Greenland, the secretly icy Nordic Island named by Erik the Red working to attract settlers to join him in exile, is the unexpected holiday getaway you are looking for. There’s an old truism that Iceland is green and Greenland is ice, but that’s only half the story. While the winters on this island are long and dark, it is also the land of midnight sun. These outdoor activities in Greenland prove the island is much more than ice.

From hiking and hot springs to the Northern lights, Greenland has amazing experiences to offer all travellers. If you are looking for a chilly getaway for your next holiday, look no further than the natural wonders of Greenland. Make sure to partake in these outdoor activities in Greenland for the ultimate Nordic adventure:

Midnight sun

If you love making the most of your days while on holiday, Greenland is a great winter destination (this is Greenland’s summer). The midnight sun during these months offers unique opportunities for sailing and sightseeing during night time hours. Depending on where you visit, the midnight sun is visible from late April to late August (the further north you visit, the longer the sun lasts). South of the Arctic Circle, where the sun does eventually set, you will still enjoy about 20 hours of sunlight during these months, though.

Northern lights

The area’s biggest tourism draw, the Northern lights are a spectacular, colourful light show appearing at the Arctic Circle. Unbeknownst to many, these lights appear year-round, but in summer views are obscured by the perpetual daylight. The best times to see this otherworldly phenomenon is around midnight from September to April. Several groups in the area offer guided walks to viewing stations. Beware, though: as these are a natural phenomenon, they may not always be visible, so check with tour groups and news stations before booking a tour. Often meteorologists can predict when they will not be viewable.

Hot springs

There are many different hot springs in Greenland, but the most popular are on the island of Uunartoq. The temperature in the spring is a steady 38°C at all times. Come here for a great views of Greenland’s natural and unspoiled landscape. We suggest bringing your own picnic, as there are few facilities in the area. Contrary to popular belief, these springs are not warmed by volcanic activity, but by geothermal subsoil. Legend has it that Leif Ericsson bathed in these springs before setting off on his voyage searching for new lands.

Arctic wildlife

Go on a wildlife excursion by sled in Greenland. This island offers many opportunities to explore in the Arctic and see the areas majestic wildlife, such as Minsk whales, seals, sea eagles and reindeer. Lucky tourists may even see polar bears or arctic wolves in Northern Greenland.

Coastal ferries

Cruises are one of the more popular ways to visit Greenland, but coastal ferries are great options for tourists settled on the island. Coastal ferries offer many of the same coastal views as cruises, but they also give you a chance to meet locals. Check out different touring companies before departing to find the boat that hits all the destinations on your list.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Greenland Travel; cropped from original