Introduction

Welcome to the Greenland of your wildest travel fantasies. Ilulissat’s rainbow-coloured houses are scattered right at the mouth of a 40km ice fjord. A phenomenal 35 billion tonnes of icebergs pass through here each year, calved from the Jakobshavn Glacier. What’s more, this Unesco World Heritage sight is easily accessible on a short hike from town – though you might prefer to watch bus-sized 'bergs from one of the boat tours plying the bay.

Greenland’s most popular tourist destination and third-largest town, Ilulissat is slowly starting to meet demand with a growing clutch of gift and clothing shops, plus a couple of world class restaurants. Tour operators offer excursions to send any adventurer’s pulse fluttering, from flights over the glacier to midnight sailing and whale-watching. But in this spectacular spot, you can also take a slower pace: drinking in views of the icefjord from bars and restaurants, getting a slice of local life at the harbour, or lightening your wallet at traditional craft shops.

Though small, Ilulissat is spread out over a large area so wear comfortable shoes and take advantage if your hotel offers a shuttle service. Parts of town are deafening with the howls of sled dogs; be wary if you’re walking past – they’re working dogs and may bite.