Discover Greenland

Lonely Planet Travel Editor Tom Hall is on a mission to discover 52 of the most awe-inspiring places to visit across the world. This week he wonders at the marvels of ice and snow.


Greenland is unrelentingly enormous, dramatic and wild. It is a land of giant icebergs calving from towering glaciers, huge distances and endless snowfields. It’s the sort of place that should be harder to visit – but it’s more than possible, if a little expensive. And yes, it’s the trip of a lifetime.

Travelling around Greenland

Once in Greenland (access is by air from Copenhagen or Iceland’s Keflavik airport) small plane, helicopter or ferries link remote communities. Most tourists head for the more populated west coast and in particular to Disko Bay. Around Ilulissat are the icebergs, glaciers and colourful villages of postcard Greenland. Away from here, hiking, dog-sledding and kayaking are the order of the day.

Best time to visit the Arctic

While Arctic spring brings life back to Greenland, July is peak season. Days are long and in some cases endless. Ferries and cruise ships chug along the west coast and sea kayakers paddle in quieter waters. Only the mosquitos – and occasional fog and rain – cloud the glory of the world’s largest island in summer.

Booking on a budget

Greenland can be an extremely expensive destination to travel to and around but by booking ahead – up to six months – you can secure discounts on everything from flights to tours.

Planning your trip to Greenland

Visit Greenland is an excellent source of listings and planning tips. For ferries, the wonderfully-named Arctic Umiaq Line will whet your appetite for an independent visit.

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