Hvalsey, Greenland Cruise Port, 2018 and 2019 Cruises to Hvalsey, Greenland | The Cruise Web
 

Hvalsey, Greenland Cruise Port

To explore incredibly well-preserved Norse history in a place which translates into "Whale Island," the cruise port of Hvalsey, Greenland is straight out of the pages of time. The Icelandic Book of Settlements claims that this farmstead, which was a major center in this part of Greenland (also known as the Eastern Settlement or Eystribyggð), was founded in the late 10th century by the uncle of Erik the Red; you may remember Erik as the larger-than-life and somewhat notorious Viking founder of Greenland's first Norse settlement. By the 14th century, the Kings of Norway had staked their claims, with Norse settlements continuing to die out slowly in the subsequent years, more likely for economic and identity issues than because of hunger or disease. Today, nearby Qaqortoq’s 3,200 residents make up the fourth-largest town in the territory. Listed below are a handful of our favorite experiences when cruising to Hvalsey, Greenland:
 
  • The main attraction is the Church of Hvalsey, whose roots go back to the 12th century. Even though its wooden roof is gone, the 20-foot-high stone walls still fairly intact. You'll also find a couple of window openings and several entrances. The last documented event at the church to occur (while the Norse were still here) was a 1408 wedding; today, you can stand inside and imagine being one of the early congregants.
     
  • The nearby fells and fjords that surround the area create a backdrop for the Christian festivals that used to take place throughout the year. You'll find the remains of banquet halls west of the church where the guests gathered together in celebration.
     
  • Many cruise lines offer excursions to gaze at the majestic mountains and do some whale watching; it’s not nicknamed “Whale Island” for nothing. The icebergs in particular are a spectacular sight.
     
  • Nature lovers will enjoy the area’s relative peace and quiet; scattered among the ruins are plenty of flora and fauna. Island sheep graze all around the area, and you might spot seals frolicking closer to the shore.
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