The largest town in southern Greenland, Qaqortoq has been inhabited since prehistoric times. Upon arrival in this charming southern Greenland enclave, it's easy to see why. Qaqortoq rises quite steeply over the fjord system around the city, offering breath-taking panoramic vistas of the surrounding mountains, deep, blue sea, Lake Tasersuag, icebergs in the bay, and pastoral backcountry.
Although the earliest signs of ancient civilization in Qaqortoq date back 4,300 years, Qaqortoq is known to have been inhabited by Norse and Inuit settlers in the 10th and 12th centuries, and the present-day town was founded in 1774. In the years since, Qaqortoq has evolved into a seaport and trading hub for fish and shrimp processing, tanning, fur production, and ship maintenance and repair.
Infused with centuries of Norse and Inuit cultural influences, Qaqortoq's history can be explored through visits to the Qaqortoq Museum, which is housed in the city's first blacksmith shop dating from 1804. Other cultural and historical sites include the ancient Hvalsey Church Ruins, Igaliku sheep-farming settlement and fascinating Stone & Man, an open-air exhibition of 40 contemporary sculptures carved all around the city; many of them are carved right out of the surrounding rock face.
In addition to its delightful museum, Qaqortoq' city centre is home to a lovely collection of Old World landmarks, including the century-old Mindebrønden, the oldest fountain in Greenland. Around the fountain is the heart of the Old City, with historical buildings, shops, a café, eateries, and even a stream running straight through the area.
Qaqortoq's stunning topography is ideally-suited for a wide array of popular outdoor excursions during your visit. Set sail via kayak or boat around the picturesque fjords, hike through the scenic city, backcountry, hills and mountains, marvel at the Tuia Viewpoint, try your hand at fishing the abundant coastal waters, or take a relaxing dip in the rejuvenating hot springs at Uunartoq. Tuia
Due to its compact size, Qaqortoq can be easily explored in just a single day.
Going Ashore in Qaqortoq
The ship may be at anchor. Guests will tender ashore to Qaqortoq Pier. Qaqortoq's town centre can be reached via a five-minute taxi-ride or 15-minute walk on-foot.
Shopping opportunities in Qaqortoq include imported souvenirs at Pilu, Hunter's Market, horn and wooden handicrafts at the Tourist Service & Souvenir Shop, and a wide array of horn, wood, bead and stone handicraft items from vendors outside the Souvenir Shop. The city also has two large grocery stores, and several smaller convenience stores. The local currency is the Danish Krone.
Qaqortoq's rich, volcanic soil and cold, clean coastal waters offer a wealth of mouth-watering selections from the land and sea. Among the many Greenlandic favourites are meat from marine mammals, game, birds, fish, local berries, and suaasat, a traditional soup and the national dish of Greenland. Popular restaurants in-and-around Qaqortoq include the Nanok Steakhouse, Restaurant Ban Thai, Café Mikisoq, and musk ox, whale meat, reindeer or lamp at the Napparsivik restaurant or Hotel Qaqortoq.
Although Qaqortoq is South Greenland's largest town, its city and historic treasures are easily accessible on-foot, by coach or boat. The city centre features historical buildings, shops and renowned local landmarks.
Housed in the city's first blacksmith shop dating from 1804, the Qaqortoq Museum features a unique blend of modern art with classical Greenlandic cultural expressions. Highlights include a collection of unusual-looking tupilaks, or talismans, carved by the masters, Aron and Cecilie Kleist.
Qaqortoq's city centre is highlighted by the century-old Mindebrønden, the oldest fountain in Greenland.
Qaqortoq's most fascinating feature is its Stone & Man, an open-air exhibition of 40 contemporary sculptures carved all around the city, with many of them carved right out of the surrounding rock face.
Hvalsey Church Ruins
Situated in the fjord of Hvalsey, the 12th-century Hvalsey Church Ruins are Greenland's largest, best-preserved Norse ruins, and represent the very farthest outpost of the Christianization of medieval Europe.
Igaliku Sheep-Farming Settlement
Founded in 1783, Igaliku is a sheep-farming settlement features a general store, church and school. The area is renowned for the ruins of Garðar, once the religious heart of 12th-century Norse Greenland.
Upernaviarsuk Agricultural Station
Visit Greenland's only agricultural research farm, the Upernaviarsuk Agricultural Station offers a unique opportunity to discover how crops and plants manage to thrive in South Greenland's sub-arctic climate and short growing season.
Qaqortoq's pristine natural beauty and diverse topography combine to create a wonderful array of outdoor activities, including nature-watching, hiking, bird-watching, ice-climbing, horseback-riding, and more. The city's picturesque fjord and teeming coastal waters are ideally-suited for kayaking, whale-watching, fishing or a relaxing dip in the rejuvenating hot springs at Uunartoq.
Private arrangements for independent sightseeing may be requested through the Shore Concierge Office on board the ship.