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Top 10 Unforgettable Things to Do in Greenland

Best Destinations, World Travel - Amanda - May 4, 2024

View from Ravnefjeldet, next to Nanortalik, Greenland

Welcome to Greenland: a land of untamed beauty, where Arctic wonders unfold against a backdrop of icy grandeur. As the world’s largest island, Greenland boasts landscapes that are nothing short of awe-inspiring, inviting adventurers and nature enthusiasts alike to explore its pristine wilderness.

In Greenland, every corner tells a story, steeped in a culture as rich and diverse as the landscapes themselves. From towering glaciers to quaint settlements, the island offers a tapestry of experiences that captivate the soul and ignite the imagination.

Whether you’re seeking adrenaline-pumping adventures or serene moments of reflection, Greenland has something to offer everyone. Get ready to embark on the journey of a lifetime as we delve into the top 10 unforgettable things to do in this Arctic paradise. From dog sledding across vast expanses of ice to immersing yourself in indigenous traditions, Greenland promises to leave an indelible mark on your heart and soul.


Top 10 Unforgettable Activities in Greenland

Witness the Majesty of Glaciers

Greenland is home to some of the most spectacular glaciers in the world, and one of the must-see destinations is the Ilulissat Icefjord, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here, massive icebergs calve from the Sermeq Kujalleq glacier, creating a breathtaking display of nature’s power.

  • Ilulissat Icefjord: Marvel at the sheer scale of this natural wonder as you witness icebergs as tall as skyscrapers floating serenely in the fjord.
  • Boat Tours: Embark on a boat tour to get up close to the towering ice formations, feeling the chill of the Arctic air as you navigate through crystal-clear waters.
  • Kayaking Amidst Icebergs: For a more intimate experience, kayak amidst the icebergs, immersing yourself in the tranquility of the Arctic landscape while paddling through icy waters.
  • Helicopter Rides: For a truly grand perspective, opt for a helicopter ride over the Ilulissat Icefjord, where you can take in panoramic views of glaciers stretching as far as the eye can see.

Hike Through Breathtaking Scenery

Arctic Circle Trail

The Arctic Circle Trail offers hikers a once-in-a-lifetime experience, traversing 100 miles of some of the most stunning landscapes in Greenland. Here, you’ll find yourself immersed in the raw beauty of the Arctic wilderness, surrounded by towering mountains, pristine lakes, and vast expanses of tundra.

  • Scenic Trails: As you hike along the Arctic Circle Trail, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of glaciers and fjords, each turn revealing a new panorama of natural wonder.
  • Difficulty Levels: The trail caters to hikers of all skill levels, with options for beginners and experienced trekkers alike. Whether you’re looking for a leisurely stroll or a challenging adventure, there’s something for everyone on the Arctic Circle Trail.

Other Scenic Trails

In addition to the Arctic Circle Trail, Greenland offers a myriad of other scenic hiking trails, each offering its own unique charm and beauty.

  • Glacier Views: Explore trails that wind their way through glacier-carved valleys, offering glimpses of sparkling ice formations and ancient geological wonders.
  • Fjord Vistas: Hike along trails that hug the edges of majestic fjords, where towering cliffs meet the crystal-clear waters of the Arctic Ocean, creating a landscape of unparalleled beauty.

Experience the Thrill of Dog Sledding

Dog Sledding: A Traditional Greenlandic Mode of Transportation

Dog sledding holds a special place in Greenland’s history and culture, serving as a traditional mode of transportation for centuries. In this rugged Arctic landscape, where vast stretches of ice and snow make travel challenging, dogsled teams have long been relied upon to navigate the frozen terrain.

  • Historical Significance: Dog sledding has been integral to Greenlandic life for generations, with sled dogs playing a vital role in hunting, transportation, and communication across remote communities.
  • Cultural Heritage: Today, dog sledding remains an important part of Greenlandic culture, celebrated through annual sled dog races and cultural events that honor the bond between humans and their canine companions.

Exploring the Winter Wonderland via Dog Sled

Embarking on a dog sledding adventure offers a truly unique way to experience Greenland’s winter wonderland. As you glide across pristine snowfields and wind through icy fjords, you’ll be enveloped in the silence of the Arctic wilderness, with only the soft padding of paws and the swish of sled runners breaking the stillness.

  • Immersive Experience: Dog sledding allows you to connect with nature in a way that few other activities can match, as you journey through landscapes untouched by modern civilization.
  • Sensory Delights: Feel the crisp Arctic air against your face, hear the gentle panting of the sled dogs, and marvel at the beauty of snow-capped mountains reflected in frozen lakes.

Go Whale Watching in Pristine Waters

Abundance of Marine Life

Greenland’s pristine waters teem with an abundance of marine life, making it a prime destination for whale watching enthusiasts. From majestic humpback whales to graceful minke whales, these Arctic waters are home to a diverse array of cetaceans that captivate and inspire.

  • Humpback Whales: Witness the awe-inspiring sight of humpback whales breaching and diving gracefully in their natural habitat. These gentle giants migrate to Greenland’s coastal waters during the summer months to feed on rich marine resources.
  • Minke Whales: Keep an eye out for minke whales, known for their sleek, streamlined bodies and playful behavior. These smaller whales are often spotted swimming alongside boats or surfacing near the shore, offering unforgettable encounters for lucky observers.

Best Times for Whale Watching

While whale watching in Greenland is possible throughout the summer months, there are certain times of the year when sightings are particularly abundant.

  • Summer Season (June-August): The summer months are prime whale watching season in Greenland, as the warmer weather draws whales to the surface in search of food. During this time, travelers have the best chance of spotting humpback whales, minke whales, and other marine mammals in the waters around Greenland.
  • Migration Periods: Keep an eye out for the spring and fall migration periods, when whales pass through Greenland’s coastal waters on their way to and from their breeding grounds. These transitional seasons offer unique opportunities to witness large numbers of whales as they travel along their migratory routes.

Embrace Local Culture in Colorful Towns

Nuuk: Capital City with Cultural Gems

Nuuk, Greenland’s capital city, is a vibrant hub of culture and history, offering visitors a diverse array of experiences.

  • Museums: Explore the Greenland National Museum and Archives, where exhibits showcase the island’s fascinating history, from ancient Inuit artifacts to contemporary Greenlandic art.
  • Cultural Centers: Visit Katuaq, Nuuk’s cultural center, which hosts events, performances, and exhibitions celebrating Greenlandic culture and heritage.

Smaller Towns and Settlements

Beyond Nuuk, Greenland is dotted with smaller towns and settlements, each offering its own unique glimpse into traditional Greenlandic life.

  • Ilulissat: Discover the charming town of Ilulissat, nestled beside the majestic Ilulissat Icefjord. Here, you can stroll through colorful streets, visit local shops and cafes, and immerse yourself in the rhythms of everyday life in the Arctic.
  • Qaqortoq: Explore the picturesque town of Qaqortoq, known for its vibrant street art scene and quaint wooden houses. Don’t miss the Qaqortoq Museum, where exhibits shed light on the town’s history and culture.
  • Tasiilaq: Journey to the remote settlement of Tasiilaq, located on the rugged east coast of Greenland. Here, you can experience traditional Inuit culture firsthand, with opportunities to visit local artisans, participate in cultural events, and learn about the indigenous way of life.

Hunt for the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights)

Best Times and Locations

Greenland offers prime viewing opportunities for the Northern Lights, also known as the Aurora Borealis, with certain times and locations providing optimal conditions for witnessing this magical phenomenon.

  • Winter Months: The best time to see the Northern Lights in Greenland is during the winter months, from October to March, when the nights are long and dark.
  • Northern Regions: Head to the northern regions of Greenland, such as Ilulissat or Uummannaq, where the clear Arctic skies offer ideal conditions for viewing the Aurora Borealis.

The Magical Phenomenon

The Northern Lights are a natural light display caused by the interaction of solar particles with the Earth’s magnetic field, creating stunning patterns and colors in the night sky.

  • Captivating Colors: Witness hues of green, purple, blue, and pink dance across the horizon in a mesmerizing display of light and motion.
  • Unforgettable Experience: Gaze in awe as the Aurora Borealis weaves its spellbinding tapestry overhead, illuminating the darkness with its otherworldly beauty.

Explore Greenland by Cruise

Expedition Cruises for In-Depth Exploration

Expedition cruises offer travelers the opportunity to explore Greenland’s remote and pristine landscapes in-depth, venturing to areas that are often inaccessible by other means.

  • Remote Areas: Expedition cruises take you to the far reaches of Greenland, where you can discover untouched wilderness, towering glaciers, and rugged coastlines.
  • In-Depth Exploration: With expert guides and onboard amenities, expedition cruises provide a comfortable yet immersive way to experience Greenland’s natural wonders, allowing you to delve into the history, culture, and wildlife of the region.

Smaller Cruises for Specific Regions or Wildlife Viewing

For those seeking a more intimate experience or focusing on specific regions or wildlife, smaller cruises offer tailored options.

  • Regional Focus: Some cruises may focus on specific regions of Greenland, such as the Disko Bay area or the Scoresby Sund fjord system, allowing travelers to explore these areas in detail.
  • Wildlife Viewing: Other cruises may prioritize wildlife viewing opportunities, taking you to prime locations for spotting whales, seals, seabirds, and other Arctic creatures in their natural habitats.

Kayak Through Glacial Lagoons

Experience the Serene Beauty

Kayaking through Greenland’s glacial lagoons offers a unique and intimate way to immerse yourself in the serene beauty of the Arctic landscape.

  • Crystal-Clear Waters: Glide through crystal-clear waters, surrounded by towering icebergs and majestic glaciers that reflect the Arctic light in mesmerizing hues.
  • Close Encounters with Nature: Get up close to nature as you paddle through narrow fjords and sheltered bays, where you may spot seals, seabirds, and even whales swimming alongside your kayak.

Guided Tours for All Levels

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced kayaker, there are guided tours available to suit every skill level and preference.

  • Beginner-Friendly Tours: Join a guided tour designed for beginners, where expert instructors will teach you the basics of kayaking and ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.
  • Advanced Expeditions: For experienced kayakers seeking a more challenging adventure, consider joining an advanced expedition that explores remote fjords and off-the-beaten-path locations.

Go Ice Fishing (for experienced visitors)

Traditional Winter Activity

Ice fishing is a time-honored tradition in Greenland, providing sustenance and recreation for locals and visitors alike during the long winter months.

  • Cultural Significance: Ice fishing has deep cultural roots in Greenland, with communities relying on this practice for centuries to catch fish for food and trade.
  • Seasonal Activity: As the temperatures drop and lakes freeze over, locals venture onto the ice to set up their fishing holes and try their luck at catching Arctic char, cod, and other cold-water species.

Importance of Safety and Responsibility

While ice fishing can be a rewarding experience, it’s essential for experienced visitors to prioritize safety and responsible fishing practices.

  • Ice Thickness: Before venturing onto the ice, always check the thickness to ensure it’s safe for fishing. A minimum of 4 inches of clear, solid ice is generally recommended for walking, while at least 6-8 inches is required for fishing.
  • Safety Equipment: Equip yourself with safety gear, including ice picks, a life jacket, and a rope, and never fish alone on the ice. It’s also advisable to inform someone of your plans and whereabouts before heading out.
  • Responsible Fishing: Practice responsible fishing by following local regulations and guidelines, such as respecting catch limits, releasing undersized fish, and minimizing your environmental impact.

Experience the Midnight Sun

Phenomenon of the Midnight Sun

During Greenland’s summer months, the phenomenon known as the midnight sun occurs, where the sun remains visible above the horizon for 24 hours a day.

  • Continuous Daylight: From late spring to early autumn, regions above the Arctic Circle, including Greenland, experience continuous daylight due to the tilt of the Earth’s axis.
  • Long Summer Days: This unique phenomenon creates long summer days, with the sun never setting below the horizon, resulting in a surreal and magical atmosphere.

Unique Activities Under 24-Hour Sunlight

Greenland’s midnight sun offers the perfect backdrop for a variety of unique and memorable activities that take advantage of the never-ending daylight.

  • Midnight Hiking: Experience the thrill of hiking under the midnight sun, with trails bathed in golden sunlight even in the late hours of the evening.
  • Kayaking Adventures: Paddle along Greenland’s pristine coastline or tranquil fjords under the soft glow of the midnight sun, enjoying the serenity of the Arctic landscape in the twilight hours.
  • Photography Expeditions: Capture stunning photographs of the ever-changing Arctic light, as the sun paints the sky with hues of pink, orange, and purple during the endless summer days.


Greenland offers a wealth of unforgettable experiences for travelers seeking adventure, natural beauty, and cultural immersion.

Vast Array of Experiences

  • Arctic Wilderness: Explore pristine landscapes of ice and snow, where towering glaciers and majestic fjords create a dramatic backdrop for outdoor adventures.
  • Cultural Richness: Immerse yourself in Greenland’s rich cultural heritage, from traditional Inuit communities to vibrant towns and cities filled with art, music, and history.
  • Unique Phenomena: Witness natural wonders like the midnight sun and the Northern Lights, which illuminate the Arctic sky with their breathtaking displays of light and color.

Discover Greenland’s Hidden Gems

With its stunning landscapes, unique culture, and abundance of outdoor activities, Greenland beckons adventurers to explore its hidden gems and discover the magic of the Arctic.


  • Best Time to Visit: Summer for warm weather activities, winter for witnessing the Northern Lights.
  • Getting to Greenland: Mainly by air to major towns.
  • Currency: Danish krone.
  • Language: Greenlandic and Danish.
  • Visa Requirements: Depends on your nationality.
  • Cost of Visit: Can be expensive, but planning and budgeting can help.
  • Clothing: Warm layers and waterproof gear are essential.


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