Winter holidays in Greenland are amazing, so do all the research you want as soon as possible, finalize your winter holiday package to Greenland, and get going right away. In this article, we try and provide you everything you need to know before booking a winter holiday package for Greenland.
Greenland is the world’s largest island and the country with the lowest population density in the world. It is a rough, mountainous, cold land with a massive sheet of ice everywhere. Iceland in its Southeast to the West and Svalbard in Norway to the Northeast, are closest neighbors of Greenland. Despite all this, Greenland is a great holiday destination for people from all over the World – both in winter and in summer. Check out how a summer holiday in Greenland can turn out to be.
Winter in Greenland is seen more as an adventure holiday destination and attracts a lot of adrenalin junkies as well. Once upon a time, it was almost impossible to access to Greenland in winter but now the scenario has changed and many of adventure enthusiastic tourists visit Greenland during winter every year. If winter is your best time, or if adventure is your preferred type of holiday just go ahead and book your winter holiday package for Greenland.
You need to keep in mind that a winter holiday Greenland is not your usual family holiday destinations. It is not for faint-hearted travelers, and not for those who don’t like an adventure. Don’t you book a winter holiday package for Greenland if you don’t love tough adventure. If you feel winter will be too harsh for you, you can always plan the best summer adventure holiday package for Greenland.
Greenland trip planning – tour operator or self?
Travel logistics in Greenland can be complicated for the uninitiated. There are various aspects one needs to keep in mind while planning an itinerary for Greenland. It isn’t as easy as let us say planning a week-long trip to London or Paris. Planning your own itinerary can be easy if you fly into a city in this vast country, spend the whole of your holiday and fly out. But that’s not the best way to explore Greenland – during your holiday you must move around a lot because some places are best for Whale sightings and some for iceberg watching and some for heli-skiing. Therefore, we strongly recommend you use either an inbound travel agent in Greenland or outbound agent in your country to book your winter holiday package in Greenland.
How to reach Greenland
Greenland is a place, which plays hard to get. I am not joking. It is not easy to reach Greenland, especially in winter. Flights are limited, winter weather is unpredictable and due to unpredictable weather, these limited flights get canceled often. Therefore, planning a trip to Greenland in winter takes lots of time. Commercial airlines are the best way to reach Greenland. You can take a cruise ship as well, but it takes time, and is known to be not so comfortable. Air Iceland operates regular flights from Reykjavik Domestic Airport to Kulusuk in Greenland and the Capital Nuuk in West Greenland. Air Iceland also operates seasonal flights to Narsarsuaq in South Greenland. Air Greenland operates regular flights from Copenhagen to the international airport in Kangerlussuaq.
Weather in Greenland
Greenland has an Arctic climate. During the winter, temperature moves between minus 5° C and minus 30° C and in the summer months between plus 5° C to plus 15° C. In the southern part of Greenland, the temperature can rise to more than 20° C in the months of June, July and August.
The air in Greenland is dry – in summers and in winters – and because of low humidity, the low temperatures do not feel as cold as they do in rest of the World. However, it is advisable to be prepared for all kinds of weather when on a holiday in Greenland because the weather changes suddenly.
The air quality in Greenland is among the best in the world due to the country’s geographical position. Due to the fine air quality and low levels of moisture/humidity in the air one can see objects at great distances. Please keep this in mind while planning your hiking distance.
How to get around in Greenland
Greenland is a rugged place and there are not many roads between towns except for few places and sheep farms in South Greenland. And in winter even these roads can get messy. Once you have reached Greenland, there are only three ways to get around in this island and they are: boats, helicopters, and planes.
Air Greenland, the country’s national airline connects all major towns and a number of settlements with domestic flights and helicopter connections. Four ferry services – Arctic Umiaq Line, Disko Line, Maniitsoq Tour Boat and Blue Ice Explorer connect the whole country on a seasonal basis.
Best time to visit Greenland
Seasons are diverse in Greenland. Each season has its own charm and attraction. Winter is the best time to be in Greenland for there are numerous things to experience in the cold winters of Greenland. But be aware, winters are little tough in Greenland when you see ice everywhere and it appears as if Greenland covers itself in a white blanket. Winters are long in Greenland and they last for eight months. This is the season of dog sledding and ski trips. You can witness mesmerizing northern lights and millions and millions of stars in clear winter skies of Greenland.
Therefore, it’s completely up to you what you want to see in Greenland. Never be forced to book a winter holiday package in Greenland if harsh winter isn’t your thing. Take a look at the local travel agencies in Greenland who can offer you the best winter holiday packages.
Tips to plan best winter holiday package for Greenland
Don’t forget that Greenland in winter is a playground for the brave hearts, so please do your reading up before you book any winter holiday package for Greenland. For now, check out the list of items you must include in your holiday package –
1. Northern lights
Northern lights are equally impressive as Midnight Sun in Greenland. You can see Northern lights all around the year but only in clear, dark sky. If you are keen on Northern lights, please check the weather before planning your holiday. You don’t have to wait up till the Northern lights are visible on the winter sky. The hotels wake you up when the Northern lights strike, so do inform them in advance.
2. Trophy hunting
Trophy hunting in Greenland is quite popular, mostly in winters. Hunting is not an easy task but in Greenland, it becomes tougher. You need to be very patience to hunt in Greenland. If you plan to book a winter vacation package in Greenland, request your tour operator for an exclusive day of hunting. Trophy Hunting Greenland is an authorized tour operator.
Diving in Arctic demands more than just diving skills. It demands pinnacle of will power and ultimate fearlessness. If cold water diving is your thing then you must experience it in Greenland. It is one of the most adventurous things to do in Greenland, and ask for it to be included in your winter vacation package.
4. Dog Sledding
Dog sledding is still common in Greenland. You too can experience it in winters when the mercury takes a huge dip and there is ice everywhere. Dog sledding is without any doubt an adventurous way to get close to Arctic nature. Dogsledding is a way of life in Greenland. It has been a mode of transportation for more than 5000 years. It is not as easy as it sounds or looks. One wrong turn and you may lose your life. Do make sure this item is included in your holiday package.
5. Bathing in hot springs
Many of the areas in Greenland have hot natural springs, which you must experience on your trip to Greenland. Some of them are also known to have medicinal properties. Winter is a great time to experience the hot springs, so do ask your tour operator to include a visit in your winter holiday package for Greenland.
6. Flight seeing
Looking from above, Greenland looks unbelievably enormous and huge. So if you want to see the scale of Greenland – unexploited and true to nature, do opt for Flight Seeing. This comes at a cost, so negotiate well with your tour operator and check the prices before including it in your vacation package.
7. Whale Watching
Greenland is home to several species of whales, and it would be a pity if you didn’t witness them. You can watch them from the safety of the shore or you can take a boat or ship and be amongst them. If you love whale watching, do get it included in your winter package.
8. Ilulissat Icefjord
It is one of the most magnificent sites in Greenland. You will never forget those huge ice sculptures in your entire life. Most tour operators in Greenland will include a visit to Ilulissat Icefjord in your winter holiday package, so you don’t have to worry much.
9. Watching Icebergs
Holidaying in Greenland can’t be complete without witnessing icebergs, so please include it in your itinerary. In summer, these melt and float around. This also mostly gets included in your vacation package.
Snowmobile is in every house in Greenland and gets taken out during winter. It is a popular mode of transport for the locals and some people even go to work on a snow mobile. Many even use it for farming, hunting in the mountains or on the ocean ice. Of course, while you are in Greenland on your winter holiday you can also have a slice of this fun. A few destinations in Greenland are best for snowmobiling – Sisimiut for instance.
11. Ski Touring
Ski touring means climbing up a high mountain which is covered with ice during winters and skiing down. There are no ski lifts or snowmobiles or helicopters to take you up the mountain, just your guide and your muscles. You have to bring all your ski touring equipment with you, so do check with your tour operator if the equipment also comes as part of your winter holiday package for Greenland which you intend to book with him or her.
The only difference between Heliskiing and Ski touring is that in the former you take a helicopter to reach the top. This means heliskiing includes the cost of the helicopter and hence is a bit costly. Do know the price and negotiate well with your tour operator before including Heliskiing in your winter holiday package to Greenland. Some of the best companies for Heliskiing in Greenland are, Luxe LineUp Explorers, Greenland Heliskiing, Artic Heliskiing, and Elemental Adventure Heliskiing.
13. Taking a coastal ferry
Sarfaq Ittuk is the only coastal ferry in Greenland. Take the coastal ferry if you want to get a holistic view of the grandeur of Greenland in winter and if you want a chance to understand Greenland’s culture. This ferry sails between Qaqortoq (South Greenland) and Ilulissat (North Greenland) from April 1 till early days of January. The full route takes four nights northbound and three nights southbound.
14. Checking out Arctic wildlife
If you are traveling to Greenland in winter this is one activity you must indulge in, so do include it in your vacation package. Some of the wildlife you will see are: Polar bears, caribou, ptarmigan, lemmings, arctic foxes, hares, musk oxen, eagles, and the rare Arctic wolf are all part of the terrestrial fauna of Greenland.
Snowshoeing is winter hiking with snow shoes on. Walking like the ancestors did back in the days when there were no snow mobiles or helicopters etc. It is fun but it is slow and it is tiring. If you are in for hard work, include this in your winter holiday package for Greenland.
Fishing in winter in Greenland
Summer is a better time to fish but hey who are we to say you shouldn’t fish during your winter holiday in Greenland. In order to exploit the waters of Greenland you need a fishing license, which can be bought at local post offices and tourist offices. The fishing license gives the holder the right to fish with a rod or hand line. Different areas in Greenland have different preservation rules, so please enquire at the local tourist office. The cost of this fishing license depends on the duration of your holiday – if you want a 1-day fishing license, it will cost you DKK 75.00. For longer durations the per-day cost comes down – one week’s fishing license costs DKK 200.00 and one month’s license costs DKK 500.00.
Do note that this fishing license doesn’t allow you to go trophy hunting in Greenland. To go on a trophy hunt, you need to coordinate with a certified travel operator within the country.
Clothing for winter holiday in Greenland
There is no such thing as a bad weather. You are just not clothed well.
Irrespective of the season during which you are holidaying in Greenland we suggest you dress up according to the layer-to-layer principle. The outermost layer you are wearing must be wind and waterproof to protect you from the elements while the inner layers should keep you warm by not letting the warmth of the body to escape. The inner layers should preferably be made of synthetic fiber, fur or wool.
Footwear for winter travel in Greenland
Footwear is the most important item you will be wearing during your winter vacation in Greenland. Whatever your itinerary in Greenland is, rest assured there will be a lot of travel on foot and most of the time on hilly and uneven terrain. Therefore, it is highly recommended to get good quality, waterproof walking boots/shoes which also have a molded sole for better grip. Molded soles or slip-resistant soles can keep you safe as you travel the rocky terrain or climb over wet boat decks.
Depending on the length of your vacation, you will also need to bring several pairs of breathable, lightweight woolen socks.
There will be moments during your Greenland getaway when you may want to get out of your heavy boots – bring along a pair of comfort footwear for such occasions. They will be useful for walking within the cities, or going for a run, or just relaxing.
What to pack for a winter trip to Greenland
Clothing: Warm winter jacket, Sweater (wool or fleece), underclothes, Gloves, Scarf, Long underpants, Socks, Blouses with long sleeves, Warm winter pants, Ski-cap, Footwear with profiled soles
Toiletries: Soap, Shampoo, Toothbrush, Toothpaste, Comb/Brush, Sun screen, Lip salve, Personal medication,
Other items: Sunglasses, Thermos bottle, Travel documents (including insurance), Photo ID One backpack, Currency
Currency in Greenland
Greenland is an autonomous constituent country within the Kingdom of Denmark and hence Danish Krone is the currency in use. Most towns have a bank and ATMs where you can withdraw Danish krone. Bigger cities may accept foreign currency but don’t bet on it. We recommend you bring some Danish kroner (DKK) when you arrive in Greenland. However, if you have any of the following credit cards you can withdraw the local currency for use during your holiday.
2. VISA PLUS-card
3. VISA Electron