Even along the habitable coasts, travel is difficult. There are no roads between Greenland’s various settlements - only within them and around them – while railways and inland waterways are non-existent. Snowmobiles and dog sleds are the only viable method of land transportation, but they are slower than travelling by air or sea, and Greenland’s often rugged terrain poses significant obstacles when covering large distances.
Air travel is much faster and easier, but significantly more expensive. In addition, there will be a marked difference in the way you experience Greenland’s natural wonders; although the island’s incredible frozen landscapes stretching off to the horizon make for an awe-inspiring sight from the air, it is only from down below that you can appreciate the intricacies of natural ice sculptures, the glint of sunlight on frigid waters, and the hard eyes of a muskox or polar bear trained upon you.
The best way to explore Greenland at its most magical, where land meets sea, is via a small ship. Our Arctic expedition ships have hulls that have been ice-strengthened to the highest classification, which allow the ships’ experienced captains to safely navigate Greenland’s ice-choked coastal waters. Using these small ships as a base, you’ll be able to sail further into the extensive network of fjords that lie along the coasts, each one offering opportunities for exploration and new discoveries just around the bend.
Small expedition ships are also faster and more manoeuvrable than their larger counterparts, so you can sit back and relax as you travel between destinations overnight. Depending on the season, there may even be a good chance for you to see the Northern Lights when the sun dips below the horizon. Greater speed and accessibility mean that passengers aboard our small ships will be able to see more sights and enjoy a wider range of activities than those travelling by land, air or larger ship.
This type of expedition cruising enables you to really get to the heart of wild Greenland, allowing for greater intimacy with the seagoing mammals that can be spotted while on deck, including fin and bowhead whales. Sailing close to shore, you’ll also be able to scour the landscape for terrestrial animals, like the reindeer and muskoxen that graze Greenland’s tundra. A bevy of birds can be seen roosting along the cliffs that drop into the sea, with your ship the perfect venue for a spot of twitching: here there are guillemots, puffins, auks, terns, gulls, eagles, fulmars and kittiwakes, to name just a few species.
Some people are put off by the term “cruising”, but this type of expedition travel allows for plenty of active adventure as well. Your ship can be used as a comfortable base for land-based excursions, with days spent onshore hiking over the tundra from seldom-visited landing sites. Small ships also lend themselves to a more intimate and intrepid experience than larger ships, which by necessity are used for trips that are more touristic in nature.
Contact one of our Destination Specialists to start planning your journey to Greenland. Please note we recommend a budget of from £7,000 / $10,000 USD per person for our style of trip to this destination.