Situated just below the North Pole, Icelandand Greenland are neighbours in the North Atlantic, countries where the Inuit people of the west first met the Norse people from the east.
Greenland and Iceland may be close to Canada and Europe but the harsh Arcticclimate and the high cost of living means few visitors come here, but those who do discover lands of some of the most breathtaking and undisturbed snow and ice encrusted scenery in the world.
Iceland is the land that the Vikings tried to claim, with natural extremities of molten lava, boiling water, ice rain and snow. It’s a country that has captured people’s imaginations as children or teenagers because of the ancient sagas literature. Iceland claims some of the world’s biggest waterfalls and glaciers, as well as panoramic countryside and serenity.
The population is a mere 276,000, 60% of which live in the capital city, Reykjavik. It’s a paradise for hiking, horse riding and fishing, and you can take a snowmobile ride in summer or winter. With River rafting, kayaking or sea trips all on offer, Iceland is truly home to the great outdoors. It’s also become the supreme site for dolphin and whale watching in Europe.
The currency is the Icelandic kronur (Kr)
$1 US = around 100 kronur or
1 Euro = around 92 Kronur.
It was once a very expensive place to visit, however alcohol, food, eating out, car hire and excursion are still considerably more expensive than the UK or USA. Fuel, attractions, other goods and services are around the price of the UK.
The currency is the same as the Danish kroner.
$1 US = around 8.2 Denmark Kroner
1 Euro = 7.5 Denmark Kroner
Check with your local currency exchange bureau for up to date information.
Greenland is possibly one of the most expensive travel destinations in the world, expect to pay through the nose for what services there are including fuel, excursions, food and travel.
During the summer, wear comfortable and casual clothes in many layers, including wind and rainproof jackets and trousers, a good fleece jacket and walking boots. Gloves, hats and thermals are recommended for hikers. Don’t forget a swimming costume for the unusual thermal pool swimming!
If if you’re planning a winter trip, visit a specialist store for protective clothing for the arctic conditions. Never skimp on quality of clothing, it may cost you your life if you are trapped outside. During summer, bring everything from T Shirts to snow wear as the weather is incredibly erratic.
The native language is Icelandic, but English is widely spoken, especially amongst the younger people. The people are highly educated and intelligent so you should be able to make yourself understood.
The official language is Greenlandic which is very similar to the Inuit dialect of northern Canada and Alaska. It is a multi-syllabic language and very hard to pronounce. If you speak good English you should be able to get by except in extreme tribal areas.
The warmest months are from June to early September, and from mid May to late July the sun barely sets at all. If you plan to trek the wilderness interior of the island, the highland tracks are only open from mid July to early September.
Greenland misses out of the warming effects of the Gulf Stream, and varies from around 15C in the south and 8C in the north during summer, and dropping to around -20C in the south during winter and a bitter -40C in the north. The summers can be suprising warm during the summer, and you may experience anything from snow to blazing sun at any time.
Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Canada & USA need only a valid passport to enter. EEC members need only an ID card, other nationalities require a Icelandic consulate visa.
If you require a visa for Denmark, you will alos need one for Greenland. You may need to provide evidence of funds for your stay.
Expect to eat plenty of fresh fish, whale meat, and meats like reindeer in Greenland. Beef and lamb are great meats to eat in Iceland, where they are produced in vast quantities and are considered the best in the world due to the lack of chemicals and pure air conditions. In the wilderness it is possible to eat wild plants, berries and wild mushrooms, although check with a guide before attempting to eat anything!
!Here you will find information on Iceland-specially if you are going there for the purpose of hiking camping or skiing.
Destination East Greenland
The official tourist website of East Greenland containing background information, maps and picture galleries.
By Susi O’Neill
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