Ilulissat - The Land of Icebergs


Ilulissat is situated next to icefiord/Kangia, which was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004. Kangia is the birthplace of the giant and well-known icebergs. The Ice Fiord contains one of the biggest and most active glaciers in the world. It advances at a rate of 20 metres per day.

Ilulissat is the third-largest town in Greenland, also called Jakobshavn. Only the capital Nuuk and Sisimiut are larger. The town was founded a Danish merchant Jacob Severin and houses 5.000 inhabitants and 4.000 sledge dogs. Ilulissat is a charming town, and the coloured houses on the hill is a beautiful mix with modern buildings in correlation between man and nature. The number of dog sledges parked outside the houses speaks for itself. 

Ilulissat seen from the air. Kangia ice fiord is located close to the city. We recommend a hike along the ice fiord.

Ilulissat is a town in which life is lived in traditional Greenlandic manner. Sledge dogs are a natural part of the transportation and the harbour is busy with boats rushing to and from fishing close to the great icebergs.

In Ilulissat you have every chance of meeting everyday life in Greenland. A walk around town gives you an insight into the life and habits of the local people and you will easily bump into Mr. and Mrs. Greenland on their way to the grocer or heading for a family visit.  The many wooden pavements and stairs twist in and out between the many colourful houses. The town is built on hilly ground which provides an amazing view of the DiskoBay from almost every house in the town. A trek to the old settlement of Sermemiut, beautifully placed by the ice fiord, is absolutely a must do. It is possible to get close to the impressive white giants and look at the fiord with icebergs as far as the eye can see.

In our video above you will find winter and summer impressions from Ilulissat.

Ilulissat offers...

The area around Ilulissat offers stunning trekking opportunities in the summer time. The light summer nights, due to the midnight sun, invites you to go exploring. In the town you can get a hiking map of treks to the Sermermiut settlement, the Ice fiord etc. for free. The town offers plenty of different sights as well. It is possible to get a map of the town and its sights at the hotel.

Centrally placed in the town we find “brættet”, where fishermen and local hunters sell their fresh catch to citizens and tourists. The supply changes over seasons, but it is always possible to buy the extremely tasty halibut from the ice fiord – fresh or smoked. And naturally you will find seal, and occasionally reindeer -, musk -, and whale meat. In the fall you can buy freshly picked crowberry and blueberry. A stroll to the harbour is always worth a visit as well. There is always something to look at. For instance you will often see fishermen with their trotline and hunters often return with freshly shot seals, well suited as food for man as well as dog.

The town also houses 2 interesting museums:Ilulissat Museum, the birthplace of famous arctic explorer Knud Rasmussen and the Art museum, which displays some beautiful watercolour paintings of the local painter Emmanuel A. Pedersen.

The town provides a well-stocked supply of shops selling beautiful handicraft etc., giving you every chance of buying beautiful and unique souvenirs. Some of the local artists have a workshop near by the harbour, and people are welcome to pop in to see them processing bone and tooth into beautiful jewellery. 

This far north of the polar circle life is different from that in Denmark, and a stroll around the town will leave you with many memorable impressions. For instance, Ilulissat presents it self as the largest dog sledding district in Greenland, with more than 4.000 sledge dogs - this does not go unnoticed. The dog sledding season begins in September and normally ends in May. During the 4 months in between, the dogs usually are inactive. New litters are raised and the puppies ravage and bite in everything witin their reach. The fresh air gives you a hearty appetite and fortunately several good restaurants can be found in Ilulissat using fresh greenlandic commodities. You might as well start looking forward to delicious lamb, reindeer, musk, shrimps and halibut - Takana!

Likewise you will find a wide range of interesting excursions in the area around Ilulissat. Boat trips in the world-famous ice fiord, helicopter trip along the glacier front, whale safaris and many more. Ahead of you is an exciting time in Ilulissat - the town by the ice fiord.

Excursion Suggestions and Offers
  • Sailing among the icebergs
  • Midnigt boat trip among the icebergs
  • Whale safari surroundend by icebergs in the Disko Bay
  • Boat trip to the settlement of Ilimanaq
  • Boat trip to the settlement of Oqaatsut
  • Helicopter trip to the Ilulissat Glacier
  • Hiking trip to the old settlement at the ice fiord
  • The long hiking trip by the ice fiord
  • Guided city tour
Adventures for free
  • Hiking trip to the old settlement of Sermermiut and "Kællingekløften", also called Suicide Gorge
  • City walk
  • View to the giant icebergs in the Disko Bay
  • Brættet
  • The old kayak harbour