When Erik the Red (Wow! What a name!) set out from Iceland on a sailing voyage to the world’s largest non-continental island, he found no decedents of any Norse tribes who had previously inhabited the island – in fact, he found little of anything given its isolation and ice.
That didn’t deter this magnificently named Viking though, which is why he named it Grænland and sold the dream of this magical land to anyone back home interested in adventure and wealth from a pioneering life in this lush place. Though the southern coastal area can be green for a short period in the summer – which was Erik’s big marketing ploy – most of the island is simply uninhabitable for humans.
Don’t be confused however. Greenland isn’t the arctic and it’s climbing the ranks in quality destinations that adventure travelers should get to with the quality and variety of activities on offer.
From holidays that promise virgin slopes on Heli ski trips, to dog sledding, hiking, snowmobile tours, extreme kayaking and mountaineering, Greenland also offers the superb attractions of Northern Lights, midnight sun, magnificent fjords and cruises as well as a surprising sought-after cuisine scene.
Much noise is being generated on what flavours these hardy and enterprising people are coaxing out of some pretty limited local produce. The harsh Arctic climate plays a definitive role, limiting the land wildlife to those mammals that can forage through deep snow and a few adept predators. Reindeer, musk ox, and South Greenlandic lamb have become Greenland’s equivalents to common livestock. With the exception of a few sheep farms, the animals run wild amongst the Greenland backcountry and this natural and unstressed life is what food critics are citing as the why the meats are so high in quality.
The cold sea is also where Greenland’s food stocks lie. The nation is rich with an impressive selection of cod, trout, Arctic char, redfish, rockfish, and the famed Greenlandic halibut. Add to these the legendary snow crabs that are as wide as a man’s arms and Greenlandic shrimp and prawns that pack distinct flavour into their miniature size and you have some idea of the hype that Greenland is making as food destination with much to offer.
Unless you’re arriving on a cruise ship, commercial flights from Reykjavik or Copenhagen are the most-used links to get to the main international airport in Kangerlussuaq, while seasonality will dictate access to Narsarsuaq in South Greenland, the capital Nuuk, Ilulissat in the Disko Bay, and Ittoqqortoormiit in North East Greenland.
In 1964 when Beatles were touring the US, Ringo Starr was asked how he found America. His witty reply was, “I turned left at Greenland…”
Eric the Red would’ve been proud.