Ilulissat

Ilulissat is the third largest settlement in Greenland.

Ilulissat is the third largest settlement in Greenland, this lovely town is also known as Jacob’s havnen. An amazing thing to see in Ilulissat is the icebergs crowded in front of town which jostle for the best position. This small town has picturesque coloured houses, souvenir shops, local crafts, all set beside a small harbour.

The occasional visitors can enjoy the local wicked pub and good nightlife. The main attraction is the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Illulissat Isbrae (glacier), which flows from the Ilulissat icecap into the fjord. The glacier’s movements can be seen by the naked eye with 20 billion tonnes of icebergs calving off every year.

Many notable residents were born here:

Knud Rasmussen (1879–1933), noted polar explorer and anthropologist, referred to as the "father of Eskimology". Born in Ilulissat, Rasmussen was the first man to cross the Northwest Passage via dog sled. He remains well known in Greenland, Denmark and among Canadian Inuit.

Jørgen Brønlund (1877–1907), was also a polar explorer born in Ilulissat, He grew up with Rasmussen and accompanied him, along with Harald Moltke and Ludvig Mylius-Erichsen, on the Danish Literary Expedition (1902–1904) to examine Inuit culture. In 1906 he joined Mylius-Erichsen and Peter Høegh Hagen on the Danmark-ekspeditionen to map the northernmost regions of Greenland. Jørgen Brønlund Fjord in Peary Land is named after him.

Jens Rosing (1925–2008), a Greenlandic artist notable for designing the coat of arms of Greenland, numerous Greenlandic postage stamps, as well as illustrated children's books and water colours − was born in Ilulissat.

Accommodation options in ILULISSAT:

There are limited options and these are booked very far in advance during the peak summer season.

Hotel Arctic, the world’s most northerly 4 star hotel with a 5 star conference centre. Right on the edge of the Ilulissat Ice Fjord - a wonder of the world which is on the UNESCO World Heritage List – and well within reach for everyone who wants the experience of a lifetime.

EXCURSION options in ILULISSAT

Cultural City Walk of Ilulissat

This guided tour of this town 350 km north of the Arctic Circle, with its remarkable history and culture will give you an insight into the old and new Greenland. Ilulissat, founded in 1741, is the third largest town in Greenland today and boasts a fascinating history. You will see the fishermen in the harbour, vendors on the glacier and the old Zion Church.
Minimum participants: 4
Duration: 2 hours Season: All year Level of difficulty: Easy

Midnight sailing among icebergs

The light of the midnight sun casts a unique glow on the icebergs, which draws people back again and again. We go very close to the icebergs, whose sheer magnitude can appear quite daunting. The midnight trip is an experience like no other. Remember to bring warm clothing and extra film for your camera.
Minimum participants: 5
Duration: 2½ hours Season: May - July Level of difficulty: Easy

Sailing among icebergs

All year round around 20 million tons of ice flow out into Icefjord from Ilulissat Polar Glacier every day. This ice is transformed into huge icebergs that stretch up to 100 metres above the water. At the mouth of Icefjord these giant icebergs become stranded on an underwater moraine. Here we sail amongst them. An incredible experience that you would not want to miss when visiting Ilulissat. Bring warm clothing.
Minimum participants: 5
Duration: 2½ hours Season: All year - if the ice conditions allow it Level of difficulty: Easy

Excursion to the settlement Ilimanaq

Barely a generation ago most of the Greenland population lived in the numerous tiny villages, dotted along the coast like a string of pearls. Today most people live in towns. However Ilulissat still has four thriving villages. One of these is Ilimanaq (Claushavn), which lies south of Icefjord. Ilimanaq has many beautiful old colonial buildings and is famous for its excellent trout, caught in Tasiusaq fiord beyond the village. Many hikers are attracted by the superb hiking trails around here and often camp in the area for a night or two.

Minimum participants: 6
Duration: 5 hours Season: May - October Level of difficulty: Easy

Sailing to Oqaatsut/Rodebay

For hundreds of years, Oqaatsut (Rodebay) was a stopover place for Dutch whalers, who dragged the huge whales onto land here in the old village. The village, which lies in a beautiful natural setting just 15 km north of Ilulissat, has a mere 50 inhabitants, its own school, church, shop and a single restaurant “H8”, which serves an excellent lunch in the old colonial building. You can combine a visit to Oqaatsut with a hike to or from Ilulissat, sailing just one way.
Minimum participants: 6
Duration: 5 hours Season: May - October Level of difficulty: Easy

Helicopter to the Ilulissat Glacier

We take off from Ilulissat Airport in the legendary Sikorsky helicopter. The flight takes us to the protected area around the Ilulissat ice cap. Mountain tops and lakes in all colours appear together with gigantic icebergs. The Ilulissat area is a UNESCO World Heritage sight recognized for its unique beauty. We land with a magnificent view to the inland ice cap, the Icefjord and the many gigantic icebergs. We take a break from the flight for approximately half an hour. On the flight back we fly at low altitude giving us a close look at the floating icebergs. An unforgettable sight!
Minimum participants: 14 or 8
Duration: 1,5 hours Season: All year Level of difficulty: Easy

Whale safari in the Disco Bay

The beautiful whales are swimming around the Disko Bay all summer, sometimes close to the town, other times in the Icefiord or up north at the coast of the island “Arveprinsens Ejland”. We have constant radio contact to the fishermen and hunters sailing in the Disko Bay, and they are our source to information on the whereabouts of the whale. Most of the whales we see on our trips are the Humpback whales with their distinctive tails, but also Fin whales and Minke whales are often seen.
Minimum participants: 8
Duration: 5 hours Season: Mid June - August Level of difficulty: Easy

Hike to lagoon, glacier and moraine

From the huts we hike around the small lagoon at the southern end of the glacier. There are often large flocks of geese in the lagoon in the breeding season. The trip goes further up the moraine where we can look down into the enormous cracks in the glacier few meters away from us. From here we will also get an overview of a large part of the 70m high glacier front and we will see the impressive calving of the glacier.
Minimum participants: 4
Duration: 3 hours Season: June - September Level of difficulty: Demanding

See our Greenland tours below that visit Ilulissat:

Style
Season
Duration
Tour Standard
A passenger boat near Ilulissat and the ice fjord in Greenland

Greenland Ilulissat Small Group Tour

6 days - Small group tour with flightseeing, hiking and boat tour to Eqi

  • Greenland tours
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Visit Greenland

A taste of Greenland tour

6 day - Independent tailor made Greenland tour.

  • Best seller
  • Greenland tours
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Disko Bay to Uummannaq Small Ship Voyage

10 days - Voyage to the heart of Greenland with only 12 other passengers

  • Premium
  • Greenland tours
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credit: Mads Pihl

Cruise to Disko Bay – The Heart of Greenland

16 days - Sail on New Hurtigruten expedition ship MS Fridtjof Nansen to Greenland

  • Greenland tours
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Icebergs & Whales of Greenland tour

8 day - Independent tailor-made Greenland tour of West Coast Greenland.

  • Iceland tours
  • Greenland tours
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Mads Pihl

West Greenland Coastal Voyage

12 days - Independent voyage along the West Coast of Greenland.

  • Our favourite
  • Iceland tours
  • Greenland tours
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Accommodation
Director's Choice
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