Top Greenland Tours & Vacations 2024/2025 [reviews & photos]

Greenland Tours & Travel Packages 2024/2025

33 Greenland trips. Compare tour itineraries from 8 tour companies. 25 reviews. 4.7/5 avg rating.

Small Group Greenland Tours

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Top Greenland Attractions & Experiences

Top Greenland Experiences

  • Viewing hundreds of icebergs up close as they drift through Disko Bay on the southwest coast
  • Tackling the 160-kilometer Arctic Circle Trail through the country’s unique backcountry.
  • Marveling at the shimmering Northern Lights in the dark Arctic skies.
  • Exploring the Ilulissat Icefjord in Disko Bay in North Greenland, one of the northernmost UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the World.
  • Soaking in natural hot springs, rock climbing and fjord kayaking in South Greenland.
  • Taking a helicopter ride to land on a vast glacier, then getting out to toss snowballs or go heli-skiing
  • Mushing a dog sled or cross-country skiing through the snow
  • Visiting (permit only) the world’s largest national park, including the highest parts of the Northern Hemisphere's largest ice cap (there are only approximately 40 people who call this vast area home).
  • Boat rides, heliskiing and setting out for mountaineering expeditions from Tasiilaq in East Greenland.
  • Getting to know the people who live here – a combination of indigenous Inuits, descendants of Danish colonial pioneers, and adventurous expats looking to get away from it all
  • Strolling around the Greenland capital city of Nuuk, learning about Inuit art and the Arctic lifestyle.
  • Sampling the often exotic Greenlandic cuisine, ranging from reindeer steak to seal soup, musk ox carpaccio to freshly caught halibut.
  • Kayaking the chill coastal waters to view marine life such as seals, walruses, and whales.
  • Photographing Greenland’s most beautiful natural wonder, the Blue River on the Petermann Glacier, noted for its clear turquoise waters (visit from December to April).
  • Whale watching, fine dining and browsing art galleries in Nuuk, Greenland’s capital.
  • Tripping over the tongue-twisting Greenlandic place names and drawing laughs from the locals – a good way to break the (social) ice

Greenland Tours & Travel Guide

Greenland Attractions & Landmarks Guide

Ice-covered Greenland is a world apart, mostly off the tourist map. But it’s not for lack of beauty or attractions. Shimmering white icebergs, massive glaciers, the summer midnight sun, the winter Northern Lights, dog sledding, Viking ruins, and traditional villages are among the draws – as well as the chance to visit a remote place that seems almost lost in time.

But Greenland is also in the forefront of the battle over climate change, with its ice melting at alarming rates. See it now before it becomes the truly green land it never was.

An Overview of Greenland

First settled by the Inuit from Canada somewhere around four to five thousand years ago, Greenland is an adventure traveler’s dream - huge tracts of land (well, ice, for the most part) to explore, unfettered wildlife and raw, powerful nature everyone you look.

In wild Greenland, you’ll witness the spectacular Northern Lights, exclaim over massive glaciers and fjords, gaze deep into the clear waters of the Blue River and photograph charming villages full of colorful, wooden cottages.

The infrastructure for Greenland tours is improving steadily, allowing for curious travelers to visit this huge, primarily ice-covered island not only by cruise ship but ashore as well - keep in mind, though, that the roadways in Greenland are limited, so there is a lot of helicoptering, airplane hops and boat rides.

With opportunities to explore Greenlandic culture (a blend of Inuit and Danish influences), watch a glacier cave, go dog sledding for likely the one and only time in your life and witness the stunning Northern Lights, a Greenland tour is an adventure worth taking.

Generations of schoolkids raised on Mercator Projection maps can be excused if they think Greenland is the size of the entire African continent, as the mapmakers make it out to be. (It’s actually far smaller than Africa.)

But it does loom as a massive presence in the North Atlantic and Arctic oceans west of northern Canada, with a land mass of more than 800,000 square miles. Not counting the continent of Australia, Greenland ranks as the world’s largest island, and, together with Antarctica, holds about 98 percent of the world’s fresh water in the form of glacial ice. (It acquired its misleading name from Erik the Red, a 10th-century Viking explorer -- legend has it that he named it Greenland to attract settlers).

While about four-fifths of Greenland is covered by glaciers, the ice is melting so fast now that each year an amount of fresh water equal to all the remaining ice in the European Alps enters the oceans in the form of icebergs. Should that continue, enough fresh water would be released into the world’s oceans to eventually inundate not only low-lying Pacific islands but coastal American cities like New York and Los Angeles. 

Most of Greenland’s population – not even 60,000, making it one of the world’s most sparsely populated nations – lives on the island’s coasts, for good reason. Inland is mostly ice, while the coastlines offer some degree of warmth and opportunities for fishing, farming and, of late, working in the tourism sector. Still, Greenland draws only about 40,000 annual visitors, about the same as distant Antarctica.

A former Danish colony, Greenland still shares close ties with Denmark even though it now enjoys home rule. The currency is the Danish krone, and Denmark still plays a role in defending, policing, and administering justice. 

Whether you arrive by ship or by air from Europe while on a tour, here are some of the places and highlights you’ll encounter on a typical visit.

Greenland's Southwest Coast Tourist Hub

The majority of the island’s population lives in towns and villages scattered along the southwest coast, which has by far the most highly developed facilities for tourists. The international airport is located in the village of Kangerlussuaq, which has almost as many letters in its name as residents.   

The town of Ilulissat – said, in turn, to have more dogs (6,000) than people (5,000) -- is nonetheless well equipped to host visitors. A dozen or more cruise ships make port stops here during July and August; it’s usually the busiest port in Greenland.

Ilulissat means “iceberg” in Greenlandic, appropriate because Ilulissat’s Disko Bay is one of the island’s prime spots to view icebergs. Nowhere else on earth can you see so many big icebergs so close together, and small tour boats head out into the bay to get close-up views. Some of the glacial ice from which they form dates back hundreds – even thousands -- of years.

The countryside near Ilulissat is surprisingly verdant for a land without trees, with wildflowers and lichens poking up from glaciated rock within view of the often iceberg-choked bay. You can tour 18th century-era churches and traditional wooden houses covered with turf roofs and walls lined with seal skins. More recent houses are painted in bright hues of blue and yellow.

Not far away lies the impressive Ilulissat Icefjord, a more than 30-mile-long river of ice (and UNESCO World Heritage Site). It’s fed by a huge glacier named Sermeq Kujalleq, which you can reach by helicopter tour.

Kayaking is a popular sport in this region, both around Ilulissat’s Disko Bay and farther north in the town of Uummannaq.

To the south lies Nuuk -- Greenland’s capital and the closest thing the island has to a big city, with a population of 15,000. (It’s said to be the world’s smallest national capital, but is blessedly easy to pronounce.)

While lacking Ilulissat’s scenic beauty, Nuuk is the place to shop for Greenlandic souvenirs (carvings, seal fur hats, driftwood sculptures), sample a local restaurant, or stop by the fish market to view the displays of whale and seal meat. It’s also home to the National Museum, where you can explore Greenland’s history, and the Nuuk Art Museum for examples of Greenlandic paintings and other works. Nuuk has the country’s only two traffic lights as well (while you’ll see cars in some towns, the roads don’t go far).

A variety of other towns and villages lie along jagged bays and fjords of the west coast as well. Small ship cruises sometimes call on them.

In the old section of the Town of Upernavik, for instance, you can wander the world’s northernmost open-air museum to discover how the colonial pioneers built their dwellings, shopped, and made a living hunting whales and walrus.

What Will the Food be Like in Greenland?

Dining in Greenland is all about trying something new - relax your dietary regime a bit and taste everything from whale blubber to eider duck, seal to muskox.

While certainly not the most vegan-friendly of countries, those who partake of meat and fish will enjoy the traditional Greenlandic cuisine that is so heavily based on the island’s lack of green space and proximity to the sea.

Favorite foods to try in Greenland:

  • Suaasat (the national dish): a stew comprised of onion, potato, salt, pepper, fish (shrimp, halibut, Arctic char, etc.) and rice
  • Greenlandic coffee: close cousin of an Irish coffee
  • Ice beer: brewed from Arctic ice from glaciers - more than 2,000 year old ice
  • Whale meat: eaten raw, smoked or cured
  • Narwhal blubber: thick, rubbery fatty skin of whales, sliced up and eaten with salt or soy sauce
  • Muskox: typically served raw as a tartare
  • Greenlandic fish: everything from wolffish to halibut, prolific in the cold Arctic waters
  • Lumpfish roe: a favorite Greenland appetizer that appears to be large, crunchy roe
  • Tapas: a delightful way to sample traditional Greenlandic foods (look for tapas restaurants in Nuuk and Ilulissat)

Seeing the Northern Lights in Greenland

It doesn’t matter where you are on your Greenland tour - you’re going to see the Northern Lights if the sky is dark and clear and you time it right. In fact, Greenland is one of the best places on Earth to view the Northern Lights.

The Aurora Borealis’ magical green glow is visible for a good portion of the year - early autumn until the end of April, typically around midnight - and there aren’t any cities large enough to cause light pollution to hide the spectacle. (You won’t see the Northern Lights during the summer months, so instead turn your attention to the extra hours of sunlight and fill the long days with as many Greenland adventure activities as you can.)

Fun fact about the Northern Lights, according to the Inuit people: There’s a legend that as the Northern Lights are dancing and swaying in the dark night sky, the dead are playing football with a walrus skull. And, believe it or not, some people believe that kids will be particularly smart is they were conceived in the glow of the Aurora Borealis.

Greenland Photography Tips

  1. Keep to a single subject.
  2. Take candid as well as posed shots.
  3. Tuck your arms in at your sides with one hand supporting the lens (particular important if you’re on a rocking boat as part of a Greenland cruise!)
  4. Plan a nice foreground to increase the depth and interest of your photo.
  5. Experiment with shutter speed, particularly when photographing Greenlandic wildlife.
  6. Copy a postcard! Really. When you’re in a Greenland souvenir shop, take a look at the postcard selection. Match that up with the sights you’ll see as part of your Greenland tour and make sure to photograph those same spots. There’s a reason these photogenic landmarks are on so many postcards!

And, because we knew you would ask, here are top tips for photographing Greenland’s Northern Lights - the main attraction!

  1. Make sure you have the correct basic equipment: a manual camera, a wide-angle lens, a tripod, a timer or remote control
  2. Set up the tripod securely, accounting for the wind.
  3. Set your camera to manual focus and with the timer or remote control, set a two- or ten-second release.
  4. Set the lens to the lowest aperture fstop setting.
  5. Set up your shot so that you have something in the foreground; even with the Northern Lights as your subject, the photo will be inherently more interesting with a foreground feature.
  6. Set up your camera so you can use the screen feature and not the viewfinder to focus.
  7. Zoom in as much as possible on an area of the sky that has the brightest stars.
  8. Set your lens focus ring to infinity and try to get the best focus on the Northern Lights as possible. Then turn off the screen mode.
  9. If the light is very strong, consider a setting of ISO 640 and five seconds of exposure, with a lens of max aperture f/2.8. If the Northern Lights and stars are a bit dim, you can set the camera to ISO 1000 and eight seconds. Use a little trial and error here.
  10. Keeping the aperture as big as possible, test your shot and then make any adjustments to the ISO and shutter speed.

Shoot away! Most importantly, while you are going to get some amazing shots of a most incredible Northern Lights display, remember to gaze up in wonder and take a mental picture. The sight will stay with you forever.

Top Tour Activities in Greenland

  1. Seeing the Northern Lights. Greenland vacations between early autumn and late April will boast the chance to see the Aurora Borealis. Since the sky is so dark and clear, you’ll be able to see it from anywhere in Greenland.
  2. Explore the Ilulissat Icefjord. This region is one of the northernmost UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the world and features thousands upon thousands of icebergs as well as the Sermeq Kujalleq, the fastest moving glacier on Earth.
  3. Discover the Blue River. One of Greenland’s most important natural features is the turquoise Blue River, cutting its way through the Petermann Glacier and changing shape every year. Explore it by kayak from December to April.
  4. Kayaking. Make like the first people to arrive on the island venture out by kayak, taking in the enormous icebergs, remote villages and, of course, the omnipresent sea life and birds.
  5. Hiking. Explore Greenland’s pristine wilderness on foot during the summer - taking advantage of the long days of Midnight Sun. You’ll see no people for the most part, but get a hefty dose of glaciers, icebergs and Arctic flowers.
  6. Go dog sledding. Not your every-vacation activity, dog sledding in Greenland is unforgettable. There are dog sledding tours in Greenland that will have you mushing like a natural.
  7. Cruising the Greenland coast. Some of Greenland’s most remote settlements are reachable only the water - check them out between June and October, the best time to cruise in Greenland.
  8. Meeting Greenlanders in Tasiilaq. Eastern Greenland’s largest town is Tasiilaq and it sure is charming with its iconic colorful homes. You’ll have to arrive by plane or boat.
  9. Getting cultural in Nuuk. Learn about the Arctic lifestyle and Greenland history in Nuuk, the country’s capital. There are Inuit art museums and superb restaurants to check out, as well.

Top Greenland Souvenirs

Think beyond the tired old magnets and mugs - the best souvenirs to buy in the Arctic range from luxurious skincare products to stylish fabrics to Muskox wool, softer even than cashmere. Here are the top Greenland souvenirs we’ll be toting home!

  • Inua Care skincare products - a scentfully sublime combination of Labrador tea, juniper, chamomile and thyme
  • Inuk Design fabrics and home decor products
  • Traditional bone carvings - the most common is the little tupilak statue
  • Colorful beaded necklaces in the spirit of the Inuit tribe’s colorful patterned bead tops
  • Kitschy glasswork - look for the plant and candle holders
  • Anything made of Muskox wool (or quiviut) - soft, insulating and perfect for Arctic climes (perhaps you’ll want to buy this one early in your Greenland tour!)

Touring Greenland in the Summer

While you won’t glimpse the Northern Lights during the summer in Greenland, you will be able to take advantage of extra long days thanks to the Midnight Sun.

Use those spare hours for any of these favorite warm-weather activities in the Arctic Circle:

  • Boating amidst icebergs and glaciers
  • Hiking and backpacking
  • Whale watching
  • Kayaking
  • Wildlife viewing
  • Birdwatching
  • Flightseeing
  • Cultural village visits

Greenland in the Winter

Sure, it’s cold, but who can resist the allure of the magical Northern Lights as they dance across the dark, clear sky all winter in Greenland?

Here are a few other ways to take advantage of the coldest months in the Arctic Circle:

  • Dog sledding
  • Glacier hiking on the Greenland icecap
  • Snowmobiling
  • Snowshoeing
  • Seeing the Aurora Borealis
  • Cross country skiing
  • Heli skiing
  • Museum hopping (Greenland National Museum, Ammassalik Museum, Nuuk Art Museum)
  • Indulging in gourmet Greenlandic cuisine (any time of year, really!)
  • Ice Golf World Championships in mid-March (join or watch as golfers take on a 36-hole ice course)

Greenland Reviews & Ratings

4.7/5  Excellent
25  Reviews
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