The renovated Norse ruins at Qassiarsuk in South Greenland, by Stacy William Head
© Visit Greenland - Stacy William Head

Frequently asked questions

When best to travel

  • What is the best time to travel to Greenland?

    People travel in Greenland mainly in summer or winter. In summer season the best time to travel is from mid June to mid September. Winter starts in November and lasts until the end of April. For a proper winter experience, however, we recommend travelling from mid February to mid April as there is greater likelihood of snow, more daylight and also more activities on offer.

  • What is not a good time for travelling in Greenland?

    October, November, December and January as well as May are low-season months and less frequented. This is due to unstable weather with high winds, rain, snow and fog, which often results in flight delays or cancellations. During this time flight schedules to and within Greenland are reduced and excursions are hardly offered.

  • How is the climate in Greenland?

    Greenland has an Arctic climate. The weather can change at an instant and also varies considerably over short distances, meaning that suitable clothing is essential at all times. The air quality in Greenland is actually among the best in the world and the air itself is generally very dry. Due to the low humidity you can see further and temperatures can feel warmer than you might expect when the sun is shining.

    Temperatures in summer range between 5 and 15 °C (41 and 59 °F). Depending on the area, you can have minimum temperatures under 0 °C (32 °F) even during summer and maximum temperatures of up to 20 °C (68 °F). This maximum is mostly reached in South Greenland where even in winter temperatures are sometimes a little above 0 °C (32 °F).

    Winter temperatures in general range between -5 and -25 °C (23 and 13 °F) also depending on the area. If it is windy, the perceived temperature can be as low as -40 °C (-40 °F) (wind chill factor).

    You may check on the current weather in Greenland below:

    Weather in Greenland
  • What are typical activities in summer or in winter?

    In summer you may join boat tours, sailing trips or go trekking, hiking, iceberg and glacier exploring, kayaking, whale watching and visiting remote settlements. In winter the main activities are Northern Lights hunting, dog sledding, snowshoeing and snowmobiling or you even try sleeping in an igloo.

  • Where and when can I best witness the midnight sun?

    The phenomenon of the midnight sun is caused by the tilt of the Earth’s axis and its orbit around the sun. This turns the region around and north of the Arctic Circle towards the sun during summer so that it is visible around the clock.

    It is an amazing experience to travel and not see night during your trip. For how many days this can be witnessed depends on the latitude of the places you visit. The further north you travel, the more daylight you will have. If you travel in Disko Bay or at the east coast between the beginning of June and mid July, you will observe this phenomenon. There is no midnight sun in the southerly regions of Greenland, though the nights are certainly very light during summer.

    You can find exact daylight hours at different places and times in Greenland under the link below.

    Sunrise and sunset times in Greenland
  • Where and when can I best witness the northern lights?

    The northern lights are a natural phenomenon, thus we cannot guarantee that you will see them during your trip. However, Greenland is one of the best places to observe them and if you are traveling in Greenland from end of August to end of March, chances are good that you will be able to encounter them.

    The very best period to see the northern lights is during deep winter, from mid November to mid March during the new moon and when the sky is clear. The best conditions to observe this phenomenon are found away from towns and settlements, where there is no artificial light. In South Greenland you can also observe them during summer after mid August, when the nights get darker.

    Northern lights tours are offered on the most regular basis in February and March.

  • How is the daylight during winter in Greenland?

    Since Greenland is a very extensive country the exact amount of daylight depends on the latitude of the places you visit. In Ilulissat in Disko Bay, the most visited place in winter, the daylight diminishes quickly from end of October onwards. The polar nights in that area, with the sun not rising above the horizon, last from end November until mid January.

    After that, the light returns rapidly and becomes slightly brighter every day until the days of the midnight sun return. Each season and area comes up with a specific light that gives a special atmosphere to your trip. Such as the winter darkness, when the snow reflects the moonlight and the northern lights are observed at its best.

    You can find exact daylight hours at different places and times in Greenland under the link below.

    Sunrise and sunset times in Greenland

Entering Greenland

  • Which entry requirements apply to Greenland?

    In order to provide you with the most up to date information on entry requirements for Greenland we would like to refer to the official portal of the Danish Immigration Service.
    There you will find the countries without visa requirement listed and it is outlined what the conditions for visa-free travel to Greenland are and which entry documents are required for that. As a citizen of a visa-free country, you do not need a visa to enter Greenland. However, an ID card issued by an EU or Schengen country that is valid for entry into Denmark does not give permission to enter Greenland. Such individuals will require a valid passport to travel to Greenland.
    The countries with visa-requirement are also listed and you come to know how to apply for a visa to enter Greenland. Please find the corresponding portal "New to Denmark" below.

    Entry requirements for Greenland
  • What are the customs regulations entering Greenland?

    Please find Greenland customs regulations in the document below.

    On leaving the country attention should also be paid to the following:
    When you buy Greenlandic handicrafts please note that special permits are required, or in certain cases that it is completely forbidden, to export items that contain components of rare plants or animals. You find detailed information on these rules as well as the respective CITES application form below (souvenir & handicraft shops also provide these forms).

    Greenland customs regulations
    CITES rules
    CITES application form

Getting there and around

  • How can I get to Greenland?

    Greenland can be reached by air from Iceland and Denmark.

    From Keflavik (Iceland):
    Icelandair flies all year to Kulusuk in East Greenland as well as to Nuuk, the Greenlandic capital. During winter and summer season Icelandair also flies to Ilulissat in Disko Bay. Furthermore, Icelandair operates flights to Narsarsuaq in South Greenland during summer.
    Besides, Air Greenland also offers flights from Iceland (Keflavik) to Nuuk and Ilulissat during summer high season.

    From Copenhagen (Denmark):
    Air Greenland flies to Kangerlussuaq all year and to Narsarsuaq during summer. From these two main airports you can connect to further towns and settlements.

    Our trips usually do not include the flights, but we can certainly arrange them for you. For each tour you will find more information on suitable flights including a price estimate. In addition to travel by air, you can also get to Greenland on one of our sailing expeditions from Iceland. Greenland Tours does not offer classic cruises.

  • Do I need to stopover in Copenhagen or Keflavik before or after travelling to Greenland?

    Direct flights to Greenland are only operated from Denmark and Iceland. Therefore, you need to come to Copenhagen in Denmark or Keflavik in Iceland before you can fly to Greenland. The flights to Greenland usually leave during the morning and arrive back from Greenland in the evening. Therefore, we advise to allow for some time buffer as follows:

    Flying to Greenland from/to Copenhagen:
    You should spend at least one night in Copenhagen before and after your flight to Greenland. If travelling further with a long distance flight from Copenhagen, we even recommend to spend at least two nights in Copenhagen before flying back home. This creates a safety buffer in case your return flight from Greenland should be delayed due to bad weather and can avoid high extra costs for missing your connection homewards.

    Flying to Greenland from/to Keflavik:
    You should spend at least one night in Keflavik before your flight to Greenland and at least two nights in Keflavik or Reykjavik before flying back home. This creates a safety buffer in case your return flight from Greenland should be delayed due to bad weather.
    Icelandair also offers connections without having to spend the night in Iceland. In such cases we highly recommend to book all flights on an Icelandair ticket so that the airline can take care of rebooking your connecting flight in case of flight delays.

  • How long are flight durations to Greenland?

    Flight times of direct connections:

    Keflavik - Kulusuk > 1h 50min
    Keflavik - Ilulissat > 3h 30min
    Keflavik - Nuuk > 3h 45min
    Keflavik - Narsarsuaq 3h

    Copenhagen - Kangerlussuaq 4h 40min
    Copenhagen - Narsarsuaq 4h 50min

    Kangerlussuaq - Ilulissat > 45min
    Kangerlussuaq - Nuuk > 55min
    Kangerlussuaq - Sisimiut > 30min

    Please note that departure and arrival times on your flight ticket are always stated in local time and that there is a time difference between Denmark (in summer GMT+2) and Greenland (Kangerlussuaq in summer GMT-1) as well as Iceland (GMT) and Greenland (Kangerlussuaq in summer GMT-1). In other words, if you depart 09:00 local time in Copenhagen and arrive 10:40 local time in Kangerlussuaq, your flight time is not 1h 40min, but 4h 40min due to the time difference of 3 hours between Denmark and Greenland.

  • What is the baggage allowance on flights to Greenland?

    Icelandair
    In economy class (standard & flex fare) you may take up to 20 kg of checked baggage and hand luggage up to 6 kg. Hand luggage should always be kept to a minimum since there is limited space in the overhead compartment on board. Maximum size of hand luggage: 55 x 35 x 20 cm

    Air Greenland
    In economy class you may take up to 20 kg of checked baggage and 1 item of hand luggage up to 8 kg. In premium class passengers are allowed to have checked baggage weighing up to 30 kg and 2 items of hand luggage provided that the total weight does not exceed 8 kg. Maximum size of hand luggage: 55 x 40 x 23 cm

    Updated information as well as details on charges for excess baggage can be found directly on the airlines webpages.

  • How can I get around in Greenland?

    Getting around in Greenland is an adventure itself. It is the world's largest island with towns and settlements scattered along the coastline, far away from each other. There are no roads connecting the towns and settlements, thus boats, airplanes and helicopters are the primary means of transportation. The coastal ferry 'Sarfaq Ittuk' sails between South Greenland and Uummannaq, connecting the communities along the West Coast. Greenland's East is even more remote and can only be reached by ship or by airplane from Iceland or from Nuuk.
    In winter dog sleds and snowmobiles provide access to hunting grounds and also serve as vehicles for adventurers.

Booking your adventure

  • How do I book a tour with Greenland Tours?

    You can simply send us your preferences for your favourite tour through our 'request a quote' form. Soon after you will receive a detailed offer based on your individual request and wishes. When your adventure is fine-tuned and you are ready to book, you just let us know and we will send you a registry link to fill in your personal information.

    Once we have received your details, we will send you an invoice asking for a deposit payment of 40% of the total tour price (by bank transfer or VISA/Mastercard via a secure credit card link). After receiving your deposit we will start the booking process and get back to you after all services have been confirmed. The remaining amount will be due 1 month prior departure.

  • How far in advance do you recommend to book?

    We recommend to contact us as soon as you have made up your mind about travelling to Greenland. Given that only two airlines are flying there and accommodation is scarce too, the earlier you book the more choices you have. One year in advance is great, since this is when airlines usually publish their schedule. As closer as it gets to the travel date the more flexibility is required. Sure we will also manage short-term requests, but expect higher airfares and more limited accommodation options.

  • Should I book activities in advance or can I book them on the spot?

    Both is possible, but we do recommend to book favourite activities upfront. That saves you a spot already and spares you from missing some great adventures due to unavailability. It also allows for fine-tuning the daily itinerary in advance. For air sightseeing by helicopter or small plane however, we recommend to book on the spot to ensure best weather conditions.

  • When and in what format do I receive my travel documents?

    You will receive login details for accessing your travel documents within our travel app circa 4 weeks prior departure, after your final payment has been registered. The travel documents include your trip-specific equipment list, your detailed itinerary as well as your flight tickets and vouchers for all booked services. The travel app comes with further tips and hints such as points of interest and FAQ to help you best prepare for your adventure and to be well informed on-site.

  • What if I have to cancel my trip?

    Please notify us immediately by email if you have to cancel your trip. In case of a cancellation our terms and conditions apply and cancellation fees are claimed, the amount depending on how far ahead of your travel date you cancel. We strongly advise to obtain travel cancellation insurance that can cover at least some of the reasons that might lead to a cancellation such as suddenly getting ill before your trip. Please find our terms and conditions below.

    Terms and conditions

Being safe and sound

  • Do I need travel insurance?

    We strongly advise our adventurers to be covered by travel cancellation and interruption insurance as well as by comprehensive travel health insurance including search and rescue and medical repatriation expenses. Travel insurance can be obtained from various sources, like your local insurer. Fore further info visit our travel insurance section.

    Travel Insurance
  • Are vaccinations required when travelling to Greenland?

    There are no vaccination requirements for Greenland, but the common standard vaccinations according to age and health condition are recommended to be in place. For longer stays or close contacts to the local population travel vaccinations as Hepatitis B and A should be considered.

  • Do I need to meet certain requirements when taking part in your tours?

    This depends on the tour your are taking - Greenland Tours offers a great variety of tours that also differ in their difficulty level. The level can range from easy and moderate to challenging or even hard. Each of our individual tours as well as our group tours is classified accordingly, showing you which adventure is the best fit for you.

    In addition to that, our individual tours can also be customised taking into account your very own needs and requirements regarding the degree of difficulty and types of activities. You can see all our difficulty levels below.

    Difficulty levels
  • What about medical care in Greenland?

    Greenland as the world's largest island with about 85% of its territory covered by ice only has a tiny population of around 57.000 inhabitants who are living in small towns and settlements far away from each other. There are only five regional hospitals in the towns Ilulissat, Aasiaat, Sisimiut, Qaqortoq and Tasiilaq. Smaller towns only have basic health centres and there are no doctors or nurses present in settlements. People with more severe medical conditions have to go to the national hospital in Nuuk or to specialised hospitals in Denmark. It is recommended that travellers bring their own regularly used medication since special products are not available.

    The Health Authorities advise to obtain a comprehensive travel health insurance that covers all aspects of ill health, including sudden onset of disease emergencies, hospital admission, therapy, medication, dental care and home transportation as well as ambulance transportation from sparsely populated or desolate areas in Greenland.

    Please find the rules governing health care provision for temporary residents (people staying six months or less) in Greenland and also more info on Greenland's healthcare system below.

    Health care provision for temporary residents
    Greenlandic healthcare system
  • Can I travel with children in Greenland?

    Greenland is not a typical travel destination for families with young children. The remoteness of the country and the Arctic climate can affect travel plans and therefore require a lot of flexibility. Bad weather conditions can for instance result in flight delays or cancellations, in longer waiting hours and in changes of tour programmes. Moreover, a lot of activities like snowmobiling, snowshoeing, glacier adventures or kayaking also require certain minimum ages.

    Therefore, we do not recommend to travel with babies or young children. The minimum age for our individual trips during summer starts at 8 years, during winter it starts at 12 years (further depending on the type of trip and on the activities).

    If you decide to travel with children they should love outdoor activities, be well prepared for all weather conditions and your programme should be fine-tuned for the whole family.

Money matters

  • What is the currency in Greenland?

    In Greenland, the currency is the Danish krone (DKK). 100 DKK = approx. 13.41 EUR (December 2023), 1 EUR = approx. 7.45 DKK (December 2023).

  • How much Danish krone (DKK) in cash should I bring to Greenland?

    You do not necessarily have to take a lot of cash money in Danish krone (DKK) with you to Greenland since common credit cards are accepted at most places and ATMs are found in the larger towns. We therefore suggest to rather bring a smaller cash amount e.g. for visits to smaller settlements or for tip.

  • Where can I withdraw money in Greenland?

    Cash Dispensers (ATMs) for cash withdrawal can be found in the following towns: Nuuk, Ilulissat, Kangerlussuaq, Sisimiut, Narsaq, Qaqortoq, Nanortalik, Paamiut, Maniitsoq, Aasiaat, Qasigiannguit, Qeqertarsuaq, Uummannaq, Upernavik, Tasiilaq. ATMs usually accept Visa, Mastercard, Eurocard, Diners, Dankort and American Express as well as Maestro and Cirrus.

  • How is the acceptance for credit cards in Greenland?

    Common credit cards are accepted at most places such as hotels, restaurants and shops. In smaller settlements though, it is a good idea to have some cash in Danish krone with you. Cash Dispensers (ATMs) take the following credit cards with pin code: Visa, Mastercard, Eurocard, Diners, Dankort and American Express.

  • Is tipping common in Greenland?

    In Greenland service charges and tip are included in the prices. A tip is therefore not required. But if you are very happy with a service, nobody is offended if you tip and it will be appreciated. How much tip you give is entirely up to you.

Having a chat

  • What is the official language in Greenland?

    Greenlandic (kalaallisut = “The Greenlanders’ language”) belongs to the Inuit-Aleut family of languages closely related to Inuit languages in Alaska and Canada. It has an agglutinating structure meaning that one sentence can be uttered in a single word.

    There are four dialects: West Greenlandic, South Greenlandic, East Greenlandic and the Thule dialect whereas West Greenlandic is the official language used for teaching and administration and also forms the basis of written Greenlandic. Written Greenlandic uses the Latin alphabet. In addition, Danish is taught as the first foreign language at school as well as English.

  • Can I get by with English in Greenland?

    The majority of the population speaks good Danish and the younger generation also English. Guided excursions are mainly offered in English. In remote small settlements, however, inhabitants usually don’t speak any English. So it would be great to come up with some basic Greenlandic words like the following:

    Hello - Aluu
    Goodbye - Baaj
    How are you - Qanorippit
    Yes - Aap
    No - Naamik
    I don’t understand - Paasinngilara
    Repeat please - Utilaaruk
    What is that - Sunaana
    A little bit - Immannguaq
    Could you help me, please - Ikiulaannga
    Thank you - Qujanaq
    See you soon - Takuss

Staying connected

  • How is mobile phone reception in Greenland?

    The mobile phone system in Greenland is GSM 900/1800, and with the exception of one or two settlements the system covers almost all of the inhabited areas in Greenland. There is no coverage outside of the settlements and at sea. Calling home from Greenland on your mobile phone can be very expensive, you should therefore check on the expenses with your mobile service provider.

  • How is internet and mobile internet connection in Greenland?

    At most accommodations in towns and settlements WiFi internet access is provided. Often you can access for free, though at some places you still need to pay a fee. In towns and settlements you can also access mobile internet on your smartphone via Telepost’s network by roaming, which is quite expensive. Please check with your mobile service provider regarding their roaming agreements with Greenland.
    Greenland Tours recommends to disable data roaming prior to arrival to avoid high costs and to use WiFi options at the accommodations instead.

    You may also buy a Greenlandic SIM card (called Tusass) in a Telepost Center in many towns. However, please keep in mind that we use your mobile phone number from home (the one you register with us when booking) as a contact option for airlines and local operators.

    Info on Tussas - Greenland SIM card
  • How will Greenland Tours contact you once in Greenland?

    In some cases we might need to contact you while you are already travelling in Greenland, for instance when a departure time of an activity has changed due to weather circumstances. If we can not reach you by calling, we will either send you an e-mail or a text message on your mobile phone with all necessary details. Another way is to have information forwarded to you by your accommodation's reception staff. If you need our assistance, please call us on +49 30 364 283 620.

  • Do I need a power plug adapter or voltage converter?

    In Greenland you have power plugs and sockets of type C (standard European plug with two connectors), F, E and K. The standard voltage is 230 V, standard frequency is 50 Hz. If the standard voltage of your electric appliances is in between 220 - 240 V (as in Europe, Australia and most of Asia and Africa) you may use it. If the standard voltage of your electric appliances is in the range of 100 V - 127 V (as in the US, Canada and most of South America), you need a voltage converter in Greenland.

    Some appliances such as chargers of laptops, mobile phones, photo cameras, or toothbrushes do not need a converter if their label states 'INPUT: 100-240V, 50/60 Hz'. To be sure, please check the label on the appliance.

Sleeping and eating

  • What types of accommodation are there in Greenland?

    There are various types of accommodation in Greenland including hotels, guesthouses, hostels as well as bed & breakfast places at local homes. The style is usually nordic - simple, minimal and functional with clean lines. If you join a sailing expedition or take the coastal ferry 'Sarfaq Ittuk' you will be accommodated in cabins or couchette/berth.

    To be even closer to the wild nature you can join the camp on the Ice Cap, stay at a hut overlooking a calving glacier or sleep in a tent or hut in the Arctic tundra on one of our trekking tours. In winter you might try out sleeping in an igloo or catching the Aurora from a glass-roofed cabin.

    Please note in general, since towns and settlements are small, accommodation is limited and we therefore recommend to book well in advance.

  • What is the Greenlandic cuisine like?

    The area where selected fruits and vegetables can be grown is limited to arable land in South Greenland. Besides that, fresh greens are mostly imported from Denmark or Iceland, causing them to be rather expensive and not very varied. The mammals that endure the Arctic conditions, the fish from the wide open sea and from rivers as well as birds are hence providing the vital food for Greenlanders.

    The menu for meat lovers consists of reindeer, muskox and lamb and is completed by small game such as ptarmigan and snow hare. Since livestock can mostly graze wild in Greenland's vast backcountry the meat is very tender and of high quality. In addition, there is a broad selection of fresh fish from the Arctic ocean - cod, trout, Arctic char, redfish and halibut as well as snow crab, shrimp and prawn.

    Special delicacies in Greenlandic cuisine include sea mammals like seals and smaller whales - such as the national dish 'Suaasat' which is a savory soup made of boiled seal meat. Also local herbs and berries like angelica, crowberry and blueberry find their way onto plates of distinct chefs.

    More info on food in Greenland can be found here:

    Food in Greenland
  • What choice of restaurants is there in Greenland?

    Nuuk, the capital city of Greenland, offers the most diverse choice of restaurants. Here you can not only enjoy Greenlandic cuisine, but also local ingredients prepared in different international styles.

    Ilulissat in Disko Bay also has a small choice of restaurants and cafés in either the hotels' own restaurants or in town. We highly recommend to reserve a table - you may ask your accommodation's reception staff for help.

    In the smaller settlements there are usually not many places to eat out and options are mostly limited to the hotel's own restaurant and local cafés.

  • How can I cater for myself in Greenland?

    Accommodations as hostels or guesthouses usually provide a common kitchen where you can prepare meals yourself. There are also apartments or studios that have a small kitchenette. You may shop your groceries at a supermarket in the towns and settlements. The smaller settlements normally only have a single corner store that sells food and other useful items.

    Since almost everything has to be imported to Greenland by aircraft or ship, price levels tend to be higher than in Europe. This applies especially for fresh fruit and vegetables as well as dairy products and alcohol. On the other hand, it is often possible to buy fresh fish or local meat at reasonable prices.

    Please don't expect to find a very large selection or very specialised goods in the shops. We therefore suggest to take certain snacks from home (only dry and approved provisions), if you don't want to miss out e.g. on your favourite chocolate or muesli bar or if you need special vegetarian, vegan or gluten-free alternatives.

  • Is there vegetarian or vegan food in Greenland?

    Greenlanders diet is dominated by a wide range of fish and meat. Some types of fruits and vegetables can be grown in South Greenland. Apart from that, fresh greens are mostly imported by aircraft or ship from Denmark or Iceland, causing them to be rather expensive.

    Restaurants in the larger towns or in the more popular tourist areas offer a small selection of vegetarian food. Also on group tours, that include board, the dietary requirements of vegetarians or vegans are cared for when announced in advance. However, Greenland still is no mecca for the green stuff.

  • What are the approximate costs for meals?

    It depends if you shop groceries at a supermarket and cater for yourself or if you eat out and what style of restaurant you choose. Prices for a lunch at a hotel restaurant range around EUR 20-30. Prices for a dinner main course at hotel restaurants start from around EUR 35. Three course dinners range around EUR 60-80.

Facts and figures

  • How many people live in Greenland?

    The world’s largest island is home to merely around 57.000 people that live almost exclusively in small towns and settlements along the coastline. About 50% of them live in the five largest towns Nuuk, Sisimiut, Ilulissat, Aasiaat and Qaqortoq. Thereof, around 19.000 people reside in the capital Nuuk. The population density in Greenland is the lowest in the world.

  • What is the capital city of Greenland?

    Nuuk is the capital city and also the largest city in Greenland. It is one of the smallest capitals in the world, a vibrant and colourful city where traditions merge with the modern Greenland, a city filled with art and surrounded by pristine nature.

  • What religions are there in Greenland?

    The prevailing religion is Protestantism and Greenland is an independent diocese in the Danish Protestant Church. All towns have their own church, but smaller communities use community rooms for mass. In Nuuk there is also a Catholic church. Besides that, there are further religions as well in Greenland.
    Moreover, it is very interesting to learn about the traditional beliefs of the Inuit that were common before missionaries came to Christianize Greenland. There are many myths, legends and beliefs that are deeply rooted in the people's connection with nature.

  • Are there UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Greenland?

    There are three UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Greenland.

    The Ilulissat Icefjord earned UNESCO status in 2004. The fjord is packed full of gigantic icebergs that have calved from the glacier Sermeq Kujalleq, the fastest-moving glacier in the northern hemisphere. The area can be explored by hiking to the coastline as well as by boat and helicopter.

    Kujataa was declared UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2017. This region in South Greenland covers five different spots where Vikings started to arrive and establish farms in the 10th to 14th century and also bears witness to Inuit farming and hunting communities in the area. Preserved ruins, small settlements and farms can be explored by hiking and boat transfers.

    Aasivissuit – Nipisat is Greenland’s most recently inscribed site (2018). This huge area inside the Arctic Circle in central Western Greenland extends from the ice cap to the sea and has been an Inuit hunting ground for about 4.200 years. It bears witness to seasonal migrations and includes archaeological sites from Paleo-Inuit and Inuit cultures.

Traditions and culture

  • How to immerse into Greenlandic culture?

    Greenland Tours works with a range of selected local partners in Greenland and a good way of getting into contact with locals is to join day tours and activities that are often guided by local people who will proudly represent their country and culture.

    You may also dive into Inuit culture by visiting one of the remote settlements - some settlement visits even include a lunch at a local family. Other ways of getting close are by attending a Kaffemik, by staying overnight at a Bed & Breakfast accommodation at a local home, by visiting markets and harbours where you can watch local fishermen engaged in their daily work. Museum visits are also a great opportunity to gain valuable insights into Greenlandic history and culture as well as a visit of Greenland's cultural centre 'Katuaq' in Nuuk.

    As a regional means of transport the coastal ferry 'Sarfaq Ittuk', that combines the towns and settlements along the West Coast, allows you to travel together with the locals. Even more traditional and wild is joining a musher on his dog sled as dog sledding is one of the most characteristic things to do in Greenland.

  • What is a kaffemik?

    A kaffemik is a social gathering in Greenland where, other than the name indicates, not only coffee is served. It is the Greenlandic way of celebrating a special event such as a birthday, first day of school or confirmation or the like. Greenlanders invite their guests to their own home which gets nicely decorated. Homemade food and cakes are prepared and family, friends, neighbours and colleagues are welcomed throughout the whole day.

    Travellers also have the chance to experience a kaffemik at a local home which is more about getting an insight into Greenlandic life than celebrating.

  • What is a Tupilak?

    A Tupilak represents an avenging creature that was mostly carved out of animal bones. The small bone figure was thrown into the ocean to destroy an enemy. Today Tupilak are an integral part of the Inuit art culture. Travellers can find them in many places and they are made out of all kinds of materials.

  • How does the traditional dress in Greenland look like?

    Traditionally, the Inuit only wore clothes made from animal skins or fur that protected them in the harsh arctic climate. Along with the Europeans, who set foot in Greenland during the 17th and 18th century, came other clothing fabrics as well as glass beads as trading goods. These materials gradually became incorporated into the Inuits‘ dress, particularly for festive occasions. It also became prestigious to use more and more beads. This is especially visible in the women’s colourful national dress.

    You may visit the local women's association in Ilulissat that reveals a glimpse into their traditional handcraft of dress making and also presents the national dress.

    A women from Nuuk in Greenland wearing her national costume for the National Day celebrations on June 21
    A women from Nuuk in Greenland wearing her national costume for the National Day celebrations on June 21
    © Visit Greenland - Mads Pihl

Encountering wildlife

  • Which animals are there in Greenland?

    Distinctive animals in Greenland are the white polar bear - the world’s largest land predator which also adorns Greenland’s national coat of arms - as well as the musk ox, the narwhal and the walrus. Further animal species are seals, whales, arctic foxes, arctic wolves, reindeer, collared lemmings and snow hares.

    Moreover, there are tremendous amounts of fish and a rich bird life which comprises some 50 breeding species. There is also livestock in South Greenland, among them are sheep, reindeer, cows, horses, dogs and fowls. Characteristic for Greenland are also the sled dogs. Greenland dogs pull the sled which is used for hunting and fishing in North Greenland.

  • How likely is it to encounter a polar bear in Greenland?

    The polar bear lives in Northwest and Northeast Greenland, but occasionally turns up in other parts of the country since it may move with the drifting sea ice and its main food source the seals. In summer it often goes ashore to find vegetation.

    Still, it is very rare to actually see a living polar bear, since they have their home in the vast wild parts of the country, coming seldomly near inhabited areas. The chances of encountering a polar bear are highest when sailing along the East coast or when hiking in polar bear territory.

    Please find important info on encountering polar bears in Greenland below and follow the necessary precautions.

    Encountering polar bears - infographic
    Guidelines for encounters with polar bears
  • How are the chances for whale watching?

    Up to 15 species of whales are found in Greenland's waters. The most common are fin, humpback and minke whale. In summer they come all the way from the Caribbean Sea to feed in the Arctic ocean.

    Others, that are quite rare to spot, are the extraordinary beluga whale and narwhal that have their permanent home in Greenland. Part of the year blue whales and orcas also traverse the waters. The rare bowhead whale can sometimes be spotted around Disko Island.

    June to September is main season for whale watching tours.

  • Are there mosquitoes in Greenland?

    There are mosquitoes and midges (small black flies) in the summer months, approximately from June to August. Since the defrost water can not infiltrate deep into the permafrost soil it forms puddles where mosquitoes can breed. They usually disappear with the first night frosts, starting end of August and in September depending on the area.

    We recommend to bring a mosquito head net, repellent and after-bite. Greenlanders keep mosquitoes away with the juice of the leaves from Labrador tea (qajaasat). Besides, when it is windy mosquitoes won't bother you, they also don't like the breeze by the sea and will not show up while you are sailing.

  • Beware of sled dogs!

    Riding a dog sled is one of the most authentic ways to experience the Arctic nature. It has been a mode of transport in Greenland for more than 5.000 years. The Greenland dog that is pulling the sled, is a hard-working, wild pure breed dog bursting with energy. So always keep a safe distance and never try to pet one without asking the musher first!
    Find more info below.

    Beware of sled dogs

Being stuck in Greenland

  • How about the risk of flight delays and cancellations in Greenland?

    Greenland's remoteness and wilderness make it special but also put some strain on its accessibility as nature clearly sets the agenda. The weather is unpredictable and can change considerably and all of a sudden.

    That means it is not unusual to experience flight delays or cancellations, especially if you have many connecting flights planned. Given that there are only a few daily flights entering the island and that domestic transportation is - besides some regional ferries and the coastal ship - based on small planes and helicopters, weather challenges or technical issues can have an impact on travellers' itineraries.

  • What happens when my flight is delayed or cancelled?

    In case of a flight delay or cancellation you should stay in close contact with the airline and check on any updates with the airline's counter staff. You should also inform Greenland Tours so that we can take further action regarding necessary rearrangements. Usually, when you have booked your flights directly through us, we will also be notified by the airline about schedule changes. So we will contact you as well and will be of your assistance through phone, by email and text message, rearranging your travel plans and keeping you updated.

    The airline will arrange accommodation and meal tickets if major delays occur and will of course do the utmost to get you back on track as quickly and smoothly as possible, always keeping your safety as first priority.

    Some flexibility, acceptance and trust will help in making the best out of any waiting time!
    You can check on the latest flight updates on Greenland's Airports Website below.

    Greenland Airports
  • How can I best use my extra time when being stuck?

    First, it should be clear when your journey will continue. So being in close contact with the airline or concerned transportation company as well as Greenland Tours has top priority to ensure that you don't miss your postponed departure. Once you know what time you are carrying on, we advice to make the best out of any waiting time.

    You may ask the reception staff at your accommodation for available activities and excursions and also check with Greenland Tours what is available and recommended during your extended stay. It is always worth to check out the area in more depth and immerse into the local life until your journey continues.

  • How can I best use a stopover in Kangerlussuaq?

    If you are flying with Air Greenland, your flight usually includes a stopover in Kangerlussuaq before continuing by domestic flight to your final destination. The same applies to the return flight. How this stopover can be used, depends on how much time you have. Flight delays or cancellations can indeed cause the planned stopover to be extended.

    You are allowed to leave the airport during the stopover. For shorter stops without significant delays your luggage will be automatically checked through and you will only pass the security check again to board the connecting flight. In case it is a longer delay and you are even staying overnight in Kangerlussuaq you take your luggage.

    The hotel in Kangerlussuaq with cafeteria, restaurant and bar is directly joined with the airport building. There is also a sun terrace from which the airport bustle can be observed. Just outside the airport there are some souvenir shops and a supermarket. You may explore the area and the actual town, which is on the other side of the airport, by shuttle or on foot. If time permits you should ask about available excursions. Dinner is recommended both at the hotel and at the Restaurant Roklubben on the shores of Lake Ferguson, which can be reached by shuttle in 5km.

  • What if an individual activity is cancelled by the local provider due to bad weather?

    In case the weather situation does not permit a certain activity to take place, such as kayaking in stormy sea, we try to relocate the time of the activity. If the activity can not be shifted you will either be offered an alternative activity or receive a full refund for the affected activity after your tour.

What’s more...

  • Are the trips you are offering group or individual trips?

    Many of our pre-arranged adventures are individual trips, meaning you are discovering Greenland on your own but joining selected guided group activities during your stay. Almost all of these activities are guided in English and participants are from all over the world.

    We also offer a selected range of guided group tours - among them trekking & hiking tours as well as sailing, kayaking and dog sledding expeditions. The group composition is international and they are guided in English.

  • Can you send us a printed brochure or catalogue?

    We don not issue printed brochures or catalogues, but you can find all our tours here on our homepage.

    As Greenland Experts we can also design a customised tour for you that best fits your individual needs and requirements. Send us your request through our 'request a quote' form or contact us via email or phone and we will gladly provide detailed advice.

  • Where can I find good maps and city maps?

    You can obtain a full range of Greenland maps from Scanmaps online, including Saga Maps that publish regional maps of all the inhabited areas in Greenland in 1:250.000. These are no hiking maps, but provide a good overview of the area and some of them also refer to particular topics such as the Viking settlers or Inuit culture.

    There is also a number of hiking maps that cover the most popular hiking areas in Greenland in 1:100.000 - they are sold in Greenland at bookshops and tourist offices as well as online. In most towns, the local tourist office or your accommodation can also provide you with a free town map.

    Please follow the links below for regional maps and hiking maps.

    Greenland regional maps
    Greenland hiking maps
  • Where can I find literature about Greenland?

    As a travel guide book we recommend 'Greenland & the Arctic' from Lonely Planet.

    Books about and from Greenland can be found at Atuagkat Bookstore in many different categories such as 'Art, Culture and Music', 'Geology, Geography and History', 'Fiction', 'Travel and Maps' and 'Cookbooks'. Atuagkat Bookstore is an independent bookstore located in Nuuk city centre which has the world's largest selection of books on Greenland and the northern Arctic in Greenlandic, Danish or English.
    You may visit their webshop below.

    Books about and from Greenland