Greenland Tours

Unique, spectacular and dramatically beautiful, Greenland is dominated by a vast ice cap that covers 80% of the island. It is the largest non-continental island in the world, lying almost entirely within the Arctic Circle. Greenland’s waters are strewn with icebergs, sometimes turquoise and sometimes beautifully sculpted. Glaciers are prolific and the coast is lined with fjords. For wildlife enthusiasts, Greenland will not disappoint as it is home to polar bears, musk oxen, reindeer, walruses, whales, seals and sea eagles. And then of course there are the incredible Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis), Greenland providing one of the best vantage points to see the spectacular display of colours flashing across the Arctic sky.
 
Greenland has a fascinating history, archaeological remains of communities dating back around 4,500 years having been found. Discover Greenland’s rich Inuit culture, with settlements that still thrive on ancient traditions, a culture still tied to the ocean and a lifestyle adapted to living on the edge of the Arctic. 
 
If you are looking for a true adventure, then why not join one of our cruises to Greenland and discover this incredible wild island for yourself, an island that is not as green as you might expect from its name!
 
Everything about this adventure to Greenland was perfect! The expedition staff were so impressive - knowledgeable, friendly , immensely capable -just wonderful people working as a tight team, always patient, enthusiastic , supportive and good company. Couldn't recommend Greenland more highly...an unforgettable experience.
Read Reviews
 
0

Featured Greenland Trips & Deals

POPULAR  From 8,095

This memorable voyage starts and finishes in Reykjavík, Iceland. Across the Denmark Strait we explore the stunning Scoresby Sund fjord complex in East Greenland.

POPULAR  From 8,380

A voyage starting in Longyearbyen (Spitsbergen) sailing into Raudfjord and to Moffen Island on the North coast of West Spitsbergen, then sailing along the Northeast coast of Greenland and ending in Akureyri (Iceland).

POPULAR  From 5,695

Though seemingly larger than life, Disko Bay is almost not large enough to hold its many wonders.

Greenland Tours

9 NIGHTS From 8,445

For those short of time this is the perfect trip to witness the delights of the world’s largest fjord system of Scoresby Sund and possibly also get the chance to view the vivid displays of the Northern Lights. 

12 NIGHTS From 9,150

On this adventure, we’ll explore some of the most isolated regions in the world as our small ship and Zodiacs take us to areas that are otherwise inaccessible.

13 NIGHTS From 11,825

Scoresbysund, the world’s largest fjord system, beckons you to explore Greenland.

17 NIGHTS From 12,669

This 18-day arctic adventure is an in-depth exploration of historic, remote regions of Iceland, Greenland and Canada, venturing to some of the most picturesque places on the planet.

14 NIGHTS From 10,795

This comprehensive voyage starts in Longyearbyen in the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and finishes in Reykjavík, Iceland.

12 NIGHTS From 10,275

This award-winning and popular expedition cruise takes you from high above the Arctic Circle in Spitsbergen, Norway, to Scoresbysund on the northeast coast of Greenland, ending in fascinating Iceland.

Articles On Greenland

Insight Guide to Arctic Expeditions – The Ultimate BIG Adventure

Posted on Fri, 03 Mar 2017

Welcome to Chimu’s Arctic Adventures, a phenomenal collection of expeditions to the northernmost reaches of our planet. From the northern tip of Scandinavia to the easternmost coast of Russia, the remotest corners of Canada and the mystical North Pole, we offer you unrivalled chances for BIG adventures to the mesmerizing frozen frontiers of the Arctic region. Insight Guide to Arctic …

READ MORE

Guide To Greenland Arctic Expeditions

Posted on Sun, 19 Feb 2017

Secluded coves, far-flung seaside villages, and awe-inspiring landscapes shaped by aeons of unforgiving Arctic winds and a harsh climate, denote what is arguably one of the most dramatically beautiful corners of our planet. Greenland is as visually stunning as it is hard-to-reach, most especially by road, hence the popularity and need of expedition cruises. If you dream of exploring it, …

READ MORE

Country Information

WHEN TO GO TO GREENLAND
Greenland is a vast island and its seasons are diverse, but are generally differentiated by the presence or absence of snow. Its Arctic climate means that summers are short but winters are long and extremely cold. Activities and experiences are also seasonal so the best time to visit will depend on whether it is the Midnight Sun or the Northern Lights that appeal, or whether you are out to experience the incredible wildlife or delve into activities such as dog sledding, snowmobiling and skiing. 
The Arctic cruise season runs from April to September and this is the best time to visit Greenland. The winter snows start to melt in early spring (April), Greenland right whales appear and there may still be opportunities to ride a dog sled. Late May to early September is the season of the Midnight Sun when the sun rarely sets in parts of Greenland. The summer months provide great opportunities for hiking in the mountains and cruising around the fjords. Polar bears and walruses start to be seen from June to mid-July and this is when seabirds return to breed and whales can be seen swimming along the shores. September is when the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) start to shimmer and dance, providing an incredible and spectacular light show with amazing displays of colours and formations. 
 
WEATHER IN GREENLAND
Due to the vast size of Greenland, there are great variations in the climate and weather from one region to another. The weather can also change suddenly and vary significantly over short distances. Summers can be relatively mild, especially in regions protected by hills, but winters can be severe. Generally the climate is Arctic along the northern and central coasts and sub-Arctic along the southern-central coasts with temperatures reaching above freezing during the summer months, although the average rarely rises above 10°C. In the interior, temperatures tend to remain below freezing year-round.
Greenland is not completely devoid of rain, but heavy rainfall is rare. The south of the island receives more rainfall than the north with Nanortalik in the south averaging 900mm a year and Upernavik in the north only 200mm. Greenland is a fairly windy island, with katabatic winds that descend from the ice cap towards the fjords and sea. There are also Föhn winds that are warm winds from the southeast that can gust up to 175 kilometres per hour, generally followed by precipitation.
 
In Nuuk the capital, daytime temperatures average 7-10°C in the summer months, falling to -5°C between January and March. Temperatures are much colder in the north with Thule (Qaanaaq), the second most northerly town in the world, experiencing average temperatures as low as -25°C in February, reaching 5°C in July. The ice cap is the coldest part of Greenland, where temperatures can fall below -70°C.
 
WILDLIFE IN GREENLAND

Dominated by an ice cap and with a rugged, dramatic landscape, Greenland is home to a rich and diverse wildlife. Common species include polar bears, whales (humpback, fin, minke, and narwhal), musk oxen, walruses, Arctic foxes and hares and reindeer. There are many species of birds found here including sea eagles. The island is dotted with nature reserves including one at Melville Bay that was established to protect breeding polar bears, beluga whales and narwhals and is also home to ringed seals.

Greenland’s marine mammals include the distinctive walrus with tusks that are over 50cm in length, whales (humpback, orca, narwhal, minke, beluga or white, blue, sperm, fin and Greenland) and seals including harbour, hooded, bearded, Greenland and ringed. The land is home to polar bears, caribou, Arctic foxes and hares. Arctic wolves are rare, but are found in the most northerly regions and lemmings are found in the north eastern part of Greenland. More than 10,000 musk oxen are found around Kangerlussuaq. Greenland’s reindeer migrate huge distances each year between the interior and the coast in search of food and to reach their summer calving grounds near the ice cap.

Bird life is prolific with over 235 species found in Greenland including white-tailed sea eagles and Greenland falcons. The list also includes buntings, siskins, fulmars, guillemots, auks, puffins, kittiwakes, terns, gulls, divers, Arctic skuas and owls and also the ptarmigan that changes the colour of its plumage depending on the season.

CULTURE AND CUSTOMS IN GREENLAND

Accounting for around 90% of the population, the native Greenlanders or Kalaallit are Inuit descendants of nomads from northern Canada. At least 6 different Inuit cultures have survived over the centuries passing down their traditions of hunting, ice fishing, kayaking, dog sledding and their skills as craftsmen. Carving is a local speciality with soapstone and reindeer antler being used. Musk ox and sheep wool, sealskin, shells and fish skin are also used in the making of crafts.

 

The Thule people were the last to arrive in the 9th century and they live in the Thule region of northwest Greenland, the most northerly year-round community on Earth. They eat traditional foods such as seal, caribou, walrus and narwhal and make clothes and boots from polar bear and caribou skins.

 

Hunting is still of great cultural importance in Greenland, and although musk oxen provide four times as much meat as reindeer, reindeer is still the preferred meat. The majority of Greenland’s population is Lutheran, but the remote communities retain their traditional Inuit spiritual beliefs and practice many traditional rituals. The language of Greenland is Greenlandic and can be divided into 4 dialects - South, East and West Greenlandic and Thule.

 

Two important festivals are National Day and the Return of the Sun. National Day is celebrated on 21st June, the longest day of the year. The Return of the Sun celebrates the reappearance of the sun above the horizon after months of winter darkness.

TOURISM AND SUSTAINABILITY
Greenland has been growing steadily as a tourism destination over the years, its appeal coming from its spectacular, rugged landscape, its unparalleled wilderness and its fascinating wildlife and culture. The majority of land-based visitors stay in only a few select destinations but as tourist numbers increase, so too does the pressure on high season capacity.  
Visit Greenland is the Greenland Self-Rule Government Agency that was founded in 1992 and whose aim was to develop a sustainable tourist industry, market Greenland as a tourism destination and assist small tourist providers become established. Sustainable travel aims to minimise the negative impact that tourism has on the natural environment and to conserve local resources through the protection of nature and wildlife and by supporting local communities. Greenland encourages visitors to travel like a local and pursue local experiences such as homestays, eating locally sourced food and supporting local businesses.
 
GEOGRAPHY OF GREENLAND

Greenland is the largest non-continental island in the world, with over 40,000km of coastline and covering an area of over 2 million square kilometres. It lies between the Arctic and North Atlantic Oceans, to the northeast of Canada and to the northwest of Iceland. Greenland spreads across the Arctic Circle, two-thirds of the island lying within the Arctic Circle. Its northern extremity extends to within less than 800 kilometres of the North Pole.

Greenland possesses the 2nd largest ice sheet in the world (after Antarctica’s), 80% of the country being covered by the ice cap, leaving a narrow, rugged, mountainous and mostly barren coastline. The ice sheet averages 1,500m in thickness, reaching a maximum thickness of 3,000m. The highest point in Greenland and in fact the Arctic, is the summit of Gunnbjorn Fjeld at 3,694m. The rugged coastline is indented with numerous fjords including the iceberg-covered Ilulissat Icefjord on the west coast, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Jakobshavn Glacier (or Sermeq Kujalleq) is one of the fastest moving glaciers in the world, with an average daily flow rate of 20-35m and calving over 35km3 of icebergs every year. These icebergs pass out of Ilulissat Icefjord and can measure up to a kilometre in height, often becoming stuck in the fjord for years.

HISTORY OF GREENLAND
  • The first humans are thought to have arrived in Greenland around 4,500 years ago
  • At least 6 Inuit groups migrated over the years, the Thule being the last to arrive in the 9th century
  • Icelandic Vikings led by Erik the Red settled on the southwest coast in the 10th century but disappeared leaving only the Inuit for several centuries
  • During this time Denmark-Norway continued to claim sovereignty believing Norse settlements had survived 
  • Denmark-Norway sent a missionary expedition to Greenland with the aim of reinstating Christianity among the Norse-Greenlander descendants but instead baptised the Inuit
  • In the 16th & 17th centuries, Dutch and English whalers frequently travelled the waters around Greenland
  • The colonial era began in 1721 when Denmark-Norway founded a trading company and Lutheran mission near present-day Nuuk
  • In 1776 the Danish government assumed a full trade monopoly with Greenland, closing the coast to foreign access
  • During German occupation of Denmark in World War II, Greenland came under the protection of the USA, Denmark resuming control after the war
  • In 1953, Greenland ceased to be a colony of Denmark and became a province
  • Home rule was granted to Greenland in 1979
  • In 1985, Greenland left the European Union
FOOD AND DRINK IN GREENLAND
Due to the lack of agricultural land in Greenland, most food is imported, with fresh fruit and vegetables being particularly expensive. Blueberries and crowberries are grown and seaweed is also collected and stored. Eating locally available foodstuffs is the most logical and viable option. Hunting and fishing are part of Greenland’s culture. A wide variety of fish and shellfish is available including cod, halibut, lumpfish, salmon, Arctic char, shrimp, mussels and crab. Meat from marine mammals such as seals, game including caribou and musk ox and birds also form important ingredients in Greenlandic food. Lamb and mutton are also eaten after sheep farming was introduced to Greenland.
Today’s cuisine is increasingly influenced by that of Denmark and Canada. As well as traditional Greenlandic dishes, restaurants in Greenland generally offer international dishes that incorporate local ingredients. Suaasat is the national dish, a traditional soup made using seal, caribou or seabirds often with potatoes and onions.
We recommend that you do not eat whale meat when you are travelling through Greenland. Greenland still allows the hunting of whales, as a subsistence practice by Inuit whalers, but whale meat is often available to tourists and by consuming it you increase the demand which in turn threatens the species. 
Beer is brewed in Greenland using glacial water and also brewed from crowberries. Greenlandic coffee is popular after dinner, featuring coffee, liquor such as whiskey and cream.
 
FURTHER READING
  • This Cold Heaven: Seven Seasons in Greenland by Gretel Ehrlich
  • Inuit Folk Tales by Knud Rasmussen
  • Greenland - The End of the World by Damjan Koncnik
  • An African in Greenland by Tete-Michel Kpomassie
  • Greenland Expedition: Where Ice is Born by Lonnie Dupre
 

Frequently Asked Questions

What money do they use in Greenland?

The unit of currency in Greenland is the Danish Krone (DKK).

Please check websites such as www.oanda.com or www.xe.com for up to date exchange rates prior to your departure.

 

On all Arctic cruises meals are included but drinks and souvenirs need to be purchased separately. Most cruise ships accept Euros € and US $. Major credit cards, in particular Visa and MasterCard are also widely accepted on board. 

What language do they speak in Greenland?

The language of Greenland is Greenlandic of which there are 4 dialects - South, West and East Greenlandic and Thule. The official language is West Greenlandic.

Do I need to be fit to go to Greenland ?

A high level of fitness is not necessary for Arctic cruises to Greenland, but you need to be in good health as although there is generally a doctor on board the ship, you may be a long way from any other medical assistance. The majority of activities are focused around shore excursions and zodiac cruising and so you need to be agile and able-bodied enough to climb into and out of the inflatable zodiacs from both the ship and the shore. On shore landings you may need to negotiate uneven and slippery ground. Shore excursions generally involve some walking.

Is it safe to travel in Greenland?

All of our tours are 100% tried and tested to ensure that when you travel with us, you’re doing so in a controlled and safe environment with trained experts. We consistently monitor weather conditions and will always provide you with the best possible adventure without risk of injury to you or the vessel. While some activities may need to be rescheduled or cancelled due to weather, every effort is made to have a contingency plan should such conditions become a reality during your expedition. We use our vast experience and knowledge when picking the vessels we sell to provide you with an adventure that’s unforgettable for all the right reasons.

Do I need a visa to travel to Greenland?

Greenland tourist visas are not required by citizens of the following countries for stays of up to 90 days:
  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • United Kingdom
  • The United States
  • Canada
  • European Union
For other nationalities, please visit the website of the relevant consulate.

How long will I spend in Greenland?

Most Arctic cruises that include Greenland combined with other Arctic destinations such as Spitsbergen and Iceland, typically spend 4 to 8 days exploring Greenland. Those cruises that feature Greenland travel only generally spend between 8 and 10 days in the region.