This Arctic island may not be at the top of your immediate travel plans, but we think you should reconsider that. To prove our point, we want to share some of the best places to visit in Greenland.
Our goal, of course, is to inspire you to add this amazing destination to your bucket list. Because for us, it is one of the most interesting and beautiful places we have ever traveled.
From the best cities, towns and remote regions to visit, to the best activities to be experienced across this vast island, here are some of the best places to visit in Greenland.
10 Best Places to Visit in Greenland
Found on the western coastline of Greenland, Sisimiut is an excellent place to explore fjords by boat and to take on dog sledding.
The town of Sisimiut was one of our favorite stops during our 3 week trip in Greenland.
Due to its location that’s neither too far south nor too far north, ground conditions are usually excellent for dogsledding not only in winter but almost right up to the start of summer too.
There is a small museum to visit, and several remote fishing villages nearby that offer wonderful insights into local life in this far corner of Greenland.
Additionally, Sisimiut makes an excellent hub for hiking. There are many trails in the area that lead to smaller settlements, abandoned villages and you can even embark on the Arctic Circle Trail from here.
Ilulissat is one of Greenland’s most popular destinations because quite simply, it is stunning. Suffice to say, this is our favorite town in Greenland and we’d return in a heartbeat.
Found on the western coastline, at Ilulissat you can see the spectacular sight of the enormous Ilulissat Ice Fjord which continually empties icebergs into the bay by the town.
Take a cruise out from the harbor to get up close to these enormous blocks of ice, or even head out onto the water in a kayak or on a sailboat.
When the weather is at its best, you can even take on some of the hikes which navigate the ice fjord. These are tough but utterly astonishing trails that will lead you to some of the best viewpoints over the icebergs.
If you want to, it is also possible to visit the Eqi Glacier, which is the active glacier that actually feeds the icebergs into the fjord. You can even stay overnight and listen to the rumbling sounds of the ice being carved off.
Ilulissat has the charm that you imagine when you daydream about visiting a place like Greenland.
Despite being so far above the Arctic Circle, we found the weather in summer to still be fair, 45F, and were able to enjoy the entire area during our visit.
We even went sea kayaking among icebergs, which was one of the most amazing things we have ever done.
Tours we recommend in Ilulissat:
- Oqaatsut Day Trip with Kayaking from Ilulissat
- Ilulissat Snowshoeing Hike
- Day trip to Oqaatsut
- Amazing Days in Ilulissat
Kangerlussuaq is home to one of Greenland’s two international airports and it makes for a great entry point to the western coast. This is a small town, that really only grew around the airport.
However, it is worth staying for a few days to explore the beautiful landscapes nearby. Greenland’s enormous Ice Sheet can be found just a few miles away from Kangerlussuaq, and in summer you can even hike out to see the edge of it.
Many visitors will also choose to take a four by four or snowmobile to see the Ice Cap, both adventurous methods of transport which make for an experience in itself.
This town also acts as a hub for the start/end of the Arctic Circle Trail, a 105km thru-hike across the backcountry of Greenland from the Ice Cap to the coast in Sisimiut, or reverse.
A trip to Greenland cannot ignore a visit to Nuuk. For a capital city, it isn’t the easiest location to arrive at but it’s worth the trouble.
Nuuk is the largest settlement in Greenland and arguably the liveliest and most culturally vibrant place to see.
Nuuk dates back to the early 18th century when it was founded by European settlers. Since then it has grown, but not too much. This is still a quaint, ramshackle and strangely charming place to visit.
Explore the old harbor, where the settlers first landed, then walk through the colorful houses that dot the streets and the cliffs.
In the capital, you can find Greenland’s best museums so take the time to visit the National Museum to learn more about both the Inuit and European cultures that have fused here.
The surrounding scenery is simply spectacular too, and in summer you can join a cruise of the nearby Nuuk Fjords and even head out hiking across the endless landscapes.
Read more 10 Cool Things to Do in Nuuk, Greenland
Tours we recommend in Nuuk:
Narsarsuaq is found in southern Greenland. Due to the flat landscape and fairly temperate weather conditions – at least in comparison to the rest of Greenland – this is the site of one of the two international airports on the island.
While many travelers will pass through on a domestic connection, Narsarsuaq is also the gateway to the southern region of Greenland and it’s well worth hanging around to explore.
Narsarsuaq is a small place and there’s little except an interesting museum and the airport in the town. The real beauty lies in the surrounding areas and in exploring the remote settlements.
Visit Qaqortoq, the largest town in the south, before exploring the fjords, admiring the icebergs and if you are visiting in summer, taking on some of the epic hiking trails.
Tour we recommend in Narsarsuaq: Qoornoq Island Tour
6. Tasiilaq and Eastern Greenland
The eastern coast of Greenland sees fewer visitors than the western and southern portions of the country, making this a somewhat offbeat location in an already offbeat travel destination.
The coastline here is very sparsely populated, and Tasiilaq is the largest ‘city’ and gateway to the region.
It’s really more of a village however but well worth a visit purely to enjoy its remote isolation. This is really what Greenland is all about.
Take a boat trip from Tasiilaq along the coastline to see the huge icebergs that are found here all year round and visit some of the small fishing villages strung along the eastern shore – many are even abandoned these days.
In summer, this is a great location for hiking, with plenty of trails heading across the mountains and following the coast. Remember though, the hiking season is short.
The rest of the year, you will need to be good at cross-country skiing, dogsledding or have access to a snowmobile to get around!
7. Northeast Greenland National Park
Tasiilaq also acts as the only real entrance point to the far north of Greenland, an area of the island which is almost completely uninhabited, save for a few weather stations and research centers.
This is real expedition territory, and much of the northeast is taken up by the boundless Northeast Greenland National Park, the world’s largest national park.
Much of this encompasses a huge ice sheet, but the coastline contains fjords, an endless array of icebergs and untouched scenery.
Visiting is difficult, but if you have the time and resources it is an experience like no other in the world. This makes this one of the most rewarding places to visit in Greenland.
Qaanaaq is Greenland’s most northerly, permanently inhabited settlement. Found on the northwest side of the island, this is one of the most remote but intriguing towns to visit, but getting here is not so easy.
Permission is required due to nearby military bases operating in the area, and there are few flights in. This makes it one of the most unique places to visit in Greenland.
Make it here though and you will be rewarded with a true example of life on the fringe of the world.
This is the perfect place to learn dog sledding with the locals, and to visit the nearby Inuit villages that have survived here for centuries.
In summer, for weeks at a time, there is endless sunlight, making Qaanaaq an excellent location to experience the Midnight Sun.
Want to experience Qaanaaq? Check out Greenland’s Last Frontier tour
9. Sermermiut UNESCO Site
If you love history and find yourself in Ilullisat, be sure to add a day of exploration at the Sermermiut UNSECO site to your agenda. It is one of the best places to visit in Greenland.
This is the location of an old Inuit settlement that was abandoned in 1850 when the last of its residents moved to the village of Jakobshavn. Today that village is known as Ilulissat.
Archeological excacvations have revealed an immense amount of information about this pre-colonial settlement.
It has been discvered that the settlement was used by three distinct Greenlandic cultures. The Saqqaq, Early Dorset and Thule cultures all occupied this area.
Structures in the area have been dated as early as 600 to 200 BCE. Today, you can see many rock mounds, piles and structural remains from these times.
10. Uunartoq Hot Springs
While Greenland has many hot springs located throughout its thawed coastline, all but one are too cold to actually enjoy.
That is except for the Uunartoq Hot springs that are located in the south of Greenland.
Founded by Norseman over 1,00 years ago, these hot springs are located on the uninhabited island between Alluitsup Paa and Nanortalik.
The site consists of three naturally heated springs that run together to form a small pool that has been dammed with stones.
The pools at Uunartoq Hot Springs are crystal clear and average 38 degrees Celcius. This makes this spot one of the best places to visit in Greenland.
Visiting this hot springs is like witnessing an oxymoron. You can sit in a steaming hot pool while marveling at the massive icebergs floating in the bay just off shore.
Greenland Travel Tips
Best Time of Year to Visit Greenland
Due to its location in the far northern hemisphere, Greenland is at the mercy of very extreme weather throughout the year.
Due to the large extent of Greenland, the different regions too can experience extremely different weather patterns. Summer is, of course, the best and safest time to visit Greenland.
The short summer season lasts only from June through to September, and this also coincides with the peak tourism season.
Summer can see parts of Greenland experiencing 24 hours of daylight, while conversely, during the dark depth of winter, the sun might not rise at all.
The far north of Greenland lies within the Arctic Circle, and this barren region, of course, has the coldest, iciest weather, and even in the height of summer can be difficult to visit.
The southern regions have the most temperate weather, but in winter can be difficult to travel to still. The weather is a very important factor when visiting Greenland, so it pays to pick the right season.
How to Travel to and Around Greenland
Greenland has just a few major towns and cities, and even fewer international entry points. There are however regular flights from nearby Reykjavik in Iceland and also from Copenhagen, in Denmark.
The only two airports in the country large enough to cater to these international flights though are Kangerlussuaq and Narsarsuaq. Not even the capital Nuuk has a sufficient airport.
Travel around Greenland is also difficult, as there are almost no intercity roads and there are no trains. Domestic flights are the quickest way to travel, while during summer there are regular ferries along the coast.
People also do a lot of hiking between settlements. In the winter, you have a few more options with the use of traditional dog sledging, snowmobiles and snowshoes. The routes aren’t any easier though.
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More on Greenland:
- 10 Cool Things to Do in Nuuk
- Sisimiut, Greenland: 15 Things to Do & See
- 9 Epic Reasons to Visit Ilulissat, Greenland
- 11 Things to Do in Kangerlussuaq, Greenland
- Greenland Kayaking-An Adventure Like No Other
- Best Sleeping Bag for Cold Weather
- 9 Unreal Northern Lights Tours