The Icefjord Midnight Marathon takes place in Ilulissat, Greenland, where the UNESCO-accredited Ilulissat Icefjord provides a spectacular backdrop to this unique race. Runners will enjoy the magic of the midnight sun as they race over rocks and roads, against the colorful backdrop of Ilulissat and the Icefjord's towering icebergs.
|3 June 2021||Copenhagen - Kangerlussuaq - Ilulissat: Town Walk|
All participants will meet at Copenhagen Airport Terminal 2.
The flight to Greenland departs in the morning and Air Greenland does not cooperate with other airlines, meaning you must claim your luggage at Copenhagen Airport, clear customs, and check in again for the flight to Greenland. As check-in closes one hour before departure, we therefore strongly recommend that you do not book a same-day connection, but instead arrive in Copenhagen one or more days in advance.
A 4.5 hour flight will bring us to Kangerlussuaq, where we arrive in the morning at 11:25 local time (GMT –3 hours). We will receive a meal aboard the flight. Here, we will transfer to a domestic flight to Ilulissat. Due to the smaller size of domestic carriers and limited seat availability, the group will be divided into two flights.
All flights will have landed by late afternoon, and in Ilulissat we will check into our hotels. After we have settled in, you are invited to join us for a tour of Ilulissat. We will walk around town with a local guide who will explain the history and highlight places of cultural significance. The tour will begin at the historical Hotel Hvide Falk, and wind its way past the Zion Church, the local fish market, and the colorful houses on our way toward the harbor. Along the way, enjoy interesting stories on a variety of topics, such as the origin of Ilulissat, how the city has developed over the years, and the importance of its fishing culture. The walking tour is an excellent opportunity to get your first glimpse of the fascinating culture in Ilulissat, and your guide will be happy to answer any questions you might have.
In the evening, all participants will meet to enjoy a Greenlandic buffet.
If you still have some energy left at the end of the day, you can join an evening kayak excursion among hundreds of icebergs.
Meals: Plane meal and dinner
|4 June 2021||Icefjord Boating, Sermermiut Hike, and Race Briefing|
This morning, after breakfast at your hotel, you can shake off the travel stiffness with a light hike through one of the region's most acclaimed areas. We will hike to the Sermermiut Valley, which has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its exceptionally beautiful nature and unique importance to glaciological science.
The hike is a must-do activity in the region and will take us approx. 2 kilometers south of Ilulissat, beginning at the old heliport. From there, we enter the UNESCO-area on a wooden path toward the famous ruins of Sermermiut. Sermermiut is an ancient settlement that has been home to many different Inuit people for more than 4000 years. The stone ruins of old turf houses are scattered on various hilltops that we will be able to see as we walk. We continue through the old settlement to Nakkaavik, a cliff whose name means 'the place to fall.' You can ask your guide about the origin of this haunted name. From here, we are treated to a breathtaking view of the Kangia, the famous Ilulissat Icefjord with its many massive icebergs. While you explore the enchanting surroundings, your guide will prepare hot coffee and tea to keep you warm in the arctic wind. We will follow the same wooden path back to town.
In the afternoon and the evening, you have the chance to experience the Icefjord by boat. We will embark on a boat trip with experienced guides who will give us information as we wind our way through the icy giants. No matter the weather, the icebergs make an impressive sight - they shimmer and shine with the sun, while clouds highlight the extraordinary blue colors hidden in the ice. The experience is much more exciting in small boats, so we will be using two 12-participant boats. This means there will be four departure times for this trip: two before dinner and two after dinner.
In the evening, all participants will meet to enjoy a pasta dinner and get the race briefing. Please note that the race briefing will be your last chance to change distances. You can also ask race officials any questions you might have.
Tonight, you will also have the possibility to join an evening kayak excursion.
Meals: Breakfast and dinner
|5 June 2021||Race Night|
It's nearly time! You have the morning and afternoon to sleep, explore, and prepare yourself for the night to come.
For those who would like to get a taste of the local culture, a limited number of guests can join a "Kaffemik" excursion at the home of a local Greenlandic couple.
The marathon begins at 21:00, and the half-marathon will begin at 22:30 - all races will be done by 4:00 at the latest.
|6 June 2021||Ilulissat Day - Optional Excursions & Celebration Dinner|
Today is a justified relaxation and recovery day. Most of us will likely sleep the morning away. You may also use the day to explore on your own, or join one of the optional excursions. On this day we will run a special hike & sail excursion to Oqaatsut, a tiny, authentic village 20 kilometers north of Ilulissat. Otherwise, we also offer a day trip to the immense Eqi Glacier.
In the evening, all participants will gather for the celebration dinner. Together, we will revel in the prior night's victory, share stories, and enjoy the race video.
Meals: Breakfast and dinner
|7 June 2021||Farewell Greenland|
Sadly, it is time to say farewell to Ilulissat. We will fly first to Kangerlussuaq in the morning. Once in Kangerlussuaq, we will board a flight back to Copenhagen that will arrive around 21:30. There will be a meal served aboard the flight.
Guests are responsible for their own flights home from Copenhagen. Keep in mind that you will need time to collect your bags and check in for your new flights, and thus we don't recommend booking flights within three hours of arrival. Given the late time of our arrival, we strongly recommend booking a night in a hotel in Copenhagen and flying out the next day.
Meals: Breakfast and plane meal
On this tour we will start by sailing to a point in Bredebugt, and hike among a tranquil route on the last leg of orange route between Ilulissat and Oqaatsut.
This route is about 3 to 4 hours light hike from our drop-off point. Along the route we will see a few summer huts and streams of fresh water. If we are lucky we might even see a trouts and other fish in the many lakes around Bredebugt.
After arriving in Oqaatsut we will eat a refreshing lunch, before joining a short tour of Oqaatsut. Oqaatsut is a small authentic settlement with approx. 30 inhabitants about 18 km north of Ilulissat. Our local English speaking guide will translate, so you understand and learn about the Greenlandic culture, history and everyday life from the locals in Oqaatsut.
Afterwards we will board our boat which will take us speedily back to Ilulissat. On the route back there is plenty of scenery to enjoy. The 70 million year old volcanic Disko Island to the west and the green mainland to the east. We will pass Ilulissat Airport and the popular bay Bredebugt, which is surrounded by small cabins owned by locals.
Duration: 7 hours
- Boat trip to Bredebugt and from Oqaatsut to Ilulissat
- Restaurant lunch
- Local guide
Ilulissat is known as the capital of icebergs, and you will see why as we paddle our way through the gigantic ice fjord just south of the city. You can smoothly slice your way through the water while keeping your eyes open for whales - 15 species regularly inhabit Greenlandic waters in the summertime!
There will be morning guided kayak groups on several days. In the mornings, you can experience the serenity of the landscape as we calmly paddle our way among the “floating mountains.” On 6 June, we'll also offer an evening kayak excursion, where you can paddle out under the extraordinary midnight sun.
Whether it is sunny or cloudy, the icebergs offer beautiful reflections – the sun will emphasize their sparkle, while clouds evoke the deep blue color of the ice. Your guides will provide information on the ice sheet and its glaciers, as well as the story of the original kayak that was made from sealskin and wood and will answer any other questions you may have.
Thanks to our certified kayak guides, modern equipment, and safety protocols, it is possible for you to paddle through this remarkable landscape. The tours are open to all levels, whether you are a master paddler or it’s your first time in a kayak. We take pride in providing a safe and comfortable experience for everybody, and want everyone to be able to experience the magic of floating among the largest collection of icebergs in Greenland.
Duration: 3 hours total - 2 hours paddling time
Departures: The excursion will start at 20:00 on all days. Please pick the day and time you prefer when booking, but please note that due to participant limitations and various excursion schedules, we cannot guarantee a specific day or time.
- Certified guide
- Kayaking gear (double sea kayak, paddle, thermal suit, dry suit, life-jacket, boots, and gloves)
- Pictures from the tour which can be downloaded
- A bottle of water and a chocolate bar
Only a few places in Greenland are as beautiful as the Eqi Glacier, which ends in the fjord 80 kilometers north of Ilulissat. By boat, it is possible to get very close to the glacier and experience huge pieces of ice breaking off (called 'calving'). The sounds are enormous and the sight of icebergs crashing into the water is breathtaking.
We will sail on modern boats that will get us quickly to the glacier. The route heads north along the coast, passing Bredebugt, the settlement of Oqaatsut, and the big fjord system called Pakitsoq, where whales and seals are often seen. Further along we will pass through the Ataa Strait, which is surrounded by steep mountains and boasts waterfalls and a rich bird life.
Upon reaching Eqi, we will anchor at a safe distance and idle for approximately an hour in front of the glacier. While we wait for the ice to calve, we will enjoy a packed lunch that we've brought with us from the hotel. After we've thoroughly enjoyed the sight of the glacier, we'll head back to Ilulissat.
Duration: 6 hours
- Packed lunch from Hotel Hvide Falk
- Boat trip to and from Eqi Glacier
We'll begin our excursion at the home of Thrine, a local musher who will meet us outside next to her dogs. She will tell us about raising the pups, the expeditions she has been on, and mushing itself. We'll also be able to observe the dogs, but please remember that these are working animals and not pets - they are not meant for cuddling.
After the explanation of the dogs, we'll head into Thrine's house for our kaffemik. The literal translation of ‘Kaffemik’ is ‘via coffee,’ and it has been the traditional way to celebrate everything from births to birthdays to first days of school – in other words, a celebration of life.
For this Kaffemik, Thrine will serve us the traditional coffee, tea, and various homemade cakes. She will explain all about the tradition, including how long it takes to prepare – sometimes, weeks!
Traditionally, the Kaffemik is an all-day affair at the home of the host. Friends, family, and acquaintances come and go throughout the day, often spending a relatively short time there. For our Kaffemik, we will linger a bit longer and have plenty of time to learn about Greenlandic traditions. This is the perfect opportunity to get a taste of Greenland’s authentic culture and to ask a real local any questions you may have.
Please note that only 16 people can join in Thrine's house at one time so first come first served!
Duration: 2 hours
- Sled dog lecture
- Kaffemik in local home (incl. tea, coffee, and cakes)
All prices are per person in Euros.
Hotel Hvide Falk
Marathon or Half-Marathon: 250 EUR
Race entry includes:
The booking of a trip is binding for both customer and travel agency once the deposit (25% of the total trip price) has been paid at the time of booking on the booking.albatros-adventure.com website. The remaining amount, 75% of the total trip price, will be charged to the customer’s payment card as provided by the customer, 75 days before trip departure. Bookings made later than 75 days prior will require full payment immediately.
The email sent to the customer upon booking a trip acts as the booking confirmation. It is therefore of vital importance that the customer provides a valid email address.
For information on weather and clothing, please check the our Climate & Weather page.
If you're curious about the destinations that we'll be visiting or other background information on Greenland, you can read all about it on our Travel Destination page.