Greenland, an autonomous country within the kingdom of Denmark, is situated between the Arctic and the Atlantic Oceans, east of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Greenland is the world’s largest island in terms of area, and is the least densely populated country in the world, with a population of about 56,370 in 2013. Despite its name, more than three-quarters of Greenland is actually covered by the only contemporary ice sheet outside of Antarctica. Its capital and largest city is Nuuk. Greenland is part of the Kingdom of Denmark, but was granted self-government in 1979, and soon became a separate country with formal ties to Denmark.
What to see & do
Subject to the least extreme temperatures, southern Greenland, also known as ‘Sineriak Bananeqarfik’ (Banana Coast), therefore is the most easily accessed region of the country. This southern coast of Greenland is characterised by its fjords and mountains, flowering plants, fertile lands, and sheepfarms, as well as floating icebergs and glaciers. The cities of Nanortalik, Narsak, and Qaqortoq can be found here and the international airport that serves this area is Narsarsuaq Airport. Points of interests in the southern region include the remains of the Norse Settlements scattered in the area. The remains of the Greenlandic cathedral is in Igaliku, while a reconstruction of the Thorhilda (Eric the Red’s wife) church, and a longhouse are located in Qassiarsuk. Also in Qassiarsuk is the remains of Inuit Settlements, as well as hot springs.
The capital of Greenland, Nuuk, is in the western region. In this area is where you will find large icebergs floating in the ocean, and fish and sharkmeat hanging outside small colourful houses. Dogsledding is a typical mode of transportation here, and this is also where the national dish, suaasat, is often served. Suaasat is a soup made of rice, onions, bayleaf, seal or whale, reindeer, or seabird. Petrified Greenland shark is also served here.
Eastern Greenland is less populated than the west, which makes it an off the beaten track destination, away from the crowd. The region serves as the gateway to the Northeast Greenland National Park, which extends to the northern region. In the northern two-thirds of Greenland, the Midnight Sun can be seen. It is a phenomenon in which the sun stays above the horizon for several days, sometimes even weeks, in the summer. During the summer solstice (weeks around June 21), the sun dips below the horizon only for a short time every night, thus the sky never gets truly dark.
How to get around within Greenland
There is no road or rail system in Greenland. The easiest way to get around the country is by plane. The national flag carrier of Greenland is Air Greenland. Arctic Umiaq Line passenger ships also provide serves during the summer to destinations between Narsarsuaq and Uummannaq.
How to get there
The two largest airports in the country that have the capability of serving international flights are Narsarsuaq Airport in the southern region and Kangerlussuaq Airport in the central western region. Airlines that operate at Narsarsuaq Airport are Air Greenland (Alluitsup Paa, Kangerlussuaq, Nanortalik, Narsaq, Nuuk, Paamiut, Qaqortoq) Air Greenland operated by Jet Time (seasonal flights to and from Copenhagen), and Air Iceland (seasonal flights to and from Reykjavik). Kangerlussuaq Airport is the international hub for Air Greenland. It has flights to and from Aasiat, Copenhagen, Ilulissat, Maniitsoq, Narsarsuaq, Nerlerit Inaat, Nuuk, and Sisimut; and summer flights to and from Reykjavik-Domestic.