Sail along a pristine fjord to the ruins of Hvalsey church, which was one of the largest, most influential churches in Greenland during the Middle Ages.
Take a short walk from the tender pier to an awaiting boat that you'll sail across the channel, past Whale Island and along an ancient fjord. Here, clinging to the shoreline as it has for nearly seven centuries, you'll find the ruins of Hvalsey Church. One of the first churches on the North American continent, Hvalsey was built in the 14th century by Norse settlers from Iceland, who were attracted to South Greenland because it was so fertile.
Considering the church's age and having survived so many harsh sub-arctic winters, Hvalsey is extremely well preserved. The ashlar stone walls are largely intact and rise nearly 20 feet high. Although the original wooden roof and interior are long gone, it's easy to stand inside the ruins and imagine what the church was like in its heyday. People gathered here to attend Christian festivals throughout the year, arriving by ship, horseback and on foot.
The last recorded ecclesiastical event at Hvalsey Church was a wedding that took place in September 1408. An account of the event was recorded a few years later in Iceland, indicating that many Norse settlers were in attendance. The church was abandoned sometime in the following century and over the years it fell into disrepair, until being restored to its present state by the government of Greenland. During your visit, you guide will regale you with tales about the history of the area and share with you local stories.
Following your tour of the site, you'll re-board your boat and sail back to the pier.
Please note: This tour includes approximately 90-minutes of moderate walking/standing over mostly uneven and natural terrain. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests and may not be suitable for those with mobility concerns who are cautioned to carefully evaluate their personal level of stamina and ability. Guests who experience motion sickness may wish to take precautionary measures. Weather appropriate clothing that should include a windbreaker or light jacket; sunglasses; sun cap; insect repellant; and flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended.