Highlights and main attractions of Disko Bay & Ilulissat

On the west coast of Greenland lies the spectacular Disko Bay, a region renowned for its imposing glaciers and glistening icebergs. Along the shoreline, the brightly coloured houses of small Inuit villages perch precariously on the edge of rocky cliffs. 

The largest of these settlements is the town of Ilulissat, home to almost as many huskies as people, which stands at the entrance to the Ilulissat Icefjord. The icefjord was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004 and is one of the most visited sites in Greenland, forming a wide, iceberg-packed channel leading up to the colossal Jacobshavn Glacier. Jacobshavn, or Sermeq Kujalleq, is one of the most active glaciers in the world, advancing 40m each day and producing 46km³ of icebergs per year.

The thunderous sounds of the calving glacier and cracking icebergs echo across the fjord, creating a truly awe-inspiring atmosphere.

Where is Disko Bay & Illulissat?

Remote settlements

The rocky shorelines of Disko Bay have been inhabited for centuries, starting with the establishment of the Vikings first settlement on Greenland in the 10th century. Since then it has been an important hunting and fishing area for the local Inuit communities, and today it is dotted with numerous small towns and villages which look out over the icy waters of the bay, from Ilulissat in the east to picturesque Uummannaq in the far north.

On the western edge of the bay lies Disko Island, a large island known for its verdant hills and volcanic hot springs. According to legend, Disko Island was once located in southern Greenland, but was pulled north by two seal hunters using just their kayaks and a single strand of hair. Once it reached its current position in Disko Bay, a witch in Ilulissat cursed the island, causing it to run aground. Located on the southernmost point of the island is the town of Qeqertarsuaq, from where you can head out on one of the many hiking trails to witness the Lyngmark Glacier and distinctive volcanic rock formations. This is also the only area in Greenland where you can go dog sledding year-round, even during the warmer summer months. 

To visit the villages of Disko Bay is to experience authentic Greenland; friendly locals, fascinating culture and breathtaking scenery. 

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