Although Greenland isn’t a cheap place to visit, only a few places combine such raw power of nature, such clarity of light, and such magnificent scenery. Vast swaths of unfenced and beautiful wilderness give travelers’ unique freedom to wander at will, whether by dogsled, by ski, or on foot. With almost no roads, transportation on this island is expensive, but splurging on boat rides and a helicopter is worth the money. Also, Greenland offers charmingly uncommercialized but world-beating opportunities for salmon fishing, rock climbing, and sea kayaking. Here are the top attractions in Greenland.
The Southern Fjords
For the less active, it is easy to put your head in the crocodile’s mouth by just cruising down one of Greenland’s southernmost fjords. Climbers rate the rock faces of peaks like The Baroness, Ulamertorsuaq (Uli), and Uiluit Qaaqa (Ketil) as among the finest challenges in the world. Most visits start from the delightful village of Nanortalik which features an old town area preserved as a picturesque living museum.
Ilulissat Kangerlua is Greenland’s greatest tourist attraction. This berg-packed bay is fed by 3mi (5km) wide and 3608ft (1100m) thick glacier Sermeq Kujalleq. This glacier flows an average of 82ft (25m) daily and is the most prolific in the world outside Antarctica. The mouth of the bay is filled with bergs the size of whole towns or apartment blocks. There is no sight more astonishing than gazing on these giants and listening to the thunderclap roars they emit when they explode or fissure in the summer sun’s warmth.
The Paamiut Museum makes up a circle of 5 historic timber and stone buildings around a turf-ringed former wellhouse. The residence of the former governor contains the tourist office and the main exhibition hall. The old trading post has a geological collection, a cooperage, and bubble-tar doors. The whaling exhibits downstairs include a rare sealskin diving suit which is a reproduction of an original that was sold in 1913.
Greenland National Museum
The well-presented and spacious Greenland National Museum is located in an extended warehouse. Its better exhibits include a section of social change from the 1950s and a geological room showing that the oldest rocks in the world come from the Nuuk region. However, the mummy room is an unmissable climax. Here a spooky 6-month-old child and mummified fifteenth-century women stare out from their display cases. Their kamiks (traditional boots) and fur clothes are intricately embroidered and sewn, but it still uncertain their cause of death.
With an amazing network of hostels, hotels, and tourist offices, Greenland is no more exclusive to passengers of cruise-ship. Whichever way you choose to travel, it is smart to schedule a safety margin for the unpredictable weather here.