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Greenland has much to offer families on vacation. It is considered a safe place to visit with children of all ages and appeals to all interests.
Nature lovers appreciate the incredible beauty of its ice-capped mountains, fjords, massive glaciers, and endearing Arctic mammals. Meanwhile, the indigenous Inuit people and Viking legends make it a perfect destination for history fans. But before you book a trip, read these top tips for visiting Greenland with kids.
Consider the Weather and Season
When planning a trip to Greenland as a family, consider the weather conditions and the season. The best time to visit is in the summer, from June through August.
Although Greenland’s summer temperatures may not be as hot as your kids are used to, they’re infinitely more bearable than the icy winter, when some areas experience extremes of -58F.
Another factor is the number of daylight hours, which in winter are very low. In December, the shortest day brings only 3 to 4 hours of daylight!
Engage in Family-Friendly Activities
Greenland vacations provide family-friendly activities galore, so research them when planning your trip. Whale-watching, dog-sledding, and viewing the Northern Lights keep all ages entertained.
Hiking and trekking are always popular, but most trails are too difficult for young children. The Ilulissat Iceford Loop is an easy hiking trail and thus, the most kid-friendly.
A cruise to Greenland will usually also offer an itinerary of family-friendly activities, so there’s even less to plan and more for kids to enjoy. Remember to pack seasickness meds, though. You can get them at your local pharmacy. Even seasoned sea travelers suffer the occasional bout of seasickness!
Take Advantage of Educational Opportunities
Greenland rarely features in discussions on the best places for a family vacation. And yet, visiting Greenland with kids also offers lots of educational value!
Take advantage of all the guided tours, interactive museum exhibits for children, and kid-friendly workshops that enrich their understanding of the region. These offer the perfect opportunity to teach them about indigenous cultures, Arctic ecosystems, and the effects of climate change.
The Greenland National Museum is a must for travelers with kids. They’ll learn about indigenous Inuit culture, pre-Norse settlements, and other aspects of Greenland’s culture and history. There’s even a children’s department where they can draw, read, and play with traditional Greenlandic toys.
Plan for Safe Exploration
Any form of travel and every destination will have unique challenges for health and safety. But that shouldn’t deter you from traveling with kids. It just means that you need to plan for safe exploration. That entails staying hydrated, using high SPF sun protection, and dressing appropriately for the weather.
Protect your kids’ sensitive skin with the right sun protection products. Yes, even in Arctic regions, sunburn can occur. And don’t forget the chapstick, either. It’s essential for keeping lips soft and supple in the cold outdoors. Cold weather can take its toll on the skin, so include a general moisturizing lotion.
Pay attention to any requirements for air travel regarding the types and sizes of permitted toiletries and skin products in your carry-on luggage. You can buy travel-sized products or bottles for decanting these products online or in most drugstores.
Pack In the Appropriate Gear
Make a checklist of essential travel gear to pack for your family trip. It’ll simplify packing for your Greenland trip without forgetting the essentials.
- Warm clothing is crucial. Include pullover sweaters, thick socks (preferably wool), beanies, and gloves.
- Very young children feel the cold quickly but can also get too warm when running about. Allow for layering with some more lightweight clothing items.
- Don’t forget to pack in sturdy footwear and waterproof gear. These are crucial necessities for outdoor exploration in icy conditions.
- If traveling with very young children, include some toys for travel, too.
Practice Awareness Around Local Wildlife
The local wildlife is an excellent educational feature of a trip to Greenland with kids. Greenland’s native mammals include the Arctic fox, wolf, and hare, as well as polar bears and reindeer, to name just a few. Whales and seals are also a common sight, delighting the hearts of kids (and adults) of all ages.
Teach them awareness about local wildlife and conservation in general. That includes observing animals only from a safe distance and not attempting to pet or feed them. Also, stress the importance of keeping the environment clean and abstaining from littering.
A visit to the Northeast Greenland National Park is a must when visiting Greenland with kids of any age. It’s not only the world’s largest national park, but it is also the world’s 10th-largest protected area.
Be Respectful of Indigenous Cultures
Food plays an important role in the national identity and tourism of Greenland. Trying local foods and crafts are exciting ways to introduce your kids to new things. They’re also fun opportunities for them to learn more about the area and its indigenous people and culture.
However, be sure to instruct your children (before you embark on your trip) about the importance of respecting local cultures and customs. When embarking on a food tour, remind your children that although they are unfamiliar, they should never insult the local delicacies.
That goes for the adults in your traveling party, too. Be both a responsible and sensitive tourist. Interact respectfully with indigenous communities and be mindful of cultural differences.