The fact that Greenland is so under the radar means it lends itself perfectly to adventurous exploration, minus the swell of tourists. Its vast expanses of virtually untouched landscapes, enormous icebergs and miles of mountain trails afford adventures in any season, from cross-country skiing to glacier hikes.
Come winter, take advantage of the masses of dogs – of which there are more than people – and go dog sledding across frozen fjords or alongside iceberg-dotted bays. Icebergs are a feature synonymous with Greenland, and when they calve off in enormous, house-sized chunks, it’s a truly spectacular scene. Witness this surreal performance with sailing trips among the behemoth ice mountains, and when darkness arrives, a rapid event during winter's reign, hours of clear, pollution-free nights mean one thing in the far north – the surreal Northern Lights show. Its situation on the aurora belt places Greenland high on the list of the world’s best places to witness the dazzling ballet – hunt them with sails through dark, silent fjords.
Perhaps surprisingly, wildlife thrives in isolated Greenland, best discovered with iceberg cruises to spot whales, walrus, seals and polar bears. Take advantage of the winding, cosy mountain trails and head on wintery hikes, or venture to Greenland's expansive back country that affords grand ski touring, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Take it all in from above and embark on helicopter rides to witness ancient blue icebergs peppered among the remote waters, and when days begin to stretch out, there’s kayaking to really get up close to the mammoth ice peaks, and magical nighttime cruises bathed in the glow of the midnight sun. Discover the world’s second largest ice cap with a hike through a spectacular valley of colourful sub-Arctic flora – a picturesque way to reach the mighty ice sheet that dominates 80% of Greenland's landscape.
While the likes of Finland and Norway may be known for their Northern Lights spectacles, Greenland’s coastal town of Ilulissat lies at the centre of the aurora belt, making it one of the world’s best places to view the illuminations – with the added delight of far fewer tourists. Ilulissat is also home to the UNESCO World Heritage Site-listed Ilulissat Icefjord and the Northern Hemisphere's most productive glacier, with constant calving icebergs breaking off and lying stranded in Disko Bay. It's all wonderfully explored with a base in the spectacular Hotel Arctic in cosy aluminium igloos, perfectly located for a dogsledding adventure, coasting through ice-filled fjords, glaciers and mountains.
For quintessential Greenlandic experiences, the towns of Qaqortoq and Narsarsuaq, where snow-dusted banks are framed by surrounding steely peaks, are intensely scenic; untouched outdoor playgrounds for boundless adventures. Qaqortoq’s got picture-perfect Lake Tasersuaq, shared only with the peaks of snow-topped jagged mountains, wonderful for hiking, or neighbouring Narsarsuaq is an Arctic wonderland; a myriad of icy blue glaciers jutting from remote fjords, explored with cruises and hikes to ancient Norse settlements.