Greenland: A Unique Arctic Adventure

Greenland offers rugged beauty and a unique cultural experience. Photo by VisitGreenland.com Greenland offers rugged beauty and a unique cultural experience. Photo by VisitGreenland.com
Greenland offers rugged beauty and a unique cultural experience. Photo by VisitGreenland.com

Like many others, I have neglected Greenland as a travel destination my whole life.

My association with the country was nothing but snow, ice and cold temperatures – and we definitely have plenty of this where I come from.

But when I visited the world’s largest island for the first time, the country blew my mind.

With its unique Inuit culture, majestic landscapes and icebergs the size of skyscrapers, this beautiful Arctic wonder brought me adventures I will never forget.

Travel in Greenland

Even though Greenland can truthfully be called the world’s largest island, it has a population of no more than 56,500 people.

This is despite the fact that in the Greenlandic language the name for Greenland is Kalaallit Nunaat, meaning ‘The Land of People’.

When I arrived to the ice-covered country, though, I understood why the inhabitants of Greenland are considered as the core of the experience in Greenland.

These warm, kind and hospitable people were a huge part of my trip. I met them through cultural experiences and in the everyday life in town and villages.

Everywhere I went, the uniqueness of Greenland was clear as I met the locals.

The locals in Greenland. Photo by VisitGreenland.com
Getting to know the locals is a highlight of any visit to Greenland. Photo by VisitGreenland.com

The Greenlandic roots are an exciting mix of various immigrating people and their ability to adapt to the Arctic challenges on the Arctic island.

From the way they hunt to the number one means of transportation – dog sledding – travel in Greenland offers unique Arctic adventures that I have never seen anywhere else in the world.

I spent the first couple of days experiencing the village, the inhabitants and the areas nearby. Then the day came when I had to sit on a small sled, riding across the inland ice.

Dog Sledding in Greenland

Dog sledding is considered as one of the five core Arctic attractions on Greenland, also known as the Big Arctic Five.

Since the ancestors came to Greenland more than 4000 years ago, dog sledding has been the number one mean of transport when going from one place to another.

And one thing is clear – there is definitely something about experiencing the majestic landscapes from a perspective on a dog sled while the sun shines from a cloudless and blue sky.

For me, this experience was beyond amazing. Dog sledding allowed me to experience nature’s grandeur along with a cultural twist that warmed my soul.

A local village in Greenland. Photo by VisitGreenland.com
A local village in Greenland. Photo by VisitGreenland.com

Whale Watching in Greenland

And the incredible experiences kept on coming. On my third day, I went whale watching, which is also considered as a part of the Big Arctic Five.

The boat driver was amazing, giving us a journey that I won’t forget.

When the boat driver cut the engine, I suddenly knew that this was our cue to adjust eyes and ears.

Even though it felt like eternity, it was an amazing experience when the beautiful mighty creature came from deep down the ocean to the surface.

It is an unmistakable sound when a whale exhales at the water’s surface.

Seeing such a magnificent creature right in front of you is definitely overwhelming. If I have the opportunity, I would do it again. Without a doubt!

Northern Lights in Greenland
Viewing the Northern Lights in Greenland was an amazing experience. Photo by VisitGreenland.com

Northern Lights in Greenland

As the days went by, my Greenlandic experience kept on going. Days went into nights and nights went into days.

Finally, I was told that tonight might be the night we could see the unique Northern Lights.

I was beyond excited, and it definitely seemed like this was something that would bring the local Greenlanders to the streets as well.

As the night fell, every person in our village – young as well as old – were ere on the streets to watch the lights dance in the night sky.

The Northern Lights reached down from space filling up the night with a sense of magic.

I stayed up all night to watch the Northern Lights. This phenomenon is Greenland’s way of adding an extra bonus to the winter world.

This might be one of my top three memories from all trips I have ever been on. Absolutely stunning!

The world of Greenland is amazing and it’s a time I won’t ever forget. If you have a travel bucket list, I’d recommend you put the world’s largest island on your list.

If You Travel to Greenland:

The Official National Tourism Board of Greenland
https://www.greenland.com/en/

The Big Arctic Five
Whale Watching, Dog Sledding, Northern Lights, Ice & Snow and Meeting the Pioneers

Dig deeper into the experiences of each destination:
https://www.greenland.com/en/destinations/

Author: Kirstine Dinesen

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Janna Graber

Janna Graber is an award-winning American travel journalist and current editor of Go World Travel Magazine. Since moving to Austria at age 19 for college, she's been in love with world travel, and has covered destinations around the globe for more than 55 newspapers, magazines and websites. She's the author of three travel anthology books, including "A Pink Suitecase: 22 Tales of Women's Travel".
Janna Graber
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