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10 Essential Tips for Visiting Ilulissat’s Majestic Icebergs in Greenland

10 Essential Tips for Visiting Ilulissats Majestic Icebergs in Greenland

Article Summary

Discover Ilulissat: Greenland's Iceberg Capital

Greenland, a land of pristine beauty, offers many breathtaking destinations, but none quite as stunning as Ilulissat. Home to colossal icebergs and a UNESCO-protected icefjord, Ilulissat is a must-see for anyone venturing to this remote island. Before you pack your bags, we've compiled 10 crucial tips to ensure you make the most of your visit to this icy wonderland.

Where Is Ilulissat and Why Visit?

Ilulissat is a charming harbor town located in western Greenland, just north of the Arctic Circle. Known for its gigantic icebergs from the nearby Sermeq Kujalleq glacier, Ilulissat—which translates to "iceberg" in Greenlandic—is a sight to behold. The town's icefjord, a UNESCO world heritage site, provides a spectacular display of icebergs caught on their journey to the sea.

Viewing the Icebergs: An Unavoidable Spectacle

Ilulissat's icebergs are an omnipresent feature of the landscape, viewable by simply strolling through town, hiking coastal trails, or embarking on boat, kayak, or SUP excursions. Their sheer size and beauty are impossible to miss.

Getting to Ilulissat: Your Gateway to the Ice

Reaching Ilulissat is possible via Air Greenland’s domestic flights if you're already in Greenland. For international travelers, flights from Copenhagen and Reykjavik are your main options, with additional possibilities of arriving by cruise ship or ferry during certain times of the year.

Choosing the Right Tour Company in Ilulissat

While many tour companies operate in Ilulissat, Ilulissat Adventure comes highly recommended for their range of tours and activities. Despite not being the cheapest option, the value and experience they provide are exceptional, offering unforgettable tours like kayaking among icebergs and icefjord cruises.

1. Book Early to Avoid Disappointment

Ilulissat's peak tourist season is short and demand is high. To secure your spot, book flights, accommodations, and excursions well in advance—ideally nine months or more before your trip.

2. Timing Your Visit: Consider the Shoulder Season

Each season in Ilulissat offers unique experiences, from the midnight sun and abundant icebergs in summer to the charm of winter's dog sledding. The shoulder season, like September, may offer a balance of fewer tourists and still-accessible activities.

3. Don't Miss Ilulissat's Coastal Walking Trails

Ilulissat's coastal trails offer stunning views of the icefjord. The well-marked yellow, red, and blue trails all start from the Icefjord Center, with the yellow trail being a top pick for its breathtaking sunset vistas.

4. Take a Boat Tour for an Up-Close Icefjord Experience

A boat excursion into the icefjord brings you face-to-face with Ilulissat's massive icebergs. Ilulissat Adventure offers open-air Zodiac boat tours, providing an authentic and thrilling way to experience the ice.

5. Extend Your Adventure to the Greenland Ice Sheet

If passing through Kangerlussuaq, consider an overnight layover to visit the Greenland ice sheet. Tours are available to explore this vast icy expanse, adding another dimension to your Ilulissat adventure.

6. Plan for Weather Delays and Cancellations

Greenland's unpredictable weather can lead to delays and cancellations. Allow extra days in your itinerary to accommodate any changes and ensure you don't miss out on planned activities.

7. Dress in Layers for the Arctic Climate

Even in summer, Ilulissat can be chilly. Pack plenty of layers, including a heavy-duty winter jacket, thermal underwear, and waterproof boots to stay comfortable in the cold.

8. Respect Local Customs: Shoe Removal

In Greenland, it's common to leave shoes outside to keep interiors clean. Follow local practice and remove your shoes when entering homes and certain buildings.

9. Immerse Yourself in Greenlandic Inuit Culture

Learning about the indigenous Greenlandic Inuit culture is a rewarding experience. Visit local museums or settlements like Oqaatsut to gain insight into the island's history and traditions.

10. Budget Accordingly for Your Greenland Trip

Traveling to Ilulissat is not budget-friendly, with costs for flights, accommodations, and tours adding up quickly. However, the unique and unforgettable nature of the experience justifies the expense for many travelers.

Ready for Your Ilulissat Adventure?

Equipped with these 10 tips, you're ready to embark on an incredible journey to Ilulissat. If you have any questions or need further advice, feel free to reach out in the comments below.