10 facts you didn't know about Greenland
Tuesday, 8 November 2022
Greenland is a destination most won’t think to visit but is truly one of the most breathtaking and immersive countries on the globe, with so much history and culture to unpack. When visiting on a cruise to Greenland, you get to experience different corners of this beautiful island.
If you’re thinking of booking a cruise to Greenland, then keep reading to find out ten facts that you probably didn’t know about this awe-inspiring location.
The country is geographically part of North America but is actually a part of Europe.
When looking at a map of the world, you might think you’d be correct to assume that Greenland is part of North America with it sitting close to Canada and the American coast, but it is in fact part of Europe and actually belonging to the realm of Denmark.
We spoke to Johnny Ward from the blog One Step 4Ward, he described the country in a little more detail and explained why he loved it so much: “On my journey to every country in the world, strictly speaking I didn't have to visit Greenland as technically it belongs to Denmark! But I always dreamed of visiting this huge icy landmass that stared at me from the various globes and maps so eventually I went 2 years ago. And it was one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever visited! For me it's the huge, stark empty landscapes, they're breathtaking.”
Almost 80% of the island is covered by an ice cap
The name is misleading as Greenland isn’t actually green and is in fact permanently covered by a large ice cap. Thought to have been compacted snow from over 100,000 years, the ice covers over 1,710,000 square kilometres which makes up 80% of the island. For those visiting, it means that only a small proportion of the land is accessible for tourists, including the capital city of Nuuk.
READ MORE: Lesser-known cruise destinations
There are no connecting roads in Greenland
Obviously, there are roads in Greenland, but due to the delicate nature of the land, there are no connecting roads between towns and villages. Instead, residents wanting to travel between cities and towns take short flights or travel between towns by boat. However, most cities and towns will have everything residents should need, meaning they often don’t need to leave their hometown.
Almost a quarter of the population lives in Nuuk
It probably comes as no surprise that almost a quarter of the population of Greenland lives in the capital city of Nuuk. The city is home to roughly 16,000 people and is known for its vibrant and funky culture. It’s filled with quaint cafes, traditional museums and fashion boutiques and also sits at the mouth of a magnificent fjord.
READ MORE: How to spend your stopover in Nuuk, Greenland
Greenland is the largest island in the world that is not a continent
Home to 56,000 people, Greenland is the largest island in the world that isn’t a continent, although most of the island isn’t inhabited by people and instead by snow and ice.
The sun does not set from the end of May till July
The sun does not set in Greenland between the end of May till July, this is known as the midnight sun. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the sun doesn’t rise between the end of October and mid-February and the country sits in complete darkness.
Sitting high in the Northern Hemisphere, as the earth rotates, the sun does not dip beneath the horizon meaning there is constant sun for three months of the year. Only between late July and October does Greenland have ‘proper’ days and nights as we know them.
READ MORE: Chasing the midnight sun
Fishing is the most popular trade
Covering around 93% of the country’s exports, fishing is one of the most common trades and source of income for those living in the country. Residents live in close proximity to the water which means that jobs on boats are easily accessible and offer a steady and reliable wage.
The Ilulissat Icefjord is the most productive glacier in the Northern Hemisphere.
The Ilulissat Icefjord covers 994,000 acres of Greenland and is the most productive glacier in the Northern Hemisphere. With glacier flow rates of 20-35 meters per day, the fjord calves roughly 20 billion tonnes of icebergs every year.
Danish Krone is the currency of Greenland.
Although Greenland is its own country, as it is part of the realm of Denmark, the currency in Greenland is Danish krone. So, when visiting it is important to remember to get your pounds changed to krone!
The Vikings discovered Greenland in the 10th century.
Yes, Greenland is actually super old! Although it was discovered by the Vikings in the 10th century, Greenland is said to have over 4,500 years of history with most of those being inhabited at some point or another.
10 facts you didn't know about Greenland:
- The country is geographically part of North America but is actually a part of Europe
- Almost 80% of the island is covered by an ice cap
- There are no connecting roads in Greenland
- Almost a quarter of the population lives in Nuuk
- Greenland is the largest island in the world that is not a continent
- Fishing is the most popular trade
- The Ilulissat Icefjord is the most productive glacier in the Northern Hemisphere
- Danish Krone is the currency of Greenland
- The Vikings discovered Greenland in the 10th century
So, now you’re equipped with some facts that no one else might know about Greenland, it is only right you get your next cruise booked. Enjoy a Greenland cruise or stop by this magnificent country as you cross the Atlantic Ocean on a cruise to Canada from the UK.
Whether you are looking for more destination advice or want tips for your next cruise, make sure to visit our blog.