As Trump says he wants to buy Greenland – 5 reasons it’s a totally amazing tourist destination

16th Aug 19 | Lifestyle

The Danish government is yet to officially comment.

Tasiilaq Panorama

You could forgive Greenland natives for waking up this morning feeling a little confused, because according to The Wall Street Journal, Donald Trump, President of the United States, wants to buy their island.

It’s not quite as madcap as it sounds (don’t get us wrong though, it’s still pretty madcap). From Alaska to the Louisiana Purchase, America has a long history of buying up territory, and President Truman tried unsuccessfully to buy Greenland for $100 million in 1946.

Now Trump has apparently “repeatedly expressed interest”, though, by all accounts, not to anyone from Denmark.

Online commentators don’t seem to think the deal is likely, and social media has inevitably been having some fun…

Danish or American, Greenland is still Greenland, and for several years has been building momentum as a haven of icy adventures. Here’s why you should go…

1. It has magnificent ice fjords

Greenland iceberg

There’s majesty to be found in most of Greenland’s fjords, but the Ilulissat Icefjord is undoubtedly the island’s greatest tourist attraction. A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2004, the fjord is fed by one of the most active glaciers in the world, Sermeq Kujalleq, a monstrous wall of ice thought to have produced the berg that sank the Titanic.

The bay is filled with chunks the size of villages slowly sailing out to sea, with distant thuds marking every new addition to the field.

Unfortunately, Greenland’s glaciers are now melting at an alarming rate, and the glacier’s future looks uncertain at best. We sincerely hope, perhaps optimistically, that Trump’s enquiries stem from a newfound interest in the climate crisis.

2. There are polar bears

Polar bear family

One of only five countries on Earth to host the mighty polar bear (alongside Russia, Canada, Svalbard, and Alaska in the US), a resident population regularly roams Greenland’s northern shorelines.

Unfortunately, the island is so vast, that the bears wander incalculably large territories. Usually in clusters round the coast, your best chance to see them is by boat.

3. You can go dog-sledding

Dog sledding

Dashing through the snow on a 12-dog open sleigh, leaving a miniature snowstorm in your wake, is the only way to truly experience a Greenland panorama. Still a way of life for many of the local Inuit – by choice if not necessity – sledding tours are a tourism staple across the island, and are generally accompanied by grand vistas and plenty of local knowledge.

For the most intrepid icy adventures, we recommend Tasiilaq in Eastern Greenland, one of the most isolated settlements on Earth. The nearby Flower Valley is a popular place for dog-sledding, hiking and snow shoeing.

4. You can see the Northern Lights

Aurora Borealis

Justly famous as one of the most beautiful sights in the world, the Northern Lights spill across the sky like a late-Claude Monet piece, crafted with fluorescent paint.

Unfortunately, seeing the aurora isn’t like a trip to the movies – screening times are vague and you’ll never quite know what’s on – but for determined tourists, Greenland has some of the best odds you’ll find.

Make sure to visit during winter, ideally on a clear, crisp night sometime between December and March.

5. Iceland is too crowded


We’re genuinely not being facetious – Greenland is a great alternative to an Iceland creaking under the weight of the tourist tide.

Last year, Iceland’s 340,000-strong population was swarmed by 2.3 million foreign tourists – roughly seven per native – clogging Reykjavik’s roads.

When Icelandic explorer Erik the Red named Greenland in 982, he chose its pleasant-sounding name to encourage further visitors. Now, in 2019, it could do with a few more.

© Press Association 2019