There is a giant iceberg floating in front of our hotel window, followed by a humpback whale swimming in the late afternoon light with further up some playful seals in the icy bay. Ilulissat, a charming village in southern North Greenland, is blessed with a natural beauty, which will keep you speechless at any time of the day. Around the corner is a UNESCO-protected fjord plus a fast moving, world famous glacier. Ilulissats Icefjord and Sermeq Kujalleq (also known as the Jakobshavn Glacier) are the undisputed highlights of Ilulissat and often the reason why most tourists travel here. The village itself offers this quirky end-of-the-world atmosphere. As of mid-September, peace and quiet returns back to this town, when the tourist season ends. Who remains, are some 4500 inhabitants, working in the fishing industry, in the restaurants, hotels and bars staying open during the winter months catering for the locals and foreigners who linger here even if Ilulissat dozes off during the long polar winter. A well kept secret is that you can travel here even in winter, to do some ice fishing, husky trekkings or to go snowmobiling. Perfect for those keen on Arctic adventures but a bit tired of the same old stuff in Lapland.
Ilulissat is also of historical interest: the famous explorer Knud Rasmussen was born here and in 2008 the Arctic Ocean Conference took place which resulted in the Ilulissat Declaration, a better protection of the Arctic Ocean and everything living and swimming in it. Quite significant since now everyone is eager to look for oil in this beautiful and yet untouched, cold corner of our planet.
During this visit we sleep in hotel Icefjord tumbling almost in Disco Bay and from where you get (especially from the rooms on the top floor) sweeping view of the dynamics and the grandeur of the Arctic Ocean. According to the wind direction and speed, large, small, flat, angular, oblique, straight icebergs are floating in front of our hotel. Ilulissat stands for “icebergs” in Greenlandic and experts claim that the iceberg responsible for the sinking of the Titanic came from here.