by Lydia Schrandt for USA TODAY 10Best

Preview Greenland on this virtual tour

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Greenland is of the world’s last true travel frontiers. The biggest non-continental island on the planet has the world’s sparsest population – and some of its most jaw-dropping scenery.

Nuuk, Greenland’s capital and largest city, is home to around 18,000 people.

The brightly colored buildings of Greenland were originally painted based on use – yellow for hospitals, blue for fish factories, red for commercial houses and black for police stations.

The Greenland Ice Sheet covers some 79 percent of the surface of Greenland – an area 14 times the size of England. At its thickest point, the ice is 10,500 feet deep.

Ilulissat is the iceberg capital of Greenland and a popular base for exploring the ice sheet. A short hike brings visitors to the edge of the Ilulissat Glacier (also known as the Jakobshavn Glacier).

A highlight of a stay in Ilulissat is the chance to get out on the water and explore the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Ilulissat Icefjord. This glacier calves more than any other outside Antarctica.

One of the best ways to experience the natural beauty of Greenland is from the water. Excursions along the coast often take visitors through seas of towering icebergs.

Inuit and Norse cultures have created a unique farming society at the southern edge of the Greenland Ice Cap. Known as Kujataa Greenland, this UNESCO World Heritage site remains an important agricultural region.

Hiking in Greenland can range from relatively easy walks on well-trodden terrain to multi-day treks into the Greenlandic backcountry.

The dog sled has helped Greenlanders traverse the snowy landscape for thousands of years. These days, it’s also a popular leisure activity for both locals and tourists.

The northern lights are visible in Greenland from September to April. While you can see them in many places, Kangerlussuaq is the most popular, thanks in large part to its 300 clear nights a year.

East Greenland sits a short flight away from Iceland, yet it feels like its own world. The mountainous terrain here attracts adventurers looking for longer expeditions into the rugged backcountry.

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