Lying between the North American continent and the North Pole, Greenland is a vast island country covered almost completely (and to a depth of several kilometres in places) by ice. Only in a few places, in coastal locations, is there any human settlement. The capital is Nuuk, on the west coast, and this quaint fishing port has a population of just 16,000. Greenland has been very sparsely inhabited by Arctic peoples for almost 5000 years and then, in the 10th century, its southern tip was colonised by ‘Norsemen' from Iceland and Denmark. Greenland became a Danish colony in the early 19th century and links with Denmark remain strong, although the island has had home rule since 1979. The interior of the island is a harsh place, ice-covered and prone to strong winds. It is the preserve of scientists and rugged explorers, such as those attempting a crossing of the Greenland Ice-cap on skis. During the summer months, the temperatures climb in sheltered coastal locations, flowers bloom and sea-birds make their nests. At this time of year, notably amongst the fjords in the vicinity of the airfield at Kulusuk on the east coast, Greenland offers unique opportunities for adventure travellers. Hiking and camping, with boat support, it is possible to explore a landscape unlike anything else on earth, where granite peaks rise above glaciers which calve their icebergs directly into the sea.


Greenland is the world's biggest island. The surrounding seas are either permanently frozen or chilled by cold currents. The inland area is covered with ice, stretching 2,500km north-south and 1,000km east-west. In the centre, the ice can be up to 3km thick. The ice-free coastal region, which is sometimes as wide as 200km, covers a total of 410,449 sq km, and is where all of the population is to be found. This region is intersected by deep fjords which connect the inland ice area with the sea.

Time Zone

Time Zone in Greemalnd is GMT -3hrs. (WGT - West Greenland Time).

Vaccinations (country)

You should attend your own doctor and dentist for a check-up. No special vaccinations are required for Greenland. UK residents should obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before travelling. The EHIC is normally valid for three to five years and covers any medical treatment that becomes necessary during your trip, because of either illness or an accident. The card gives access to state-provided medical treatment only, and you'll be treated on the same basis as an 'insured' person living in the country you're visiting. Remember, this might not cover all the things you'd expect to get free of charge from the NHS in the UK. You may have to make a contribution to the cost of your care. You can obtain an EHIC from the Department of Health by phone, online, or at the post office.