Things to do

Icebergs

You'll meet icebergs all over Greenland. They come in all shapes and sizes, and no two icebergs are exactly alike. In the north, icebergs can be up to 100 metres in size; they're considerably smaller in the south, yet they're still masterpieces.

In fact, they could also be considered to be genuine wonders. You can only see a small part of the huge mass of ice, since 7/8 of an iceberg remain below the surface of the sea, where its shape and colours are left to your imagination - or to divers.

They look magnificent as they slowly float out towards the open sea. They're given birth to by the Ice Sheet and created by compacted snow which is thousands of years old. Each year the Ice Sheet produces thousands of icebergs, where they calve particularly frequently in the central and north-western regions of the country and along Greenland's east coast.

As tall as a 15-storey building

On a sailing trip in Ilulissat and Uummannaq you get a convincing demonstration of the size of the icebergs as they tower over the boat; beautiful and intimidating at the same time. It's vital to have great respect for the inherent power that an iceberg can release. The skipper of the boat, however, is well aware of this, since the local population know the icebergs by their sounds and shapes and know when not to get too close.

Interplay of colours in blue, turquoise and the transparency of glass

In South Greenland the icebergs are smaller, but equally spectacular. They are often turquoise and appear in many different forms - and are a work of art in themselves. In South Greenland it's easier to walk out to the glacial edges of the Ice Sheet, where the icebergs are produced, from where they then drift south for many thousands of kilometres. During the summer, the icebergs are floating ice sculptures, whilst during the winter they are gripped by the ice in its frozen embrace.

Ice isn't just ice

In many ways ice is synonymous with Greenland. The Ice Sheet is one thing, but the country is also known for its field ice, which is sea ice formed in the Arctic Ocean north of Greenland. This ice drifts with the current down the east coast of the country, rounds Cape Farewell in the south and then moves up the west coast. Solid ice is formed in the fjords during the winter months, where it gets hold of the icebergs on the way out to sea and keeps them in suspended animation until spring arrives and the onset of warmer weather causes the white mass to disappear.

Read more about the icebergs here.
Read about the ice sheet here.
Read about Ilulissat Icefjord (UNESCO World Heritage site) here.

Related stories

 

Facts about
Icebergs

Icebergs occur when glaciers calve. Only about 1/9 of it is above water. But exactly how much depends on how much air is in the ice.

 

Practical info about Icebergs

Adventure level
Easy:
No physical requirements. No previous experience needed.
Moderate:
Little or no requirements on physical condition or previous experience.
Demanding:
Some requirements on physical condition. Previous experience may be needed for some activities.
Strenuous:
Highly demanding activities, requiring good physical condition and endurance. May involve extremely low temperature, rough terrain, etc. Previous experience needed.
Please note that some activities can be found on several adventure levels, and offerings may vary by location.
 
 
 
 
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