Icefjord Midnight Marathon

7 June 2020

Destination Guide

Here you will find important background information and helpful tips on traveling in Greenland.

If you do not find the answer you're seeking, feel free to contact us with your question.

Language

West Greenlandic

Capital City

Nuuk

Inhabitants

56.000

Religion

Protestant

Currency

Danish Crown (DKK)

Area

2.166.086 sq. km.

Special Dietary Requirements

We understand that allergies and special diets are a common concern among our guests. We do our very best to accommodate any diet for medical, allergy or religious needs; however, we cannot guarantee that all dining establishments can fulfill special requests. As a result, we encourage our guests to take all necessary precautions during their travel. Please also keep in mind that Greenland is a remote island where vegetation does not thrive, and thus fresh food must be imported. This means that access to specific foods can vary depending on location and season. However, the tourist industry is well developed and ordering diet-based food in advance is a possibility.

Guests with special dietary requirements should inform their server upon arriving at the location. To facilitate this, we strongly recommend bringing a description of your dietary needs, which has been translated into the local language. When present, your Albatros tour leader can also help inform local eateries of any special requests.

If you require a special diet during your travel, please inform us by providing further information below.

Please note: This information must be received no later than 45 days before your tour begins.

Language

The shortest distance between two people is often a smile, and this is true in Greenland as well. English is widely spoken, but it is relatively easy to communicate even with those that don't. 

The official language in Greenland is the West Greenlandic dialect, Kalaallissut. Danish was previously an official language, so most Greenlanders speak Danish to some degree as well. 

Electricity

In Greenland, you'll find most power sockets to be standard, two-pronged European plugs. The types of sockets most widely used include Type C, F, E and K. Voltage in Greenland is 230V/50HZ. If the outlet voltage in your country is between 220-240V, you should be fine. However, if it is range of 100-127V (which is common in the US, Canada, and countries in South America), you might need a voltage converter in Greenland. Please note that power plug adapters only convert plug types and do not convert voltages. 

The exception to the standard is socket Type K, which is of Danish origin and includes a third prong below the top two. Plugs of Type C will fit (Standard European), but it is incompatible with Types E and F. 

If you are bringing a laptop or similar portable device to Greenland, be sure to check the labeling on the power pack. It should describe the amount of voltage your device can handle, and if a voltage converter is required.

Telephone & Internet

For most travelers, a trip to Greenland represents getting away from the daily hustle and bustle, cutting back on connectivity and gaining a fresh perspective. This being said, Greenland is still a technologically advanced land that offers modern communication capabilities.

Telephone
The international country code for Greenland is +299. Roaming is possible, but Greenland is an expensive place to roam from, so it is not recommended if you want to keep costs down. 

Internet

Internet access is generally available at the hotels and larger restaurants. Usually it must be purchased, and it is also expensive.

Drinking Water & Food

The drinking water in Greenland is some of the cleanest in the world, so the tap water is safe to drink. In fact, you can even drink from the rivers!  

Greenlandic cuisine is traditionally based on fishing and hunting, meaning this is a meat-loving society. Marine mammals, game, and fish are part of the general diet because of their high level of protein, with seafood being the main source due to its accessibility. The national dish of Greenland is suaasat, a traditional Greenlandic soup, often made from seal, or from whale, reindeer, or seabirds.

What if I’m vegan / vegetarian, or have other health requirements?

Vegetarians who eat fish will enjoy the feast all year long, but those with other nutritional preferences or health requirements should keep in mind that vegetables (and food that isn’t from the sea) are mainly imported. Most accessible vegetables are canned or frozen, but in bigger towns you will be able to find fresh produce, keeping in mind that due to cargo rates, it might be more expensive than usual.

What to Pack?

As any Nordic mother will tell you, "there's no such thing as bad weather - only bad clothing." This saying is certainly applicable to Greenland. One thing we will repeat is: layers, layers, layers. Ilulissat is far above the Arctic Circle, but the sun is strong in the summer. This means you may feel hot one moment and freezing the next, so having extra layers to shed or add is very important. Other items to bring are: 

- Sturdy footwear - In Greenland, you'll find that many paths are made of rocks or gravel, and having a good pair of shoes to protect your feet and ankles is crucial. 

- Rain gear - June is generally a dry month in Greenland, but you can never be sure. A good rain jacket and waterproof shoes are always a good idea. 

- Sunglasses and sunscreen - the sun is both powerful and constant in the summer months. 

- Warm clothes - even if it is warm on land, it can feel very cold if you go out on the water on a sailing trip. Bring warm layers, scarf, gloves, and a hat if you plan to do so.

- Race clothes! If you are participating in the marathon or half-marathon, don't forget your running clothes. Trail runners are preferable as approximately 1/3 of the marathon course is on rocky trail, but normal running shoes will of course work as well. 

Tipping Guidelines

All prices in Greenland generally include a service fee, so it is not necessary to tip.

Of course, if you are exceptionally pleased by a guide or a restaurant, gratuity is appreciated. 

Currency and Daily Expenses

Greenland uses the Danish Crown as currency (DKK). Please note that it is not possible to pay with other currencies. There is a copious amount of ATMs in Copenhagen that guests can access before we leave, and otherwise there is an ATM in Kangerlussuaq airport as well as in the town of Ilulissat. 

Most places in the larger towns (such as Ilulissat) will accept credit cards. That said, some smaller stores may only accept cash, so it is a good idea to have some on hand. 

The cost of our travels include many meals. Breakfast is included every day that you will be at the hotel, and several dinners are included as well. If you participate in one of the optional excursions, lunch may be included (depending on the excursion). Any meals that are not included on the ititnerary must be purchased individually. For this, keep in mind that as an isolated island, the cost of living in Greenland is generally higher than normal. A standard meal at a local restaurant costs between USD 15 to 25 per person.

In terms of extra travel money, it is our experience that you can manage for approx. USD 20 to 40 per day. For this amount, you can cover the cost of supplemental drinks, food, snacks, postcards, stamps, etc. If you intend to purchase souvenirs and gifts, plan to spend more. 

Etiquette

In general, Greenlanders are friendly and welcoming to visitors. If you act kindly and with respect, there are not too many special rules to abide by. 

As visitors, it is important to know that the indigenous population are called Inuit and not Eskimo. 

Also, please note that sled dogs are not pets and should never be approached. 

Medical Facilities

Albatros Adventure Marathons will ensure that an English-speaking doctor/medical team is available for participants of our marathon events.

Medical assistance in general
There is a regional hospital in Ilulissat and a national hospital in Nuuk. If you fall ill, the regional hospital is very close to the start/finish area. 

Medical assistance during the marathon event
A team of English-speaking Danish doctors will be present during the pasta dinner and the race. The medical team is ready in case of injury or severe exhaustion.

Albatros Adventure Marathons will ensure that an English-speaking doctor/medical team is available for participants of our marathon events. If any treatment is unable to be carried out by the doctor and it is necessary to refer a participant to local medical facilities, the doctor/medical team and travel agency will not be held liable for any treatment carried out by staff from local medical facilities. 

Mosquitos?

Greenland, like other northern locations, suffers from an excess of mosquitos in the summer. During the race this will hopefully not be an issue as the constant movement repels the bugs. 

However, to fully enjoy the rest of your trip, the use of an appropriate insect repellent is recommended as a precaution against bug bites. Ideally it should have 20% or more concentration of DEET, Picaridin, OLE, PMD or IR3535. It is recommended to use sunscreen first and mosquito repellent after.

Passport & Visas

As a general rule, if you do not need a visa to enter Denmark, then you do not need a visa to enter Greenland. That said, all participants are responsible for checking themselves if their nationality requires a visa or not, and are also responsible for obtaining the visa if so. 

If you do require a visa to enter, please note that Greenland is not a part of the Schengen agreement, and thus standard Schengen visas are not valid for entry - you need one from the Danish consular with a special 'valid for Greenland' stamp. 

Your passport also must be valid for 3 months beyond your planned departure from Greenland. 

You can find the list of visa-free countries and visa-required countries here