Ilulissat

Standing on the banks of the fjord and watching the icebergs gliding majestically past takes life to another dimension. The Icefjord’s position on UNESCO’s world heritage list is fully deserved.

Facts
  • Greenland’s third largest town
  • Formerly also known as Jakobshavn
  • Approx. 4600 inhabitants
  • Founded in 1741
  • Four settlements
  • Main town in the middle of Disko Bay

About Ilulissat

Ilulissat is a town of beauty for the body and soul, and is North Greenland’s centre of culture, transport and administration. It’s enterprising and inviting, traditional and modern, in addition to which the area is blessed by scenery that can take the breath away of even the most seasoned traveller. The Kangia glacier is one of the reasons why. Every year it pushes 35 cubic kilometres of ice out into the fjord cast in nature’s own mould in sizes small, medium and large – up to 100 metres high. These icebergs sail serenely to the mouth of the fjord, shift course and head off on their final voyage out to sea.

SPECIAL LIGHT 

Ilulissat means icebergs, and indeed the ice, the icebergs and the fjord also make up the town’s landmark. The endless whiteness and incomprehensibly huge universe generate a special light that will remain etched in your memory forever. The town is both pleasant and active: Museums, life at the harbour, the church and urban life with cafés, restaurants and a disco.

The Arctic explorer Knud Rasmussen was born and bred in Ilulissat. Visit his exhibition and get an impression of the courage and determination that characterised his perilous expeditions.

We also recommend a hike to the Sermermiut settlement and an evening walk to Knud Rasmussen’s memorial stone. From here there’s a fantastic view of the bay all the way over to Disko Island, some 75 km away on the horizon. If the weather’s clear, you’ll also be able to experience a sunset that’s really out of this world. 

DOGS AND SLEDS

Snarling and barking dogs are also a characteristic aspect of a visit to Ilulissat. In the summer the dogs are somewhat passive, almost as if they’re recharging their batteries before the snow begins to fall and the cold weather sets in for good. That’s when the dogs become alive: they have to go to work with their driver out to the hunting grounds or on trips with guests from all corners of the globe who wish to see Ilulissat. These trips range from two hours or a whole day to genuine expeditions lasting several days.

WORLD OF GREENLAND (WOG)

Partners in the Air Greenland group. They offer you a wide selection of excursions in Ilulissat. There are good facilities for meeting or conferences as well.

DID YOU KNOW?

  • Ilulissat is Greenland’s tourist centre and attractive port of call for cruise ships.
  • Air Greenland’s partner, ‘World of Greenland’, offers a range of excursions: A helicopter flight over the Icefjord, a sailing trip in the light of the midnight sun and a trip to the Eqi glacier with an overnight stay in a hut are among the summer’s highlights.
  • The house of culture at Sermermiut puts on both cinema and theatre performances, and often features guest performances by national and international artists.
  • The 4-star Hotel Arctic – with an extra star for its conference facilities – is a popular meeting place for politicians, business people and researchers from all over the world.
  • Famous Swiss architect Peter Zumthor has won the competition to design the visitors’ centre at Ilulissat Icefjord.
  • According to legend, Kællingekløften was the place at which in difficult times the elder generation used to throw themselves down into the ravine so as not to be a burden on their family’s economy.
  • Cross-country run for experienced runners. Arctic Midnight Orienteering takes place in June close to the ice fjord.
  • A hydropower plant was finished in 2013. A total of 5 hydropower plants supports 6 towns - Ilulissat, Nuuk, Tasiilaq, Qaqortoq, Narsaq and Sisimiut. The result is that almost 70% of Greenlands electricity is CO2 free hydropower.

Experiences in Ilulissat

Visit the town of the icebergs and get close to the floating ice sculptures in the protected fjord. Dogsled trips into the hinterland, sailing trips to glaciers and a hike to the old settlement at Sermermiut all come highly recommended.

Transportation to Ilulissat

How do I get there?

Serviced by DASH8.

Fly to Ilulissat from Copenhagen via the international airport at Kangerlussuaq. Some flights go via Aasiaat. In the summer, there are up to ten departures from Denmark to Kangerlussuaq and in winter there are four weekly departures. We always connect between all flights from and to Copenhagen.

We also have flights from Iceland during the summer, four times a week in the summer, from Keflavik, the international airport of Reykjavik.  The flight takes 3 hours.

How do I get around?

Buses and taxis provide transfers to, for example, Hotel Arctic. You can see most of Ilulissat on foot. Take a tour boat to the small settlements or put on your walking boots if you want to go into the hinterland. In winter, dog sledding and snowmobiling are popular means of transport.

You can also travel with Arctic Umiaq Line, which runs passenger traffic between towns and settlements from Ilulissat in the north to Qaqortoq in the south. The ship docks once a week from late May to late August.