First-time traveler to Greenland and the Arctic?

By Verified Expert

Here are some quick and honest tips to align your expectations.

  • Change is the only thing certain in the Arctic
  • Delays are often a reality (especially in winter)
  • Cancellations occur frequently due to the weather
  • There is a limited supply of tours and accommodation so book well in advance of arrival
  • Have an extra day as a buffer before and after connecting flights to and from Greenland

Change is the only thing certain in the Arctic

In Greenland, nature is still the strongest. Many plans are subject to change due to weather conditions, storms, fog, and ice. Still, the vast majority of things happen as planned, but not always. We hope this advice does not scare anyone. We want to prepare you for the fact that Arctic Greenland is not like traveling anywhere else in the world.

Of course not, in a country where most of it is covered by a huge ice cap and it’s winter 6 months a year. For many travelers, it is these “challenges” that make Greenland as a more exciting and unique country to travel to.

Delays are often a reality

Short delays on flights and scheduled trips are normal. Airplanes may need to be de-iced first, and a boat or car to have snow and ice scraped off. If you have a tour planned and your boat or car is not there, please wait 10 minutes before calling – the guide is usually already on the way.

While planning your trip try not to plan too tight a schedule between flights and your tours or even just between the tours.

Cancellations occur frequently due to the weather

For safety reasons, airlines and boat operators always assess the weather. If it looks bad on the weather forecast, it is canceled. If you are traveling by plane, Air Greenland has insurance in Greenland where they take care of accommodation and catering. You must talk with Air Greenland staff and have information and tickets for this before you leave the airport.

If Guide to Greenland is forced to cancel a trip due to the weather, we first try to reschedule your tour for another day or time. If this is not possible, the canceled trip and you will be refunded.

There is a limited supply of Day tours – book well in advance of arrival

If you think this is a sales ploy to get you to book, you are wrong. Many travelers who have found their way to Greenland themselves come up and think they can book various day trips when they are here. In periods this is not possible, as many trips are sold out in high seasons (June-August).

This means you might miss a sailing trip or similar. Here at Guide to Greenland, you can book from home well in advance, and secure one or more experiences while you are in Greenland.

Advance booking for package tours and accommodation

Due to the high demand in July and August, our recommendation is that you book a package tour or book flights, tours, and accommodation yourself at least six months in advance. In some cities, June, September, and March (Easter holidays) are also in high demand.

Have an extra day as a buffer before and after flights to and from Greenland

If you fly via Denmark or Iceland, you should at least have an extra day in Copenhagen or Reykjavik on the way back before your onward journey home. If there is bad weather in Greenland and you arrive a day late for your onward flight, your ticket is lost with most airlines.

Icelandair has connecting tickets from several destinations in the US and Europe, that means if your flight is delayed or canceled they will help you with moving to another flight. If you are traveling with Icelandair, please contact them in case of any irregularities. Some connecting tickets are also in collaboration with Air Greenland.

Delays of one or more days

If you have booked a day trip or something else with Guide to Greenland, and are delayed by one or more days on your way to Greenland, you must contact Guide to Greenland at as soon as possible.

Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee postponing trips to the next day, as many trips in high seasons are fully booked and even if we try, we can rarely find extra capacity with a day’s notice. If it is not possible it can be treated as a NO SHOW and we will need to follow the cancellation policy.

Buy Travel Insurance

Because of weather uncertainty we always advise purchasing travel insurance that covers Greenland. Please note some of the active adventures, such as multi-day kayaking or hiking tours requires to have expedition insurance if you want to participate.

How do you travel in Greenland?

There are no roads between any of the cities in Greenland. Therefore, you must primarily sail or fly. In a few places, you can walk between towns or villages. In winter, you can ride a snowmobile or dog sled on the sea ice or in the mountains from one place to another. There are no buses, trains, subways, or motorways between the cities in Greenland. However, in the cities, you can take a bus or a taxi.

When should you travel to Greenland?

Greenland is a large country, 2800 km high, so there is a big difference between the destinations. Eg. There is spring in South Greenland in April, while the sea ice only breaks up in July in North Greenland.

A good way to choose when to travel to Greenland is to choose what you want to experience in Greenland. Below are therefore approximate indications.

  • Dogsledding – February, March, April (longer in specific places)
  • Whale watching from May to September (shorter in specific places)
  • Northern Lights from mid-September to mid-April (shorter in specific places)
  • Skiing, Snowshoeing, Snowmobiling January to April (longer in specific places)
  • Iceberg sightseeing all year
  • Visiting Icecap all year (some tours just in summer)
  • Boat tours all year
  • Hiking – May to September
  • Midnight Sun – June to July (longer in specific places)

Use our Tour Planner if you want more help.

Quick Facts

The currency is the Danish kroner, DKK. You can choose your own currency here on Guide to Greenland by clicking on the currency symbol at the top left, and choosing to see the price of our tours in your own currency.

Power has a voltage of 220-230 volts. The plug types are the same as in Denmark: the Type C plug is the standard two-pin Euro plug, while Type K has two pins plus an earth connection. We recommend people outside Europe to bring their own travel converter plug.

Food and drink are not cheap. Especially fresh vegetables and salad are expensive because they are flown in.

VISA is a requirement for some travelers. Click and see the National Tourist Board’s page on visa requirements here.

Flight safety is carried out according to international rules and standards. Perhaps you will still be a little nervous if you have not flown in a smaller aircraft before, such as those used internally in Greenland. These aircraft are specially chosen to land on short runways and the pilots have a lot of experience as they fly the same few runways in all kinds of weather.

A Greenlandic telephone number / SIM card is a good idea during your stay in Greenland. That way, the tour providers can get in touch with you, and you can call yourself. See where they can be bought here. (The page is only in Danish but use the city name and address on Google Maps when you need to find your way. “Åbningstider” means opening hours).

Greenland has country code +299.

In the event of an accident or fire, here are the following contact numbers in Greenland.

112 emergency help, switches to the desired service.

113 Fire preparedness.

701448 Police.

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