Greenland is located in the North Atlantic Ocean and is technically the world’s largest island.  Now in checking the size of Greenland (because I thought Australia was bigger), it was interesting to find that whilst Australia is technically both an Island and a continent, the officials say you can’t be both and so Australia is classified as a continent.  Thus, making Greenland the largest island in the world.  It’s about a quarter of the size of Australia and close to the size of Western Australia.

You might think that Greenland (and Iceland) are all just simply ice and snow, but these areas have an awful lot MORE to offer.  Certainly, you will see the glaciers, and snow formations and lots of white or white and blue, but actually there is a lot of colour to be seen as well.  

Within the townships and communities of both these regions you will find quite decent-sized communities with colourful housing and buildings.  Some of the vibrant colours actually remind me of Santorini in the Greek Islands, except rather than domed tops, the roofs are very steep, in order to allow all the snow to fall off.  Another interesting thing is that despite Greenland being over 2 million square kms in size, there are actually no roads or railway services that connect settlements from each other.  Sure, there are roads within townships, but to get from one to another, all travel is done by boat, plane, chopper, snowmobile or dogsled.   

Greenland is a colony of Denmark, despite the land being physically closer to Canada.  In fact, despite being a geographical part of the North American continent, it’s politically and culturally linked with Europe and has been for over a millennium.  Greenland was colonised, then a Danish missionary began colonisation in 1721.  90% of Greenlanders are of Inuit descent, with the remaining 10% being either Danish or European.  Humans, however, arrived long before 1721 or so … with historians backdating arrivals as much as 2500BC.  Vikings, of course, played a role in this country at times during history.  

The lights in the sky over Greenland are another thing to take note of.  From late May to late July, the sun doesn’t actually set and is visible 24 hours a day.  In contrast, in the peak of winter, there is little more than 5 hours of daylight in a day.  That then brings me to the wonders of the ‘northern lights’ or The Aurora Borealis as they are called.  Whilst you can view the northern lights all year round in a dark sky, in Greenland, the best time to view them is from the end of September, through March / April.  Because their Summer has no night at such, or darkness, whilst the northern lights are present, they are not actually visible.  This spectacular light show is created by charged particles (from the sun) hitting gases in the Earth’s atmosphere.  This occurs near the North Pole, then the solar winds carry the particles, which react to the Earth’s magnetic field.  Whilst green is a prominent colour, other colours include purples and yellows, but they are fairly rare.   

Needless to say, Greenland is cold!  Temps range from 7 degrees to as low as minus 66 degrees.  There was a rare instance of 23 degrees – but that’s rare.  So of course, if you are travelling to Greenland and Iceland – be prepared.  Whilst you’ll need your warm thermal long underwear, gloves, beanies, gloves etc – don’t forget sunglasses and sunscreen!  You can actually burn in the snow, due to the reflective nature of snow.  

Having said that, there are some incredible hot springs to visit in this country; some very beautiful and others which are not only incredibly warm, but also which have healing properties.  In Southern Greenland there is a spring called Uunartoq which is used as a pool.  Now something which is really interesting; the hot springs in Iceland occur due to volcanic activity, whilst the hot springs in Greenland are brought about by the water being heated by deep layers of the earth’s crust which is rubbing against other crust sheets.  

Greenland is a place of tundra and ice sheets, as well as lots and lots of snow, glaciers and fjords.  Many locations are heritage-listed.  With it being an island, of course, fishing is a major industry within this country.  The country produces very little of what it needs; importing most things.  Their biggest export is – you guessed it – is fish and shrimp (very similar to our prawns). 

Greenland also has agriculture and farming.  There is sheep and cattle farming, grass production and more recently, crops of turnips, cabbage and potatoes.  About a quarter of the population of Greenland lives in Nuuk, its capital city.  Or perhaps I should say capital town.  By our standards, it’s no Melbourne or Sydney!   

Northeast Greenland National Park is the world’s very largest national part and is the 10th largest protected area in the world.  It was established in 1874 and contains not only unspoiled and pristine wilderness, but also a large array of animals including polar bears, the arctic fox, reindeer, ringed seals, walruses, Narwhal, musk ox (or Umimmak, which means ‘long bearded one’), arctic hare, Beluga, Greenland shark, fin shales, birds, puffin, arctic tern, black guillemot, harp seals, caribou, Atlantic salmon, the bowhead whale, beetles and cod fish.  

Did you know that the kayak originated from Greenland?  It was mostly used by the Eskimos – who used it mostly in North America, Siberia and Greenland.  A kayak is still today a great way to get around in Greenland and if you’re into kayaking and visit Greenland, then likely something to put onto your bucket list.   

Speaking of bucket list, if you have the pleasure and experience of visiting this country, then be sure to complete some of the following:

  • Visit the historical and archaeological sites, such as the Nuuk National Museum and see where the Vikings had settled over a thousand years ago. 
  • Explore one of the most northern places on our planet, Thule – a region filled with history and culture. 
  • Disconnect from technology and relish in the beauty of the northern lights or the stunning fjords and expansive forests.
  • Walk on a spectacular glacier.  With the melting of these, this might not be something you can do for too much longer.     
  • Experience Greenland dogsledding.  The Greenland Dog is an isolated and pure breed that looks somewhat like a husky and often mistaken for a husky of Alaskan Malamute.  They were brought over from Siberia over 1,000 years ago as a descendant of the wolf.  It is not allowed to mix with any other dog breeds. 
  • Soak in a hot spring – either in Greenland or Iceland.  

When it comes to Iceland, which is a little milder than Greenland (temperature-wise), it has some of its own uniqueness as well.  Iceland is the only location in the world where you can snorkel between two tectonic plates.  The other cool things is that the only international airport sits right bang in the middle of a lava field.  Iceland is known as the ‘Land of Fire & Ice’ as it has some of the most active volcanoes worldwide.  Iceland is said (believe it or not) to be the land of elves (although I’m sure Ireland claims that fame).  

As with all our tours, they are carefully and fully curated to provide you, the traveller, with the most amazing experience.  At Luxury Women’s Tours, we do everything for you, so all you have to do is enjoy, soak up the experience and take lots of incredible photos.   Plus, you’re travelling with other like-minded ladies who enjoy having a fantastic time and seeing amazing things.  If you’re interested in our Iceland and Greenland tour– just ask us!

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