Exploring Southern Greenland
Location: Paamiut, Qassiarsuk, Hvalsey and Greenland
The Viking Eirik Raude settled down here, and named his new land “Greenland”. And southern Greenland lives up to its name; here you find green fields dotted with white sheep, lush vegetable lands and busy farmsteads. This forms a colourful contrast to the icescapes at sea. Towns and settlements are located relatively close together in the southern fjords, which opens for many landing and activity options. While in South Greenland we will attempt to land several places, some of them described below as examples. When conditions allow, excursions, kayaking, hikes or other activities on land and sea may be offered. Participation on any hike requires a good level of fitness, and that you are accustomed to hiking in uneven terrain. Safety is always the first priority and the final sailing schedule will be decided by the ship’s Captain during the voyage. Below we list some of our possible landing sites, the final itinerary will be introduced during daily briefings.
Paamiut is an area where people have been living since around 1500 BC. The name Paamiut means “the people who live at the mouth”, a reference to its location at the mouth of the Kuannersooq Fjord. Strolling around in Paamiut is about appreciating the beauty in simple experiences, and meeting the friendly locals. Make sure you visit the church, one of the finest in Greenland, built in 1909 from wood in the Norwegian style. Stop along the colourful bridge in the town centre. Tour the old neighbourhood to observe picturesque buildings. Paamiut is known for its soapstone artists and their extraordinary national costumes of sealskin and thousands of beads. You can still see examples of these art forms as you walk around in the settlement. The white-tailed eagle is plentiful in Paamiut, and the townspeople feel a strong connection with it. It is said that good luck will come to anyone who sets eyes on this king of the sky. Join the Expedition team for a hike to the mountain peaks. On the way back to the ship, stop to pick the angelica that grows wild on the hillside.
Qassiarsuk is a small community with a population of 56 people, known for the settlement of the Viking Eirik Raude, Brattahlid. He was banished from Iceland and escaped to the land he called Greenland. Eirik settled in Qassiarsuk because the area was according to him the richest and best site in Greenland when he arrived in 982. In Qassiarsuk, a boat trip and settlement walk are among the optional excursions we arrange for you.
In Hvalsey you find some of the best preserved ruins from the Norse period; the former ‘Austurbygd’ which was left in 1408 approx 500 years after it was established. Here you find the remains of the church where the last known Viking wedding took place. Landing in Hvalsey is conducted by our Polarcirkel boats. Once ashore you may stroll around and explore ruins and surrounding area by yourself.