Where to Go in Greenland

Greenland is the world’s largest island. Naturally, choosing where you should go is not the easiest thing in the world, since every region has it’s quirks and specialities. So, to help you sort your north from your south, your east from your west and your Arctic from all the rest, we have put together this little regional guide to help you decide which activities will fit your visit to Greenland best. Here goes!

East Greenland

First off, east Greenland is the closest in terms of flying time to visit from either continental Europe or Iceland, offering a spectacular nature and an all-traditional way of living for many of inhabitants of this region. A traditional way of living is something that marks the entirety of Greenlandic living, but nowhere is this more apparent than in the East, a place that only 3,500 people call home. Talk about remote!

Photo: Mads Pihl

Moonrise Over Ammassalik Island

What to see and do in East Greenland

There are two inhabited area on the east coast of Greenland. The most visited area and destinations are Kulusuk and Tasiilaq (the larger of the two). Whether it’s summer or winter, there are plenty of things to see and do in this region! 

A group hiking up a mountain on skies in Greenland - Icelandic Mountain Guides
Photo: Mads Pihl

Hike up, ski down

Skin up, hike up and then ski down a peak that nobody has ever skied before;  feel the rush of a dog sled ride as you race across the ice. In summer, wander through the valley of flowers or float down the Sermilik Icefjord, the second largest icefjord in Greenland. Maybe you are the lucky one to spot a seal or a whale between the spectacular ice formations!

Besides icefjords and glaciers, East Greenland is known for its impressive rugged nature and dramatic mountain landscape.

East Greenland is also a region for expeditions. To where? Well, how about the Roof of the Arctic, that is to say Mt: Gunnbjörn? Yes, we go there! Here is our expedition team on the summit!

North Greenland

North Greenland is a remarkable ice world unlike anything you will have ever seen, and many places are thoroughly into the Arctic Circle. It’s a popular area to visit, having received UNESCO World Heritage status, and it’s easy to see way. Its 6km wide, 55km long and the size of 66,000 football fields. It calves from the Sermaq Kujallaq glacier, on of the fastest moving glaciers in the world, with a daily movement of 40m, 14,600 meters per year. Just wow.

Photo: Stian Klo

What to see and do in North Greenland

Here, there are so many ways to experience the Icefjord: take a flight or a helicopter ride to experience and take in an epic aerial perspective. Then take a short hike to the icefjord or hop straight on a boat and get up close and personal; here, you may get the chance to witness a calving event ( where ice breaks off the main glacier) and be stunned by it’s power and magnitude. 

Photo: Mads Pihl

Arctic Circle Region

Arctic Circle region covers the area where the Arctic Circle crosses the west coast of Greenland. One of the most visited villages here is Kangerlussuaq, which means ‘the big fjord’ - The village is located deep in the bottom of a large fjord and is the only inland ‘town’ in Greenland. With its location just north from the Arctic Circle, it is a true diamond in the rough; From here you have easy access to the Greenland Ice Cap, you have the midnight sun in summer and some of the best options of seeing northern lights in winter. Add to that a rich arctic wildlife. Ready to go?

What to see and do in the Arctic Circle Region

Here, it’s all about adventure. Dog sledding under incredible soft light in late autumn and winter. In the darker winter periods, the arctic circle region is a superb viewing point for the Northern Lights. With 300 clear days a year, you will regularly find the sky decorated the radiant natural phonomenon.  

Photo: Mads Pihl

Northern Lights over Greenland

In summer, take a walk on the impressive Greenland Ice Cap, maybe even camp on the ice sheet or barbecue to the view of a calving glacier front and experience the endless midnight sun where the sun bounces off the horizon and creates an amazing light.

Besides that, the Arctic Circle region is visited by a lot of extreme adventurers. Kangerlussuaq is e.g. often the start or end station for the Greenland crossing expeditions.

Capital Region

The capital of Greenland is Nuuk with its 17,000 inhabitants. In this Arctic metropolis you get to experience a fascinating contrast between the traditional and modern Greenland as well as the contrast between nature and urban life. A city rich in culture and tradition - with the second largest fjord system in the world in its backyard.

Photo: Mads Pihl

Nuuk from above

Besides stunning nature this fjord system contains viking ruins and other remains from the Norsemens presence in this area. The Western settlement of Greenland was set slightly further inland than where the capital, Nuuk, currently finds itself. The capital region was though populated by the Inuit thousands of years before the Norsemen. The Inuit settlement of Greenland is comprised of various “waves” of migration from the Northwest territories of what is now Canada, the earliest of which is thought to be from 2500 BCE.

What to see and do in the capital region

Experience modern Greenlandic life the colourful and vibrant capital, Nuuk with it’s many different galleries and museums. Check out an epic fusion of traditional Greenlandic with a modern, Nordic twist and make sure to visit some of the local restaurants for a (gourmet) experience including fresh Greenlandic ingredients.

Take a great day excursion by boat around the Nuuk fjord system: a sprawling system of U-shaped glaciated valleys, each with it’s own character. Go to the icefjord, watch the whales surface outside of Nuuk, visit an abandoned village, catch your own fish and have a restaurant in the fjord prepare it for you. The options are many.

There is also plenty if hiking in this region too! There are trails that go around Quassussuaq, Lille Malene, the top at the same mountain or to it Big sister, Ukkusissat, Store Malene. 

Photo: gumuken from the Panoramio community


South Greenland

South Greenland is often called “the land of contrast”. This is the part of this great island where you find the most variety in
landscapes. Green and luscious grassland lies next to deep, blue fjords, together with snow-covered peaks and glaciers coming down from the ice cap. People in South Greenland are explorers by nature and a journey to South Greenland is not only an experience of magnificent nature; it also gives insight into the fascinating history of the Vikings, and the way of life of the real natives of Greenland, the Inuit as well as their traditions.

Photo: Mads Pihl

Hikers in South Greenland flow valley.

If Erik the Red had seen South Greenland, especially in summer, then it might be better understood where he got the name from. Often referred to as the “Garden of Greenland”, South Greenland is the greenest and most fertile part of Greenland.

Erik the Red named this new land Greenland in order to increase likelihood that he could raise enough sellers to make the treacherous journey to the distant shores

He named the land Greenland, saying that people would be eager to go there if it had a good name.”

South Greenland is also remarkable in that sheep farms directly border ice fjords, a stark contrast in the region of extremes. 

What to see and do in South Greenland

See beautiful and well kept ruins of the farms and churches from the settled Norsemen. Go sailing between the 'blue ice' of South Greenland. Learn about the sheep farming and agriculture that is caracteristic for South Greenland.

As always, there is incredible hiking in South Greenland as well, such as along the beautiful mountain peaks like in the Tasermiut fiord. Here you will find one of the most impressive massif of big granite wall mountains in the world. Mountains that stretch from the sea, up to over 2000m (6700ft).

South Greenland is the most geothermally-active area of Greenland. What is cooler than dip into a 38°C warm pool with icebergs floating on the fjord in the background?

A Taste of Greenland to come

Of course, we could never outline absolutely EVERYTHING that you could possible do in Greenland. However, we hope we have given you a great starting point from which you can start planning your next adventure! 

Photo: Mads Pihl

A kayak among huge icebergs near Illorsuit in Greenland

Enjoying the blog? Keep me (you) posted!

We hope you are enjoying the Greenland blog. If you are, you can subscribe to our monthly newsletter where we send you a monthly roundup of our blog posts, travel tips, advice and special offers.

Subscribe to the blog

You Might Also Like: