Greenland may be tiny in numbers – it's one of the smallest populations in the world – but its landscapes pack a big punch, and not just because it’s the world’s biggest island. Greenland is rarely on a seasoned traveller's radar, but once they delve into its glacier-dotted fjords, world-famous ice sheets and quaint historic villages, they're often stunned – if not only because it's one of the best places in the world to catch sight of the Northern Lights.
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The phrase 'untouched wilderness' is often thrown around, but in Greenland’s case, it really is true. There’s ancient volcanoes, fjords plunging from picturesque mountains and coastlines dense with jagged icebergs, all enjoyed with ultra-fresh seafood and even whale and reindeer dishes. One of the best places to experience this is the west coast and the town of Ilulissat, next to UNESCO World Heritage Site-listed Ilulissat Icefjord and the Northern Hemisphere’s most productive glacier that deposits a staggering 20 billion tonnes of icebergs into the sea every year. Witnessing the house-sized chunks of ice thunder into the rough seas below is truly an experience you'll always remember, culminated with a nighttime hunt of the revered Northern Lights ballet. Be sure to take advantage of the thousands of Greenland dogs and go dogsledding before embarking on boat trips among spectacular icebergs, uniquely blue due to their age. And keep an eye out for the extensive wildlife that thrives among Greenland's icy reaches, from seals and oxen to whales and sea eagles. Head here on our Winter Illulissat itinerary, where you'll explore spectacular glaciers, icebergs and Norse settlements, staying in cosy igloo pods.
South Greenland holidays
The immense natural beauty of Greenland is continued in its stunning south, comprised of endless hiking trails and a vibrant Viking heritage and culture, where quaint farmlands lie among myriads of fjords, fertile mountains, an abundance of iceberg galleries and Norse settlements. The settlement of Narsarsuaq is true Greenlandic charm at its best – think sheep farms, red-housed villages and winding lanes. Perhaps most spectacular of all is its Ice Cap, a vast body of ice covering nearly 2 million square km; the second largest in the world. The colourful sub-Arctic flora in the 'Flower Valley' lies along it, and the melting glaciers afford opportunities for kayaking up close among iceberg bays.
South Greenland is also rife with Viking ruins, with charming boat rides bringing you to ancient villages and cathedral ruins. In neighbouring Qaqortoq, the archeological site Igaliku is home to ancient Norse ruins, lying alongside sheep farms and mountain trails. Vast, intensely scenic fjords abound, framing colourful wooden houses. It's all particularly scenic in Lake Tasersuaq, edged by snow-topped jagged mountains, and the historic Erik's Fjord. Here, turf-covered ancient farm buildings lie on rolling banks among iceberg-dotted waters, with natural hot springs bubbling just a boat ride away. Experience the beauty of south Greenland with our Grand tour of South Greenland itinerary, where you'll explore ancient settlements and head on boat and kayaking trips among colossal glaciers and icebergs.