Insider’s Guide: 6 Things to Do in Greenland
At the heart of A&K’s new expedition, Ultimate Iceland & Greenland Cruise, is a special focus on the largest island in the world: Greenland. An untamed, ice-cloaked paradise for both active adventurers and cultural enthusiasts Greenland is a place of fascinating contrasts — where enduring Inuk and Viking traditions thrive alongside a dynamic and surprisingly bountiful wilderness. “Travellers that embrace the Greenlandic state of mind are rewarded with once-in-a-lifetime experiences,” says local expert Lykke Geisler Yakaboylu, whose family has called the island home for generations and who joins A&K’s expedition as a special cultural expert.
Sharing the expansive landscapes and unique culture of her home country is her greatest passion. To inspire your wanderlust into untrammeled valleys and gorges, remote villages, and stunning icebergs and glaciers, here are Lykke’s favorite things to experience in Greenland.
Discover Uunartoq Hot Springs
Unlike neighboring Iceland, whose hot springs were formed by volcanic activity, Greenland’s hot pools and springs were formed from the friction in the deeper layers of the earth’s crust. Founded by Norsemen over 1,000 years ago, southern Greenland’s Uunartoq’s crystal clear pools range from 97-to-100-degrees and provide some of the best views of the area’s snow-capped mountains and drifting icebergs. “There are only a few hot pools in Greenland, but this one was discovered by the Vikings and is absolutely perfect to spend a day in,” says Lykke.
Kangerlussuaq: Gateway to Greenland’s Icecap
The colorful town of Kangerlussuaq is a destination in itself, and an especially exciting place for those venturing to the Greenland Ice Cap at its back door. “You have never really seen the beauty of ice until you see Kangerlussuaq at the mouth of the Greenland ice sheet, something we see during our last stop,” says Lykke. Adventure junkies thrill at the chance to trek over the icecap in crampons while photographers eye a landscape of glaciers and candy-colored homes — something A&K guests can look forward to while in Kangerlussuaq.
River Fishing in Greenland
The glaciers of Greenland serve many purposes, including providing incredibly fresh water to the country’s many rivers, tributaries and pools. The cool waters here are rich with arctic char, a fish that migrates upriver from the Arctic Sea, as well as an abundance of Greenlandic cod, which has a uniquely fresh taste and texture. “You throw out a line with small hooks on it, and it’s easy to catch as many as five cod at a time,” says Lykke. “But what’s really special is preparing the fish afterward, just as we do traditionally in summer.”
Inuit Culture and Traditions
Not surprisingly, the people of Greenland are resilient and resourceful. More than that, though, they're warm and welcoming, and incredibly proud of their heritage. Steeped in history and Arctic lore, many of their traditions date back thousands of years. “Whenever we have a celebration in Greenland, like a birthday party or a wedding, we bake a cake with the berries we pick in summer,” shares Lykke. This special Greenlandic cake is often called Kalaallit Kaagiat. “We invite everyone in the village over for cake and coffee, and maybe some traditional dried fish and meat,” says Lykke.
Kayaking in Narsaq
Not just an activity for thrill-seekers, kayaking has been a primary mode of transportation along Greenland’s waterways for decades. Adjacent to the ocean and full of icebergs, Narsaq is a favorite spot for both novice and expert kayakers. Located in southern Greenland, this colorful town offers the chance to see the country’s rich fjord systems, scenic waters and magnificent icecap up close. “A&K guests will have an opportunity to kayak here, with the option to paddle into exciting ocean waters,” Lykke says. Guests also get to see an expert kayak demonstration in Greenland, where the “hunter’s boat” was born.
Greenland’s Vast Landscapes
From sweeping horizons to rugged mountain ranges overlooked by shimmering icebergs, the scenery in Greenland is as diverse as it is beautiful. In the east, you'll find flower-filled meadows and massive basalt walls. In the north, you're met by snow-capped fjords and rocky hills flanked by colorful villages. Wherever you go, don’t miss sunset, when the deep polar sun dips closer to the Arctic Circle. “The nature here is so huge, wild and rough,” Lykke says. “You don’t have to travel far beyond any of the communities we visit to feel as if you are the only one in the world and there is no sound at all.”
“Greenland is part of me,” says Lykke, who grew up in Denmark, but always retained a strong connection to her Greenlandic roots. Her mother was born in Western Greenland and raised in a traditional hunting family, and her uncles live as fishermen and hunters in Nuuk. Lykke moved to Greenland after high school and served on the country’s tourism board for 20 years before launching her own Greenlandic tour company. On A&K’s Ultimate Iceland & Greenland Cruise, Lykke joins featured experts and Explorers in Residence Fiann Paul, a record-breaking ocean rower, and acclaimed climber Alex Pancoe.
Set sail on a thrilling expedition to Iceland and Greenland via exclusively chartered, all-balcony ‘Le Boreal.’ Discover spectacular Lindenow Fjord, Prince Christian Sound and more on excursions for active guests and families alike, visiting the Inuit villages of Greenland and discovering the deep-rooted Viking history of both countries alongside the most knowledgeable Expedition Team at sea.