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About Location

Ilulissat is a town in the Qaasuitsup municipality in western Greenland, located approximately 200 km (120 mi) north of the Arctic Circle.With the population of 4,546 as of 2010,it is the third-largest settlement in Greenland, after Nuuk and Sisimiut.In direct translation,Ilulissat is the Greenlandic word for "the icebergs".Ilulissat is Greenland's most popular tourist destination on account of its proximity to the picturesque Ilulissat Icefjord.Tourism is now the town's principal industry.

Ilulissat Icefjord,a fjord southeast of Ilulissat, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004.Thousands of visitors travel to Ilulissat every year in order to satisfy themselves at first hand that this natural phenomenon is indeed world class.What makes the location so magnificent is Sermeq Kujalleq, the biggest glacier and biggest ice stream outside Antarctica.Here you'll find a very unusual ice flow, a huge ice fjord and enormous icebergs.The figures speak for themselves: the glacier is more than 3,000 km2 in area and calves about 40 cubic kilometres of ice every year.The ice from the glaciers thus totally dominates the sea in large parts of Disko Bay and in the sea west of Greenland.

These natural forces have been active for millennia, driven by the sun, the weather systems and the force of gravity.It's geophysics in a huge, large-scale laboratory lying at your feet as you look out from the cliff.Cultural remnants from the Eskimo culture can also be found at the ice fjord.Just one kilometre outside Ilulissat at the end of the Sermermiut valley lies the settlement of Sermermiut. The settlement was inhabited until the middle of the 19th century and contains traces of all three of the immigrant cultures that have populated and continue to populate Greenland.

Here,among the ruins of turf houses and kitchen middens and against a backdrop of icebergs, it isn't difficult to imagine life as it's been played out over the millennia: On the sea the hunters family fathers are making their way home from the hunt; round about the turf houses children are playing with their toys, which are miniature versions of the men's hunting tools; whilst the women are flaying seals or making food.Earlier generations preferred this place in the same way that it continues to attract people from all over the world today. World-class natural scenery.

How to Reach

By Air

Ilulissat has an international airport located 2.8 km (1.7 mi) to the northeast of the town center.Built in 1983.Ilulissat Airport serves Ilulissat, with connections to towns in northwestern, western Greenland and Reykjavik, Reykjavik Airport in Iceland.Connections to Iceland, starts year-round from April 2011.Air Greenland operates further connections to domestic destinations.Air Iceland operates flights to Iceland, connecting Ilulissat to other parts of the world.

By Ferries

Arctic Umiaq Line coastal ferry links Ilulissat with Sisimiut, Nuuk, and other towns and settlements on the western and southwestern coast of Greenland.

Key places to visit
Ilulissat Icefjord, Greenland Adventure Race, Arctic Midnight Orienteering, Arctic Palerfik, Hiking Trails


Places to Visit

Ilulissat Icefjord

The ice fjord and the glacier at Ilulissat make up a world-class area of outstanding natural beauty, as a result of which the fjord was added to UNESCO's World Heritage list in 2004.One thing is official lists, however, quite another is a wish list of places that you love and would be happy to return to again and again.Ilulissat and the surrounding region rich in ice also feature high up on this list.Thousands of visitors travel to Ilulissat every year in order to satisfy themselves at first hand that this natural phenomenon is indeed world class.What makes the location so magnificent is Sermeq Kujalleq, the biggest glacier and biggest ice stream outside Antarctica.Here you'll find a very unusual ice flow, a huge ice fjord and enormous icebergs.

Greenland Adventure Race

On the first stage, which is only 20 kilometres long, the competitors run over a glacier before crossing a river of melt water.The stage also includes rappelling.The second stage consists of 50 km (31 miles) of mountain biking, where this robust bike is really put through its paces.The third stage is regarded as being the hardest.The run, which ends in the town of Narsaq, has a length corresponding to just over a marathon distance namely 43 kilometres (27 miles) and the route includes several mountain passes at heights of almost 1000 metres (3300 feet).

Arctic Midnight Orienteering

The Arctic Midnight Orienteering usually takes place in the end of June with an introductory race that aims to prepare the runners for the special Arctic terrain.The following day the unofficial Greenlandic championship in orienteering is held.Finally, the Arctic Midnight Orienteering race starts in the end of June at midnight and is run in the light of the midnight sun.The race has a distance of 20 kilometres (12.5 miles), but can also be tackled on routes of 15, 10 and 5 kilometres (9.375, 6.25 and 3.125 miles respectively).Arctic Midnight Orienteering is both an Arctic championship and the unofficial Greenlandic championship in orienteering that is held at Ilulissat at Disko Bay in North Greenland. The race takes place close to the UNESCO conservation area of Ilulissat Icefjord, which is famous for its gigantic icebergs.

Arctic Palerfik

Take part in the year's last dogsled trip, which can also be regarded as a three-day farewell to the white Arctic winter.This dogsled trip is a long-standing tradition in Ilulissat and follows the route which Arctic explorer Knud Rasmussen used as a training ground prior to his long expeditions in Greenland.The harsh Arctic sun beats down for 16 hours a day during this period, and the reflections from the ice and snow are very strong.It is therefore no coincidence that the trip is called 'Palerfik', which means "the place where you will get sunburnt".So do not forget your sunglasses and plenty of sunblock.

Hiking Trails

The Greenlandic nature provides magnificent hiking experiences in an almost untouched landscape.In most areas of the country you do not need to walk very far before you can enjoy the deafening silence and the sight of wide open spaces.Greenland is therefore a very popular hiking country for people who love the great outdoors.Hikes lasting a day are a good option if you wish to see particular settlements close to the town that you are visiting.An example of this is Oqaatsut/Rodebay, which lies approximately 7-8 hours from Ilulissat.In Oqaatsut you can book overnight accommodation in a cabin and thereby sleep on a comfortable mattress instead of a sleeping mat in a tent.

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