- 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Sailing on, explore Greenland’s fertile southern coast. Nicknamed Arctic Patagonia, this region is as rich in spectacular scenery as it is in history and culture. Here, it’s easy to see why Erik the Red gave Greenland its name: everywhere you look, you are rewarded with vistas of icy waters set against a backdrop of soaring mountains and unbelievably lush, green valleys. Scattered around the shores of the fjord systems that dominate the area are several small settlements, both ancient and present-day, making South Greenland an ideal place to explore.
The magical Prins Christian Sund (Ikerasassuaq), a complex maze of narrow fjords and channels, is a great place for cruising. You can explore this stunning sound, home to calving glaciers, jagged mountains, and sheer cliffs that plunge dramatically into the water. Sailing through this fjord from the vantage point of your ship or a Zodiac is an exhilarating experience. If conditions allow, venturing ashore provides opportunities for all levels of hiking.
Steeped in Norse history, the southern coast of Greenland provides plenty of places to learn about this ancient culture. One such landing you can hope to make is at Hvalsey (Qaqortukulooq), the site of Greenland’s largest and best-preserved Norse ruins. Exploring the remains of the circa 14th-century church will feel like stepping back in time, as the building appears much as it did when it was abandoned in the 15th century and the surrounding fells and fjord remain similarly untouched.
The little village of Igaliku, home to about 25 inhabitants, is Greenland’s oldest sheep-farming settlement. It’s a charming place to go ashore, as sheep peacefully graze on the grass, surrounded by bloom-covered rolling valleys and tall mountains. The area is also known for its storied past, as evidenced by the remarkable red sandstone ruins of the Gardar cathedral (the largest church in Greenland in the Middle Ages) and bishop’s residence, which date back to the early 12th century, when Greenland’s first bishop was appointed. Wandering the foundations, excavated in 1926, you get to see a bit of history firsthand as you learn about this interesting relic of the Viking period. Together with four other historic farming communities, Igaliku is part of the newly established UNESCO World Heritage Site Kujataa.