is set to expire within a certain period of time.

Visa

Check with the embassy or consulate of the country you are visiting to see if you need a visa. Some countries require a visa for entry, while others do not. Make sure to apply for a visa well in advance of your trip as the process can take several weeks. Check the latest Visa requirements and if necessary get an online Visa with our partner iVisa.

Health Requirements and COVID-19 Rules

Check with the embassy or consulate of the country you are visiting to see if there are any health requirements for entry. Some countries require vaccinations or proof of medical insurance. Check the latest health requirements and if necessary get an online Visa with our partner iVisa.

Travel Insurance

Consider purchasing travel insurance, especially if you are traveling internationally. Travel insurance can cover you in the event of trip cancellation, medical emergencies, and other unexpected events. Our travel insurance partner is SafetyWing. For dangerous activities and/or countries consider a rescue service like those offered by our partner, Global Rescue.

Customs

Be familiar with the customs and laws of the country you are visiting. Some countries have strict laws regarding drug possession, alcohol consumption, and dress codes.

Currency

Check the currency exchange rate and make sure you have enough local currency for your trip. Some countries may not accept credit cards or travelers cheques, so it is always good to have some cash on hand. At WhereNext we recommend use a Wise debit card, which provides low cost currency conversions and ATM withdrawals.

Research the country

Research about the culture, customs and laws of the country you are visiting. It will help you to understand the place more and also prepare you better for the trip.

Contact Information

Make a copy of your passport and keep it in a separate place from your passport. Also, leave a copy of your itinerary and contact information with a friend or family member at home.

COVID Status

I am vaccinated 
Greenland Open
Test
Not required
Quarantine
Not required

Check Visa Requirements

      Things to Do

      Greenland is a truly unique and breathtaking destination, offering visitors a chance to experience some of the most spectacular scenery and outdoor activities in the world. From exploring the vast ice cap to taking in the beautiful fjords and rugged coastlines, there is no shortage of things to see and do in this spectacular country. Here are the top 10 things you won't want to miss on your trip to Greenland:

      1. Explore the Ice Cap

      The ice cap that covers most of Greenland is truly awe-inspiring, and offers visitors the opportunity to experience one of the most unique and remote wildernesses on earth. Whether you take a guided tour or set out on your own, you'll be struck by the vastness and beauty of this frozen landscape.

      2. Spot Wildlife

      Greenland is home to a variety of wildlife, including musk oxen, Arctic foxes, and reindeer. Many tour operators offer guided wildlife-watching tours, giving you the chance to see these animals in their natural habitat.

      3. Kayak the Fjords

      The fjords of Greenland are truly spectacular, and kayaking is one of the best ways to experience them. Whether you're an experienced kayaker or a beginner, there are plenty of tour operators that offer guided trips, allowing you to explore these stunning waterways at your own pace.

      4. Hike Coastal Trails

      Greenland's rugged coastline offers some of the best hiking opportunities in the world. Whether you're looking for a leisurely stroll or a challenging trek, there are plenty of trails to choose from, each offering its own unique set of breathtaking views.

      5. Visit the Inuit Communities

      Greenland is home to a number of small Inuit communities, each with its own unique culture and way of life. Visiting these communities is a great way to learn more about the people and culture of Greenland, and to gain a deeper understanding of the country's history and traditions.

      6. Go Dog Sledding

      Dog sledding is one of the most popular activities in Greenland, and offers visitors the chance to experience the country's stunning wilderness in a truly unique way. Whether you're a seasoned musher or a first-timer, there are plenty of tour operators that offer guided dog sledding trips.

      7. Take a Boat Tour

      Greenland's coastal waters are home to a variety of marine life, including whales, seals, and dolphins. Taking a boat tour is a great way to experience the country's stunning scenery and to get up close and personal with some of its most fascinating inhabitants.

      8. Go Skiing

      Greenland is a great destination for skiing and snowboarding, with a variety of ski resorts to choose from, as well as backcountry terrain for the more experienced skiers and snowboarders.

      9. Try the Local Cuisine

      Greenland's local cuisine is heavily influenced by the country's harsh climate and remote location. Try traditional dishes like seal, reindeer, and fish, and wash it down with a refreshing cup of coffee.

      10. Attend a Cultural Event

      Greenland has a rich cultural heritage, and there are plenty of events and festivals throughout the year that celebrate the country's history and traditions. From traditional dances and music performances to art exhibits and cultural fairs, there's always something happening in Greenland that is worth experiencing.

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