Top 5 Experiences in Ilulissat
Does Michelin food, beautiful hotel stays and award-winning architecture come to mind when you think of Greenland? Perhaps not, but it should!
Greenland and the Disko Bay Area, in particular, Ilulissat has experienced quite an uprising in recent years. Ilulissat, which is one of the destinations within the Disko Bay area offers a variety of experiences. Keep reading as she shares her top 5 must do’s in Ilulissat in the Disko Bay Area — and yes, there will be both ice fjord sailing and a meal with a view.
1. The World’s Most Remote Michelin Restaurant Koks Moves to Greenland
A two-starred Michelin meal on the verge of the ice fjord? It sounds like quite the experience, doesn’t it? Wait until you hear about the only way to get there: by boat sailing through iceberg-filled Disko Bay. In the small settlement of Ilimanaq, the world-known Faroese restaurant KOKS (run by head chef Poul Andrias Ziska), moved into one of two painstakingly restored historical houses from the 1700s. They serve a menu consisting of both familiar and new ingredients; all of them found in the landscapes and sea surrounding the restaurant. The 17-course menu is uncompromising in taste, aesthetics, and storytelling, and you have to be quick to secure your table in this last season of 2023. It’ll be a dining experience of a lifetime.
2. A Stay with a View
Ever wondered what it’s like to spend the night front row to the ice fjord? A few minute’s walk from KOKS, Ilimanaq Lodge consists of 15 architect-designed cabins with a cosy atmosphere and everything you need to wind down after the memorable meal at KOKS. The wooden cabins are designed to beautifully blend it with their surroundings, and at the foot of the cabins is a small bay where the courageous visitor can go for a morning swim. There’s no mobile reception or wifi, but I promise, you won’t need it. The reception is located in the neighboring house to KOKS, and there’s even a small grocery store selling necessities and locally produced souvenirs.
Photo: Colourful Greenlandic houses
3. Sailing the Ice Fjord at Midnight
A sail on the Disko Bay is mandatory, and the midnight outing from the harbour of Ilulissat felt like an otherworldly bucket list experience. Sailing in the eternal midnight sun during summer, passing floating ice bergs and spotting whales along the way — highly recommended! For all the info you need on the summer midnight sails, just click here.
4. Award-winning architecture: Ilulissat Icefjord Centre
Danish architect Dorte Mandrup is behind the Ilulissat Icefjord Centre; a world-known architectural masterpiece winding its way through the surrounding landscape. The first visitor center in Greenland, the Icefjord Centre has a minimal climate imprint as the building rests on a steel frame on the ground leaving room for plants and wildlife to continue their usual routes. The entire building can also – should there be a need – be taken down one day without leaving a single trace on nature. When visitors enter the building, they’re kindly asked to take off their shoes and slip into comfortable Glerup home shoes; as is tradition in every Greenlandic home. Afterwards, they can move around the inviting building, and take on several exhibitions; one being the permanent Sermeq pillugu Oqaluttuaq – Fortællingen om is. Here, film, archeological objects and sound sequences recorded underneath the inland ice over a span of several years tell the tale of the ice, history and nature in Greenland.
5. Take the UNESCO hike to Sermermiut Valley
After being cultural at the museum, it’s time for some stunning natural views! Just head out the door and down the wooden walkway to the fjord, and you’ll soon enter the UNESCO heritage area. Choose one of the three different paths, yellow, blue or red. They vary in length and difficulty, but all will take you past one spectacular sight after the next. The frozen ice sea with its stranded icebergs that seem to descend into eternity, the barren cliffs, the enormous open landscape that remind you how small we are in this world of natural wonders. All routes can end back at the Icefjord Centre, so you won’t get lost.