19 interesting facts about Greenland

We share the most interesting facts about Greenland collected on a visit to the spectacular polar region.

My recent trip to Greenland was defined by highs and lows – literally and metaphorically. My up-and-down adventures trekking the Arctic Circle Trail were thrilling but also tinged with bitter disappointment when I failed to complete the trek due to a wildfire.

My spirits were lifted, however, by a captivating night camping at Russell Glacier followed by an unplanned stint in Ilulissat. I was rejuvenated by a series of exhilarating excursions including a visit to Eqi Glacier, a midnight-sun iceberg sightseeing boat trip and plenty of hiking around the icefjord.

Continue reading
things to do ilulissat lead image

8 best things to do in Ilulissat, Greenland

Our selection of the best things to do in Ilulissat will help you make the most of your time in this breathtaking part of the world.

Ilulissat is the Greenland of glossy brochures. Smatterings of multi-coloured houses, iceberg-strewn waters, majestic sled dogs and gigantic glinting glaciers all contribute to the region’s raw photogenic appeal. It is quite simply one of the most spectacular environments on Earth.

Continue reading
Hiking around Ilulissat in Greenland main image

Hiking around Ilulissat in Greenland: a complete guide

Hiking around Ilulissat is the quickest and easiest way to get close to the immense icefjord that fringes the town.

Ilulissat in Greenland is utterly unique in its location at the mouth of the UNESCO World Heritage site of Ilulissat Icefjord. Nowhere else in the world is it possible to wake up at a hotel, eat breakfast and then stroll down to such a giant body of ice.

The combination of ice sheet and fast moving glacier calving into a fjord is a phenomenon that only occurs in Greenland and Antarctica. Annually, over 10% of all Greenland’s icebergs calve from Ilulissat Icefjord, producing more ice than any other glacier outside Antarctica. 

Continue reading

Under the midnight sun: iceberg sightseeing in Ilulissat

Iceberg sightseeing in Ilulissat is best done at night, not by moonlight but beneath the Arctic’s infamous midnight sun.

Ilulissat is the Greenland you’ve always imagined. Positioned at the mouth of the 40km-wide Jakobshavn Glacier (Sermeq Kujalleq) itself buttressed by an immense icefjord, Ilulissat’s sprinkling of multi-coloured houses on the picturesque iceberg-strewn Disko Bay is one of the most wondrous settings on Earth.

Throw in abounding packs of sled dogs (and their cacophonous howling) and you have a destination that lives up to expectation in spectacular style. It is easy to see why Greenland’s third-largest town is its most popular tourist destination.

Continue reading
most remote places alaska

12 of Earth’s most remote places and communities

From eastern Greenland to northern Alaska, we explore some of the most remote places on the face of the Earth.

Whether it’s astronomical distances, inhospitable climates or extreme terrains that define these remote and hostile lands, there’s one thing they all have in common: they’re on my bucket list. That and the fact that people live there.

It’s highly unlikely I’ll actually make it to many of these far-flung realms – I certainly didn’t get to Ittoqqortoormiit on my recent trip to Greenland – but I salute the hardcore residents who carve out an existence in the most remote places and communities on Earth.

Continue reading
Eqi Glacier boat tour lead image

Eqi Glacier boat tour: a journey to the edge of the world

The Eqi Glacier boat tour takes travellers to the precipice of the planet. There you will find an almost supernatural experience.

The gigantic Eqi Glacier in Greenland sits around 430km north of the Arctic Circle and around 1,600km south of the North Pole. On a planet of nearly eight billion people, very few carve out an existence at these latitudes.

Eqi, meaning ‘edge’ in Greenlandic, is an apt name for a glacier positioned at the last frontier of humanity. If Earth were indeed flat, Eqi Glacier may well be the spot marked on maps where ships disappear.

Continue reading

Visiting the Greenland ice sheet and Russell Glacier

Visiting the Greenland ice sheet and Russell Glacier offers an unparalleled opportunity to observe the country’s infamous interior.

The understated and lonely settlement of Kangerlussuaq in Greenland feels like the edge of the world. Despite lying 50km north of the Arctic Circle, however, there is little evidence of the spectacular scenery that can only be found in the most extremes of the planet: the Polar Regions.

Continue reading

30 most beautiful mountains in the world

The most beautiful mountains in the world have captivated climbers for centuries. Here, we examine their lethal appeal.

“You are not in the mountains. The mountains are in you,” said John Muir, the renowned naturalist, author and environmental philosopher.

If our resident seven-summit hopeful is an apt barometer, Muir makes a valid point. Those who spend time in the mountains seem to be driven by a deeper force. These brave men and women will face vertiginous vertical falls, sub-zero temperatures and 8,000m death zones in pursuit of their summit dreams. It’s in ode to them that we present this list.

Continue reading
arctic circle trail packing list lead image 2

Arctic Circle Trail packing list: all you need in one place

Our detailed Arctic Circle Trail packing list includes everything you’ll need on a trek through Greenland’s wild and remote backcountry. 

Fresh from my adventure trekking the Arctic Circle Trail in Greenland, I thought it would be useful to share my complete Arctic Circle Trail packing list as a point of reference for future trekkers.

This comprehensive list includes everything I took with me including camping and trekking gear, clothing, food and cooking equipment, toiletries, medication and electronics. Where possible, I’ve included links to the gear I took with me for reference.

Continue reading
trekking the arctic circle trail greenland lead image

Trekking the Arctic Circle Trail: a dream goes up in smoke

Trekking the Arctic Circle Trail in Greenland has long been a dream of mine. A dream I came tantalisingly close to fulfilling but for a freak natural event.

I wanted to begin this post by triumphantly announcing that I had finished trekking the Arctic Circle Trail in Greenland – but I can’t, for my trek ended in bitter disappointment. It (quite literally) left a stale taste in my mouth and gave rise to a cloud of unanswerable questions; a maddening maelstrom of ‘what ifs’ and ‘maybes’ to lament and regret.

Continue reading
UNESCO’s-Newest-World-Heritage-Sites-leadimg

UNESCO’s newest World Heritage Sites

From Inuit hunting grounds to sacred mountain monasteries, UNESCO’s newest World Heritage Sites have been formally recognised for their outstanding value.

The aim of UNESCO’s list is to identify, protect and preserve sites of cultural and natural heritage considered to be of exceptional value to humanity. These sites include a range of locations such as the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, east Africa’s Serengeti, the Pyramids of Egypt and Machu Picchu in Peru.

To be included on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, nominated sites must be of “outstanding universal value” and meet at least one of 10 selection criteria.

Continue reading
Arctic-vs.-Antarctic-feat-image-canada

Arctic vs. Antarctic: how to pick your polar adventure

If you’ve ever dreamt about visiting one of the polar regions, use our guide to picking your Polar adventure: Arctic vs. Antarctic.

The North and South Poles were only “conquered” in relatively recent history. The South Pole was first set foot upon in 1911 by the Norwegian Roald Amundsen after his epic race with the ill-fated Scott. The conquest of the North Pole is a little murkier thanks to its location in the middle of the Arctic Ocean amid waters that are almost permanently covered with permanently shifting sea ice. Continue reading

World’s most stunning big wall climbs

It was five years ago that I first came across a big wall climber. A tiny speck on the side of a gigantic granite wall, the climber was bivvying in Yosemite National Park, the Holy Land of big wall climbing.

I couldn’t comprehend how someone could sleep tacked onto the side of a wall, suspended thousands of feet above the ground, sometimes in treacherous weather conditions. Continue reading

Largest-islands-in-the-world-featimg

Colossal coasts: 10 largest islands in the world

We take a look at the largest islands in the world, from deserted Ellesmere Island in the Arctic Circle to metropolitan Honshu in Japan.

We’ve spent a fair amount of time on islands. Not only were we born and raised on one, but island destinations appear to be a reoccurring theme on our travels.

In 2014, we started Atlas & Boots with a six-month journey across the South Pacific via Vanuatu, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Cook Islands, French Polynesia and Hawaii. Our latest extended trip has seen us spend a month in Sri Lanka shortly followed by another in Mauritius. Continue reading

Countries-we-most-want-to-see-featimg

The countries we most want to see

Despite our best laid plans, we never made it to Africa last year. With renewed plans to visit the continent after our current trip through Sri Lanka and Burma, we found ourselves in an interesting discussion: if you could see only five countries before you die, which would they be?

This question posed a far trickier dilemma than the countries we least want to see. With so much on offer, we had to be ruthless in our choices.

We didn’t choose countries we have already visited, nor stateless territories (e.g. Antarctica). Two of our countries overlapped (Nepal and Canada) so we each chose one more to make a total of 10. Continue reading

landscapes-affected-by-climate-change-featimg

Before they’re gone: landscapes affected by climate change

Climate change is taking an unprecedented toll on the Earth’s World Heritage Sites and natural wonders. Below, we take a look at some of the worst affected landscapes.

With the surprise news this week that Donald Trump will be the next president of the USA, it would be easy to overlook that with the news comes one of the biggest threats to the historic agreement on climate made in Paris earlier this year.

Trump has previously described climate change as “fictional” and “created by the Chinese”, and has promised to “cancel” the Paris climate deal completely. On the domestic front he also plans to repeal all federal spending on clean energy, including research and development for wind, solar, nuclear power and electric vehicles. Continue reading

passport stamps of the world

11 cool passport stamps of the world

Some unusual passport stamps to collect on your travels including microstates, geographical landmarks, inaccessible lands and a range of historical sights

It may not be fashionable but I’m a bit of a box-ticker when it comes to travel. I have a list of the countries I’ve visited and I keep track of memorable places such the highest, lowest and driest I’ve visited. I’m also rather proud of my passports (past and present) that have filled up with the stamps I’ve collected.

The standard entry and exit stamps from most countries are fairly mundane. However, beyond the typical destinations are some unusual (and brag-worthy) passport stamps to collect on your travels including microstates, geographical landmarks, inaccessible lands and a range of historical sights. Continue reading

epic-journeys-shackleton

10 epic journeys of discovery

Humans are an intrepid race. For centuries, explorers have disappeared over the horizon in search of new lands and distant shores on epic journeys of discovery. Thanks to these pioneers we’re able to follow in their footsteps now and forevermore.

As a new generation of visionaries – from SpaceX’s Elon Musk to Virgin Galactic’s Richard Branson – look forward to new frontiers, we cast an eye back and pay homage to history’s most epic endeavours thus far. Continue reading