World Travel Guide > Guides > North America > Greenland

Greenland travel guide

About Greenland

Remote Greenland is the world's biggest island, while the sea that surrounds it is either permanently frozen or chilled by the mainly cold currents. In the centre of the country, ice can be up to 3km (2 miles) thick. No wonder that most of the population huddles around the ice-free coastal region. Indeed, the name 'Greenland' is a bit of a misnomer, although there are sheep-laden green fields in the south.

Those wondering why anyone would want to inhabit such unforgiving terrain are ignoring the beautiful sights that Greenland grants. The arctic nights in the winter concoct a wondrous continuous twilight. In the far north of the country, complete darkness is coupled with the spectacular Northern Lights during the coldest months. While Greenland may not be top of many travellers' bucket lists, where else can you visit such raw and unspoilt landscapes?

The profusion of snow creates the perfect conditions for activities such as dog sledging and tour cruises, which interweave in and out of Greenland's dazzling array of fjords, mountains, islands and icebergs. You can even go kayaking in the waters, though best to play it safe. The wildlife does not disappoint, either: there is an abundance of whales, seals and birds in the area.

There are hardly any roads on the island, so expect to fork out for boat travel, or even helicopter journeys. The upshot is that glacial vistas, yawning fjords and soaring mountains are all there for the taking. Definitely bring a camera.

Although Greenland's appeal rests with its wondrous nature, there are a few thousand Greenlanders living on the sparsely populated island, and on the western coast they offer up a handful of picturesque villages. Mostly living in brightly painted wooden cottages, Greenlanders may have a reputation for being rather closed, but give them time and space, and you will discover a truly compelling culture, one that fuses both Inuit and Danish heritage.

With transport options and tourism agencies having improved travelling conditions of late, there's never been a better time to visit Greenland.

Key facts


2,166,086 sq km (836,330 sq miles).


56,196 (UN estimate 2016).

Population density:

0.03 per sq km.


Nuuk (Godthåb).


Self-governing part of the Kingdom of Denmark.

Head of state:

HM Queen Margrethe II since 1972.

Head of government:

Prime Minister Múte B. Egede since 2021.

Travel Advice

This travel advice page also covers the Faroe Islands and Greenland.

Before you travel

No travel can be guaranteed safe. Read all the advice in this guide as well as support for British nationals abroad which includes:

  • advice on preparing for travel abroad and reducing risks
  • information for women, LGBT+ and disabled travellers

Follow and contact FCDO travel on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. You can also sign up to get email notifications when this advice is updated.

Travel insurance

If you choose to travel, research your destinations and get appropriate travel insurance. Insurance should cover your itinerary, planned activities and expenses in an emergency.

This advice reflects the UK government’s understanding of current rules for people travelling on a full ‘British citizen’ passport from the UK, for the most common types of travel.

The authorities in Denmark set and enforce entry rules. If you’re not sure how these requirements apply to you, contact Denmark’s embassy in the UK.

COVID-19 rules

There are no COVID-19 testing or vaccination requirements for passengers entering Denmark, Greenland or the Faroe Islands.

Passport validity requirements

To travel to Denmark, you must follow the Schengen area passport requirements.

To enter Denmark (and all Schengen countries) your passport must:

  • have a ‘date of issue’ less than 10 years before the date you arrive. Passports issued after 1 October 2018 are now valid for only 10 years, but for passports issued before 1 October 2018, extra months may have been added if you renewed a passport early
  • have an ‘expiry date’ at least 3 months after the day you plan to leave

Contact Denmark’s embassy in the UK if your passport does not meet both these requirements.

Check with your travel provider that your passport and other travel documents meet requirements. Renew your passport if you need to.

You will be denied entry if you do not have a valid travel document, or try to use a passport that has been reported lost or stolen.

Checks at border control

Make sure you get your passport stamped

If you’re a visitor, your passport must be stamped when you enter or leave the Schengen area (which includes Denmark). Border guards will use passport stamps to check you have not overstayed the 90-day visa-free limit for stays in the Schengen area. If your passport was not stamped, border guards will presume you have overstayed the visa-free limit.

If your passport was not stamped, show evidence of when and where you entered or left the Schengen area (for example, boarding passes or tickets) and ask the border guards to add the date and location in your passport.

If you live in Denmark, read the Living in Denmark guide for passport stamping information.

At Danish border control, you may also need to:

  • show a return or onward ticket
  • prove that you have enough money for your stay – the amount varies depending on your accommodation

ID for travel from Denmark to Sweden

If you are travelling from Denmark to Sweden, see information on border control requirements.

Visa requirements

You can travel without a visa to the Schengen area (including Denmark) for up to 90 days in any 180-day period. This applies if you travel:

  • as a tourist
  • to visit family or friends
  • to attend business meetings, cultural or sports events
  • for short-term studies or training

If you’re travelling to Denmark and other Schengen countries without a visa, make sure your whole visit is within the 90-day limit. Visits to Schengen countries in the 180 days before you travel count towards your 90 days.

To stay longer (to work or study, for business travel or for other reasons), you must meet the Danish government’s entry requirements. Check which type of visa or work permit you need with the Danish visa application service.

If you stay in Denmark with a residence permit or long-stay visa, this does not count towards your 90-day visa-free limit.

Applying for a visa

Use the Danish visa application service to apply for a visa.

Visas for Greenland and the Faroe Islands

Greenland and the Faroe Islands are not members of the EU. You do not need a visa to enter for tourism. If you plan to live and work there, you must get a work and residence permit – apply for residence in Greenland or the Faroe Islands.

Vaccination requirements

At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the vaccinations and certificates you need in:

Customs rules

There are strict rules about goods that can be brought into and taken out of Denmark. You can read more information about customs duties from the Danish government. You must declare anything that may be prohibited or subject to tax or duty, including large amounts of cash and valuables.

You cannot take meat, milk or products containing them into EU countries. There are some exceptions for medical reasons, for example certain amounts of powdered infant milk, infant food, or pet food. Check the rules about taking food and drink into the EU on the European Commission website.

It is illegal to import whale products from Greenland or the Faroe islands into the UK or EU. You could be fined up to £5,000 or imprisoned.


There is a high threat of terrorist attack globally affecting UK interests and British nationals, including from groups and individuals who view the UK and British nationals as targets. You should remain vigilant at all times.

UK Counter Terrorism Policing has information and advice on staying safe abroad and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack. Find out how to reduce your risk from terrorism while abroad.

Terrorism in Denmark

Terrorist attacks in Denmark cannot be ruled out.

Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by foreigners.

The authorities in Denmark have successfully disrupted a number of planned attacks and made a number of arrests.


Protecting your belongings

Crime levels are generally low, but pickpockets and bag-snatchers operate in crowded areas mainly around Copenhagen.

Thieves can use a variety of methods to distract you, particularly on crowded public transport. They sometimes also operate in hotel lobbies, cafes and restaurants.

Keep your personal belongings, including passports and money, safe. Keep an eye on luggage, including in the overhead baggage compartment, when travelling on trains to and from the airport.

Pickpocketing and bag-snatching is common in the following areas:

  • the central station
  • Nørreport Station
  • the main shopping street, Strøget
  • other areas popular with tourists such as Christiania, Nyhavn and Kongens Nytorv
  • inside Copenhagen Kastrup airport

You should take extra care in Christiania and Nørrebro, particularly late at night. There have been some instances of gang violence in these areas.

Laws and cultural differences

Dress code

It’s illegal to wear any clothing that conceals your face in a public place in Denmark. There are legal exemptions – for example, face masks for health reasons. If you cover your face in public, you may get a fine of 1,000 krone (around £115). If you do it again, the fine can increase. The law applies to both residents and visitors.

Illegal drugs and prison sentences

Do not get involved with illegal drugs of any kind. Although Denmark is generally a liberal society, drug use is illegal and the Danish authorities enforce the law. You will not be treated more leniently than residents. Drug dealers can receive heavy sentences. If you are found with illegal drugs thought to be for personal consumption, you may get a fine or prison sentence.

LGBT+ travellers

Same-sex relationships and marriage are legal in Denmark.

Read advice for LGBT+ travellers.

Transport risks

Public transport

Within Copenhagen you can use the same ticket on the metro, bus, train and harbour bus. If you travel without a ticket, you may get a fine of up to 1,000 krone (around £115).

Road travel

You need a 1968 international driving permit (IDP) or a UK driving licence to drive in Denmark. The 1949 IDP is not accepted any more. You cannot buy an IDP outside the UK, so get one before you travel.

If you are planning to drive in Denmark, see information on driving abroad and read the RAC Denmark guide.

Be aware of the many cyclists present in Danish cities. Cyclists often have the right of way. Always check cycle lanes before turning right. Pedestrians also often have right of way to cross ahead of you if you are turning at traffic lights.

Driving a British car abroad

You may need a UK sticker to drive your car outside the UK. Since 2021, UK stickers have replaced GB stickers. Check the government guidance on displaying number plates for more information on what to do if you are driving outside the UK.

Bicycles and scooters

Many bicycle accidents occur when pedestrians do not give the right of way to bicycles. There are online guides in English on cycling in Denmark at Visit Copenhagen and the Danish Cyclists’ Federation (’Cyklistforbundet’).

Electric scooters are subject to road traffic rules. If you hire and use a scooter under the influence of alcohol, you could be prosecuted for drink-driving and you may be fined.

Arctic travel

Greenland is in the Arctic Circle, and most of it is very remote. Emergency medical assistance and search and rescue services are limited in these areas. See Arctic travel safety advice.


Travel between towns is by air, sea or dog-sled only. Arctic weather can, and does, affect travel, and you should be prepared for delays and cancellations.

There is limited tourist accommodation around the international airport in Kangerlussuaq. During busy periods or when there is travel disruption, there may be no beds available unless you have booked ahead.

Supply chains are limited and travel times are long. You should ensure you travel with sufficient prescription medication for all of your time in Greenland.

The Faroe Islands

Smaller roads may be unpaved and winding.

The weather can change quickly, and you should prepare appropriately for the activity you are planning.

Before you travel check that:

  • your destination can provide the healthcare you may need
  • you have appropriate travel insurance for local treatment or unexpected medical evacuation

This is particularly important if you have a health condition or are pregnant.

Emergency medical number

Dial 112 and ask for an ambulance.

Contact your insurance or medical assistance company promptly if you’re referred to a medical facility for treatment.

For more information read guidance on healthcare when travelling in Europe.

Vaccinations and health risks

At least 8 weeks before your trip check:


The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or bought in the UK can be different in other countries.

Read best practice when travelling with medicines on TravelHealthPro.

The NHS has information on whether you can take your medicine abroad.

Denmark does not recognise UK prescriptions. If you need medication, you should speak to a local pharmacist (‘Apotek’), who will be able to tell you if you need a prescription from a local GP.

Healthcare facilities in Denmark

FCDO has a list of English-speaking doctors in Denmark.

COVID-19 healthcare in Denmark

See COVID-19 testing and treatment information from the Danish government.

Health insurance cards

Apply for a free UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) or European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before leaving the UK. If you already have an EHIC, it will still be valid as long as it remains in date.

The GHIC or EHIC entitles you to state-provided medical treatment necessary during your trip. Any treatment provided is on the same terms as Danish nationals. If you do not have your card with you or you’ve lost it, contact the NHS Overseas Healthcare Team.

It’s important to take out appropriate travel insurance for your needs. A GHIC or EHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance and you should have both before you travel. A GHIC or EHIC does not cover all health-related costs, for example, medical repatriation, ongoing medical treatment and non-urgent treatment. Read more about what your travel insurance should cover.

GHIC and EHIC cover state healthcare only, not private treatment. You will be responsible for the cost of any treatment provided by a private doctor or private clinic.

If you’re living in Denmark, read more information on healthcare for residents.


No treatment will be refused, but an EHIC or GHIC will not cover the costs unless you are resident of a Nordic country, under the reciprocal agreement, or a resident of Denmark. You can find more details about medical assistance available during a temporary stay in Greenland.

You may also be required to cover the cost of medical evacuation.

Faroe Islands

You cannot use a GHIC or EHIC in the Faroe Islands because they are not EEA members. The UK has reciprocal agreements with the Faroe Islands, so British nationals can get the same medical treatment they would with a GHIC or EHIC. This arrangement is not a substitute for travel insurance.

If you travel to the Faroe Islands, you should still take your GHIC or EHIC with you. You’ll need to provide proof of identity and nationality, such as your UK passport.

Travel and mental health

Read FCDO guidance on travel and mental health. There is also mental health guidance on TravelHealthPro.

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) cannot provide tailored advice for individual trips. Read this travel advice and carry out your own research before deciding whether to travel.

Emergency services in Denmark

Telephone: 112 (ambulance, fire, police).

Contact your travel provider and insurer

Contact your travel provider and your insurer if you are involved in a serious incident or emergency abroad. They will tell you if they can help and what you need to do.

Refunds and changes to travel

For refunds or changes to travel, contact your travel provider. You may also be able to make a claim through insurance. However, insurers usually require you to talk to your travel provider first.

Find out more about changing or cancelling travel plans, including:

  • where to get advice if you are in a dispute with a provider
  • how to access previous versions of travel advice to support a claim

Support from FCDO

FCDO has guidance on staying safe and what to do if you need help or support abroad, including:

Contacting FCDO

Follow and contact FCDO travel on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. You can also sign up to get email notifications when this travel advice is updated.

You can also contact FCDO online.

Help abroad in an emergency

If you are in Denmark and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the British embassy in Copenhagen.

FCDO in London

You can call FCDO in London if you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad.

Telephone: 020 7008 5000 (24 hours)

Find out about call charges

Risk information for British companies

The Overseas Business Risk service offers information and advice for British companies operating overseas on how to manage political, economic, and business security-related risks.

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