Greenland is the world’s largest non-continental island, which lies largely within the Arctic zone. This land of snow, proudly wears a pristine blanket, intriguing travelers into discovering the beauty, diverse wildlife and breathtaking natural phenomena of this country. Since Greenland shares a part of the Arctic zone with countries like Norway, Sweden, Canada, Finland and Iceland, Arctic tourism is a flourishing industry. Here are 5 things to look forward to when you set out on an Arctic tour to Greenland.
Icebergs are one of the main highlights of Greenland. They are formed in the sea as they break away from glaciers. From November to April, the winter months in Greenland, the icebergs remain frozen and begin drifting once the weather warming up from June to mid-September. The UNESCO world heritage site, Ilulissat Icefjord also called the “Iceberg capital of the world” is home to thousands of icebergs which can be spotted by sailing, hiking and flightseeing.
The dog sled has been a mode of transport and hunting for approximately 5000 years in Greenland, making it a way of life and not just a mode of transport. The one who drives the sled is known as a Musher and mastering the art of mushing is important with teaching beginning at an early age. Tourists can experience a slice of the Arctic life with a ride on a dog sled.
With a diverse wildlife is one of the biggest pulls for animal lovers. Polar bears, Arctic hares, foxes, wolves, musk oxen and reindeer abound. Marine life consists of the Greenland seal, ringed seal, harbor seal, hooded seal, narwhals and the walrus. Greenland is famous for its whale watching tours and the prime time to spot a whale is in summer – one can spot upto 15 species of whales including fin whales, minke whales, humpback whales and bowhead whales.
Greenland Ice sheet
The Greenland Ice Sheet covers 1,710,000 square kilometers and is over 111,000 years old. It is the second largest ice body in the world after the Antarctic Ice Sheet and is a blue and green palette of ice fragments that are hundreds of years old. The ice looks like waves frozen in in motion and the ice sheet can be accessed via tourist flights and boat trips.
The Aurora Borealis, popularly known as the Northern lights is a natural phenomenon visible from all the countries within the Arctic circle. It occurs from early autumn and continues throughout the year except for the summers in Greenland. It is visible around midnight and is best experienced in the period from September to the beginning of April. Famous legends say that the lights are the souls of the departed ancestors.