Greenland makes you feel small
Whether you’re coming to Greenland for the first or tenth time, at some point you will come to understand and embrace the phrase locals love to say: “Greenland makes you feel so small”.
This is not because you have shrunk in stature or anything like that. The reason is that from the moment you step off the ship or the plane, you’ll feel the vast and mighty nature of Greenland through its never-ending fjords, its dramatic skies, and powerful environmental elements. And then you’ll feel like you’re but a speck in the universe.
"From the moment you step off the ship or the plane, you’ll feel the vast and mighty nature of Greenland through its never-ending fjords."
How you get close to nature in Greenland
- Polarcirkel Boat excursions
- Kayaking amongst the icebergs
- Whale watching
- Sleeping out on deck
- Northern lights
- Trail running and hiking
- Village visits set in remote destinations
Greenlanders were traditionally a nomadic people hunting and moving by kayak and the larger boat, the umiaq, so cruising in Greenland is a very natural way to experience the country.
In a way, if you sail between small settlements, say, from Uummannaq to Ukkusissat, you might follow some of the unmarked routes taken by the ancient Inuit when hunting or migrating.
You might also experience the power of the natural forces when sailing. Tip: Take it like a Greenlander and adapt to what is thrown at you. Miles of compact ice floes that refuse to melt away, or strong gales that insist on blowing might slow the vessel down or may force your captain to change original plans. Rest assured that this is all in a day’s work of a ship cruising in the Arctic. This is particularly the case for expedition ships that venture in Greenlandic waters; they constantly adapt to the shifting elements and new opportunities that arise out of them (like changing route to follow a pod of whales that swim by)!
"It was very nice that one could come so near to the icebergs with ice cruising. I did it with a little bit of respect, as some looked 50 metres high. I saw some smaller icebergs rolling, and therefore I hoped that nothing would break when I was closeby. You can see all the strength of the nature in a little boat like that." - German cruise tourist
How you can experience Greenland’s nature on a cruise ship
You will never feel as close to nature as you will when you zip around sea on small, fast and agile Polarcirkel Boats or paddling via kayak. Venture closer to gigantic icebergs, and feel the temperature cool a few notches when you are nearby.
Who knows, a whale might also pop by to say hello - and sometimes the whales will swim so close that you will be able to hear them spouting!
"Venture closer to gigantic icebergs, and feel the temperature cool a few notches when you are nearby."
"Kayaking today was absolutely incredible. We started off by having to avoid this enormous sheet of sea ice. My husband grounded his kayak on the ice and ended up having to push it back into the water. The water was perfectly flat, there was a clear blue sky and a layer of mist right out in the horizon made everything look magical." - American cruise guest
Remember safety comes first and your expedition crew will provide you with directions as to how to navigate your excursion in a secure and sensible manner.
Sleeping outside on deck under the midnight sun is also another way you can experience nature in Greenland. Some cruise ships like Hurtigruten’s MS Fram offer this service complete with hot chocolate and thick down sleeping bags. Further on in the sailing season from late August, it might even be possible to view the dancing northern lights.
You can also try hiking or trail running while on land. Greenland offers many stunning land-based hikes of various levels. Or for a real treat, try a flightseeing or helicopter tour and see the land, villages and nature by air. In Ilulissat, you even have the chance to land near a glacier and walk on ice!
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