**A guest post from the cold climbs of Greenland**
Hey, Agness and Cez here, full time travellers of Etramping – adventure travel blog. Greenland is one of the most beautiful places in the world to explore. Belonging to Denmark, it’s the largest island in the world and one of the most northern. Its cold environment is the reason that a majority of it is covered by ice. Nuuk – the capital – is located along the coast where you’ll find over a third of the population. With all of the civilization activity stretched along the coast, this is essentially an entire country worth exploring. Greenland has an abundance of natural landscape that are virtually untouched. Tourism is a new and growing industry, so now is the perfect time for you to witness nature in its purest state.
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Perhaps the most popular tourist destination and one best nature spot in Greenland is the Ilulissat Icefjord, located to the west. No trip to Greenland is complete without laying your eyes upon this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Fjords are paths of steep cliffs that have been carved out by glacier movement with the Ilulissat Icefjord carved out by the fastest moving glacier in the country.
There are several ways to view this magnificent site; opportunities for flybys of the area where you can see the tops of the glaciers and gain a bird’s eye perspective of the entire fjord from the comfort of a helicopter, or in order to truly appreciate its size is by boat; enjoy a ride through the flord by taking advantage of a Greenland cruise.
For those of you who enjoy exercise, one of the best ways to experience the Ilulissat Icefjord is by hiking up the massive glacier. With a variety of routes to explore, once you reach the peak the vantage point provides you with breathtaking views over the the ice sheet as far as you can see.
Northeast Greenland National Park
The largest national park in the world is Northeast Greenland National Park, a remote area of the country. It represents the world’s largest protected land area and in fact, the overall size of it is larger than most countries. NE Greenland National Park was established to protect the environment and natural landscapes found in this region.
A majority of the park cannot be accessed by anyone and exploring it requires special permits. If you’re looking for exploration, research and special tours, this is the are to come and explore.
One of the most common methods for visitors to experience it is by cruise. Boats provide tourists with a ride around the coast, discovering large glaciers and wildlife such as polar bears, walruses and whales as well as a variety of birds.
Uunartoq Hot Springs
There are several islands located off the coast of Greenland, one of the most well-known being Uunartoq. Famous for their hot springs, the Uunartoq Hot Springs draw both locals and tourists year-round to the site. These hot springs are used as heated pools. Typically, hot springs are heated by volcanic activity but you won’t find any of that because the Uunartoq Hot Springs are a result of underground movement activity of the Earth.
Even with the cold climate there are times and places here that are ideal for enjoying outdoor swimming. These heated springs make them a great destination at any time with many other hot springs across the country, yet due to its views Uunartoq remains the favourite. The pools are open to the public to enjoy and whilst swimming, you have panoramic views of mountain ranges and icebergs. Where else in the world can you do that?
The Watkins Range is a mountain range that adds significant elevation to the landscape. It’s the highest in the country therefore the highest peak in Greenland is here – Gunnbjørn Fjeld. This area is deep in the arctic and requires planning before visiting. There are a few great uses of the mountain range for visitors – it’s definitely a location to take advantage of skiing or hiking expeditions. The Watkins Range is reserved for more experience climbers that can follow the snow and ice routes to the various peaks.
To get a true sense of Greenland, you should take some time to explore the glaciers of the island. The largest glacier is Helheim Glacier, among one of the best nature spots in Greenland. It’s also one of the most active because its movement is consistently carving out and melting water into the Helheim fjord.
It’s part of a massive rapidly moving glacier system. One of the most iconic, and also sad features about seeing this glacier is that its movement would be noticeable if you were to return after even just a day as it shifts approximately 30m daily – an unfortunate consequence of Global Warming.
The environment is relatively quiet with only the sound of the movement of the ice. A helicopter tour is a great way to get an aerial view of all of the glacial activity.
The natural landscapes are largely untouched. This is why it’s such a great destination for exploring nature. As one of the most northern countries, a majority of the island is covered in ice. Over the years, this ice has carved out endless wonders on the island. You can discover everything from high mountain peaks to rivers and valleys formed from the moving ice. Greenland is a very picturesque country and worth explore every inch.
Thank you Agness and Cez, for whetting my appetite! Wrapping up warm, I certainly can see myself going – but in the summer.
Are you adventurous enough to experience this frozen tundra?
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