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Frequently Asked Questions

About Glacier and Icecap Tours

1. What is the difference between a glacier and an icecap?

The big white space you see in the map is the Greenland ice sheet – a very large mass of land covered by ice. Technically, ice caps are smaller versions of an ice sheet, for example on an island or a mountain top. However, the term “icecap” is often used for the large ice sheet too. 

A glacier is a river of ice flowing slowly from an ice sheet or icecap to the ocean. Some glaciers reach the ocean, others are grounded on land. A glacier that reaches the ocean calves (breaks off) pieces of ice - they can be small, big, huge or gigantic. These are the icebergs that you see.

2. Can I touch a glacier, and get a piece of ice from it?

Glacier fronts by the water are often inaccessible and dangerous to get close to, but if you're with a guide, and near a glacier on land, you can most likely find a place where it’s safe. But it might be difficult to chip off a clean piece of ice.

If you want to touch a piece of ice that is thousands of years old, it’s easier to get it from an iceberg. They get stranded on beaches with the tide movement, or your guide on a boat trip may scoop up a small piece for you. The tinkling sound of the icebergs melting, is in fact, tiny drops of ancient air being released from the ice.

3. Can I walk on a glacier or an icecap?

Yes, but you need the right equipment and a professional guide. There are icecap tours in Kangerlussuaq that are easy to join and a very special experience. East Greenland and South Greenland also have tours that do glacier or icecap walks. 

There are some places in Greenland where you can hike to a gently sloping end of the icecap and continue walking onto it. It usually takes a few hours’ hike to get to such places. Be careful because it can be slippery, go in groups, and tell people where you’re going.

4. Are there glaciers in southern Greenland too?

Yes, there are glaciers all around Greenland, and there are very beautiful ones in South Greenland. If you see the inland ice close to the ocean on a map, you will find some glaciers in the area too.