Greenland is an autonomous country within the Kingdom of Denmark, the largest island in the world. With 80% of the area covered with ice, when it comes to Greenland, everyone thinks of giant glaciers. However, few people know that this island also possesses impressive natural scenery and an extremely long Inuit culture. So, is Greenland worth visiting, how to visit Greenland, what to do in Greenland and how to plan a budget trip to Greenland for the first-time perfectly? Let’s check out our Greenland travel blog (Greenland blog) with the fullest Greenland travel guide (guide to Greenland, Greenland visitors guide, Greenland city guide, Greenland guide) from how to get to Greenland, best places to visit, best time to come, what to eat as well as top things to do in Greenland to help you maximize your trip as follows!
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However, few people know that the island also boasts spectacular natural beauty and an extremely rich Inuit culture. Explore the article below with us to have unique ideas for your trip!
Overview of Greenland (#greenland travel blog)
Greenland means “land of people” and in Danish means “green land”. Geographically it is an Arctic island nation linked to the North American continent and Canada, but politically and historically Greenland has close ties to Europe. This largest island in the world has an area of 2.166 million square kilometers but 80% of the area is ice, the rest is not covered with ice equivalent to the size of Sweden.
Greenland is an autonomous territory within the Kingdom of Denmark and can actually be thought of as an independent country. With a population of less than 60,000, it is the most populous country and the largest extra-continental island in the world. Icebergs and glaciers are perhaps the most famous features of this place. The wonderful shape of the thick icebergs makes many visitors enjoy coming here.
High mountains with beautiful cliffs, clear blue skies and fresh air are tourist attractions. Animals that thrive in the sea and on land such as seals, whales, polar bears and reindeer make the flora and fauna here extremely rich.
Greenland is even more famous after US President Donald Trump asked to buy this island from Denmark after realizing the great benefits and significance as well as the development potential of the beautiful ice island. Of course, the Danish government rejected this offer and claimed sovereignty over Greenland and asserted that the island of more than 2.1 million square kilometers is not for sale no matter how big the profits or numbers are that the US offers.
Before going to Greenland, visitors should prepare the Danish Krone, also denoted by Kr. This is the currency used in Greenland and 1 Krone is divided into 100 øre.
When is the best time to explore Greenland? (#greenland blog)
This island country has 3 tourist seasons: spring, summer and winter, but if you come here in spring, you will experience the snow festival in the capital Nuuk. In addition, this is also the time when the world’s toughest Arctic Circle Race is held in Sisimiut.
Summer from May to September, ice melts in fjords and large rivers. The highest temperature here does not exceed 10 degrees Celsius and the sky is clear. This is an opportunity for visitors to sail on the bay, enjoy boat excursions on the glaciers, visit the settlements and historic sites of Greenland.
If you are an adventurer, you should come here in winter, from November to February. At this time of year, you can admire the spectacular Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) and mysterious dark nights in the polar and enjoy the feeling of riding a sled, you can even go on a snowmobile excursion during the Polar Nights.
There will be 2 consecutive months without night (white night) (#greenland travel blog)
Visitors should note that when traveling to the island of Greenland, they will experience the feeling of 2 months without night if they come here at the right time from May 25 to July 27 every year. The reason is that this is the period with the longest day of the year as well as the festival season of this beautiful island. This is an opportunity for indigenous people to enjoy life, they lie in the sun and together create vibrant outdoor barbecues.
This time also has the warmest temperature of the year, visitors will experience a warm time in the sun and see the entire island in the most clear way instead of the white color of snow and ice in winter.
How to get to Greenland? (#greenland travel guide)
To buy air tickets at a good price, you should note on how to travel and book tickets 1-2 months in advance. Greenland’s visa regulations are similar to those of Scandinavia and parts of the Kingdom of Denmark. If you come from a country that requires a visa to enter Denmark, you will also need a visa to travel to Greenland. However, a visa valid for Denmark is not automatically valid for Greenland, so a separate visa application is required upon arrival in Greenland.
There are 3 ways to go from Vietnam to Greenland by plane, you can fly from Tan Son Nhat airport to the following 3 places:
- Ho Chi Minh City – Sisimiut: It takes about 27 hours and 11 minutes with the price from 702 – 1802 USD.
- Ho Chi Minh city – Ilulissat: It takes about 26 hours and 9 minutes with the price from 1102 – 2802 USD.
- Ho Chi Minh City – Nuuk: It takes about 27 hours 42 minutes with price from 1202 – 3002 USD.
The international airlines operating flights from Vietnam to Greenland are Thai Smile, Thai Vietjet Air, Qatar Airways, Air Greenland and Icelandair.
If you depart from other cities you can access Google Flights, Kayak or Skyscanner to find suitable routes and hunt cheap airfares.
Getting around Greenland
This place is located separately from the mainland, and there is no road or rail system connecting these areas. To move from the town center to the suburbs, people mainly use boats, sleds, dogsled or helicopters.
Where to stay? (#greenland travel blog)
Greenlanders often live in the capital Nuuk, so almost hotels are concentrated here. You can choose from modern, fully equipped 4-star hotels or if you want to experience contact with the lives of locals, you can choose to stay in a homestay. In the larger towns, you can check in with tourist offices to arrange accommodation for you at a Greenlandic family. In addition, you can also choose to stay in a hostel to save money for backpackers. Here are some hotels in Nuuk for your reference:
Aurora Hotel: 1.1 km from the city center. The hotel offers single, double and family rooms. Each room has a private bathroom and toiletries. (Agoda, Booking)
Kang Apartments: 1.6 km from the city center, with sea views and free Wi-Fi. (Agoda, Booking)
HHE Express: Located in the heart of Nuuk, the hotel has a modern design, clean and comfortable rooms, free private parking and a restaurant serving European dishes. (Agoda, Booking)
Hotel Nuuk – Apartment Nanoq: It has received many very good reviews from travellers. This is the ideal place to stay for groups of friends or families, with a large kitchen space and relaxing spa bath. (Agoda, Booking)
B&B Julia & Poul Lyberth: There are many interesting experiences with homestays with locals. Guests staying at this hotel give it a score of 9.4/10 for the convenience and friendliness of the host. (Agoda, Booking)
Below we recommend more best budget, mid-range and upscale hotels with good ratings and reviews you can refer to.
- Hotel Nuka (Agoda, Booking)
- Hotel Icefiord (Agoda, Booking)
- Hotel Arctic Ilulissat (Agoda, Booking)
- Hotel SOMA Nuuk (Agoda, Booking)
- Hans Egede Hotel (Agoda, Booking)
- Hotel SOMA Ilulissat (Agoda, Booking)
Check out more top and best hotels in Greenland on Agoda.com or Booking.com
Where to go and what to do in Greenland?
Greenland can really be seen as a separate world. The most famous feature is probably the icebergs and glaciers like giant white buoys against the deep blue sea. Greenland also has beautiful green mountains and wildflowers, fjords, steep cliffs in the against a crystal clear sky.
Animals here thrive both at sea and on land such as seals, whales, polar bears and reindeer The fresh air creates a beautiful and romantic world just waiting to be discovered.
This is the most visited area by tourists when coming to Greenland, in 2004 it was recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Ilulissat Iceford is located in Disko Bay, home to huge glaciers. The ice sheets fractured off the glaciers and floated into coastal waters. If you are lucky you can witness this natural spectacle and can be watched from the mainland if the time is right.
Jakobshavn Glacier (#guide to greenland)
It is Greenland’s most visited site and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004. Ilulissat is located in Disko Bay, home to huge Jakobshavn Glacier. Icebergs break off glaciers and drift into coastal waters. If you’re lucky, you might be able to witness this natural wonder first-hand during your visit to Greenland.
Uunartoq Hot Springs (#greenland guide)
Hot springs are found everywhere in Greenland, especially the Uunartoq area. This is uninhabited land and is home to the most hot springs. Three natural hot springs combine to form a small pool, where visitors can immerse themselves in nature and admire the beautiful mountain peaks.
The Northern Lights are often referred to as “the greatest light show on earth”. When visiting Greenland, any tourist wants to see this scene once, and it only happens during the winter months from November to March. You can see the Northern Lights in the east – Ittoqqortoormiit, south – Qaqortoq and west – Kangerlussuaq.
About 2 km from the town of Ilulissat is an ancient Eskimo settlement. The site was first excavated in the early 20th century and includes a number of preserved sites of the indigenous Arctic Eskimo culture. In an old abandoned village, tourists will have the opportunity to see firsthand objects created by the inhabitants who lived here more than 2000 years ago.
The capital city of Nuuk
The capital Nuuk is the administrative center of Greenland, where most of the island’s population is concentrated. Tourists often head to the National Museum of Greenland to admire its collection of hunting equipment, carvings, kayaks and Viking life.
It also regularly hosts geological and art exhibitions. The museum currently houses the 500-year-old mummies of women and children, and some of the facial tattoos are still clearly visible.
The Viking ruins are the ruins of Eric’s millennial Norse colonies located south of Greenland. A visit to the Viking ruins takes you on a fascinating journey back to the days of the hunter-gatherers of the Norse peoples. Several ruins are found in the area such as the Church of Hvalsey Fjord and Brattahlid.
Tasiilaq is the largest town in Eastern Greenland, but only 2,000 people live here. The town of Tasiilaq possesses an extremely beautiful natural setting, surrounded by soaring mountains and divided by a small river. Behind the town is the valley of flowers, a great place for tourists to take a scenic walk. In winter, ski trips or snowmobile tours are popular. Summer is popular again with hiking tours, mountain climbing, sea kayaking or helicopter watching glaciers.
Thule & Northwest Greenland
Thule was founded in 1910 by Danish explorer Knud Rasmussen and his friend Peter Freuchen. Rasmussen made several expeditions from Thule into the North Pole to learn about the Eskimo tribe. Today Thule is a popular cruise ship destination.
Topping the wish list of many tourists in Greenland is watching the real whales. Most of the ice in the fjords will melt in May, so June and July are usually the best months for whale watching along the coastline.
Tours usually depart from towns such as Qeqertarsuaq, Nuuk and Aasiaat and are offered by tour companies such as Diskoline and Greenland Adventures. Usually, tourists will see encounters between humpback whales, groupers and fin whales. Luckily, you can catch blue whales, killer whales (orca), guppies, belugas, sperm whales, and pilot whales.
Snowmobile tours and dog sled rides
Wildlife spotting is one of the must-try things to do in Greenland, and the best way to experience the country’s unique natural environment is by taking a sleigh excursion. Reindeer, polar bears and white-tailed eagles are just some of the beautiful creatures in this place.
The winter months are the best time for snowmobile or dog sled tours. You will discover wildlife such as reindeer, polar bear and white-tailed eagle.
In addition, you can also rent a snowmobile to experience it yourself. Naturally, winter is the best time for this type of travel. Some of the most popular areas to explore its flora and fauna are Disko Bay, Tasiusaq Fjord, Qaanaaq and Thule.
What to eat?
Greenlandic cuisine is little known but has recently begun to take on a more international influence. The dishes here are used local products such as reindeer and fish. In coastal fishing villages, fishing is the main source of income and daily food for the people.
Mattak is a popular snack in Greenland and a favorite of the indigenous people. Mattak refers to the skin and underlying fat layer of the whale. This dish is served raw or served with coarse salt. The way to eat mattak is like tasting wine, because people often enjoy the taste of it and then discard the crumbs.
Suaasat is a traditional Greenlandic soup. It is traditionally made from seal meat, but can also be substituted with whale, reindeer or seabird meat.
The soup usually consists of onions and potatoes and is simply seasoned with salt, black pepper, and bay leaves. The soup is usually thickened with rice or barley soaked in water overnight.
Dried whale meat
Dried whale is a popular snack for light lunches. Because the temperature on the island does not exceed 10 degrees Celsius, fresh food can be easily preserved as dry or salted food. Although Greenland does not allow commercial whaling, whale hunting is still possible in traditional communities, as this has been their practice for centuries. via.
Grilled beef is also a popular dish, prepared with all ingredients including tomato sauce, soy sauce and paprika.
Fruits and vegetables are ingredients that must be imported from other countries, so they are quite expensive.
Today, going to Greenland is not difficult because there is a lot of information available to tourists. In particular, the hospitality of the locals will make your trip easier. Prepare before you go, especially warm clothes and personal papers to make the trip the most complete.
Some best day tours, trips, activities and transfer services, tickets in, from and to Greenland you can refer to
- Sisimiut: Stars and Northern Lights UTV Tour
- Sisimiut: Winter Monster Sled Safari to the Backcountry
- Sisimiut: Dogsledding Discovery Experience
- Sisimiut: Winter Snowshoe Hike
- Sisimiut: Guided Backcountry Snowmobile Adventure
Read more Denmark guide here.