Why visit Greenland
The variety of experiences is the main reason why you want to visit Greenland. Visitors can view wildlife (muskoxen, polar bears, seals, walruses, birds), spend time in Indigenous communities (Greenland's Inuit are descendants of the ancient Thule people), witness the Northern Lights (regions within Greenland offer some of the best conditions to enjoy the famous Aurora borealis), and explore the diverse terrain. Greenland's geography is made up of fjord-lined coast, seemingly endless icebergs, glaciers, tundra, alpine lakes, snow-capped mountains, and vast stretches of wilderness, as well as the Greenland Ice Sheet.
The terrain of Greenland changes drastically depending on the region. Quark Expeditions' guests can enjoy flightseeing excursions over remote,
mountainous areas not otherwise accessible. Photo: Hugo Perrin
Why visit Greenland—or a particular region within the largest island in the world—is that it's a destination that speaks to all types of travelers. Greenland will suit those looking for a relaxed journey during which they can immerse themselves in the Arctic environment, with gentle hikes, flightseeing, foraging walks with a chef, and cultural activities, as well as those who want more active adventure, such as mountain biking or alpine kayaking. A voyage to Greenland truly offers something for everyone.
Best Places to visit in Greenland
When considering the best places to visit in Greenland, it makes perfect sense—especially for the first-time visitor—to think of Greenland as having three distinct regions: East Greenland, South Greenland, and West Greenland.
Each region qualifies as being one of the best places to visit in Greenland in its own right—depending on your travel tastes and what you'd like to see and do.
In East Greenland, you'll find the Northeast Greenland National Park. This park is known as the largest national park in the world and also the largest fjord system on earth. You can cruise through steep-walled fjords and explore interesting locations such as Bernstorffs Fjord by Zodiac as you search for glaciers. The community of Tasiilaq, on the banks of King Oscar Harbour, is also in East Greenland. Plus there are ancient Thule sites and a multitude of small settlements. Check out the itinerary for the Under the Northern Lights: Iceland and East Greenland voyage.
South Greenland offers both adventure and relaxed vacationing. That's where Quark Expeditions takes guests on the Greenland Adventure: By Sea, Land, and Air itinerary, which offers active adventure (helicopter-supported mountain biking and alpine sea kayaking) to walks on the Greenland Ice Sheet and relaxing days by the 70-km long Tasermiut Fjord. If you're eager to study Erik the Red, this is the place. Depending on your itinerary, you could also cruise Lindenow Fjord, the least-occupied fjord in all of Greenland.
Visitors can explore the colourful buildings in Nuuk, the capital of Greenland . Photo: Sam Edmonds
Next up is West Greenland, home to the Ilulissat Icefjord. This fjord is spectacular. At the Ilulissat Icefjord, you can see (and hear!) icebergs being newly calved from the huge glaciers, crashing thunderously into the water. Chances are you will see Sermeq Kujalleq. This glacier is widely known as one of the most active glaciers when it comes to calving. In addition to small Greenlandic villages, there are historical sites such as Uummannaq, where Quark Expeditions guide Acacia Johnson spent a good amount of time and wrote about it in her essay “I Left My Heart in Uummannaq.” Plus, one can discover Qilaqitsoq. This is the place where the remains of mummies were found in 1972. There were 8 mummies all fully dressed. And since you're in Greenland, the birthplace of the kayak, you could even enjoy a traditional kayaking demonstration in the colorful town of Sisimiut. An ideal voyage that takes on the west coast of Greenland is Essential Greenland: Southern Coasts and Disko Bay. Disko is often described by Greenlanders as “the place where icebergs and whales meet.”
There are so many other best places to see in Greenland, which inspired our colleague Nicholas Singh to write his personal Best Places to Visit in Greenland—and Why.
Guests who join Quark Expeditions' voyages to South Greenland can explore the 70-km long Tasermiut Fjord by ship, Zodiac,
kayak and by helicopter. Photo: Sam Crimmin
What is the best way to visit Greenland?
Because of its remote Arctic location and its rugged terrain, the best way to visit Greenland is by polar vessel, to arrive by sea and explore the fjords and coastal areas by small expedition ship, which is Quark Expeditions' specialty. To determine the best way to visit Greenland, you should also consider the guides and expedition team with whom you're going to travel. You want to travel and explore with an experienced team that knows the layout of the land and is intimately familiar with the terrain and traditions of South Greenland. To give you a snapshot of the range of activities—from challenging to chillaxing—watch our video The Making of A Greenland Adventure With Quark Expeditions.
Polar bears are observed on many Arctic voyages, especially on expeditions to Greenland, Svalbard and the
Canadian Arctic. Photo: Hugo Perrin
Do you need a visa to travel to Greenland?
As with any country that's in your travel plans, especially if you're asking the question: Do you need a visa to travel to Greenland, it's advisable to always go to the official visa and passport department of the country in question. Visit Greenland maintains a detailed list of countries whose citizens do not need a visa. And if you don't see your country on the list, no worries. Simply inquire about visa requirements for entrance to Greenland.
Remember that Greenland is part of the realm of Denmark. Quite often, if you do not need a visa for Denmark, you don't need a visa for Greenland. But if you do need a visa to enter Denmark, you'll likely need a special permit to enter Greenland, which is not included in the Schengen agreement. You'll find specific information on the Danish Immigration Service's homepage.
At the moment, citizens of the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, France, and many European countries do not require a visa if they're visiting Greenland for a maximum of 90 days. However, passport and visa rules can always change. Most polar expedition companies will be able to advise you and provide assistance. Travelers have been cut short by relying on older information. You'll be doing yourself a great favor by setting time aside early in your trip-planning process to determine if you do need a visa to travel to Greenland.