This is no lifeless town. Here, the traditional Greenlandic lifestyle is lived to the full and dog sleds are a natural part of the transport network. There are many activities in and around the port, from which the dinghies sail out to fish around the formidable icebergs and back again. Other features of the town include a museum in Knud Rasmussen’s birthplace, shops selling Greenlandic handicrafts and sealskins in modern designs, and cafés and restaurants where you can sink your teeth into the local specialties.
Boat trips on the Icefjord
Most visitors to Ilulissat decide to go for a boat trip on the Icefjord. More than 46 km3 of ice flows out to the Icefjord from the Ilulissat Glacier every year. The ice travels to the mouth of the Icefjord, where the largest icebergs run aground on the underwater moraine at a depth of just over 350 metres.
The icebergs always look spectacular, no matter the weather and regardless of whether they’re lit by bright daylight or the soft glow of the midnight sun, which adds a unique play of colours that you will long to return and see again.
Experience the Ilulissat Icefjord from a helicopter
Feel butterflies erupt in your stomach as the helicopter takes off and the pilot flies you over one of the most active glaciers in the world. You’ll have a fantastic view of the enormous icebergs as they travel out to the fjord from the glacier.
If you’re lucky you may even witness an iceberg being calved off the glacier for yourself or catch sight of seals lying on top of the ice floes.
Hikes for everyone
Just behind the town of Ilulissat are vast stretches of highland just waiting to be discovered. Regardless of whether you’re a seasoned hiker or following a local guide, a fantastic experience in nature awaits you.
A hike in Ilulissat requires you to be in moderately good shape, and trips can last from a couple of hours to a whole day.
Ilulissat – or Jakobshavn – is the third largest town in Greenland with over 4,500 residents. Taking a walk around the town will give you a good insight into the daily lives of the local population. The residents live a traditional Greenlandic life, and dog sledges are a natural part of the transport network. Follow the many wooden pavements and stairs that weave through the colourful and beautiful wooden houses.
Discover shops selling Greenlandic handicrafts and sealskins in modern designs, and cafés and restaurants, where you can fill up on delicious local specialties. The terrain is hilly and no matter where you go, you’re guaranteed a fantastic view of Disko Bay and the port, which bursts into life whenever the countless dinghies sail in and out of it.
Hike to the Sermermiut Settlement
Experience how the Greenlanders originally lived and check out the old Sermermiut Settlement, which is only one and a half kilometres south of Ilulissat. Take in the ruins of peat huts and feel the bite of permafrost under your hands as the guide tells you about the different Inuit cultures that lived on the site for 4,000 years.
The Sermermiut Settlement is on UNESCO’s World Heritage List and receives 30,000 visitors every year.
The kayak was invented by Greenlanders, who have rowed them in Greenlandic waters for thousands of years. If you want to come face-to-face with the beautiful icebergs while gliding soundlessly over the waters of the Icefjord and taking in a stunning view, kayaking is the perfect way to do it. It is a fantastic experience both in the day and evening, when the midnight sun lights up the icebergs and creates a unique play of colours that only emphasise the untouched nature of the landscape.
We recommend taking a kayak tour with a professional guide, who will lead you from Ilulissat, along the coast and out towards the mouth of the fjord, where the largest icebergs wait to travel further out into the Disko Bay.
Summer is the perfect time of the year to go on a whale safari in Ilulissat. The sea around Greenland is full of these massive animals, which travel to Greenlandic waters every summer looking for food. Take a boat trip and see if you can spot the gentle giants of the sea swimming in their large pods.
If you’re lucky, you may even see numerous species. We have minke whales, fin whales, humpback whales and narwhals. As a spectator, you will never forget the sight of a 30-tonne humpback whale bursting out of the water before disappearing back into the depths with a splash of its enormous tail.
In winter, Greenland becomes an authentic Arctic paradise. Experience a magical landscape covered in the purest white.
The northern lights
According to an old myth, you can summon the northern lights by whistling, which will then take the whistler with them when they disappear. This may not be true, but what is undisputed is that whenever they appear, nature’s colossal canvas becomes illuminated by a cascade of green tones, wrapping the scenery in legend, mystery and uniqueness.
Picture the scene. Midnight. The sky is dark and clear – when suddenly beautiful streaks of light begin to dance overhead, either slowly, lazily or in an explosion of intertwining, fantastic patterns. It truly is an impressive sight that you are unlikely to ever forget.
In Greenland, you can experience the northern lights from September until the beginning of April.
Dog sledding is a way of life in Greenland and an important part of Greenlandic culture.
Winter in Greenland is high season for going dog sledding. This is the time of year when you can experience Greenland at its most authentic and impressive. The sound of the powerful dogs’ paws trampling rhythmically over the ice sheet only emphasises the complete stillness of Arctic nature.