The best Greenland travel itinerary for you

Everything you need to know about this beautiful country from the authors of the Bradt Guide to Greenland.

Greenland is a country just waiting to be explored. It is a year-round destination with excellent tour operators and guides; whether you plan your own Greenland travel itinerary or use a local company, we’re sure you’ll have a good time.

Whatever you choose to do in Greenland, we can guarantee you’ll be struck by the wonder of it all. Whether you are high up in the mountains huddled in a tent, speeding across a glacier on a dog sled, or drinking beer on a terrace watching icebergs float past, Greenland is unforgettable.

Colourful houses beneath a mountain in Nuuk, Greenland

Your Greenland travel itinerary

We have travelled extensively all over Greenland, both as visitors and while researching the Bradt guidebook. During our travels we have been lucky enough to meet many Greenlanders who run local businesses; from families who offer sea safaris to those organising multi-day tours. Many Greenlanders are passionate about their region and the opportunities for tourists. We have taken part in activities and visited places that we would never have found without these local people who were keen to share their knowledge and enthusiasm with us.

We are often asked when is the best time to visit Greenland and what there is to see. In reality, there is no ideal travel itinerary that works for everyone – it really depends on what you want to see and do. That said, here are a few suggestions for itineraries that give you a flavour of what this wonderful country has to offer.

Sheets of ice in Kangerlussuaq, Greenland

The Arctic Circle

Day 1 – Fly into Kangerlussuaq, just north of the Arctic Circle, either direct or via Nuuk. 

Day 2 – Take a drive across the tundra to the ice sheet, spotting reindeer and musk oxen en route. Walk on the ice sheet using crampons and walking poles and, for the full experience, camp on the ice overnight. 

Day 3 – Return to Kangerlussuaq and fly to Sisimiut.

Days 4 & 5 – In Sisimiut, go whale watching, hiking and perhaps enjoy the midnight sun in summer. In the winter, enjoy trips into the backcountry on a snowmobile, skis or dog sled. There is a good chance you may see the northern lights. Don’t miss the ‘Special’ dinner at the Nasaasaaq Restaurant, it really is special.

Day 6 – Fly back to Kangerlussuaq to catch your flight home or fly on to Nuuk.

Rows of colourful houses along the coast in Nuuk, Greenland


Day 1 – Fly into Nuuk’s new airport, opening in November 2024.

Day 2 – Take a city tour, perhaps using the Nuuk Arts Trail as your guide. Spend some time at the National Museum to see the Qilakitsoq mummies. In the evening, take a tour of the Godthaab Bryghus brewery followed by dinner.

Day 3 – Spend the day on Nuuk Fjord with Nuuk Water Taxi and visit the only village, Kapisillit. Squeeze in a spot of fishing and take your catch to the Unicorn restaurant in the evening to be cooked for dinner.

Day 4 – Fly home.

Huge iceberg floating in Disko Bay, Greenland travel itinerary

Ilulissat and Disko Bay 

Day 1 – Arrive in Ilulissat.

Day 2 – Take a boat around the stupendous icebergs and along the fjord towards the Jakobshavn Glacier. To see it up close, consider taking a helicopter sightseeing tour. You might be lucky enough to see whales.

Day 3 – Walk to the splendid Icefjord Visitor Centre using one of the marked trails along the side of the UNESCO-listed Icefjord. 

Day 4 – Take a boat or scheduled Air Greenland helicopter flight across Disko Bay to Qeqertarsuaq on Disko Island, watching for whales and icebergs all the way. 

Day 5 – Get active by hiking or wandering the black-sand beach in summer or, in winter, you can try dog sledding or snowmobiling. 

Day 6 – Take a second boat or helicopter trip across the bay to lovely Aasiaat.

Day 7 – Go kayaking around the sheltered waterways or take a sea safari to see whales and to try sea fishing. In winter you can cross-country ski or learn to ice fish. 

Day 8 – Fly back to Ilulissat to connect with your flight home.

Uunartoq hot springs, Greenland travel itinerary

South Greenland 

Day 1 – Fly in to Narsarsuaq.

Day 2 – Visit the excellent museum then hike to Hospital Valley or even take a guide and make it to the ice sheet. 

Day 3 – Take a 10-minute boat ride to Qassiarsuk for a guided tour of Erik the Red’s farmstead and church. 

Days 4 & 5 – Take a walk from Qassiarsuk, or ride an Icelandic horse to one of the many sheep farms where you can spend the night.

Day 6 – Back to Qassiarsuk before heading down the fjord to Qaqortoq, either by boat or by scheduled helicopter from Narsarsuaq. 

Day 7 – Spend the day exploring Qaqortoq, walking the Stone and Man sculpture trail and visiting a café or two.

Day 8 – A boat from here will take you to Nanortalik, calling at the Uunartoq hot springs, or you could take a scheduled helicopter to get a unique view of the mountains, fjords and glaciers. 

Day 9 – Explore the Nanortalik’s colonial harbour and the open-air museum before taking a boat up the Tasermiut Fjord. If you have some extra time, spend it in one of the remote cabins near Tasiusaq.

Day 10 – A boat or helicopter will get you back to Nanortalik and then to Narsarsuaq for your flight home.

Unique experiences

Greenland is a vast country that is nine-times the size of the UK (and three-times the size of Texas), stretching around 2,670km from north to south. A country largely undiscovered by tourists, Greenland offers a few unique experiences that every traveller should consider including in their itinerary.

For more inspiration, check out our upcoming guide to Greenland.

Kangerlussuaq ice sheet, Greenland travel itinerary

Enjoy the ice

The ice in Greenland is like nowhere else on Earth. Only here can you walk out of town and onto an ice sheet with nothing ahead of you but sparkling white as far as the eye can see. You’d be hard pressed to find another country where you can watch icebergs the size of tower blocks float past your hotel room window. You can even lie in bed and hear the crack of icebergs calving off the face of the Eqi Glacier.

The best starting point for ‘ice’ is probably Ilulissat and the UNESCO World Heritage Site Icefjord, but the easiest place to access the gigantic ice sheet is Kangerlussuaq. Here you can follow a short road that takes you to its very edge, allowing you to witness the natural phenomenon up close.

Dogs pulling a sled in Greenland

Go dog sledding

To experience the heart of traditional Greenlandic culture, visitors can opt to travel by dog sled with a local musher. There are more than 17,000 sled dogs in Greenland; this unique form of transport has been an integral part of the Inuit way of life for more than 4,000 years.

Above the Arctic Circle, there are many locations that offer dog-sledding trips, particularly along the west coast (from Kangerlussuaq and up) and on the east coast. Trips vary in length from a couple of hours to multiple-day adventures where travellers can sleep in igloos along the way. Racing silently across the frozen snow with just a team of dogs skilfully commanded by their musher is unforgettable.

Mountain and lake landscape, Greenland travel itinerary

Explore the natural landscape

The vast untouched landscape of Greenland is a true wilderness. There are only 56,000 people living on this huge island so the natural world is never more than a couple of minutes away. Hills, mountains, fjords and glaciers are all part of Greenland’s iconic horizons, and each form an important part of any travel itinerary.

There are no roads outside of the settlements. You can choose to stay in a cabin on the side of a fjord, which allows you to fully immerse yourself in the wilderness. You can walk, snowshoe, ski, kayak, climb or even just sit and fish. Whatever you do, you cannot help but be overwhelmed by the raw grandeur around you. Visiting Greenland offers you an opportunity to relax and unwind in a place that nourishes body, mind, and spirit.

northern lights in Greenland

Look up at the sky

The skies of Greenland are mesmerising no matter when you visit. In the summer, the low midnight sun castes a myriad of colours across the sky, turning icebergs pink and orange in the process.

From the end of September to early April, the strange dancing patterns of the northern lights fill the night sky. You can view their spectacular green, yellow and even red hues by simply walking out of town – with so little light pollution you don’t need to venture far. Visitors might also opt to take a boat, snowmobile or dog sled into the back country and witness one of the greatest shows on earth while fully immersed in nature. Other options include a 24-hour visit to Igloo Lodge, hidden in the back country of Ilulissat, or an overnight stay at the Aurora Cabins at Hotel Arctic.

You can find out more about the best places to see the northern lights here.

Tail of a whale breakign the water in Disko Bay, Greenland travel itinerary

Dive beneath the surface

The waters around Greenland attract fish, whales and seals. The easiest way to see the whales is from a sea safari boat (perhaps out of Nuuk, Aasiaat or Ilulissat), but you can often spot them from the shore or even from your hotel window.

From May to September, there are thirteen species of whales in Greenland’s waters, from humpbacks to narwhal.

Learn about Inuit culture

You may go to Greenland for the scenery, but you will surely come away with a newfound respect for its inhabitants. This is not an empty land, it is a country where Inuit people have lived for thousands of years. You will continually wonder how they do it and how they continue to flourish in such a challenging environment.

The country has some excellent museums (especially in Nuuk, Sisimiut and Ilulissat) that offer a valuable summary of Inuit history; simply chatting with a Greenlander over coffee will give you an insight into their daily life.

The best places to visit

Big iceberg in Ilulissat Icefjord, Greenland

Ilulissat and Disko Bay

This is the most popular tourist region and is a great place for easy viewing of magnificent icebergs in the UNESCO World Heritage Ilulissat Icefjord. There is whale watching in the bay and frequent sea and air connections to Disko Island, with its hiking trails and black beaches. Visit Aasiaat for kayaking around small islands and easy back country walking. It is all north of the Arctic Circle so offers the midnight sun in summer and the chance to see the northern lights in winter.

Nuuk and Nuuk fjord

From late 2024 it will be possible to take an international flight directly to Nuuk, Greenland’s tiny capital city. This is the cultural centre of the country and is home to museums, art galleries and an extensive range of accommodation and restaurants. Nuuk offers all the amenities of a modern town and so it is easy to forget how remote this is. A handy reminder is a boat trip along the second largest fjord in the world.

Colourful houses by the water in Sisimiut, Greenland

Kangerlussuaq and Sisimiut

Kangerlussuaq is an excellent region for wildlife watching and the easiest place to access the ice sheet. The 165km Arctic Circle trail is Greenland’s great walk for backpackers. Sisimiut is a quintessential Greenlandic fishing town, offering good access for snowmobiles and dog sleds into the back country.

South Greenland

South Greenland is the region with the mildest climate. Across the fjord from Narsarsuaq airport is Qassiarsuk where Eric the Red established his homestead, now part of the Kujataa UNESCO World Heritage Site. From here you can walk – or ride – Icelandic horses across the hills, spending the nights in sheep farms.

Visit our favourite Greenlandic town, Qaqortoq, home to many local artists. For further adventures, travellers can head to Tasermiut Fjord, a place of true serenity. Stay awhile in a cabin and let the cares of the world float away.

Mountains of Tasiilaq, Greenland travel itinerary

East Greenland

Greenland’s east coast is so far off the tourist trail, it even has its own language. Fly into Kulusuk and then a helicopter will take you over the mountain ridge and across the fjord to Tasiilaq. In winter you can dog sled, visit ice caves, sleep in an igloo and snowshoe; in summer you can kayak, hike, visit a glacier and look for whales. Further north are the world’s largest National Park and the world’s largest fjord. And polar bears – never forget the polar bears!

Looking to extend your European tour? Don’t miss our guide to travelling Iceland in winter.

The practicalities

When is the best time to visit Greenland?

If you’re travelling to Greenland to go dog sledding, snow shoeing, heli skiing, snowmobiling, or to witness the northern lights, autumn through spring is the best time to visit; the further north you go, the longer the season for these activities. Wildlife spotting, kayaking, horse riding and hiking are best done in spring, summer and autumn. If you want to see the midnight sun then you’ll need to be north of the Arctic Circle around mid-summer.

Many activities, though, can be enjoyed at any time of year, including fishing, bird watching, photography and visiting the country’s array of museums and galleries. Greenlanders love to be outdoors, so activities will be available ‘out of season’ whenever the weather permits.

Be sure to check the up-to-date travel advice for Greenland before you go.

Travelling to Greenland

There are currently five international air gateways to Greenland – Kangerlussuaq, Ilulissat, Narsarsuaq, Kulusuk and Nelerit Inaat (Constable Point), near Ittoqqortoormiit, the remote gateway to the National Park. In late 2024 the new Nuuk airport will open and become the sixth – and the most important – international gateway for Greenland. Nearly all flights to Greenland originate in either Denmark or Iceland. There is one weekly departure from northern Canada. You can find a list of all the airports in Greenland here.

Getting around Greenland is different from travel in any other country as there are no roads outside of settlements. Even the capital has no roads in or out. All travel between settlements is by boat or via domestic flights, either by plane or helicopter. Travelling around Greenland can therefore be quite expensive, so bear this in mind when planning your itinerary. It is generally better to limit your visit to one or two regions and explore them in depth. Despite the added cost, travelling between locations is often an adventure in itself. The views from a helicopter over vast fjords and island studded coastlines are magnificent. For a relaxing way to travel, try the Arctic Umiaq Boat which connects thirteen settlements along the west coast.

More information

Visit Greenland is owned by the Government of Greenland and is dedicated to marketing the country’s adventures and opportunities for guests wishing to visit the world’s largest island. 

Air Greenland is the national flag carrier of Greenland, having operated flights in and to Greenland for almost 65 years. Air Greenland takes you to Greenland from Denmark, Iceland, and Nunavut in Northern Canada and also operates an extensive domestic flight network with more than 60 destinations.

Greenland Travel’s package tours operate with the following Greenlandic seasons: Summer: June–August, Autumn: September–November, Winter: December–mid-April, Spring: May. The dates fluctuate somewhat because Greenland is 2,000 kilometres from north to south, so while it’s still summer in the south, fall/winter can be approaching in the north.

For more information, check out our upcoming guide to Greenland.