'Green list' to Greenland: The 10 best places to visit

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Kenneth Fox
Last night the Government announced the 'green list' which detailed 15 countries where people can travel from without havin got quarantine for 14 days upon entry into Ireland. So the new tourist hotspots for Irish travellers this summer are the eclectic mix of: Malta, Finland, Norway, Italy. Hungary, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Cyprus, Slovakia, Greece, Greenland, Gibraltar, Monaco, and San Marino.

While Irish people might be used to the likes of Italy, Malta, Greece and Cyprus as places to go for some sun, one of the more interesting inclusions on the list is Greenland. If they can find a way to get there of course.

The largest island in the world has a lot to offer and if you can brave the cold there are countless sights to see. The island is an autonomous territory with the Kingdom of Denmark, although the US president Donald Trump has made his interests in putting in a bid for a takeover quite public. So perhaps it is time to visit before a Trump Tower pops up in Thule, now known Qaanaaq.

1.Ilulissat Icefjord

Located on the west coast of Greenland, 250 km north of the Arctic Circle, Greenland’s Ilulissat Icefjord is the sea mouth of Sermeq Kujalleq, one of the few glaciers through which the Greenland ice cap reaches the sea.

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It is Greenland's most visited area and also a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2004. The glacier Sermeq Kujalleq is more than five kilometers wide and one kilometer thick, feeds into the bay and flows at a rate of about 25 metres a day.

It is a must see location if you intend on venturing to Greenland.

2.The Northern Lights

There are a number of locations you can see the Northern Lights from such as Norway, Finland and Iceland. Greenland though offers one of the best views of this spectacle.

There's a good chance of seeing the Northern Lights between November and March, although December through February are the best months because the nights are clearer. The Northern Lights are visible across Greenland in places such as Qaqortoq (south), Ittoqqortoormiit (east), and Kangerlussuaq (west) provide the best views.

3.Greenland National Museum

Located in the capital of Nuuk, the Greenland National Museum tells the history of the island in a unique and interesting way. It holds a collection of hunting equipment, kayaks, carvings, and Viking finds paint a vivid picture of life here from the earliest times. There are also 500-year-old mummies of women and children which were discovered in 1978. You can still see some of the facial tattoos and the colours of the clothes.

4. Whale watching

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From mid-summer to autumn, there is a very good chance to see whales. Especially near Paamiut, Nuuk, Aasiaat, Uummannaq, Kulusuk, and Tasiilaq, and in the Disco Bay. Of course, we cannot guarantee whale sighting because, after all, the ways of the whales are inscrutable and they are not here for our sake, but to eat.

5. The Hot Springs

On an uninhabited island between Qaqortoq and Nanortalik in Southern Greenland lies the only heated outdoor spa in the country, complete with a view to icebergs and pointy mountain peaks.

In other places in the country, especially on the volcanic island, Qeqertarsuaq, in the Disco Bay and in East Greenland, there are many known areas with hot springs, but it is the geothermal springs on the island of Uunartoq which steals the show.

6. Vikings Ruins

The traces of the Vikings – also called the Norse – can be found in the innermost and warmest fjord systems in South and West Greenland. The landscape continues to be dominated by large ruins of farms, stables, storerooms, etc., made of sandstone and granite blocks. The ruins can be anything up to 1000 years old.

Lots of the same land that the Viking settlers originally cultivated is today occupied by enterprising sheep farmers and other farmers who offer guests overnight accommodation on the banks of deep fjords and or on grassy mountain slopes.

7.Qaqortoq Museum

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Qaqortoq Museum is housed in the town’s oldest building, a black-tarred colonial administrator’s building which was built in 1804.

The museum contains the reconstructed ‘Blue room’ and ‘Red room’, where Knud Rasmussen and Charles Lindbergh respectively stayed overnight.

The history of the Norse settlers is in focus and there are finds of harpoons, kayaks, blubber bags.

8. Dog Sledging tour

Experiencing Greenland’s landscapes from the perspective of a dog sled simply cannot match. Maybe it is the slower pace that gives plenty of time to take in all the impressions or maybe it is the combination of sled dogs panting plus the rhythmic beat of their large paws, a sound that is suddenly magnified against a backdrop of pure silence.

Enjoying this fascinating experience of man and dog working together in nature does necessitate a small tolerance for chilly temperatures, but Arctic fanatics are not the only ones that can take pleasure in dog sledding

9. Sermermiut Eskimo Settlement

Beautiful icebergs are the setting for the old settlement Sermermiut, located one and a half kilometers south of Ilulissat. For 4000 years, different Inuit cultures lived in the settlement and today you can still see many remains that indicate their presence.

An area so special that UNESCO named it World Heritage in 2004. It is estimated that up to 30,000 guests visit Sermermiut every year, for this reason there is a wooden walkway to protect the area against wear. Therefore anyone can go on this trip.

10. Tasiilaq, East Greenland

The largest town in Eastern Greenland is the gateway to pretty much every kind of experience Greenland offers.

Despite its only having 2,000 inhabitants, is the gateway to a plethora of summer adventures on foot, in kayak, by boat or in the air, and then there are the winter adventures like dog sledding, skiing, heliskiing and snowmobiling.

East Greenland, and specifically Tasiilaq, is viewed as the ”front side” of Greenland or the “face towards the world” by many visitors.

For more information about visiting Greenland you can go to https://visitgreenland.com/ Have fun!

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