Trip to Ilulissat in Greenland - Ilulissat travel guide and travel tips

August 2001 | April 2007 | June 2011

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Suggested travel itinerary in Greenland

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Ilulissat is located along the west coast of Greenland about 300km north of the Arctic Circle, and with more than 4000 inhabitants, Ilulissat is Greenland's third largest city by population. Ilulissat is the ideal base for tours, travel, holidays, but also for more complex expeditions in Greenland, thanks to the magnificent natural environment that offers many different options, such as cruises among the icebergs, hikes on the tundra, trek to the ice cap that covers Greenland, winter tours with sled dogs, or kayak expeditions. For some weeks a year, before and after the summer solstice, it is possible to observe the phenomenon of the midnight sun and, when the days are very short in winter, the sky is often lit only by the aurora borealis (northern lights).


Due to the great differences that exist between a month and the next, making each season unique with its own features, every time of the year is suitable for a trip to Greenland, depending on the activities that you are looking for. Personally, after the first trip to Ilulissat, I returned twice more times to experiment different situations. The first trip to Ilulissat in Greenland, made ​​in August 2001, led me to explore the icecap covering Greenland through a long trek starting from the camp located at Eqi Sermia glacier. For the second tour in Greenland, I have chosen the winter in Ilulissat, when I did a long excursion by sled dogs under the supervision of an experienced Inuit guide. Finally, for the third holiday in Greenland, we have chosen the week following the summer solstice, to watch the midnight sun at its best.


As previously anticipated, the best time to go to Ilulissat depends essentially to what you expect to see and to do. Are you looking for long treks out in the wild? Late summer, featuring a drier tundra, is the perfect season for you. Would you like to see the midnight sun instead? Then, late spring/early summer (the weeks around June 21st) are the right choice. Do you like boat excursions in the ice fjord among huge iceberg? All the summer is excellent for this activity. Would you like to experience the northern lights instead? Although the northern light is present every day of the year, in order to be experienced, the sky must be dark and clear, making the shorter days of the year (late October to early March) the ideal time to observe this phenomena. Finally, are you looking for dog sledge tours over snow and, maybe, frozen sea? Late winter or early spring should be your best choice.


Although the distance from Europe and America is not excessive, getting to Ilulissat (and Greenland and in general) requires a little patience, as the flight schedule imposes a long detour to either Copenhagen or Reykjavik (an overnight in one of these gateway cities may be required as well). Ilulissat is served year-round by Air Greenland from Kangerlussuaq on a daily basis and you can get to Kangerlussuaq by Air Greenland too, almost daily from Copenhagen. Usually, during the busiest summer months, additional connecting flights are available from Iqaluit (Canada) and, sometimes from the USA. Please check here Air Greenland flight schedule. Still during summer, direct flights to Ilulissat may be available from Reykjavik (Iceland) a few times per week, please check Air Iceland web site for updated information.


A wide variety of accommodation is available in Ilulissat, starting from basic hostel to 4 star hotel with international standards. Family stay to better experience Greenlandic life can be arranged too. Please contact your outfitter in Greenland for options and reservations.


Tourist facilities in Ilulissat are good, as well as the quality of the excursions offered and the organization in general. To organize your trip to Greenland and Ilulissat, I recommend to contact Ilulissat Tourist Nature. They can offer complete packages including accommodation and excursions based on your requests.

Trips to Ilulissat area:
Ilulissat Tourist Nature


This web site contains a long series of photos of Greenland, taken during the three trips to Ilulissat. Here you can find also an Interesting comparison between how the Eqi Sermia glacier was in year 2001 and how it was in June of 2011 (heavily affected by the global warming and the glacier retreat phenomena), as well as some information on how to organize similar trips. Like all the Arctic, also this country is the ideal place to study the effect of global warming on the ice, as Greenland climate has changed dramatically in recent decades. This is particularly evident also by comparing the extent of sea ice in winter: if up to the mid '90s the sea ice was fully consolidated up to the latitude of Sisimiut every winter (a village near the Arctic Circle), now to find the same conditions of ice, it is necessary to go at least 400 kilometers to north.


Let us briefly review some useful information to organize a trip to Ilulissat, answering the most common questions we receive about this destination.

  • On what time zone Ilulissat is located? Ilulissat is located 4 hours behind Central Europe Time (so 4 hours behind Copenhagen, the major gateway city to Greenland).
  • What is the currency in Greenland? The official currency in Greenland is the Danish Krone (DKK). Ilulissat is a quite modern town, well used to receive tourists, therefore major credit cards are accepted by most stores.
  • What language in spoken in Greenland? The official languages in Greenland, and therefore in Ilulissat, are Greenlanding and Danish. Most people involved in tourism speak English as well.
  • How are the electric plugs in Greenland? Greenland has type C power sockets (like in Germany) and type K. Voltage is 220V at 50Hz.
  • Will my mobile phone work in Grennland? The SIM provided by foreign mobile phone companies may not work in Greenland, so it's strongly suggested to check with own provider before leaving for Greenland. In any case the mobile coverage is guaranteed only in major towns, therefore, the only way to have a kind of guaranteed service is to bring a satellite phone.
  • Is wifi available in Ilulissat? Major hotels and tourist service centres will provide wifi and wired connection to Internet.

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Midnight sun Iceberg cruise in Ilulissat, Greenland, under the midnight sun <<-- GO
We take advantage of a magnificent sunny night for a cruise among the icebergs just outside Ilulissat, where we can admire the phenomenon of the midnight sun at its peak, given the proximity to the summer solstice.
Ilulissat Ilulissat tour and hiking along the ice fjord (Kangia) <<-- GO
A short walk among the colorful houses of Ilulissat takes us first to the "kennel" area where many greenlandic dogs are "parked" for the summer season, before entering the Sermermiut valley that leads up to Kangia fjord, the heritage UNESCO site featuring huge icebergs released by the most active glacier of the Northern Hemisphere.
Ilimanaq Greenland Boat trip excursion from Ilulissat to Ilimanaq, Greenland <<-- GO
We depart from Ilulissat with a wooden boat bound for Ilimanaq, a small traditional village inhabited by Greenlandic hunters and fishermen. After a tour of Ilimanaq, the trip continues to Ataa camp, our base for the excursions of the followings days.
Ataa camp Greenland Tour to Ataa summer camp in northern Greenland <<-- GO
The Ataa camp is located in northern Greenland at about five hours sailing from Ilulissat, in a beautiful bay that is the ideal base for excursions to the nearby Eqi Sermia glacier, to do beautiful hikes on the tundra or to paddle in a kayak among the huge icebergs.
Ice front Day trip to Eqi Sermia Glacier in Greenland <<-- GO
Boat tour to the Eqi Sermia glacier to admire the beautiful wall of ice, which is several kilometers wide and up to 60 meters high. Unfortunately this glacier is feeling the negative and well known effects of the global warming and the comparison with some photos taken just 10 years earlier, shows the phenomenon of glacier retreat in all its drama.
Greenlanding dog puppies Boat trip to Rodebay traditional village in Greenland <<-- GO
Rodebay is a picturesque village about 20 km north of Ilulissat, where there are less than 100 people living on hunting and fishing. The tour includes lunch at a local restaurant where various Greenlandic specialties can be tasted.
Flying over greenland Greenland aerial pictures from Copenhagen to Ilulissat via Kangerlussuaq flight <<-- GO
A flight over Greenland during a beautiful sunny day offers spectacular views of both the ice cap and the deep fjords that run through the west coast. This page collects some Greenland aerial photos taken directly from Air Greenland flights.



Air Greenland Norsaq (A330-200) Fly to Ilulissat via Kangerlussuaq <<-- GO
My today's final destination is Ilulissat, with a short stop in Kangerlussuaq. Flying over Greenland with nice weather offers breathtaking views.
Ilulissat in winter Sightseeing in Ilulissat, Greenland, and short hiking tours <<-- GO
Ilulissat is a nice and charming greenlandic town, about 350km north of the arctic circle. For passengers continuing to Qaanaaq, is required to stop here for at least one night, as the flight leaves early in the morning.
Dog team Dogsledge tour to Greenland's ice cap from Ilulissat <<-- GO
About 50km from Ilulissat there is a dead glacier that can be climbed by dogsledge, offering the possibility to have a walk over the ancient inland ice. The trip is three days (two nights) long, with overnights in an heated hut.



Greenland from air Flying over Greenland - pictures of Greenland from air <<-- GO
A flight over Greenland in beautiful weather offers one of the most unusual and spectacular landscape of the world, made of glaciers, immense ice fields, deep fjords and small charming villages.
Ilulissat in summer Excursions from Ilulissat and Ilulissat pictures <<-- GO
Ilulissat is the ideal base for short and longer tours to north Greenland, including treks, cruises, sightseeing and, in winter, dogsledge excursions. The town itself is beautiful and charming, offering scenic trails all around.
Eqi Sermia Ice Camp Eqi - camping in front of Eqi Sermia glacier <<-- GO
Eqi Ice Camp is located about 60km north of Ilulissat and offers the opportunity to overnight into cabins located in front of Eqi Sermia glacier. From Eqi Ice Camp there are several trails offering also the possibility to climb over Greenland ice cap.
Greenland ice cap trek Ice cap adventure - trekking over Greenland ice cap <<-- GO
Trek from Eqi Ice Camp to Greenland ice cap. Overnight halfway in a prepared tented camp. The icecap offers incredible landscape made of ice and melted water. This expedition in Greenland offer the possibility to climb over Greenland ice cap with a relatively short trek.
Greenland tundra Hiking and trekking over the Tundra near Ilulissat <<-- GO
Two days trek to a small refuge north of Ilulissat, hiking over soft tundra. The place is far away from civilization and you may not see anybody else during the entire trek.

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