As they say ... When You've Been Everywhere Else, there's Always Greenland (via Denmark)
We are off on another adventure, and this one is a little off the beaten path – we are going to Greenland. And the Faroe Islands and Denmark, but primarily Greenland.
“Why Greenland?” No, we haven't been "everywhere" else. Though we are working on it!
But this is a question we have been asked repeatedly in recent weeks. Greenland, unlike (relatively) nearby Iceland, is not yet a major tourist destination and many people don’t know that much about it, other than the fact it is very large and not very green. But its remoteness, its uninhabitedness and its epic, untouched, edge-of-the-world landscapes have an irresistible appeal, and it has been on our travel radar for a long time.
“What are you going to see in Greenland?” Again, a frequent question, and one that is a little harder to answer – there are not that many things to see in Greenland! Just ice and glaciers and ocean (and a smattering of colourful little villages). But it is the sheer size and scale and expanse of these few things which will be the highlights in themselves. Towering icebergs, dwarfing boats and villages in their wake. Vast icefields, stretching for thousands of square kilometres and descending up to three kilometres deep. And the glaciers – amongst the largest and most active in the world, calving massive blocks of ice into the sea with explosive cracks and crashes.
We are travelling to Greenland via Denmark – an overnight stay in Copenhagen allowing just long enough for a first Spritz of the Northern Summer AND a much anticipated, hard earned, gastronomic adventure at ... Noma!
The next morning a five hour flight takes us above the Arctic Circle and brings us to Kangerlussuaq, a town of only 500 people, but Greenland’s main international transport hub. Here we will depart for Camp Ice Cap, and a night sleeping in a tent actually on the Greenland Ice Sheet. We are hoping that this is not as cold as it sounds! Hopefully the midnight sun will help keep things warm(er)!
After Kangerlussuaq, we head further north to Ilulissat, on the shores of Disko Bay, Greenland’s most famous destination. At this UNESCO World Heritage Site, the nearby Sermeq Kujalleq Glacier keeps the bay full of vast icebergs, and iceberg sailing, whalewatching and scenic flights over the glacier are all planned. And since the sun never sets, many of these activities can be undertaken at all hours of the day – we are anticipating some serious sleep deprivation as we stay up late and get up early for the most photogenic light.
After a few days in Ilulissat, we will make our way north to Glacier Lodge Eqi – a one-of-a-kind lodge perched right across from the Eqip Sermia glacier, one of the most active glaciers in the world. Here just fifteen cabins are perfectly positioned to witness the incredible spectacle of icebergs calving from the glacier into the ocean. We have been fortunate (ruthless?) enough to secure one of only four “comfort” huts, which come with the added luxuries of heating and a bathroom! While perhaps not as luxurious as many of our usual lodgings, we suspect there will be something unique about hearing and watching a calving glacier from our balcony (or our bed!).
Returning from Glacier Lodge Eqi, we head south of Ilulissat to a village called Ilimanaq, where Ilimanaq Lodge is one of the newest hotels in the country, and Greenland’s first foray into the luxury adventure travel market. Here vast picture windows fill the front triangle of the A-frame cottages, looking out onto the iceberg-filled waters and perhaps a whale or two. From Iliminaq, we will be one of the first clients on the new ATV Glacier Adventure, sailing and then all-terrain-vehicling to the edge of the ice sheet, where another crampon-clad hike on the ice awaits us.
We have one more night back in Ilulissat (one more night of midnight photos!) before our adventure in Greenland comes to an end. Our next destination is the Faroe Islands, but as this necessitates an overnight stop in Iceland, we are making the most of our transit with dinner at one of Reykjavik’s best restaurants, before the next morning undertaking the highly rated Inside The Volcano adventure – hiking across lava fields and then descending into a dormant volcano.
We then have four days in the Faroe Islands – a photographers paradise if the weather behaves! Scenic vistas, waterfalls, mountain drives and puffins await, with day trips by road and boat and helicopter to as many corners of the islands as we can accomplish (knowing full well we will only get half as far as we expect, as we will be stopping for snaps at every second bend). Here we will be staying in an atmospheric turf-roofed farmhouse, built in 1835 but lovingly restored with every modern convenience, and will be sampling traditional Faroese cuisine at several highly regarded local restaurants (including Michelin starred Koks).
Finally we return to Denmark. We have previously had the pleasure of experiencing Copenhagen, but have not had the opportunity to explore further afield. We will be rectifying this situation with a roadtrip adventure across the isles of Denmark, staying in scenic castles and cosy inns with gourmet restaurants to boot. Finally we return to Copenhagen for a stay in Tivoli Garden’s iconic Nimb Hotel.
Visit us again soon as we write about our adventures in Greenland and the Faroe Islands…