How to get to Greenland?
Greenland can be reached by air from Iceland and Denmark. From Reykjavik or Keflavik (Iceland): Air Iceland flies all year to Kulusuk, located in East Greenland. The flight to Kulusuk is about 2 hours. During spring and summer, Air Iceland flies to Nuuk and Ilulissat. During summer they also offer flights to Narsarsuaq in South Greenland and Kangerlussuaq, the main airport in Greenland. Air Greenland offers as well flights from Iceland to Nuuk, the Greenlandic capital and Ilulissat in Disko Bay during summer high season.
From Copenhagen (Denmark): Air Greenland flies to Kangerlussuaq all year. The flight time to Kangerlussuaq is about 4 hours. During the summer time, Air Greenland flies to Narsarsuaq. From these two mains airports, you can connect to the smaller settlements.
Our trips usually do not include the flights, but we can certainly arrange them. In each tour you find more information regarding flights incl. a price estimate.
Transportation in Greenland
There are no roads in Greenland, thus boats and planes are the primary means of transportation. The coastal ship, Sarfaq Ittuk, sails every week between the south and Disko Bay.
Travel period & weather
Usually people travel in Greenland in summer or winter. The middle seasons autumn and spring are very short and we cannot know in advance how the temperature and climate will be during these seasons. Also, the weather in Greenland can change very suddenly.
The summer season is short, lasting from mid June to mid September. The temperatures range between 5° and 15° Celsius. Depending on the area you are in, you can have minimum temperatures under 0° Celsius (even during summer) and maximum temperatures of up to 20° Celsius.
The winter season starts in November and lasts until the end of April. The temperatures range between -5 and -25° Celsius, depending on the area. If it is windy, the perceived temperature can be as low as -40° Celsius. In South Greenland, the climate is warmer than in the rest of the country and the temperatures are sometimes even a little above 0° Celsius during winter. The main period to travel in winter is between mid February and mid April.
Greenland is a country of light. Each season and area has a specific day light that gives a special atmosphere to your trip. Greenland is a very vast country, thus the amount of permanent daylight or winter darkness you will have, depends on the latitude of the places you visit.
The midnight sun can be observed at the end of June in the destinations around and over the Arctic Circle. The further north you travel, the more daylight you will have. It is an amazing experience to travel during this period and not see night during your trip. If you travel in Disko Bay or at the east coast between the beginning of June and mid July, you will observe this phenomenon.
Greenland is one of the best places to observe the phenomenon of northern lights. The best period to see them is during the winter, from November to mid March during the new moon. The best conditions to observe this phenomenon are found away from villages and farms, where there is no artificial lights. You can also observe the northern lights during summer in South Greenland after mid August, when the nights get darker.
Greenland's 56.483 inhabitants live mostly along the coast. Nuuk the capital, has around 16.583 inhabitants. Most of the villages are on the west coast between the south and Disko Bay. Very few people live in the east. Only 120 years ago, there was not even a connection between the east and west coast. Northern Greenland is almost uninhabited.
Greenlandic belongs to the Eskimo family of languages and is closely related to the Inuit languages in Canada, such as Inuktitut. It has an agglutinating structure and one sentence can be uttered in a single word.
The Greenlandic languages are divided into dialects depending on the area:
- Kalaallisut, the Western Greenlandic language, is the main and official language in Greenland.
- Inuktun is spoken in the northwest in the Thule area.
- Tunumiutut is spoken on the east coast
Danish is the second official language, which children learn in addition to English at school.
In the small settlements, the inhabitants usually don’t speak any English, so it is good to learn some basics Greenlandic words when travelling in Greenland. See below some useful words:
Hello - Aluu
How are you - Qanorippit
Yes - Aap
No - Naamik
A little bit - Immannguaq
I don’t understand - Paasinngilara
Repeat please - Utilaaruk
Thank you - Qujanaq
Could you help me, please - Ikiulaannga
What is that - Sunaana
The Greenland church is a part of the Danish Protestant Church. All towns have their own church, but smaller communities use community rooms for mass. In Nuuk you can also find a Catholic church.
In the olden times, the Inuit used every part of the animals they hunted. They ate nearly everything from the animal and used the skin for their transport equipment, like kayaks and Umiaq (a large open boat), as well as to make clothes. These clothes were very warm and very good for resisting the freezing temperatures of the arctic winter. If you travel in Greenland during wintertime you have the possibility of renting the traditional winter clothes, which are in most cases better adapting to the weather conditions than our synthetic gear.
You will also find some traditional old clothes in some museums in Greenland.
Today the traditional costume is used on festive occasions and on the national holiday.
If you have the chance to visit Greenlanders in their private homes, they will be very proud to show you their own hand made costumes.
Tupilak represents an avenging monster and was mostly made out of animal bones. It was thrown into the ocean to destroy an enemy. Today Tupilaq is a part of the Inuit art culture. Tourists can easily find them made out of other materials than bones.