Greenland & The Faroes
As even the most cursory glance at the map will tell you, Greenland is the world’s largest misnomer. It seems “Iceland”, sadly, was taken, and the Norse settlers who first attempted to set up camp on the south-eastern shores (the north-west had long been inhabited by Inuits) thought a little gilding the lilly might bring in the tourists. The original case of ‘greenwashing’, perhaps.
But jump forward 1000 years and it looks like it’s beginning to work. We plan a good deal of trips to Iceland and the Scandinavian Countries, but we’re an itchy-hooved pig who likes to stay on top of things, so earlier this year, I headed out to take a first look at both Greenland and the Faroe Islands.
I liked what I saw. In Greenland, cool weather, genuinely welcoming people and a strikingly unusual landscape formed the basis of my initial impressions. From Nuuk, the tiny but cosmopolitan capital, to the wilds of the ice cap and the incredible scenery of Disko Bay and the Ilulissat Ice Fjord, I mapped out trips in which you can hike, camp, fish, whale watch, kayak and more. There is a newly-launched tiny expedition ship plying the waters of Southern Greenland so you can see the coast the way those first Norsemen did. Or you can base yourself in a private tented camp on the banks of a beautiful fjord.
The Faroe Islands by contrast take up just a tiny speck of land in the North Atlantic. With only about 50,000 people living there, it’s nature not culture which is the draw – although there are a couple of unlikely Michelin stars twinkling away in the picture perfect fishing villages. It’s the absolutely jaw dropping scenery of the islands, characterised by gargantuan cliff-faces braving the crashing ocean waves, which is seared into my retina. If you give yourself enough time, you can even get out to the more remote islands by boat. Everywhere you go, you will be in absolute awe of your surroundings.
Both Greenland and the Faroes are accessed relatively easily via Copenhagen or Reykjavik, as an addition – or a replacement – to travels in those places.
Mike Poppe plans far and wide for Trufflepig – a couple of hours after penning this article, he boarded the plane for Australia. Poor chap. Email him here to discuss your next trip.