15 days from Disko Bay to South Greenland incl. 6 nights on board the coastal ferry
Embark on a remarkable 15-day exploration from Disko Bay to South Greenland. Begin in the delightful town of Ilulissat, set beside the extraordinary UNESCO Icefjord, journey through the lively capital of Nuuk, and unwind in the peaceful settlement of Igaliku in South Greenland, all promising diverse experiences.
As you navigate southwards aboard the coastal ferry Sarfaq Ittuk, each docking point unravels a fresh chapter of Greenland's enthralling tale, leaving you with enduring memories of your grand Arctic adventure.
Relish the freedom of discovery at your pace, with our carefully selected day tours and excursions that provide a glimpse into local culture and natural marvels.
Arrival in Ilulissat
Free day in Ilulissat
Free day in Ilulissat
Free day in Ilulissat
Departure from Ilulissat to Qasigiannguit
Journey from Qeqertarsuaq to Aasiaat
From Sisimiut to Maniitsoq
Free Day in Nuuk
Qeqertarsuatsiaat, Paamiut and Arsuk
Arrival in Narsaq
From Narsaq to Igaliku
Free day in Igaliku
From Igaliku to Narsarsuaq
Departure from Narsarsuaq
|Couchette premium & budget rooms||3985||4635|
|Cabin & rooms w. private facilities||4585||8395|
June 22, 2024 – July 6, 2024 (available)
July 6, 2024 – July 20, 2024 (available)
July 20, 2024 – August 3, 2024 (available)
August 3, 2024 – August 17, 2024 (available)
August 17, 2024 – August 31, 2024 (available)
This trip operates on a bi-weekly basis. On the alternate weeks, we provide a very similar journey but in the opposite direction.
This pre-arranged adventure is an individual trip, meaning you are discovering Greenland on your own but joining selected guided group activities during your stay. You will receive comprehensive travel information such as where and when to meet for the activities. Please note that the Sarfaq Ittuk is a ferry and not a cruise ship. That means that most of the stops at the ports of call are brief. The exact schedule can be found below the detailed itinerary.
Couchette Premium & budget rooms: In Narsarsuaq, Igaliku & Narsaq, nights in accommodation with shared facilities, on board the Sarfaq Ittuk in couchette premium in dormitory in sleeping bag accommodation with shared facilities, in Ilulissat in hotel with private facilities.
Cabin & acc. with private facilities: In Narsarsuaq & Narsaq in hotel rooms with private facilities, in Igaliku in a cottage including breakfast with private facilities, on board the Sarfaq Ittuk in a private cabin with private facilities, in Ilulissat in a 3 local star hotel in standard room with private facilities.
The Coastal Ship 'Sarfaq Ittuk' was built in 1992. It is 73m long and 11m wide. Powered by a 2000 HP engine the vessels steams at a speed of 13 knots. It can accommodate around 235 passengers including crew. 'Norske Veritas' has classified it for sailing in the Arctic. It connects the cities and settlements along Greenland's west coast and is therefore the traditional means of transport used by the locals - a wonderful way to travel authentically and come into contact with the local population.
The ship's facilities are simple and practical, designed to serve its purpose as a ferry. There is a café on board, a lounge area with panoramic windows, a small cinema, a children’s playroom and an infirmary for emergencies. WiFi is available for a fee.
Feel free to add one or more of our tour options to make them part of your request.
Flights to Greenland are not included.
Fly to Ilulissat via Keflavik/Iceland or Copenhagen/Denmark.
Return flight from 1295 EUR per person can be added to your package.
Welcome to Ilulissat, the charming town located on the shore of the UNESCO Icefjord. Today is a perfect day to explore the town and get a taste of the local culture. As you will be staying in Ilulissat for the next days, you have plenty of time to immerse yourself in the unique experiences that Disko Bay has to offer.
We recommend to choose and book from our hand-picked day tours and excursions. Overnight in Ilulissat.
Today, you have a free day to explore the beautiful surroundings of Ilulissat. There are plenty of exciting activities to choose from. We recommend starting with a visit to Sermermiut and the UNESCO Ilulissat Icefjord.
You can find additional recommendations among our carefully selected options. Overnight in Ilulissat.
Enjoy another free day in Ilulissat. Overnight in Ilulissat.
Enjoy another free day in Ilulissat. Overnight in Ilulissat.
As the evening descends, embark on an unforgettable journey aboard the Sarfaq Ittuk coastal ferry. Setting sail from the harbor of Ilulissat, the ship takes a course southwards towards Qasigiannguit, crossing the awe-inspiring UNESCO-recognized Ilulissat Icefjord. You will spend the night on board the Sarfaq Ittuk.
Wake up to the picturesque scenery of Qeqertarsuaq, a charming town nestled on Disko Island. Take the opportunity to explore this serene settlement before the ferry navigates across the bay towards Aasiaat. The Disko Bay area is a prime spot for viewing humpback whales and a multitude of seabirds, including the world’s largest known colony of arctic terns. Upon reaching Aasiaat, enjoy a leisurely stroll through this quaint town, with its busy harbor offering fresh local catch. You then continue your journey southwards out of Disko Bay, making brief stops at Kangaatsiaq and Attu. Night on board.
Morning finds you in Sisimiut, Greenland's second-largest city, nestled against the striking backdrop of the “Kællingehætten” landmark. Explore Sisimiut on your own before you journey further south, crossing the Arctic Circle to arrive in Maniitsoq. Here, the captivating coastal line and abundant birdlife command your attention. Brief port visits include Itilleq and Kangaamiut. Night on board.
Wake up to the bustling energy of Nuuk, Greenland's capital. Spend the day exploring the city’s rich culture and history. Visit the National Museum to view the ancient mummies discovered in northern Greenland, stroll around the old harbor, or immerse yourself in local art at the Katuaq cultural center. Optional guided excursions are available. In the late afternoon the Sarfaq Ittuk leaves the harbor in Nuuk and heads deeper into Nuuk Fjord. Night on board.
The coastal ferry ventures further into Nuuk Fjord, the second-largest fjord system in the world. You will pass Kapisillit, a quaint settlement nestled in the fjord as well as the ice-filled Nuuk Icefjord. On the way back to Nuuk the coastal ship passes the imposing Sermitsiaq Mountain with its cascading waterfall just behind it. In the afternoon the Sarfaq Ittuk returns to Nuuk harbor. As evening falls, bid farewell to the capital as you progress further on your southern journey. Night on board.
The Sarfaq Ittuk sails on towards Qeqertarsuatsiaat, “the large quiet island,” home to one of the largest settlements in Greenland. You then visit Paamiut and Arsuk, reaching southern Greenland, renowned for its fertile, mild climate. Depending on the season, witness the vibrant bloom of local flora, reminiscent of why the Vikings chose this beautiful area as their home. Night on board.
As morning light breaks, you arrive in Narsaq, marking the end of your journey with the coastal ship. Disembark from the Sarfaq Ittuk, carrying with you the unforgettable memories of exploring the enchanting coastline of Greenland.
Located between two fjords, Narsaq is the primary town of southern Greenland. It is a perfect spot for iceberg cruising, as a nearby glacier in Bredefjord sends countless icebergs through the area. With its vibrant houses, Narsaq is a beautiful place to visit. The town boasts a fantastic museum that showcases traditional clothing, kayaks and provides a glimpse into the region's rich history. Overnight in Narsaq.
Departing from Narsaq, you will journey northward along Tunulliarfik Fjord to reach the small port Itilleq. From here, you will embark on an easy hike across the Kongevejen, otherwise known as the Path of the Kings, leading to the quaint settlement of Igaliku. Once in Igaliku, explore the remains of Gardar - the archdiocese and religious capital of Viking Greenland. Overnight in Igaliku.
Today, you have leisure time in the Igaliku area. Consider taking a beautiful hike up to the plateau over Igaliku, which provides an incredible panoramic view of the Qooroq Fjord and its icebergs. Overnight in Igaliku.
On your return journey from Igaliku to Itilleq, you will trek along the Kongevejen trail before sailing north to reach Narsarsuaq - the gateway to South Greenland. Overnight in Narsarsuaq.
After unforgetable days in Greenland it is time to head back home.
All adventure trips are undertaken on the responsibility of its participants. Greenland Tours does not assume any responsibility for accidents which are caused by its customers or can be traced to their own actions. Participants have to sign a waiver before undertaking all trips stating that they realise that all outdoor activities carry an inherent risk.
This trip is fairly easy and does only require general fitness. Due to the means of transport mainly used (boat transfers, coastal ship), you should be prepared in case you are prone to seasickness. Moreover, the smaller transfer boats used in South Greenland require to be able to step in and out of the boat.
You should also be able to enjoy smaller hikes such as the one on Kongevejen, the path of the kings, from Ittileq to the small settlement of Igaliku where you walk on a 4 km (2.5 mi) gravel road (luggage will be transferred). Since this trip covers different regions, change of accommodation is also involved and hence you should be comfortable with handling your luggage e.g. taking it from the boat towards your accommodation.
The coastal ship runs on a biweekly schedule, leaving Narsaq on Wednesday and arriving in Ilulissat on Sunday. In accordance with flight arrivals in Narsarsuaq this trip hence starts Saturdays when arriving from Reykjavik/Iceland and Thursdays when arriving from Copenhagen/Denmark.
The part in Ilulissat in Disko Bay is more flexible in terms of travel dates and programme. You may ask us for extensions as well as the individual planning of your favoured excursions and activities. Just check out our diverse options and select your favourite add-ons when requesting the tour with us.
For excursions and activities booked with us you will receive corresponding vouchers. These come together with your detailed travel documents. Your vouchers will indicate the start times of your excursions and activities, as well as the meeting points or pick-up locations.
The guided excursions and activities are mainly offered in English and participants joining are from all over the world.
When booked in hotel category you will find a bus driver with a shuttle bus sign at the arrival hall and you will be shuttled to your accommodation. For guesthouse and hostel category there is no airport transfer included. Easiest way to get to these accommodations is by ordering a taxi (ca. DKK 130). The distance from Ilulissat airport to the town centre is about 4 km (2.5 mi), a short 5 min drive.
Ilulissat is a small town with a population of less than 5.000 residents, so distances are not so long and well managed by foot. However, be aware that roads are not pathed everywhere and that there are usually no clearly defined sidewalks.
Alternatively, you may order a taxi or use the shuttle bus that runs on a schedule between many hotels, the airport and the Disko Line Explorer Office in the centre of town. There is also a public bus driving through town around 2x per hour. The cost per ride is only about EUR 3 and tickets are bought directly on the bus by credit card. It also stops in front of Hotel Søma.
Hotel Søma and Hotel Artic are set a little further up the hill overlooking the town and bay. Their distance to central amenities in town is around 1.5 km (0.93 mi) to 2 km (1.24 mi), towards the Icefjord Centre (where the hiking paths to the Icefjord start) it is around 3 km (1.86 mi).
There are supermarkets as well as little souvenir and arts and crafts shops in town. Ilulissat offers a small choice of restaurants and cafés in either the hotels' own restaurants or in town. We recommend to reserve a table upfront - you may ask your accommodation's reception staff for help.
Below, you may have a look at the food selection and prices of the onboard Café Sarfaq which offers breakfast, lunch and dinner. The actual menu will be posted at the information desk on board. There are also soft, hot drink and snack machines on deck.
Please point out any special dietary requirements well in advance and we will notify the shipping company upfront and check if these can be catered for. Please be aware that there is no broad selection or any specialised foods on board.
The tap water on board is potable.
There is no phone reception on board.
WiFi is offered at Café Sarfaq and in the aft lounge at a price of DKK 50 per 30 sequential minutes.
The following credit cards are accepted on board: Mastercard, Eurocard, Dankort, Visa, Visa Electron and Akiliut. It is also possible to withdraw money in Café Sarfaq with the most common credit cards and with Akiliut. Please note that there is no ATM on board.
There are separate luggage compartments on the ship where luggage can be stored. These are open spaces that can’t be locked.
Safety deposit boxes for rent are located in the information hall on deck 3. It is possible to charge your mobile / tablet / laptop in the safety deposit box.
Nuuk, the capital city of Greenland, offers the most diverse choice of shops and restaurants. Different supermarkets and stores allow for stocking up supplies. Fashion boutiques, art galleries and souvenir shops can be explored on a nice stroll through the city, where you also find many bustling cafés and superb restaurants. Here you can not only enjoy Greenlandic cuisine, but also local ingredients prepared in different international styles.
There are two main supermarkets and several smaller grocery stores in Narsaq. There is a greater variety of food here than in the settlements, so it’s a good idea to buy supplies here.
Hotel Narsaq provides a café and a restaurant. The café is open all day and serves various light dishes. The restaurant only serves dinner. Breakfast is included at Hotel Narsaq and at Igdlo Guesthouse - it is served at the hotel’s restaurant. Igdlo Guesthouse also provides a common kitchen where self-catering is possible.
There is a grocery store where you can buy canned, dried and frozen food and to a limited extend fresh products.
Breakfast is included when staying at the Igaliku Country Hotel and its cabins. If you wish, you can also order dinner (“dish of the day,” 2 courses) and packed lunches separately on arrival. Hostel Gardar provides a common kitchen where self-catering is possible.
There is a grocery store where you can buy canned, dried and frozen food and to a limited extend fresh products.
At Hotel Narsarsuaq there is a restaurant and a cafeteria. The restaurant serves à la carte entrées and offers a Greenlandic buffet on selected days of the week. It is recommended to book a table for the buffet. The cafeteria serves a “dish of the day” as well as fast food meals. Lunch packs can be ordered at the reception one day in advance. Also, the Blue Ice Café serves coffee and light dishes throughout the day. The Narsarsuaq Hostel provides a common kitchen where self-catering is possible.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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 can be reached by air from Iceland and Denmark.
From Reykjavik (Iceland):
Air Iceland flies all year to Kulusuk, located in East Greenland. During spring and summer, Air Iceland flies to Nuuk, the Greenlandic capital, and Ilulissat in Disko Bay. During summer there are also Air Iceland flights to Narsarsuaq in South Greenland. 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 mains 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.
Direct flights to Greenland are only operated from Denmark and Iceland. Therefore, you need to come to Copenhagen in Denmark or Reykjavik 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 Reykjavik:
You should spend at least one night in Reykjavik before your flight to Greenland and at least two nights in Reykjavik before flying back home. This creates a safety buffer in case your return flight from Greenland should be delayed due to bad weather.
Flight times of direct connections:
Reykjavik - Kulusuk > 1h 50min
Reykjavik - Ilulissat > 3h 15min
Reykjavik - Nuuk > 3h 20min
Reykjavik - Narsarsuaq 2h 20min
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-2) as well as Iceland (GMT) and Greenland (Kangerlussuaq in summer GMT-2). In other words, if you depart 09:15 local time in Copenhagen and arrive 09:55 local time in Kangerlussuaq, your flight time is not 40min, but 4h40min due to the time difference of 4 hours between Denmark and Greenland.
In economy class (flexible & classic 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
In economy class you may take up to 20 kg of checked baggage and 1 item of hand luggage up to 8 kg. In business 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. If travelling without any checked baggage, you may take one item of hand luggage up to 15 kg. Maximum size of hand luggage: 55 x 40 x 23 cm
Please check with the airlines directly for updated information as well as for excess baggage charge.
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 ship 'Sarfaq Ittuk' sails every week between South Greenland and Disko Bay. In winter dog sleds and snowmobiles also serve as vehicles for adventurers besides providing access to hunting grounds.
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 8 weeks prior departure.
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, earlier also possible. 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.
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.
Your travel documents will be send to you by email circa 6 weeks prior departure after your final payment has been registered. You will receive a trip-specific equipment list, a detailed itinerary, your flight tickets and vouchers for all booked services as well as further tips and hints. We advice to print out your travel documents and carry them with you to Greenland.
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.
It is good to have travel insurance in case something goes wrong. We strongly advise our adventurers to be covered by travel cancellation and interruption insurance as well as by travel health insurance. Travel insurance can be obtained from various sources, like your local insurer. Fore further info visit our travel insurance section.
Apart from the current Covid-19 vaccination requirements, there are no other 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. For detailed information on Covid-19 please follow the link below.
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.
Greenland as the world's largest island with about 85% of its territory covered by ice only has a tiny population of around 56.000 inhabitants who are living in small towns and settlements far away from each other. There usually is a hospital in the towns and a nursing clinic in the 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 always 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 for study or vacation) in Greenland below.
Greenland is not a typical travel destination for families with small children. The remoteness of the country and the Arctic climate can affect travel plans and therefore require flexibility. Bad weather conditions can for instance result in flight delays or cancellations, in longer waiting hours and in changes of tour programmes.
A lot of activities like snowmobiling, snowshoeing or kayaking also require certain minimum ages. Therefore, we do not recommend to travel with babies or small children. 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.
In Greenland, the currency is the Danish krone (DKK). 100 DKK = approx. 13.42 EUR (May 2023), 1 EUR = approx. 7.45 DKK (May 2023).
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.
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.
Common credit cards are accepted at most places such as hotels, restaurants and shops. In the smaller towns and 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.
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.
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.
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
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.
At most accommodations you may buy WiFi internet access for a fee. In the larger towns you can access mobile internet on your smartphone via Telepost’s 3G or 4G (UMTS 900 / LTE 800) network by roaming, which is quite expensive. Please check with your mobile service provider regarding their roaming agreements with Greenland.
As an alternative, there are also internet cafés and WiFi at libraries and some tourist offices. You may also buy a USB dongle or mobile router together with a SIM card (called Tusass) in a Telepost Center in one of the following towns: Nuuk, Sisimiut, Ilulissat, Maniitsoq, Aasiaat, Kangerlussuaq and Qaqortoq.
Greenland Tours recommends to disable data roaming prior to arrival to avoid high costs and to use WiFi options at the accommodations or cafés instead.
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.
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.
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.
To be even closer to the wild nature you can also 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.
Please note in general, since towns and settlements are small, accommodation is limited and we therefore recommend to book well in advance.
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:
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 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.
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 major towns like Nuuk, Sisimiut or Ilulissat. The small 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 any 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 vegetarian, vegan or gluten-free alternatives.
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.
This varies of course and depends on each person and her individual needs. On average you should plan for approximately DKK 400 (EUR 55) for meals per person per day.
The world’s largest island is home to merely around 56.000 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, almost 18.000 people reside in the capital Nuuk. The population density in Greenland is the lowest in the world.
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.
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.
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.
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 traditional means of transport the coastal ship Sarfak 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 greatest 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 in the hotel and in the Restaurant Roklubben on the shores of Lake Ferguson, which can be reached by shuttle in 5km.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Below is an equipment list with items we highly recommend you bring on the journey. To enjoy the trip to the fullest, comfortable and good equipment is essential. So be a bit picky about what you bring on our trip, make sure it is adequate for arctic conditions.
We recommend you take the most important equipment with you as cabin luggage or carry the respective clothes/shoes on your body, notably boots and trousers, fleece shirt, warm and waterproof jacket, functional underwear, glasses, hat, gloves and everything else you consider important. In case of baggage loss you are thus at least able to start the tour.
Base layers are designed to keep you warm despite they might be wet from sweating, for example - therefore they must not be cotton but instead a lightweight wool or other fast-drying fiber. Base layers will also keep you warm if, for example, your outer layers are not entirely windproof or waterproof. If there is one thing to stress, it is that having several light layers to choose from, or use in combination with each other, is far more valuable for regulating body temperature than having one or two heavy layers that might make you too cold or too hot, but never just right. It is recommended to bring a selection of long-sleeve shirts and pants for lightweight base layers, so you have a few extras.
A wool layer is always nice to have as additional warmth. It should not be your heaviest winter sweater, but just something you feel could make you warm and cosy if you had a persistent chill. It is recommended to bring a light- to medium-weight wool sweater or a fleece or prima loft jacket.
When you are on land, and if it’s dry, the waterproof pants (outer layer) layer won’t be necessary, but you’ll need more than a base layer. It is recommended to bring a pair of light, loose breathable pants as a sort of all-purpose pants. Fleece pants can be useful if you easily feel cold. Jeans are strongly discouraged.
When you’re on land, and if it’s dry, the waterproof jacket layer won’t be necessary, but you’ll need more than a base layer. It is recommended to bring a light jacket, or even a vest. Lightweight puffy jackets work well.
Whether it’s to protect you from wind and rain on land or from ocean spray while sailing, having good outer layers to protect against the elements will make the difference between a pleasant and unpleasant trip. It is recommended to bring both a windproof/waterproof jacket and a pair of windproof/waterproof rain pants. Gore-Tex is a leading manufacturer of breathable and waterproof layers.
A bit of wind, a mammoth iceberg nearby, and even fog can have more effect on the air temperature than you might imagine, and it can be magnified when sailing or standing a few hundred meters above sea level. Even though it is summer and there is not a single patch of snow to be found, you still need to be prepared with a few of the more ‘wintery’ items. It is recommended to bring a warm hat and gloves. As a light version, a buff to wear around the head or neck is also useful.
Footwear is of the utmost importance in Greenland. It must be comfortable yet supportive, as it is what protects your feet and will keep you going all day long. So bring your favourite hiking boots, that you will likely use across all sailing and hiking activities, on all days. Good hiking boots have high ankles support, are waterproof or water-resistant and are non-skid / have a sole with good traction (good for both rocky terrain and wet boat decks). It is good if they are worn-in as it is not ideal to break in brand new shoes and have blisters on the first day.
We recommend supportive sneakers/running shoes, that you will use on arrival and departure day, as well as for the evenings.
It is recommended to pack your gear in a backpack. Many of the towns have simple dirt- or rocky roads which are not exactly ideal for pulling luggage with wheels. If you do not own a backpack, prefer a duffle bag over a hard shell suitcase.
For maximum versatility, it is recommended to bring a small daypack to hold an extra layer or two and your water bottle during short excursions.
In summer in Greenland, the midnight sun is out 24 hours a day. Couple this never-ending daylight with the fact that there are no trees for shade - as well as with the reflection off the water and nearby icebergs - and you’ve got yourself the equation for some fierce sun exposure. It is recommended to bring sunscreen, lip balm and sunglasses, and, if you like, a hat with a visor.
The Arctic summer is notorious for small pesky insects like mosquitos and flies. They will not be a problem when sailing, but once we hit land, they’ll surely find us soon enough. Only a light breeze will give natural respite from the bugs. It is recommended to bring bug repellent, after bite and a mosquito head net. Not very fashionable, but oh-so-functional. Please note: it should be possible to purchase bug repellent in the local Pisiffik grocery store, pending product availability, however it will be the strong, chemical, non- environment-friendly stuff. If you prefer a natural-based product, you should bring your own.
Make sure you stay hydrated. So it is recommended to bring your own water bottle to fill up with the freshest, cleanest, tastiest water you can find at convenient streams and waterfalls - or at the faucet, if you want to be like the rest of the world.
There’s going to be no less than 10,000 amazing things to see and remember - icebergs that look different from every angle, diving whale flukes, flocks of birds gathering around a fishing boat for free giveaways, small colourful houses perched at the edge of the hill and the world and fantastic geological rock formations. It is recommended to bring whatever camera or looking device you wish, whether that’s a smartphone, snazzy camera, or selfie stick.
Staying onboard the coastal ship Sarfaq Ittuk in couchette category you can buy a blanket, which can be taken with you and used in future travel. You can book and pay for the blanket at the info counter of the ship.
In case you have any further questions regarding the equipment to bring to the tour please do not hesitate to contact us.Go to contact form