24 Hours In: Ilulissat

Eat carpaccio of whale and watch the icebergs glow in the midnight sun in the world's most northerly city
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The Independent Travel

Iceberg sunrise

08.00: Draw the curtains and look at the extraordinary effect the newly-risen sun has on the icebergs in the bay in front of your hotel, the Hvide Falk (00 299 943343; hotelhvidefalk.dk). Step out on to the balcony, but put on your thermals - the average April temperature is -7C. Unfortunately, the hotel doesn't serve its breakfast coffee in the special local way, with reindeer fat melted in. Take a two-mile hike to Sermermiut, from where you get a closer view of the icebergs. Don't get too close: they are liable to tip, which could cover you in deathly-cold water.

Catch of the day

12.30: The Greenlanders eat early and the cold weather makes you hungry. Try the Restaurant Mamarut (00 299 945100) where the Danish chef makes chic interpretations of local specialities. Fish, of course, is plentiful: it forms 93 per cent of all exports. Try out the wonderful seafood platter. The whale carpaccio with capers is worth a mention.

Market forces

14.00: Walk back into town and check out the market to see what the locals are cooking up. Hunters and fishermen display their catch on silver tables. This includes huge spotted catfish and various cuts of seal meat, including kidneys (eaten raw) and intestines. Try a slice of beluga whale meat but go easy on the fat - it tends to repeat on you if you're not used to it.

Go to the dogs

16.00: Explore the area the easy way, lying down in a sledge. Husky-dog sledging is a way of life in Ilulissat: on the city streets these vehicles outnumber cars five to one. Sixteen dogs and an expert driver will take you several miles north of town, and then back again. The views over the bay are spectacular. Hold on tight: some of the downhill slopes can be a bit hairy. For further information contact Ilulissat Travel (00 299 944300; ilulissattravel.gl)

Whale of a curry

19.30: The Greenlanders eat dinner early too. No restaurant serves after 10.30pm. Try the whale curry in the Hong Kong Restaurant. For more upmarket food, one of the finest restaurants in the country, the Restaurant Ulo (00 299 944153), is in the plush Arctic Hotel. There you can enjoy reindeer steaks in a local blueberry sauce. Make sure you finish with a Greenlandic coffee, a mixture of whisky, Kahlua, Grand Marnier, fresh cream and coffee. The Grand Marnier is lit, and the flaming liquid poured into the coffee by the maître d' from above head height.

Night lights

22.30: Head back to the hotel, and watch the Northern Lights from the balcony. These shimmering apparitions move around the sky, continuously changing shape: the locals say this is the gods playing football with the head of a walrus. Or, from mid-May to August, head down to the bustling fishing port and take a midnight cruise around the icebergs in a wooden cutter (contact Ilulissat Travel, as above). The boat zigzags between these floating chunks of glacier, which glow in the midnight sun.

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