Travel guide to Greenland

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» Greenland
On this great island in the far north you will meet a people and an environment different from anything else in the world. The main part of the island is permanently covered by snow, but on the coasts you can explore vast areas of tundra, enormous blocks of ice - and the sprinkling of the many small human communities. This is where Greenlanders preserve their ancient traditions and culture.

Facts

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Local name
Kalaallit Nunaat
Capital
Nuuk (Good Hope)
Size
2,175,600 sq km
Principal Languages
Greenlandic and Danish
Principal Religion
Evangelical Lutheran
Inhabitants
56,309 (2000)
Government
Self-governing Danish territory
Geography
Greenland is the world's largest island, and a permanent layer of ice covers most of this enormous land - whose northernmost point is only 700 km from the North Pole. The inland ice is 3300 metres thick at its deepest point, and the country has more than 40,000 km of coastline.

Travel preparation

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Best time to visit

Greenland has two basic seasons: summer and winter. During the winter months you can experience the natural scenery normally associated with the country, but Greenland is also interesting during the summer - when you can go hiking in the mountains and sailing along the coast.

Literature

Lonely Planet Iceland, Greenland & the Faroe Islands

Local conditions

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Currency

Danish krone (DKR), 1 krone=100 øre.

Net cafes

The inland ice doesn't exactly swarm with Internet cafes, but you can find one in Nuuk and Sisimut, or you can ask in the local library.

Tipping

You tip about 10 per cent in restaurants, and you can also tip your tour guide, if the tour has been extraordinarily good.

Timezone

Greenland is divided into three time zones: When it is 12.00 in England, it is 08.00 in the Nuuk area. When it is 12.00 in England, it is 07.00 in the Qaanaaq area. When it is 12.00 in England, it is 10.00 in the Ittoqqortoormiit area.

Weight and Measures

Length: metre Weight: kilogram Temperature: centigrade Volume: litre

Photography

It is prohibited to photograph in churches during sermons. It is always polite to ask the Greenlanders' permission, before photographing them.

Drinking water

The tap water is safe to drink in all of Greenland, and you can also drink the water in rivers and lakes.

Electricity

220V/50 Hz.

Behaviour

Common good behaviour is expected in Greenland.

Business Hours

Shops are open 9.00 to 17.30 (Monday to Thursday), 9.00 to 19.00 (Friday) and 9.00 to 13.00 (Saturday). Banks are open 10.00 to 16.00 (Monday to Friday). Offices are open 10.00 to 16.00 (Monday to Friday).

Food and drink

Traditional Greenlandic cuisine consists of freshly killed fish, seals and walruses. Traditionally the newly slaughtered animals more tender parts - such as heart, kidney and eyes - were held in reserve for the hunter at the top of the hierarchy. If you do not enjoy warm intestines, but prefer your dead creatures burned, then you can have cooked fish such as salmon, codfish, Greenland halibut, seal, whale and many others. There are not many fruits and vegetables, and those you can get in the supermarkets are rarely very fresh because of the long distances they travel.

Disabled travellers

Greenland isn't the best place to go if you are disabled, as the rough landscape demands a good physique if you really want to experience the country at close range.

Holidays

New Year's Day, 1 January Twelfth Night, 6 January The Worker's International Day (half a holiday), 1 May Constitution Day, 5 June Greenland's National Day, 21 June Christmas, 24 December Christmas Day, 25 december Boxing Day, 26 december New Year's Eve, 31 december Easter, March or April Whitsun Ascension Day General Prayer Day

Accommodation / Hotel

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Camping

You can pitch your tent anywhere in Greenland, but don't expect any camping sites as in the rest of Europe. Most have no facilities at all, but others have workmen's huts with bathroom facilities installed.

Hotels

Greenland has everything from large, international hotels to small, family-run hotels with only a few rooms. It is expensive to spend the night at a hotel in Greenland.

Hostels

In the summer, you can find a hostel in practically all towns, and often it is schoolrooms that are rented out to tourists. They all have access to kitchen and bath, but that is all that can be said in general about them.

Other Accommodation

Seamen's Homes Seamen's Homes only exist in a few towns, and the rooms are usually in good condition. The food served in seamen's homes is often okay - and cheaper than in the hotels.

Local transport

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Planes

There are domestic helicopter flights between the major cities, but it is fairly expensive to fly in Greenland

Bus

There are city buses in the major cities, but no long distance buses.

Trains

There are no trains in Greenland.

Taxi

You'll only find taxis in very few places in Greenland.

Car rental

There isn't much use for a car in Greenland.

Boat or Ferry

Boat services are very well developed in Greenland, and you can sail from town to town in everything from small dinghies to large passenger ships - depending on your mood and wallet.

Other Transport

Dog sledges are commonly used by Greenlanders when crossing the inland ice. As a tourist you can rent a sledge with dog pack and a driver.

Find your travel arrangement to Greenland here

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