Experience the ultimate highlights of South Greenland and Arctic nature on this holiday that combines the 3 main settlements of Narsarsuaq, Qaqortoq and Narsaq, as well as staying the remote village of Igaliku.
Explore the Golden Triangle of South Greenland and learn about Greenlandic history, marvel at the large variety of nature and witness everyday life in both modern towns as well as traditional hunter’s villages. This tour offers the perfect combination of history, Arctic nature and Inuit culture. The tour also visits the historic site of Brattahlid as well as a boat cruise among the amazing blue icebergs of the Qooqqut Ice Fjord.
Fly from Reykjavik Airport to Narsarsuaq (speak to us about a stop over in Iceland prior to this Greenland holiday). On arrival transfer to the hotel for an overnight stay.
This morning take a walk around the town of Narsarsuaq if time perhaps visit the museum mostly featuring photos and artefacts from the American base that was there from 1941 to 1948. Stop for a coffee at the Blue Ice Explorer Café. Transfer to the harbour for a boat transfer to Itilleq. This tiny settlement is located on the shores of Tunulliarfik Fjord (also known as Eiriksfjord). This village is the main access point to Igaliku, which is a gentle 4 km hike along a picturesque unpaved country road (takes around 1 hour and luggage will be transported). Igaliku is a small farming settlement with colourful houses located on a lush grassland next to a milky-blue fjord. On the other side of the fjord is the Illerfissalik Mountain, which towers over a rough and desolate landscape. Check in to Igaliku Country Hotel or similar for 2 nights.
Today spend time exploring Igaliku – it is one of the most important settlements of the Norse era and you can see the remains of the church, Bishop’s residence and farm. In 1782 Anders Olsen and his Greenlandic wife Tuperna set up a farm here and that was the beginning of Igaliku’s more recent history. Today, Igaliku and its surroundings have some of the best hiking opportunities in South Greenland and beyond the settlement there are several marked hiking trails. The most popular day hike is to the spectacular lookout over icebergs in the Tunulliarfik Fjord and the Qooroq glacier (red route). Another hike will take you to a series of waterfalls that cascade down to the fjord (yellow route), or to the summit of Nuuluk – the mountain that towers over the settlement (green route). We can organise packed lunches from the hotel. (B)
Today return to Itilleq Harbour and take a boat transfer to Qaqortoq which takes around 90 minutes. Qaqortoq is the largest town in South Greenland with about 3,300 inhabitants. There is a new airport being built for 2023, but until then it is only possible to travel here by boat. Enjoy an evening walk around its compact colonial hub centred around the country’s oldest fountain. Dotted around the town are more than 30 sculptures carved into the granite bedrock by various artists so an art walk is a must here. Check in the Hotel Qaqortoq or similar for 2 nights. (B)
Today perhaps book an additional excursion (please speak to our Greenland specialist about prebooking these as they get booked up quickly). Take a short excursion to see Hvalsey Church, located in lush green meadow some 30 minutes by boat from Qaqortoq. According to the Sagas, it was Erik the Red’s cousin Thorkell Farserk who took possession of the land at Hvalsey. The present church ruin at Hvalsey dates from a later period and is thought to have been built during the 14th century. It is one of the most well-preserved medieval ruins in South Greenland, with thick walls up to 6 m high. On this excursion there is plenty of time to walk around the historic site and explore the ruins and the peaceful countryside.
Or perhaps take a boat trip to the Greenland’s famous ice cap. Cross the wide Ikerssuaq Fjord and sail among drifting icebergs to reach what the locals call the Twin Glacier. This is an amazing spot where you can go ashore and literally touch the ice cap! It is also one of the places where you can actually see on recently exposed rocks that the glaciers have receded over the past few decades! In the 1980’s the Twin Glacier was still calving copious amounts of ice into the fjord. Today, the ice breaks off on land. Please note that there is a hike (around 400metres) from the boat to the ice so hiking shoes are a must. (B)
Today transfer by boat to Narsaq which takes around 1 hour. It is located between the Tunulliarfik Fjord and Sermilik Fjords, closer to the open sea than Narsarsuaq. Here, explore a mountainous landscape and enjoy a locally brewed beer “Qajaq” made from thousand-year-old iceberg water. We recommend a visit to the Narsaq museum, which tells the story of the Viking settlement of South Greenland. Check in the Hotel Narsaq or similar for 2 nights(B)
There are several hikes of various lengths around Narsaq. Perhaps visit famous Kvanefjeld, which contains over 200 different minerals (including the beautiful, pink gemstone Tugtupit) and is a must for anyone interested in geology. The most popular hikes are to the top of the two mountains that rise directly behind Narsaq – Tasiigaaq and Qaqqarsuaq (around 7-8km). Or out to Narsaq Point (Nuugaarsuk) with its unobstructed views up the Tunulliarfik Fjord. (B)
Today board a boat from Narsaq to Qassiarsuk. Qassiarsuk is also known as Brattahlid, the place where Erik the Red settled in 982. The Norse ruins are well preserved, and the open-air museum (Brattahlid) can be visited on your own (admission fee is not included). There are around 40 inhabitants earning their livelihoods from sheep farming, and the village also has a school, a shop and a church. In the afternoon continue by boat to Narsarsuaq for the evening flight back to Iceland. (B)
This itinerary is available between Jun and Sep - please contact our Greenland Specialists for more information.