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, Summer, Sun & Icebergs in Greenland , Summer, Sun & Icebergs in Greenland

Baltic Travel Blog

Summer, Sun & Icebergs in Greenland

Posted on March 26th, 2020.

If you ever thought about the edge of the Earth – Greenland is a place that feels like it. After a 3 hour flight from Reykjavik with Air Greenland I landed in Ilulissat, a small town located on the west coast of Greenland, 300 km north of the Arctic Circle. Ilulissat is the third largest town in Greenland with approximately 4500 residents and has four surrounding villages and 3500 sled dogs.

I was picked up at Ilulissat airport and transferred to Hotel Arctic where I stayed for the next 3 nights. Journey from the airport to the hotel took a maximum 5 minutes, but during those few minutes I had a chance to enjoy the view through the car window. On the way to the hotel we drove by a local cemetery full of white crosses, which I found to be fascinating and a little different compared to European cemetery. In August you will no longer be able to see midnight sun, as the nights gradually begin to darken, however I have experienced an extended sunset and this phenomenon can lasts for several hours in the finest colours. I have checked in at the hotel and settled in my room with a fantastic view to the bay with floating icebergs.

A view from Hotel Arctic

Next day after the breakfast, I had a welcome meeting with a guide who told more about the coming days. All tours that were planned in my itinerary started from Ilulissat town and every morning I was enjoying 20 min walk from the hotel to the downtown. Ilulissat harbour is so picturesque that I was stopping every 5 minutes to take a photo

Ilulissat harbour

After the meeting with a guide, we had a city walk. During the walk, a guide told us about the history of the city, Greenlandic culture and modern life. We visited the harbour and saw the house where famous Greenlandic/Danish polar explorer and anthropologist, Knud Rasmussen, was born.

Ilulissat town

After a city walk, I joined a hiking trip to abandoned Inuit settlement of Sermermiut 1.5 kilometers South of Ilulissat. For 4000 years, different Inuit cultures lived in the settlement and today you can still see many remains that indicate their presence. A trip to Sermermiut is an absolute must when visiting Ilulissat. This area is so special that UNESCO named it World Heritage in 2004. It is estimated that up to 30,000 guests visit Sermermiut every year, for this reason there is a wooden walkway to protect the area against wear. We walked to the viewpoint at Nakkaavik – “the place to fall” (Old Ladies Gorge), here our guide served a coffee and we had our sandwiches while we enjoyed the view, then we returned by the same route. There are three designated hiking trails of varying duration – from an hour to day trips and if you wish to take your time, I highly recommend going on a day hike.

Hike in Sermermiut

In the afternoon we embarked on a closed heated boat and sailed south passing large icebergs towards the settlement of Ilimannaq which is situated in the southern banks of the ice fjord. The trip is just 45 minutes and we were warmly welcomed in the village of just 52 inhabitants. Here you can really get a sense of settlement life in the 21st century. Upon arrival I have witnessed a couple who just came back from the musk ox hunting.

Locals in Ilimanaq

Even though it is a small settlement the life goes on here and people are busy with their daily routines, celebrating birthdays, hunting, taking children to school. Our short hike started at the Ilimanaq Lodge reception. Our guide told us about the culture and history, the way of life, and showed us the main attractions in the settlement: the church, the school, the dog area, and the old log houses.

Ilimanaq settlement

A Greenlandic dinner was served in the local restaurant Egede offering great views across the Disko Bay. The restaurant was set in the former residence of eighteenth-century missionary Poul Egede and it was restored to its former stature. The historic spirit of this place, together with the view to the Disko Bay made this evening an unforgettable.

Restaurant Egede in Ilimanaq

Dinner at Restaurant Egede

If you wish to stay an overnight in this unique settlement it is possible to combine many excursions with a stay at Ilimannaq Lodge. It is an ideal place to recharge your batteries. With no internet connectivity at the cabin you will enjoy the silence. You might be lucky to see whales from your cabin window!

Ilimanaq Lodge

Terace at Ilimanaq Lodge

We left hours later with an evening boat back to Ilulissat looking forward to getting some much-needed rest. The return journey was definitely an extraordinary experience! Seeing different shapes of icebergs felt like walking in the museum and looking at the different pieces of art.

Icebergs in Disco Bay

Watching floating Icebergs

Icebergs in Disko Bay

On my third day in Greenland I decided to wake up earlier so I can have more time for a walk to Ilulissat downtown. The plan to have an earlier start worked very well as I was on time for a boat trip to the Eqi Glacier – the most active glacier in Greenland. It didn’t take long after leaving Ilulissat before we started seeing huge chunks of floating icebergs, some of them ten times bigger than our boat. Reaching Eqi Glacier can take from 2 hours to around 4 hours, depending on the amount of ice around Disco Bay. We were able to see Eqi Glacier in the far distance, because when glacier calves it can produce huge waves – even small-scale tsunamis.

Eqi Glacier

It is a unique experience to sit in a boat in front of the glacier and wait for pieces of ice to fall off. When that happened, I was fascinated by the huge bang that came when the ice broke. After spending 2 hours in front of the glacier you can get back to Ilulissat or you can combine a boat trip with a stay in Eqi Lodge overlooking the glacier.

Boat stop at Eqi Camp

Eqi Lodge

On our return to Ilulissat we had a farewell dinner at Hotel Arctic. The food was very tasty and typical of the region, e.g. smoked musk ox, shrimp terrine, halibut sashimi and much more. Hotel Arctic is also a home to a Restaurant Ulo that was named “the world’s wildest kitchen” by Danish magazine Gastro. I must agree with the magazine and no doubt that restaurant has one of the most spectacular views in the world.

Farewell dinner at Hotel Arctic

On my last day in Greenland I went on a whale watching tour. Few years ago I went on a whale watching guided tour in Iceland, but unfortunately I didn’t see whales and I was hoping that I will be lucky enough to see them during this trip. I was indeed lucky this time as we saw humpback whales playing around for couple of hours. The humpback whales, with their characteristic tales are the ones you will see most of the time in Ilulissat. Watching them diving near the icebergs in search of krill was one the highlights of this trip.

Whale safai

Whale watching

After few wonderful days in Greenland I was heading back to the airport to catch a flight to Iceland and then back home to London. I had a scenic flight via Kangerlussuaq as weather was fantastic and I had the best views to Kangia – Ilulissat Icefjord through my window. It was time to say goodbye to this unique part of the world – the place that I felt connected with…

By Inga Navickiene

Baltic Travel Company (all rights reserved)

 


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We never allow third parties to use your data and we do not keep financial information. We protect your data as if it was our own, because we're people too!


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