Unlocking the Language Barrier: Navigating Greenland with English

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Traveling to Greenland might seem daunting due to its isolated location and unfamiliar geographic landscape. However, with its breathtaking natural landmarks, unique culture, and friendly people, it’s no surprise that Greenland is becoming an increasingly popular travel destination. But before setting foot in the country, many travelers have a common question: Can you get by with English in Greenland?

The Language Situation in Greenland

The official language of Greenland is Kalaallisut, an Eskimo-Aleut language, but Danish is widely spoken and is the administrative language of the country. However, many Greenlanders also speak English, especially those who work in the tourism industry.

If you’re traveling to the more remote parts of Greenland, you might encounter locals who only speak Kalaallisut, but don’t worry. Since many Greenlanders grow up bilingual in Kalaallisut and Danish, you might still be able to communicate in Danish if you don’t speak the local language.

English in Greenland’s Tourism Industry

Greenland is quickly becoming a popular travel destination, and the tourism industry is growing as a result. Because the country’s economy depends heavily on tourism, many businesses and services now cater to English-speaking audiences.

Most of the tour guides, hotel staff, and travel agents that you’ll encounter on your trip should be able to communicate with you in English. However, it’s always a good idea to learn a few basic Danish phrases and greetings, just in case you find yourself in a situation where English isn’t an option.

Communicating with Locals

One of the best ways to immerse yourself in a new culture is by interacting with the locals. While it’s possible to get by with just English, learning a few phrases in Kalaallisut or Danish can go a long way in showing respect for the local culture and building connections with the people you meet.

If you’re staying in the same place for an extended period, consider taking a language course or hiring a local language teacher to improve your communication skills. This can enrich your travel experience and deepen your understanding of the local culture.


Traveling to Greenland can be a fulfilling and awe-inspiring experience, and language barriers shouldn’t hold you back. While knowing a few phrases in Kalaallisut and Danish can be helpful in certain situations, most people in the tourism industry speak English, so you can get by without extensive language skills. However, for a more immersive experience, consider learning some basic language skills and engaging with the locals to get a better sense of Greenland’s unique culture.

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