The fun fact that Greenland is mostly ice and Iceland is actually quite green is probably one of the few tidbits floating around the back of your brain from elementary school—right there next to the Pythagorean Theorem.
What your fifth-grade classroom didn’t teach you is how enchanting Greenland is in person: vibrant tundra, rare wildlife, and some of the largest, most pristine fjords in the world.
The country, technically a Danish-dependent territory but largely autonomous, is about as far off the beaten path as a traveler can hope to journey. Some nooks and crannies of the Greenland coast remain relatively untouched, and much of the land has never seen human footfall. It’s one of the world’s few remaining places where you can truly disconnect and explore.
If being among the vanguard to visit Greenland piques your interest, an expedition cruise may be your best bet to see its rugged landscape in an intimate manner. Greenland’s limited infrastructure makes it a challenge to explore the country by land, so visiting on one of Quark Expeditions’ nimble ships is a way to view the region’s exquisite scenery up close. And the flexible itinerary lets you take full advantage of exciting, unscripted moments of discovery.
Quark Expeditions, a 2018 AFAR Travelers’ Choice Award-winner for most unique itinerary, offers a variety of voyages that include Greenland as a focal point. Here are a few things to know before planning your adventure.
Photo credit: Acacia Johnson
When to go, what you’ll see, and where to explore
Voyaging to Greenland with Quark Expeditions lets you explore hidden gems of the coastline via Zodiac cruise—heavy-duty, inflatable vessels specially designed for expedition activities like seeking out otherwise-unreachable crevices along the coast and through the iceberg-choked fjords. Quark Expeditions also offers excursions like kayaking, paddle boarding, or guided hiking through the majestic fjords and awe-inspiring tundra.
September, which falls late in Greenland’s prime season, is the most optimal time to observe the Aurora Borealis—a bucket-list item for many travelers. This time of year, the intense darkness makes the natural light show even more spectacular. (The elusive Northern Lights dance over Greenland from October through April; the region typically sees clear skies up to 300 nights of the year.) The wildlife in Greenland, too, has potential to delight and entrance: muskoxen, whales, seals, arctic foxes, hares, reindeer, and more frolic about the wild terrain—you may even be lucky enough to catch sight of a meandering polar bear.
Quark Expeditions brings visitors to some of the island’s must-sees, including Ilulissat Icefjord, a tidal fjord and UNESCO World Heritage site; and Northeast Greenland National Park, the largest national park on earth.
Photo credit: Acacia Johnson
There are also plentiful opportunities for guests to interact with the Greenlandic people in their local communities. These experiences provide a demystifying perspective into one of the most unique and isolated cultures in the world. You’ll hear captivating tales and history lessons both onboard and in locals’ homes, including stories of the Thule, Inuit, Viking, and Norse peoples and their impact upon Greenland’s rich modern culture. Quark Expeditions’ expert team will supplement the sights and excursions with onboard lectures and enriching educational programming.
With more than 27 years of experience bringing visitors to the polar regions, Quark Expeditions has the tools and know-how to make your trip to Greenland a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. Learn more about how you can book your cruise today by visiting Quark Expeditions.