Destinations

Greenland Holiday FAQs

YOUR GREENLAND QUESTIONS ANSWERED

Much of the remote island of Greenland is surrounded by sea ice for most of the year, making large parts of the coastline inaccessible by ship. Our expedition to the east coast travels in the summer months, when the majority of the sea ice has melted away and the skies are lit up around the clock by the ‘midnight sun’. Navigating aboard a small charter ship allows us to delve deeper into the coves and fjords that are distributed across the east coast, discovering the islands breathtaking landscapes and Arctic wildlife. Alternatively, brave the bitterly cold Greenlandic winter to be in with a chance of witnessing the incredible light shows of the aurora borealis.

Our team of Destination Specialists have answered some our most frequently asked questions about Greenland below, from what you should pack for a Greenland safari to the best time to travel to see the northern lights.

If you have a specific question which has not been answered, please do not hesitate to get in touch.


  • What wildlife can I see in Greenland?

    Greenland is home to terrestrial species such as muskox, Arctic wolf, Arctic fox, collared lemming, Arctic hare and ermine. In the waters you’ll find minke and humpback whales, the occasional narwhal and beluga, along with rare sightings of sperm whales, pilot whales and blue whales.

    Polar bears are seen in Greenland, but during the summer months they are most often found in the far north east of Greenland, as they hunt up on the pack ice in search of seals. Due to the ice conditions and the sheer size of Greenland, finding polar bears here is much trickier than in places like Svalbard.  

  • When is the best time to travel to Greenland?

    The best time to travel to Greenland really depends on what you are hoping to experience. The easiest way to travel to Greenland is by ship during the summer months. At this time, the fjords are still full of icebergs, but they are accessible. The mountains are begging to be hiked and you can find wildlife out on the tundra.

    Towards the end of the summer, you’ll find the sun starts to creep towards the horizon again, as the 24 hour daylight dissolves into reds and blues streaking across the sky behind towering ice sculptures carved by the water.

    From the end of August, darkness sets back in and the northern lights can be seen. The bonus to seeing the northern lights by ship in Greenland is that you are often miles from light pollution, meaning that the aurora borealis can be seen at its best on a night with clear skies. 

  • Can I see the northern lights in Greenland?

    You can! If you’re lucky then you can spot them as soon as the 24 hour daylight of the summer fades. Clear skies and good weather are a factor here, but the lights can be seen as early as August. Unlike in more populated areas such as Iceland or Norway, there is very little light pollution in Greenland, meaning that the lights are often easier to spot.

  • How fit do I need to be? Will there be lots of hiking involved?

    There are a lot of mountains in Greenland, and on a ship based expedition you will sail magnificent fjords full of breathtaking peaks. Activities on trips to Greenland vary, but you can be sure there will be a certain amount of walking and hiking involved on any trip to this remote region.

    Some excursions may be visits to local towns where the activity will be gentle walking, but there are often hikes across the uneven tundra involved in finding the wildlife in this wild part of the world.

    We would recommend having a good level of fitness; this doesn’t mean you have to be able to hike to the top of mountains, but you should be comfortable with extended hikes or walks lasting a couple of hours, and you should be able to complete these unaided. 

  • What is the weather like?

    In the summer months, some of the most inaccessible parts of Greenland open up. Scoresbysund and the small community of Ittoqqortoormiit are only usually accessible in July and August when the temperature hovers around 5˚C and the sea ice melts enough for navigation to be possible. 

  • What do I need to pack for a trip to Greenland?

    As with most parts of the Arctic, we recommend layers! Depending on which part of Greenland you are visiting and when you are travelling, your Destination Specialist will be able to recommend how warm those layers need to be. An absolute must is a pair of waterproof wellington/rubber boots for jumping out of the zodiacs into the water, and some waterproof trousers to go with them. When walking round the local towns, sturdy walking shoes or boots are recommended.

  • Is Greenland its own country?

    Greenland is a territory which is part of the Kingdom of Denmark. Although physiographically part of North America, Greenland has always been politically and culturally associated with Europe.  Despite this, Greenland has been largely independent since 2008 when over 75% of the country voted to reduce the involvement with Denmark in favour of self-governance. After this vote, the official language changed to Greenlandic (or Kalaallisut). Of an approximate population of 57,000, around 50,000 speak Kalaallisut. 

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