The Greenland Ice Cap covers an area of 1,755,000 square kilometres and is the second largest body of ice
on the planet. A magical sight to behold. The long daylight hours in the summer months allow you to make the most of your time here, kayaking or trekking along the fjords, watching arctic birds skim past and soaking up the magnificent scenery. If you have a longing to visit one of the most remote and wild places on Earth
, where the absence of any human presence allows nature to rule supreme... you may find that a Greenland adventure
is just what you are looking for.
How to get to Greenland
You will need to arrive at Ilulissat Airport. The airport code is JAV.
You can fly to Ilulissat from either Iceland or Denmark. The easiest way to get there is to fly to Keflavik Airport (KEF) in Iceland and then catch your flight to Ilulissat from there. Iceland Air provide direct flights to Ilulissat from Keflavik International Airport. We recommend going directly to the Iceland Air website to check schedules and availability.
From the UK, there are direct flights to Keflavik from London Heathrow (LHR) with British Airways and Icelandair. Easy Jet also offer direct flights from London Luton (LTN), Manchester (MAN) and Edinburgh (EDI).
For those traveling from the USA, Icelandair have direct flights to Keflavik from New York (JFK), Boston (BOS), Washington (IAD) and Seattle (SEA). Delta offer convenient flights via New York from San Francisco (SFO), Los Angeles (LAX), Phoenix (PHX) and Atlanta (ATL).
Flights from Denmark depart from Copenhagen and are operated by Air Greenland. You will stop in Kangerlussuaq before continuing to Ilulissat.
On arrival, after clearing immigration and collecting your luggage, please look out for a member of our team in the arrivals area. They will be holding a large “KANDOO” sign.
If you are changing airlines or re-checking your luggage at an airport on route, please ensure you leave a minimum of 3 hours between flights. This will account for any delays on arrival, travel time across airports (this can take longer than you think) and time taken to re-check baggage.
Our Greenland adventure
KAYAK TO THE ICE SHEET | This expedition connects normally inaccessible destinations that could not be any more 'off the beaten track’. An active hiking and sea kayaking trip in one of the most remote places on earth. Experience true quietness as you paddle silently through iceberg filled waters where whales roam. Discover the tiny Greenlandic settlement of Oqaatsut and wild camp in truly spectacular locations.
When to visit
You can find detailed advice on when to trek in our Greenland Travel Guide.
This a brief summary. Greenland only really has two seasons, a short summer and a long winter. For 7 months of the year (from October to April) Greenland is covered in snow, the colourful houses contrasting sharply with the pure white landscape. The short days and extreme temperatures don't leave you with much time to be outside. The temperature will vary greatly in different parts of the country, the southern tip of Greenland may be -11°C while Disko Bay further north is -25°C. Around April the snows start to melt as the temperature gradually begins to rise. As the summer progresses the sun almost never goes down so visitors have never ending days to explore the magnificent scenery. The average temperatures in summer are between 3°C and 11°C but it could get as high as 15°C in July or August.
Training for your trip
The hikes in Greenland are not technically difficult but may venture off-trail on loose and uneven ground so care will be needed to avoid slips and trips. Adverse weather conditions can make hiking and kayaking feel much more challenging. We would recommend heading out into your local hills in the months leading up to your trip to get used to being out on rough, mountainous terrain for 6-7 hours per day.
Our trip to Greenland consists mostly of kayaking. Previous kayaking experience, although beneficial, is not required as the stable, double sea kayaks we use are extremely difficult to capsize. As they are doubles, it also means weaker members of the group can be paired with stronger, more experienced members.
Training for your kayak
Kayaking for multiple days in a row is not something most of us do regularly, so it is really important to train the muscles in your arms and core in particular, to withstand your week long kayaking trip. If you already own a kayak then getting out in it once or twice a week, whether this be on the sea, rivers or lakes, will help to build these muscles. If you are a bit newer to kayaking or don't have access to a kayak at home then our training guide below offers key advice in exercises that will help to build the strength and stability necessary for you to have an enjoyable trip.
This is the real deal and the weather in Greenland can be really nasty, so it is essential you have the correct equipment! For your head, you will need something that provides good sun protection and also a really warm beanie or even balaclava for when the wind picks up. Think about clothing layers, wind is a notorious factor in Greenland and can turn a relatively warm day to a freezing one very quickly. We provide the very best equipment to help you to stay warm. Our camping and kayaking gear is high quality and made to withstand the worst weather. However, we find the best way to manage your temperature is with layering your clothing. Other critical equipment includes, drybags (for kayaking), a head torch, a comfortable day pack and lots and lots of high factor sunscreen.
Accommodation and food in Greenland
In Greenland we will both camp and stay in local guesthouse accommodation.
Whilst camping we will provide a 3 man dome tent per two people and inflatable sleeping mats per person. There will be a dining tent for taking meals and for use as a communal space, tables, stools and eating utensils are all provided. As well as kayaking and hiking you will also be packing away and putting up tents, assisting with cooking, loading and unloading kayaks and fetching water. There are no porters, cooks or waiters on this trip, you are part of the expedition and must do your share of the work. Although this makes the adventure more demanding, it also adds to the enormous sense of satisfaction and achievement at the end of your journey.
In guesthouses accommodation will be in dormitories of between 4 and 12 people with shared bathroom facilities.
In Ilulissat and Oqaatsut your accommodation will have flushing toilets. Whilst camping, the toilet situation will be a little less luxurious. It is a case of finding somewhere hidden, away from camp or the path and digging a hole. We can guarantee it will be the most scenic, exciting toilet break you've ever had! Please remember to bring toilet roll and a lighter to burn it after use.
The currency is the Danish Krone (DKK).
In the larger towns, you can withdraw money and pay using most common credit or debit cards. We recommend carrying some cash to avoid disappointment when card facilities are not available. Please budget for drinks, tips, personal expenses and any meals not included in your trip. Expect to pay at least 200DKK (£23/$30) for a meal.
Tipping customs vary all over the world and can be very confusing when travelling to a new country. Tipping in Greenland is always appreciated, however it is not obligatory and should be left to the discretion of each individual. If you are satisfied with your guide’s services we recommend a tip between 350-450 NOK per person (equivalent to £30-40 per person). On the other hand, if you receive bad service or have not been treated well, you would not be expected to tip at all.