Greenland is a country with a rich, cultural history that spans back several centuries. Even though it’s home to only about 60,000 people, Greenland can still offer travelers a unique, exciting experience away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
1. Hot Springs
Greenland boasts numerous hot springs, but those on the island of Uunartoq are the most popular because the water temperatures average between 98 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit all year long. The island’s hot springs consist of three smaller springs that come together to make a giant tub. You can visit the springs at any time of the year and in any type of weather and always find that the water offers a temperature suitable for soaking.
2. Northern Lights
Travelers who visit Greenland from September through April have a chance to experience the natural phenomenon known as the Aurora Borealis, or the Northern Lights. This amazing light show is best viewed in smaller communities with less ambient lights, such as Ittoqqortoormiit or Kangerslussauq.
The Northern Lights “dance” across the night sky due to the fact that the sun’s electrically charged particles clash with the earth’s atoms in the atmosphere, causing them to glow and radiate. The Northern Lights mainly consist of swirling green and yellow tones, but occasionally one will see red, blue and purple as well.
As the largest town in southern Greenland, Qaqortoq is surely worth the visit. The Qaqortoq area has been occupied for about 4,300 years. Many cultures have called this area home, including the pre-historic Saqqaq people as well as the Norse during the 10th century, the Thule in the 12th century and the Danish in the 18th century.
Folks who absolutely need peace and quiet will enjoy this small town of about 3,300 residents. Qaqortoq offers some unique architectural structures, including the fountain in the town square. Built in 1927, the Qaqortoq fountain is the only existing fountain in Greenland.
The Qaqortoq museum is one of the top museums on the continent. Located in the town’s original blacksmith shop that was built in the early 1800s, the museum boasts a fairly extensive collection of artifacts from the Dorset, Thule and Norse cultures as well as artworks from some of Greenland’s more famous artists.
Outdoor types will enjoy trekking down the hiking trails located through and around the town. You can also spend a day whale watching or exploring the nearby glaciers and fjords.
Qaqortoq is only a short distance from one of the best preserved Norse ruins called Hvalsey Church. Built in the 14th century, Hvalsey Church was the first Christian church on the continent. The last written record of the Norse culture in Greenland was a wedding held at this church in 1408.
4. Glaciers / Icebergs
Having the opportunity to view an iceberg or glacier up close is a unique experience that everyone should have. These massive natural pieces of art are breathtakingly beautiful. Greenland boasts several amazing icebergs for tourists to view. North Greenland is home to several larger icebergs while South Greenland has smaller but equally as beautiful glacier-filled sites for tourists to visit. A trip to Greenland is not complete until you’ve viewed at least one of these amazing icebergs.
5. Outdoor Activities
Most cities and towns in Greenland boast some type of sporting activities. You can enjoy skiing, dog sledding, snowmobiling, mountain climbing, kayaking, fishing and diving.
In mid-March, golf enthusiasts can join or watch the Ice Golf World Championships in Uummannaq. The two-day tournament consists of 36 holes, with a course cut on the ice, in-between icebergs and out in the snow fields.
6. Helicopter Tours
Very few roads exist between Greenlandic communities, so most people travel by snowmobile, boat or helicopter. When flying, take the time to enjoy the aerial view of the surrounding area. Several travel companies offer flying tours of the icebergs, glaciers, hot springs and the general Icefjord area.