Remarkable landscapes, exceptional wildlife, iceberg-choked fjords and colorful tundra are among the unique traits that make Greenland a destination unlike any other. Maybe you've heard the buzz... it's certainly become a more popular place to visit in recent years, especially since Lonely Planet declared Greenland one of the Top 10 Countries to Visit in its 'Best in Travel' series.
Still, it's so far off the beaten path--so vast and remote--that even today, exploring Greenland is reminiscent of the spirit of exploration of centuries gone by. Our small ship expeditions take you even deeper into the valleys and fjords of this pristine Arctic wilderness, where larger groups and vessels simply cannot go.
Have you got Greenland on your mind? It's no wonder. These top 10 reasons to visit make The Big Island one of the most sought after expedition destinations year after year.
1. Greenland Offers Epic Kayaking
There's a rich history of kayaking in Greenland, the birthplace of the kayak itself. Much of what Greenland has to offer can be experienced by kayak.
You'll feel an extreme nearness to nature as you kayak around massive fjords, gliding over crystal clear waters along a rugged coastline that has been paddled by the Inuit for thousands of years. Hear the sounds of Greenland--the calls of seabirds, the crunch of the ice and sounds of the abundant wildlife--from the surface of the sea.
2. See the Ilulissat Icefjord, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
One of the wonders of the world, the Ilulissat Icefjord is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Ilulissat and the Sermeq Kujalleq glacier, located in West Greenland, is a natural phenomenon and one of the fastest, most active glaciers in the world.
3. Experience Authentic Inuit Culture in Thule (Qaanaaq)
Visiting Greenlandic communities gives you an opportunity to discover what it might really be like to live in the Far North. Explore Thule, one of the northernmost places in the world, and a community with a rich history and Inuit culture.
The Thule people arrived in Greenland around the 9th century AD and today, this community is called Qaanaaq. The Inuit people who settled in the area have passed down their traditions of hunting, kayaking, dog sledding and making handicraft for generations.
4. See the Northern Lights on 300 Clear Nights a Year
Brightly colored houses create a stunning background for the magical display of northern lights in Kangerlussuaq. The natural phenomenon of light is created by electrically charged particles from the sun, though folklore in the area points to fascinating stories of walrus playing games with human skulls as a more likely cause.
Northern Lights - Photo Credit: Chris King
These enchanting northern lights illuminate the Arctic with colors that vary from green, purple and red. The most dramatic displays are visible between October and April, when there are more than 300 days and nights of clear sky in East Greenland.
5. Enjoy the Lush Scenery of East Greenland
Passengers in spotted hiking in East Greenland. Photo credit: Acacia Johnson
Discover East Greenland, one of the most remote areas in the country. Whether you’re hiking in flower meadows in the shadow of massive basalt walls, or climbing one of several vast mountains, East Greenland is an outdoor enthusiast's playground. Bring your day to a close watching a golden polar sunset against the stunning scenic backdrop.
6. Find Your Zen & Reconnect with Nature -- and Yourself
Greenland's vast wilderness provides the perfect backdrop for disconnecting from the technologies and stresses of everyday life, and reconnecting with nature and your best self. Exploring its stunning fjords, massive glaciers and icebergs, and expansive forests and tundra with similarly minded travelers promises to bring a peace and inner quiet you may not have experienced in some time!
As you escape the ordinary and leave the mundane behind in favor of Greenland's natural wonder, you'll wonder why you waited--and how you can bottle up that zen and take it back home with you.
7. See Tasermiut Fjord, a ‘Big Wall Playground’
Known locally as the Arctic Patagonia, the Tasermiut Fjord is a popular destination on our Greenland Explorer: Valleys & Fjords expedition. One of the most challenging big wall playgrounds in the world, the 44 mile (70 km) fjord is renowned for its superior rock faces. Submerge yourself in the natural hot spring located here in the southernmost point in Greenland, a perfect place to relax after a day spent exploring and photographing this spectacular site.
8. Take in the Vast, Spectacular Wilderness of Greenland National Park
National Park in North Eastern Greenland is the world’s largest national park and is surrounded by 11,000 miles of coastline. Several species of arctic animals can be observed throughout the park including polar bears, walruses, caribou, fox and more.
9. Spot Arctic Wildlife; Maybe Even Herds of Muskoxen
The Greenlandic name for musk ox is Umimmak, which means “the long-bearded one.” And they are plentiful in Greenland National Park, where they are protected from hunters. The musk ox is the largest land mammal in Greenland, weighing up to 400 kilos (880 lbs). From far away, these giants can be mistaken for large brown rocks. For centuries, high-quality handicrafts and clothing have been made from the mammal’s wooly innermost coat.
10. Immerse Yourself in Greenland’s Rich and Storied History
History remains alive today in the traditions and legends of the people of Greenland, the descendants of the Thule culture. Explore the must-see historical sites in Greenland; archaeological sites, the Nuuk National Museum and historical sites where Vikings settled.
Want to learn more about planning your own Greenland expedition?
- Read more Greenland expedition stories from expedition experts and travelers like you
- Get the Greenland Destination Guide
- Download your free Greenland Explorer: Valleys & Fjords brochure
About the Author
A travel and business writer from Ontario, Canada, Miranda has written for Quark Expeditions since 2013. Right out of high school, she packed a bag and went west to embark on a 10-year career in camps, resorts and lodges across Canada. Miranda spent several months spent in the Canadian Arctic and years in the Rocky Mountains before returning home to Georgian Bay to raise her family. Now a digital nomad, she’s never happier than when traveling and writing. Miranda visited Antarctica with Quark Expeditions in 2016.More Content by Miranda Miller