One of the largest settlements in Greenland, Ilulissat is a coastal town in western Greenland whose name translates as “icebergs”. It was founded in 1741 as a trading post and is now a popular tourist destination due to its proximity to the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Ilulissat Icefjord.
Things to do in Ilulissat
You can delve into the local history at the Ilulissat Museum, which occupies a former seminary building dating back to 1848. Learn about the Arctic expeditions that have ventured into the region and the legacy of Knud Rasmussen, who was famously born in Ilulissat. The museum also features an exhibit about Sermermiut, a former Inuit settlement that now forms part of the Ilulissat Icefjord World Heritage Site.
Art enthusiasts can visit the Ilulissat Art Museum, which occupies a house designed by Helge B. Møller that was completed in 1923. It boasts an impressive collection of paintings by Emanuel A. Petersen, a Danish Impressionist who travelled to Greenland several times to capture its spectacular landscapes. Adjacent to the museum is an Arctic kitchen garden.
A short drive south of town is the striking Ilulissat Isfjordscenter, which was designed by Dorte Mandrup and offers magnificent panoramas from its sweeping rooftop. Its exhibits detail the cycle of ice and the region’s abundant wildlife, as well as stories from Ilulissat’s Indigenous peoples. Watch as icebergs calve off the Sermeq Kujalleq glacier during a boat cruise, a helicopter flight or along one of the Ilulissat Icefjord’s hiking trails.
Getting around Ilulissat
Ilulissat Airport is a five-minute drive from the town centre and has flights to destinations across Greenland and Iceland. Many of Ilulissat’s attractions are easily accessible on foot or taxis are available for getting around. Dog-sledding is a popular way of exploring the surrounding landscapes.