Can You See Greenland From Canada?

When a water border separates two countries, there is a possibility that you can see one country from the edge of another. However, it all depends on how far these two countries are from each other. Your viewpoint also plays a big part. Such is the case with Greenland and Canada.

So, can you see Greenland from Canada? You can see Greenland from Canada’s Ellesmere Island. This island is in northern Canada and off the northwest coast of Greenland. Ellesmere reduces the distance between mainland Canada and Greenland, making it the only place you can catch a glimpse of Greenland from Canada.

Did you know that Canada is one of the best countries to visit for a short vacation?

This article will give more details on how and where you can see Greenland from Canada. I will also look at whether you can see Canada from Greenland and the specific place. Does a particular time or season result in better views? I will also address this for both locations.

How Far Is Greenland From Canada?

Greenland is 10 miles (16km) away from Canada. The part of Canada closest to Greenland is Ellesmere Island. Ellesmere Island and Greenland share a water channel called Nares Strait. It is about 10 miles at the narrowest point between the two locations. This is the shortest distance between Greenland and Canada.

Both Canada and Greenland are on the continent of North America. They are separated by a water border, the Labrador Sea (an arm of the North Atlantic Ocean). This sea connects to the North Atlantic ocean and the Arctic ocean.

Canada is second among the biggest countries in the world. It lies on the western and north-western side of Greenland.

According to CNN, Greenland is the world’s largest island. The island is within the Kingdom of Denmark but is an autonomous territory. This means that it enjoys a certain degree of freedom from Denmark.

Ellesmere Island is located in the Northern part of Canada, along the Nares Strait. The Strait, therefore, separates the northern side of Canada from Greenland.

Did you know that Ellesmere Island is about 508 miles (817km) from the North Pole? This translates to freezing temperatures.

NASA Earth Observatory records temperature as 37.90F (3.30C) during the warmest month, July. Otherwise, temperatures can go as low as -36F (-38C).

If you consider visiting this island, one of the things that will need to fight the extreme cold is a warm jacket that guarantees the best heat retention.

Where Can You See Greenland From Canada?

Ellesmere Island is a place in Canada where you can see parts of Greenland. While on the island, you have to be located near the Canadian Forces station of Alert (CFS Alert) on a clear day for the best views. CFS Alert is at an altitude of 30M (98ft), which elevates you to see better.

If you need help seeing bigger images and more detail, I recommend my favorite pair of Binoculars.

Looking at the world map, you will notice that much of Canada’s coastline faces Greenland. Still, you’ll have to travel all the way to Alert, along the northern coastline, to see Greenland. Alert is about 2440 miles (3,928 km) from Ottawa, Canada’s capital city.

Quite far, right? The view of Greenland from Canada is worth it, though.


Alert is in Nunavut territory in Canada. It’s the northernmost place you can get while in Canada. However, this area lacks permanent inhabitants since it is the location for a military outpost. The outpost hosts military signal intelligence radio, a weather station, and an airport.

You will not be the only civilian on the island, though; there are about 62 temporary inhabitants, according to the 2011 census. From this military post, you can actually see Greenland on the horizon.

Fun fact: This military post is said to be the most remote place on earth. Why? It’s the closest you can get to the magnetic North Pole on land. Beyond here, you’ll only see ice sheets. Crew members in this outpost call it “Santa’s closest neighbors.” The closest neighbors of this outpost are about 310 miles (500km) south of Alert.

How to Get to Ellesmere Island

Traveling to this island takes a bit of work. You have to take a flight from Resolute Bay, which also turns out to be a hard-to-reach location.

To get to Resolute Bay, you fly from Ottawa through Iqaluit. From here, you take a charter plane to Tanquary Fiord on the southern part of Ellesmere Island.

Best Time of Year to See Greenland From Canada

Given its location in the Antarctic Circle, the best time to access Ellesmere Island is during summer. The season runs from May through August. The weather remains cold, but the days are clearer for great views of Greenland. 

When rainfall is heavy, most of the island may be closed from mid-July to early August.

During winter, December to March, most of the region is full of ice, making it inaccessible by tourists. Also, charter flights do not offer services during the season.

Can You See Canada From Greenland?

You can see Canada from Greenland. However, Canada and Greenland’s mainlands are far from each other, and you would have to be on Greenland’s other islands for the best views. The islands located on the Nares Strait include Crozier Island, Franklin Island, and Hans Island.

Greenland is a collection of islands between the Arctic Ocean and the North Atlantic ocean. It consists of one large island and over a hundred other smaller islands.

Greenland has a large portion of its coastline facing Canada. This makes it easier to see Canada when standing from one of the islands closest to Canada in the Nares Strait.

But which island is this? Let’s find out.

Where Can You See Canada From Greenland?

You can see Canada from the island of Hans. This island sits in the middle of Nares strait, the water body separating Canada and Greenland. While standing on this island, you can see Canada to the East and Greenland to the west.

However, the ownership of the island is a topic for debate between Canada and Denmark. So, from Hans, can you claim to see Canada from Greenland? Let take a look at Hans:

Hans Island

This island is situated right in the middle of the Kennedy Channel. The Channel is an extension of the Nares Strait on the South.

Kennedy Channel, therefore, separates Canada from Greenland. It is about 16-24 miles (26-39km) and runs 110 miles (177km) down south. Hans island rests right in the middle and cuts the distance between Canada and Greenland by half. This also makes it easier for you to see.

Due to the island’s location, there is an endless dispute over the ownership of Hans between Canada and Denmark. Denmark acts on behalf of Greenland. This is according to High North News.

If you are to stand on the island and see Canada, would you say that you are observing from Greenland? The dispute has not been settled, so you can claim to be either in Greenland or Canada.

The only way to get to Hans Island is by use of a helicopter. Sadly, there is no other activity you can engage in while on Hans Island.

Other Things to Do in Greenland

Being located near the North Pole, Greenland’s major tourist attractions are icebergs and glaciers.

Would you like a visual sneak peek of what to expect? The video below shows some of the best sceneries in Greenland.

So, what activities can you engage in?

Go for Ice Skiing

The Canadian skiing marathon, better known as the Arctic race, is a famous sport in this mountainous terrain. It’s a 160 km race that brings about entertainment as well as a cultural adventure.

You can also take part in snowmobiling, an essential part of life in Greenland.

Whale Watching

How would you like an up-close encounter with whales? You can do this in Greenland in the months of June and July after fjords melt away. Cruise among the icebergs and catch a glimpse of blue whales, killer whales, narwhals, beluga whales, sperm whales, and pilot whales.

Watch the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis)

Also known as the “biggest light show on earth,” you shouldn’t miss the Northern Lights when you visit Greenland. It’s a natural spectacle visible between November and March. It is among the Seven Natural Wonders of the World and is worth capturing with a high-resolution Digital Camera

Visit the Fantastic Ilulissat Ice-Fjord

This is Greenland’s most visited place and one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites. It is an iceberg-strewn area in the coastal area of Disko bay. Here, huge icebergs form on the shore after breaking out from glaciers. And the best part is that you get to watch this scenery from the land.

Final Thought

You can indeed watch either Canada or Greenland from Ellesmere and Hans islands. Ellesmere Island belongs to Canada, while the ownership of Hans Island is contested between the two. All in all, the two islands serve the purpose if you are looking to see one location from the other.

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