Cold and Grey, Warm and Colorful

Greenland’s Surprising Landscape and Culture Is a Study in Contrasts

Cold and Grey, Warm and Colorful

Greenland was a destination full of surprises. The landscapes are varied and imposing, but it was visiting the small villages that made the experience truly unique. Enjoy this photographic journey.

The Illulisat Boardwalk to World Heritage Site

Ilulissat is located in Western Greenland 200 km North of the Arctic Circle. It is here that you can walk along a boardwalk through the Arctic Trundra to witness the Ilulissat Icefjord, a World Heritage Site. This fjord houses gigantic icebergs that have broken off from Sermeq Kujalleq, one of the most active glaciers in the world.

Ilulissat Icefjord

It’s worth the early morning hike along the boardwalk to come out at this view of the Ilulissat Icefjord. Some Icebergs sitting in the bay are larger than apartment buildings. There is a picnic table and park benches on a hill for people to sit in comfort as they take in the view. Dress warm though — you are still in the Arctic after all.


Greenland can be very grey and dark. We noticed that most villages had very colorful houses and structures. This bright wall in the village of Paamiut brightens up a dreary day.

Norse Ruins

Vikings settled Greenland in the 12th Century. Eric the Red named it Greenland to attract settlers. The Hvalsey Church in Southern Greenland is one of the best-preserved Norse ruins.

Skoldungen Island’s Abandoned Village

Many Inuit settlements have been closed in Greenland as the government moved people to cities like Nuuk, the country’s capital, or the business hub of Sisimiut. It’s an eerie feeling visiting an abandoned village. Much was left behind. Shoes and toys are strewn throughout, beds were left in tact and buildings are still standing as if waiting for their owners to return. It’s as if everyone abruptly left with no time to pack.


Many churches are found throughout Greenland — you will find one in nearly every village. They usually sit high on a hill or have the best view in town. It’s a gathering spot for the community. The churches are very quaint and picturesque and have kept their traditional appearance for hundreds of years.

Sled Dogs

Sled dogs are still a large part of Greenland’s culture. There are no roads connecting the cities and villages of Greenland so once a person leaves the city limits they are out on the polar ice cap. People hunt with their sled dogs and use them as transportation in the winter.

Stunning Arctic Landscape

Greenlanders know how to choose a stunning location. Massive snowcapped mountains tower over this village. It’s an unforgiving environment, but the locals thrive here.

Typical Village

When pulling up by ship, this is how many villages look. Colorful houses on rocky beaches greet us. It’s impossible to travel Greenland by car, so the way to explore the country is by either expedition ship or plane. We recommend by ship — you get the opportunity to visit many villages and meet the locals.


Itilleq is a small village located right on the Arctic Circle’s northern line. About 150 people live in this village, most working in fishing, hunting and tourism. The villagers challenged our ship to a friendly game of soccer and invited us into their homes for tea and pastries. It’s a very special place to visit that’s strikingly beautiful.

Greenland surprised us in many ways. The colorful oranges, greens and yellows of the Arctic tundra were a beautiful contrast to the stark skies and snowcapped mountains. The people were friendly and welcoming. Even though it was cold outside, we felt warmth in our hearts as we travelled this little- explored country at the top of the world. 

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Dave and Deb Bouskill

The Planet D inspires adventure in everyone. Dave and Deb are one of travel’s most passionate storytellers, exploring the world one experience at a time.
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