Things to do

Ilulissat Icefjord

The icefjord 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 icefjord 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.

Just has to be experienced

However, facts and figures alone cannot account for what you experience when visiting this place. It just has to be seen, heard, smelt and felt - in other words, to be experienced!

With its enormous dimensions, distinctive beauty and tranquillity, the fantastic ice landscape provokes a particular mood, where you realise that all your everyday worries fade into insignificance against the perspective of the centuries that have gone by in the creation of this ice. Billions and billions of snowflakes have fallen and been compressed into Greenland's Ice Sheet, after which they've flowed together towards the ice fjord and ended up calving and breaking off into large icebergs that continue their journey out to sea.

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.

The settlement at Sermermiut

Cultural remnants from the Eskimo culture can also be found at the icefjord. 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!

Facts

The icefjord and the glacier on the world heritage list
The Icefjord (Kangia) and Sermeq Kujalleq (Jakobshavn Glacier), along with the landscape and the surrounding region, were admitted onto UNESCO's list of areas of world heritage in 2004 due to its glaciological characteristics and the beauty of its landscape.
Read more on the website of the Icefjord Office of Ilulissat

Related articles

Read about Icebergs here.
Read about The Ice Sheet here.
Read about Glaciers here.

Related stories

 

Facts about
Ilulissat Icefjord

In 2004, the icefjord (Kangia) and Sermeq Kujalleq (the Jakobshavn Glacier) were listed by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites.

 

Practical info about Ilulissat Icefjord

Adventure level
Easy:
No physical requirements. No previous experience needed.
Moderate:
Little or no requirements on physical condition or previous experience.
Demanding:
Some requirements on physical condition. Previous experience may be needed for some activities.
Strenuous:
Highly demanding activities, requiring good physical condition and endurance. May involve extremely low temperature, rough terrain, etc. Previous experience needed.
Please note that some activities can be found on several adventure levels, and offerings may vary by location.
 
 
 
 
Available in...
What time of the year?
The green bars show when you can experience the place or the phenomenon, or do the activity or the event.
 

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