Next Destination: Greenland, The World’s Largest Island
From having the world’s largest national park and being considered the ‘Iceberg capital of the world’, to its high contrast of tradition and modern enterprises… we tell you why Greenland is a key destination to have on your must-see checklist.
The creaking sounds from the icebergs, the melting water and the wind gently bending the sparse amount of grass and Arctic plants and flowers, bring forth an intense and unique spectacle frequently coveted by explorers and adventurers.
It might not have been on most travelers’ radars for the past decades, but Greenland is certainly one of the key destinations our guests often show interest in, from the adventurous visitors in search of active holidays, to the researchers and photographers interested in learning more about the polar regions, and of course, those in search of a small paradise to retreat for some days to obtain peace of mind, time and precious silence.
A haven for those in search of a retreat to reconnect with themselves and with nature, Greenland is the least densely populated country in the world, with only 55,000 inhabitants. Communities in Greenland are incredibly isolated, since towns and villages are not connected to each other by road, making small settlements only reachable by sea. The fact that three quarters of this massive island are covered by ice sheet plays a big role in the lifestyle of its people and their ability to adapt to the frequent Arctic challenges, from their diet, to their transportation and work, as well as their connection with the rest of the world.
In spite of being geographically secluded to the high north, Greenland not only is part of the North American continent, but also has closer historical ties to the United States and Canada than most people are aware of. In modern times, the cultural influence from the US in Greenland has been significant, especially during WWII, and globalism is present.
Today, however, Greenlanders remain proudly rooted to the Inuit populations’ traditions and way of living life in small, coastal communities where knowing the environment is the key to survival.
The flora and fauna of Greenland are also incredibly diverse and fascinating to appreciate, from a respectful distance, of course. The itineraries of our voyages and activities are intricately designed to safely catch sight of both the sea and bird wildlife of the area, as well as the nature of each location.
Activities in Greenland include contemplative and nature observation, photography tours, watching the coastline change from green hills to steep granite peaks, going dog sledding, hiking, kayaking and more. It’s a special moment to encounter wildlife, approaching only with grace, respect and admiration and maintaining a safe distance so as not to disrupt their natural habitat.
You could spend a night camping on the Ice Cap for a unique overnight experience and the opportunity to witness the northern lights amid the winter’s darkness, or stay in our new glacier camp, close as can be to the Greenland ice sheet, in front of a glacier and a meltwater lake, for a calm, undisturbed stay in one of the most peaceful locations of the planet.
The cultural component is also a factor to keep in mind when choosing your next Greenlandic adventure. The gastronomy of this country is quite special, since the harsh climate makes it difficult to grow certain things on the little batches of good soil, limiting the selection of fruits and vegetables. Fish becomes, out of necessity, the main source of food. And the recipes are quite tasty!
Many adventurers also visit Greenland because of its great historic connection with the Vikings. A particularly temperamental one, Eric the Red, has an interesting story that must be mentioned.
His father, Þorvaldr Ásvaldsson, was exiled from Norway in 960 AD as a result of ‘a number of killings’, and Eric’s entire family thus settled in Iceland. There, Eric married, but was later banished due to similar reasons as his father, and therefore moved to set up one of the first communities in Greenland, giving the country its name and returning to Norway to tell endless stories of the wonderful “green land” he had encountered. Join our voyage ‘In the wake of Eric the Red’, which follows the same maritime course set by the Norse settlers over a thousand years ago.
At Albatros Expeditions, we are happy to offer several expeditions to this magnificent island, each voyage designed to highlight incredible locations and seascapes you will recall with fond memories.
Our ‘Greenland 71° North’ voyage, along western Greenland’s shores, takes you along some of the most breathtaking areas in North Greenland, reaching as far north as the Upernavik district, which borders the mystical, isolated Melville Bay and serves as our northerly turning point. This journey lasts 11 days, starting in Kangerlussuaq and ending in Reykjavik.
Two of our voyages focus on also experiencing the best of Disko Bay, a top gem of Greenland, located off the coast of Ilulissat. Docking our ship in a protected natural harbor and then cruising on Zodiacs, our guests get to experience the basalt characteristics of the Disko Island’s mountains, rich in nature and beauty. In these voyages, we make sure to pay a visit to local communities and admire the traditional dances and music, both from the Inuit tradition as well as the more modern, also influenced by the Danish, Dutch and Sottish musical traditions.
Sailing closely to the ice’s edge while avoiding blocks of ice is possible due to the high maneuverability of our small ship, which hosts no more than 200 guests at a time. On our journeys, guests are also able to see and photograph gigantic icebergs lingering in the freezing waters, or take boat trips to the Icefjord and even do an optional fixed-wing flightseeing tour over the icefjord for those more adventurous.
But why keep adding to this list of wonders? Come see it for yourself to see what we’re talking about. We’ll be happy to provide an experience worthy of a highlighted spot on your own dreams-come-true checklist.