1. Respect and appreciate the nature.
Greenland is a country of mountains and ice. Greenlanders live for nature and want to preserve it the way it is. Animals live free and remain wild. Sled dogs are for transport and, unlike pet dogs, they are bred to be strong enough to pull a sled carrying a person and the hunt of the day. Do not go petting them or come close to them without permission of the owner. If you hike and camp, do not litter. Leave Greenland as beautiful and pure as you found it.
2. Respect that we hunt and fish.
Vegetarianism and veganism are becoming more and more common in the world; therefore, activists who are against slaughtering animals are growing in numbers. But know this, the Inuit have hunted for food for thousands of years. The animals we hunt live free in the wild. We do not club baby seals, we actually prefer big and fat ones. Do not come to Greenland if you’re going to judge our way of life.
3. Everything is locally-owned.
You will not find any chain stores in Greenland. There are no Starbucks, McDonald’s, or Ikea. The country might be massive but the population is only 60,000 and the culture is still very traditional and has not been fully affected by Western influence. So, if you can’t live without your frappuccino or cheeseburger, don’t come here.
4. We’re not big on public transportation.
When you go traveling in Europe or Southeast Asia, you can catch a bus easily to travel from town to town. Well, here you can’t. Due to mountainous coasts where the towns are located — and the fact that towns are quite far away from each other — there is not yet any road between them. That’s what makes Greenland such a unique destination.
If you want to go hiking, research everything you need to know about the area before you set off. You will not find any signs to lead you to places. And most places don’t have cell phone coverage, so don’t rely on Google Maps.
5. Be aware of the climate.
If you want to visit during summer, don’t bring bikinis or shorts. The average temperature in the summer is 10-20°C (50-70 F) and with the dry air and cold wind from the icebergs and ocean, it really doesn’t get hot.
If you visit during winter, be prepared. Bring reliable winter clothes such as Canada Goose jackets or any brand that has a wind stopper and sells waterproof items. The weather can get as low as minus 20°C (-4 F) in most towns — and in the most northern settlements it can be minus 40°C (-40 F).
In any of the seasons, the wind is inevitable and it can be brutal. During snowstorms, the wind can be up to 180 km/h (111 mph).
6. It ain’t cheap here.
Greenland is an island and the neighboring countries are at least a 3-hour flight away. And there are only two airlines that do charter flights, one of which is only seasonal. The tickets aren’t cheap.
Think about this, most products in the supermarket are imported from another country. In most cases, they are from Denmark. The price is most likely to be double or more in Greenland than in Denmark. Get this, and the further you travel north, the more expensive the prices are. A yogurt that would cost $1 in Denmark can cost up to $5 in Greenland. If you want fresh veggies or fruit, well, expect it to cost a lot. Or just do what locals do, buy the frozen vegetables and canned fruit.
7. Liquor stores have closing hours.
If you want to include alcohol in your shopping list, go to the store before 6 PM on weekdays, because after that, beer, wine, and any other liquor won’t be available. And remember that on Saturdays, the liquor stores are open only from 9 AM to 1 PM. No sales on Sundays.
8. Above all, be kind.
We Greenlanders are happy people. We enjoy nature and we live a simple life. We love seeing foreigners coming to visit our beautiful country and if you happen to greet one of us, there’s a big chance we will invite you over to dinner. It doesn’t happen often where a foreigner is bold enough to visit Greenland, so we take advantage of the company when it’s here. In return, please be kind to the locals.