Ilulissat Icefjord Full Guide (First UNESCO Heritage Site in the Arctic)

Ilulissat Icefjord
Ilulissat Icefjord in Greenland

Ilulissat Icefjord

The Ilulissat Icefjord (also known as the Kangia glacier) is the first place in the arctic that was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list.

The icefjord was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004.

In this guide I will cover everything you need to know before visiting the world famous Ilulissat Icefjord.

Where is the Ilulissat Icefjord Located

Located in Western Greenland, 155 miles (250 km) north of the Arctic Circle.

How to see the Ilulissat Icefjord

There are a few ways you can see the Icefjord.

  1. Hiking
  2. Kayak Tour
  3. Boat Tour
  4. By Plane

Hiking to the Ilulissat Icefjord 

Sermermiut Hike – World Heritage Trail 

The World Heritage Trail is a MUST DO for everyone planning a visit to Ilulissat.

Walking on the wooden boardwalk is the easiest and fastest way to the ice fjord and is therefore used by both tourists and locals. 

It is a short, easy trail, suitable for anyone year round, with some of the most breathtaking views in Ilulissat. 

Easiest way to access the Icefjord any time of year. 

World Heritage Trail Details

  • Length – 1.3 km each way (.8 miles)
  • Time – 1 hr total (30 minutes each way)
  • Difficulty – Easy
  • Terrain – Boardwalk the entire way. Easily accessible for people in a wheelchair or strollers. 

The Boardwalk on the Sermermiut Hike or the World Heritage Trail 

Yellow Trail

Yellow Trail Details

  • Trail head – Starts at the Power Plant and ends at the Ilulissat Icefjord Centre
  • Distance –  2,7 km (1 mile)
  • Time – 1.5 – 2 hours
  • Difficulty – Moderate to difficult
  • Terrain – Relatively easy – only few increases in elevation

I recommend starting at the Power Plant and ending at the Ilulissat Icefjord Centre. This path has the best views.

Expect panoramic views of GIANT icebergs the entire way.

Red Trail

A short cut to or from the ice fjord ending at Holms hill where you get an outstanding view of the ice fjord.

Red Trail Quick Facts

  • Trailhead – Ilulissat Icefjord Centre – Holms Hill
  • Distance – 2 km round trip
  • Time – 1 hour round trip
  • Difficulty – Moderate
  • Terrain – Relatively easy – only few increases 

Blue Trail

A breathtaking hike with a variation of scenery that shows the ice fjords many different perspectives.

Blue Trail Quick Facts

  • Trailhead – Starts at The Quarry – Sermermiut – Ilulissat Icefjord Centre
  • Distance –  6,9 km 
  • Time – 4 to 5 hours
  • Difficulty – difficult
  • Terrain – Uneven scenery with increases

Visit the Ilulissat Icefjord Center

Make a stop at the newly built Ilulissat Icefjord Center. Located in the southern most part of Ilulissat there are so many hiking paths that start here.

Before you go make sure to check their opening hours as they change depending on the month and book your tickets in advance.

You can not pay in cash and currently (2023) the prices are 150DKK ($19 USD) for adults and 100DKK ($13 USD) for children (7-15 years old).

Ilulissat Icefjord Tours: Best Options Available

There are 3 ways to see the Ilulissat Icefjord by tour.

  1. Kayak Tours
  2. Boat Tours
  3. Flying Tours

How Big is the Ilulissat Icefjord?

The Ilulissat Icefjord is pretty massive, covering the equivalent of 66,000 football fields. It is 6 km wide and approximately 55 km long.

Best time to visit the Ilulissat Icefjord

The Ilulissat Icefjord is accessible and beautiful year round. 

However,  there are benefits to visiting in the different seasons. 

In the winter, you will most likely need to go snow shoeing to access most of the hiking trails in the area. You will also have less daylight and obviously it will be colder. BUT, in the winter you get to experience the magic of the northern lights. Ilulissat is one of the top places in the world for viewing the northern lights. If you stay at least 3-4 nights you will have a great chance of seeing them.  

The Northern lights are around all year but only viewable from September to March or April depending on where you are in Greenland. This is because of the midnight sun in in the summer. Basically it only gets dark enough to see the Northern Lights in the winter.

No mosquitoes in the winter. In the summer the mosquito situation can get quite severe. 

Kayak tours are only available from June to September. 

In the summer you will also have nearly 24 hours of daylight in the summer months and get to experience the beautiful midnight sun

Boat tours are available year round. Yay! We went in November and I was so bummed to find out that we wouldn’t be able to kayak but the boat tours were so incredible. Highly, highly recommended. 

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There is so much research you need to do before visiting Greenland. I hope these travel guides will help you all plan your trip! Feel free to leave a comment below if you have any questions and I’ll try and get back to you as soon as I can.

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Hey there! I'm Claire, the founder of & While spending 4 years completely bedridden and miserable from an unexpected illness I decided to begin writing about my past travel adventures and now the rest is history. Thank you so much for visiting the website. I hope you enjoy it!


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