Greenland Travel Ideas
Our guest writer, Denmark's Ida Hauder shares her love of Greenland.
by Ida Toft Hauder
There is no place quite like Greenland, or should I say “The Kingdom of Icebergs”, because Greenland really is a synonym with icebergs and breath-taking beauty. Even though Greenland is the world’s largest island, it is also one of the least known, and least visited areas on Earth. Which actually is a shame, many don’t know about this incredible island, which offers magnificent nature and wildlife. Your might have read about Greenland or seen photos, but nothing can’t really outdo the experience of being right there yourself.
Greenland is an island that never gets boring for the active and interested soul. Right in the middle of one of the world’s most dramatic and incredible landscapes, right there you can see the amazing ice sheet in all its might, the moving glaciers, and the massive icebergs as they float majestically right before your very eyes. Therefore, no matter what you hear, see or read nothing can really be compared to the extraordinary experience first-hand.
When my long awaited trip to Greenland finally was going to happen, I thought about what I had to experience, and then I was told I simply had to experience “The Big Artic Five”. First, when I heard about it, I really didn't know what people were talking about. But It turned out to be the description of the five most unique attractions in Greenland, which is: Dog sledding, Northern lights, Ice and snow, Pioneering people and Whales.
Dog sledding. In Greenland there are no real roads, so you have the choice of going by dog sled or snow scooter. If you go by dog sled, you will get an incredible and unique experience. As 12 dogs drag you through the most amazing snow covered landscape, you sit on soft comfortable reindeer skin, wrapped up snugly in the warmest sealskin as the sun blazes down on you. It is an experience you will remember for life.
Northern lights, or Aurora Borealis as it is also known as - is a magnificent and extraordinary phenomena, that appear on the sky as collisions between electrically charged particles from the sun enter the earth's atmosphere. When this happens, shooting rays of lights dance across the sky in every imaginable colour from green to pink, yellow, red, blue and violet. It is a spectacular vision, and you surely haven't seen anything like it before.
Snow and ice: As icebergs are a synonym with Greenland, you will meet the wonderful turquoise coloured masterpieces all over. But as icebergs come in many different shapes and sizes, you will be sure never to meet two icebergs that are exactly alike. Some rise more than 100 meters above the waterline, while others just a few meters. But no matter how big or small they seem, you will have to keep in mind that 90% of an iceberg is hidden below the surface of the sea. So you can only image how big and massive they really are. No matter what, they are a breath-taking vision. And so is the outstanding and natural beauty that you find at the ice fjord and the glacier at Illuissat. The glacier is more than 3,000 km2 in area and calves about 40 cubic kilometres of ice every year. Here man really becomes small and many things are put into perspective.
Whales: When going whale watching in Greenland, you go by boat along Greenland's coast, in order, to get as close as possible to the enormous marine mammals. Maybe too close some might argue. There is probably nothing more terrifying than when a 70-tonne fin whale dives down underneath the boat that you are in. What happens if the gigantic marine mammal suddenly decides to flick its tail? What happens to the boat? What happens to you? Undoubtedly the thoughts crosses your mind, and your heart starts racing a little faster than normally, as the adrenalin rushes through your body, until of course the giant mammal appears on the other side of the boat. You have absolutely nothing to worry about at all. The whales are used to being observed. So even your worst fear will never come true.
Pioneering people: The pioneering people have a strong culture based on empowerment, openness, and community. Their lives are formed and shaped by the nature that surrounds them. Because of all of the above, Greenland often appears on the wish list of places that one would be happy to return to again and again. So if you haven’t already been, you really need to do yourself a favour and put Greenland on your list of places to go. I promise you, you won't regret it.
Greenland offers a comprehensive official website Visit Greenland.com/en, which offers lots of information about travelling to Greenland.
_Image credits: Visit Greenland. _