Owing to its positioning between the North Atlantic and Arctic Oceans, in close proximity to the North Pole, Greenland is predominantly covered in ice. Consequently, its limited population (estimated to be 56,171) resides along the coastline adorned with fjords in the southwest. Its location subjects it to captivating phenomena such as the midnight sun during the summers and the northern lights during the winters.
Greenland is a territory of Denmark, with Denmark having granted it home rule in 1979. Since the majority of the population is Inuit, the culture of Greenland is primarily influenced by Inuit beliefs and practices. However, the remaining population consists of descendants of Norse colonists and is affiliated with the Lutheran Church. Thus, it is a fusion of traditional Inuit and Scandinavian cultures.
The capital city of Nuuk is home to 17,000 people. Consequently, icebergs and glaciers form the main attractions of this country, contributing to its enchanting beauty. The inhabitants of Greenland are a diverse group of people who possess exceptional skills that enable them to endure extreme temperatures. There are numerous remarkable destinations to explore in Greenland that will make your vacation in this country truly worthwhile.
12 Destinations to Explore in Greenland
Covering all the locations is not feasible during your vacation, therefore the list below will assist you in visiting some of the finest destinations in Greenland that will allow you to experience this country in all its breathtaking grandeur.
1. Ilulissat Icefjord
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Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004, the Ilulissat Icefjord extends 40km from the Greenland ice sheet to Disko Bay. Jakobshavn Isbræ, the most productive glacier in the Northern Hemisphere, is situated at the eastern end of this fjord. Nearly 20 billion tonnes of icebergs are discharged from the fjord each year after they have melted.
To behold the magnificent landscapes that this ever-changing and ephemeral site offers, you can choose to go on a hike, rent a boat, or take a helicopter tour for an aerial view.
Location: Avannaata, Greenland
2. Disko Bay
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Spanning the western coast of Greenland, this bay holds historical significance, as it was here that Erik the Red, a Norse explorer, established the first settlement in 985 AD. However, the Inuits are believed to have encountered Disko Bay even earlier, around 2400 BC.
The nutrient-rich waters create a habitat suitable for a diverse range of marine life, including benthic and pelagic fish. During the spring, you may even catch a glimpse of bowhead, humpback, pilot, killer, and narwhal whales.
It is also the spot where you can observe seagulls, kittiwakes, cormorants, eider ducks, and migratory birds such as harp, bearded, ringed and hooded seals. The journeys would last either a three hours or as long as an entire week.
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3. Knud Rasmussen’s Museum
Situated in Ilulissat, this museum, devoted to the memory and contributions of Danish pioneer Knud Rasmussen, was also his birthplace and is one of the renowned places to visit in Greenland. It was additionally where Rasmussen spent his time away from the hustle and bustle of the city to immerse himself in his work and the serene tranquility the environment presented.
Constructed in 1917, the architect, Helge Bojsen-Møller, was influenced by the style of British cottages. After collecting stones from many different locations, Memorial Cairn was erected on a hill overlooking the house in tribute to Rasmussen’s accomplishments.
Address: Knud Rasmussens Vej 9, 3390 Hundested, DenmarkContact: 45 47 72 06 05
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4. The Majestic Ice Cap
Measuring over 2,000,000 cubic kilometers, the Greenland Ice Sheet is an enormous spread extending beneath Antarctica, as the second largest ice sheet in the world. If the entirety of this vast expanse were to melt, sea levels would rise by a terrifying 7 meters!
This one’s surely going to give you chills. You can have an aerial perspective of the sheet in a helicopter to appreciate its captivating beauty or walk on it in Kangerlussuaq if you wish to admire the ice up close in all its various forms and sizes. You must include this on your list as this is one of the intriguing places to visit in Greenland.
Location: Short distance from Disko Bay
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One of the top destinations to explore in Greenland is Katuaq, which was designed by Schmidt Hammer Lassen. This contemporary structure has an L-shape. It houses two auditoriums. The larger auditorium has a capacity of over a thousand individuals and is therefore utilized for showcasing movies or plays, as well as hosting concerts or conferences. The smaller auditorium can accommodate 508 people.
The building includes a slanted screen, inspired by the Northern Lights, which overlooks the central area of Nuuk. It is elevated above the ground and constructed with larch wood on both sides. It was built in collaboration between the Nuuk Municipal Centre, Nordic Council of Ministers, and the Greenland Home Rule Government in 1997.
Location: Imaneq 21, Nuuk 3900, GreenlandContact: 299 36 37 70
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6. ‘Church Of Our Saviour’ Or Nuuk Cathedral
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Consecrated in 1849, this church is a prominent location where the majority of the population gathers to commemorate National Day and other festivals. Its distinct red color and spire give this structure a simplistic yet charming appearance.
In front of the cathedral stands a bronze statue of the organist Jonathan Petersen, and on the hill overlooking the church, there is a Statue of Hans Egede, both of which are significant landmarks. Thus, the church reflects the Lutheran population that forms a small portion of the country’s demographics.
Location: Nuuk 3900, Greenland
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