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WHY VISIT GREENLAND?

Updated: May 26, 2023

By Ignacio Maza, My friend and colleague with Signature Travel Network.

I recently visited Greenland, on a Silversea Expeditions' Educational Trip. In the past few years, Greenland has become one of the most sought-after destinations in the Arctic. Here are my trip notes:


Overview: Greenland is the largest island in the world and the closest landmass to the North Pole. It's hard to grasp just how big Greenland is, so just consider that it's larger than Mexico and more than 3X the size of Texas. The vast majority of Greenland is covered by an enormous ice sheet, over 1,600 miles long and about one mile high. Most of the island is uninhabited. There are a few settlements and small cities, mostly on the SW coast. Greenland is a self-governing Danish territory and was not open to visitors until the 1950s.


Why visit?


Spectacular landscapes. Greenland took my breath away away with its pristine, natural beauty -- fjords that go on for miles, enormous glaciers, beautiful mountains and lakes, a rugged coastline, giant icebergs, endless icefields, and so much more. There are no trees, so it's mostly rock, tundra, and ice.









A rich Inuit cultureThenative Inuits came in waves from Northern Canada, starting at about 4,500 years ago. As you travel in SW Greenland, you will have the opportunity to experience the living Inuit culture and the spirit of the ancestors that continues to this day. The best museums are located in Nuuk (National Museum) and the open-air museum of Nanortalik. In Nuuk, don't miss the well-preserved mummies, dating back from 1475 and frozen in time.










Kayaking, elevatedDid you know? Kayaking was invented in Greenland centuries ago. During your visit, kayak in the fjords, in the open ocean, next to glaciers and icebergs, and feel like a local resident.






Charming small towns Most Greenlanders live on the southwest coast, where the weather is mildest and less windy. Take time to visit small villages and cities along the coast, some as small as 100 inhabitants (Aappilattoq, my favorite). Natives are friendly and open, and proud of their homeland. Everyone is out and about during the summer months, when the sun rises at 3am and sets around 11pm in the towns below the Arctic circle.




Big, beautiful glaciers Greenland's icecap is never far away and pushes rock and chunks of ice into the seas surrounding the island, channeled through glaciers and icefields. Wherever you go, there will be a glacier nearby.








Walk in the footsteps of the VikingsStarting around a thousand years ago, Vikings settled in SW Greenland and established a series of farmsteads. The best-preserved remnants of Viking settlements are in Hvalsey, now a UNESCO World Heritage site and very much worth visiting.












Memorable Hikes All over Greenland, you have the opportunity to experience fantastic hikes - long and short, easy and challenging, always rewarding.












The Ilulissat Icefjord Nothing compares to Ilulissat, called 'the birthplace of icebergs' by the native Inuit. Every day, this icefjord produces nearly 20 million tons of ice. Go out on a small (and preferably fast) boat, to get up close and personal with giant icebergs. If you lucky, you will see pods of whales feeding in the frozen waters. You can also hop on a helicopter, and fly over the icefjord.






A natural wonderland --- without the crowds At a time when our National Parks and nature reserves are overloaded, it's a joy to experience pristine, natural beauty without the crowds. When you visit Greenland, you'll have plenty of wide open spaces to yourself.





For active and adventuresome travelers looking for new horizons, add Greenland to your travel 'wish list'.


I want to thank Ignacio Maza my colleague at Signature Travel Network for writing this.


Contact me to plan your vacation to Greenland.

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