A Travel Guide to Greenland

View of buildings on the coast of Greeland

TripSavvy / Lauren Breedlove

Greenland, part of the Kingdom of Denmark, is the world's largest island. Greenland (Danish: "Grønland") offers more than 840,000 square miles of arctic wilderness and seeing its natural Nordic beauty on a cruise or other type of Greenland vacation/tour, is a well-kept secret amongst Scandinavia travelers.

The Basics

Despite its tremendous size, Greenland only has a population of about 57,000. The locals in this part of the world are especially friendly to everyone. Almost 25% of Greenlanders live in Greenland's capital Nuuk (meaning "peninsula"). In Greenland there are no roads connecting the towns, so all transport takes place by airplane or boat. Danish currency (DKK) is used here as well. Greenland is on Greenland time.

Best Time to Travel

So what's the best time to go to Greenland? Well, definitely take a look at the weather in Greenland. Greenland has 3 travel seasons: spring, summer, and winter. Spring in Greenland offers lots of dog-sledding in March and April and the capital of Nuuk hosts the Snow Festival. Also, the Arctic Circle Race, the world’s toughest cross-country skiing race, takes place in Sisimiut in spring. Greenlandic summer (May - September) offers sailing and the fjords have melted so travelers can enjoy boat trips to glaciers, settlements and historical sites.

Wintertime in Greenland is for adventurers. If you want to experience the real Arctic nature, then come to Greenland between November and February. At this time of year, better than at any other, you can see the spectacular northern lights (Aurora Borealis) and enjoy long dog-sledding tours and snowmobile excursions during the dark Polar Nights.

How to Get There

Greenland's visa regulations are similar to the rest of Scandinavia. Keep in mind that Greenland is part of the Kingdom of Denmark (see Denmark's Visa Regulations). If you come from a country where a visa is required to enter Denmark, then a visa is also required to travel to Greenland. However, a visa that is valid for Denmark is not automatically valid for Greenland, so a separate visa application needs to be made for Greenland. A visa can be applied for at Danish embassies and agencies. The largest towns are accessible by plane, smaller ones can be reached by helicopters or boats.

Hotels and Accommodation

There are countless choices when it comes to your Scandinavian accommodation. With the exception of Ittoqqortoormiit, Kangaatsiaq and Upernavik there are hotels in all towns. Many of the hotels are 4-star hotels (compare hotel prices here). If you'd like to experience more contact with the locals, there is another option: In the major towns, the tourist office can arrange B&B, where you live with a Greenlandic family. Cheap alternatives for lower-quality overnight accommodation are provided by hostels and youth hostels. For more details and for information on camping in Greenland, contact the local tourist office.