The Big Arctic 5

What should you do while you are in Greenland? This is a great question, where do you even start?

Travellers to parts of the African continent will be guided by the “Big 5” of the lion, elephant, buffalo, rhinoceros and leopard, the must see, must-not-miss animals of the African continent. 

But what about the Arctic? Well, it turns out that that Arctic has its own “Big 5”, although its quite a bit different from the African Big 5. For Greenland, The Big Arctic 5 means those 5 things that will make your experience in Greenland a great one! Are you wondering, what are they? Well, the title image may have given it away a little bit, but without further ado…

1. Dog Sledding

We could not agree more; there is nothing more Greenlandic, nothing more essential to life in Greenland than dog sledding, and that is as true today as it was in the past. The Greenlandic dog is a dog that was born to pull; it is an extremely strong, Husky-like dog that pulls in its nature. Feel the wind in your air and the incredible pace as you race across the snowpack pulled by a team of up to 15 dogs. Get ready for a cuteness overload with their pups too!

Photo: Andre Schoenherr

Greenlandic Dogs Covered in Ice

2. Northern Lights 

Greenland is an awesome country to see the Northern Lights. Think reflections over the various ice fjords across the country, think about the dancing lights after a hard days pulling on the dog sleds once you have stopped for the night. Between September and April (becuase it needs to be dark), lose yourself and stare open-jawed at the celestial wonders. There are even some places  that have 300 clear nights a year like Kangerlussuaq, this is really going to increase your chances of a viewing!

Photo: Mads Pihl

Northern Lights over Greenland

3. Ice and Snow

What would Greenland be without ice? It’s an ironic name for a country with so much ice in it, but is safely one of the most remarkable things about Greenland, and well deserving of a spot on the Big Arctic 5. 

The most impressive thing about the ice is perhaps the scale; its so BIG! Some of these icebergs literally tower into the air as high as multi storey buildings, and then you find yourself feeling so small by comparison! And then you realise that actually,  you’re only seeing 10% of it. Don’t miss a glacier calving moment first hand and when you hear a rumble from the ice, it might just be one of these huge ice blocks turning! And what about the snow? Well, the ice had to start somewhere, didn’t it? Think about what an immense journey that is!

Photo: Mads Pihl

Icebergs in Greenland

4. Pioneering People

When it comes to surviving in some of the harshest climates imaginable/possible, one has to take their hat off to the Greenlanders. Throughout the centuries, they have made it out here. Familiarise yourself with the people and the land that has shaped them, learn about some of their traditions and even participate in some cultural events while you are out there!

Photo: Mads Pihl

Dog Sledder and Hunter

5. Whales


Two Beluga Whales Under Water

Last but not least, we have the whales?These are the living giants next to ice giants. These gentle giants travel all the way from the other side of the world, choosing tropical water during the Boreal winter, and come all the way back for the summer. Watch the hours slip away as the flukes (tails) raise out of the water. You can catch them from the air too on a helicopter or a plane flight over the lagoons; there are 15 arctic whales species visiting Greenland including the Bowhead Whale, Fin Whale (Second largest) and Humpback Whales in regular sight. 

Photo: Mads Pihl

A Pod of Orcas In Greenland

We hope this round up of the Big Arctic 5 has fuelled some inspiration for you. How many will you catch on your visit to Greenland?

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