The best way to explore Greenland at its most magical, where land meets sea, is via a small ship. Make sure to choose one with a hull that has been ice-strengthened to the highest classification, which will allow the ship’s experienced captain to safely navigate Greenland’s ice-choked coastal waters. Using these small ships as a base, you’ll be able to sail further into the extensive network of fjords that lie along the coasts, each one offering opportunities for exploration and new discoveries just around the bend.
Small expedition ships are also faster and more manoeuvrable than their larger counterparts, allowing you to sit back and relax as you travel between destinations overnight. Depending on the season, there may even be a good chance for you to see the Northern Lights when the sun dips below the horizon. Greater speed and accessibility means that passengers aboard small ships will be able to see more sights and enjoy a wider range of activities than those travelling by land, air or larger ship.
This type of expedition cruising enables you to really get to the heart of wild Greenland, allowing for greater intimacy with the seagoing mammals that can be spotted while on deck, including humpback and bowhead whales. Sailing close to shore, you’ll be able to scour the landscape for terrestrial animals, like the reindeer and muskoxen that graze Greenland’s tundra. A bevy of birds can be seen roosting along the cliffs that drop into the sea, with your ship the perfect venue for a spot of twitching: here there are guillemots, puffins, auks, terns, gulls, eagles, fulmars and kittiwakes, to name just a few species.
Some people are put off by the term “cruising”, but this type of expedition travel allows for plenty of active adventure as well, with days spent onshore hiking over the tundra. Accessing seldom-visited landing sites that are only really accessible by ship, visitors have the opportunity to explore the landscape, traversing hill and meadow while looking for the hardy mammals that make their home here. Muskoxen, Arctic fox, Arctic hare and collared lemming are often seen.