There are numerous options for Arctic cruises nowadays, which means you’ll have to carefully think about where you want your itinerary to take you. While most Arctic trips will visit Norway, a less-common stop to make is Greenland – but there are lots of reasons to explore this little-travelled country. The best way to reach Greenland – and to fully appreciate its coastal scenery – is by boat, which is why this makes such an ideal destination on an Arctic cruise. For some of the most spectacular landscapes, you’ll need to head to the east and north coasts of the country.
Discover wonderful landscapesIn the east and north of Greenland the landscape predominantly consists of deep fjords, vast glaciers and large mountains seemingly rising up out of the sea. There are a few settlements dotted along the coast, but for the most part this is real wilderness country, making it ideal for an Arctic adventure.
This area of the country is protected by Greenland’s National Park, the largest in the world, which spans some 972,000 sq km. You won’t be able to see it all in a single trip, but if you book a tour that takes in the country with Explore Worldwide, you’ll visit Scoresbeysund (also known as Ittoqqortoormiit), one of the biggest fjord systems on the planet.
Visit remote communities
One of the highlights of sailing in this part of Greenland is the chance to visit the local village, which shares its name with the fjord, and is home to a community of around 550 people.
There’s a small local museum here where you can learn about the town’s foundation and its history, as well as see exhibits that show you how the hunters used to live in the region in the 1950s. If you want to meet the people who live in Scoresbeysund, pay a visit to the local pub, which is only open on Friday evenings from 22:00 to 03:00 local time.
See amazing wildlife
Of course, the biggest draw of Arctic cruises is the opportunity to see some of the unique animals that inhabit the northerly reaches of the planet. Among the most spectacular creatures to live in Greenland is the polar bear, which is even featured on the country’s coat of arms.
You’ll have the best chance of seeing these incredible animals in the north and east of Greenland, well away from human habitation. Other land mammals to look out for include the musk ox and reindeer, as well as Arctic foxes and hares.
In the water – and along the shoreline – you may be lucky enough to spot walruses, while fin, minke and humpback whales are common visitors during the summer months (which is when the majority of cruises set sail for this part of the world). Another animal you should keep an eye out for is the distinctive narwhal, which has a spiral tusk on its head that makes it easily recognisable.
Along with narwhals, bowhead and beluga whales are the only other species that stay in Greenland’s waters all year round.
Look to the sky, meanwhile, and you may catch a glimpse of the white-tailed eagle, a beautiful bird with a wingspan of up to 2.5 m. There are numerous kinds of birds that are easier to spot than this eagle, though, with auks, ptarmigans, eiders, kittiwakes and ravens all regularly seen in Greenland.