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Grytviken, South Georgia

Tucked in at the head of King Edward Cove and encircled by steep rugged mountains is the capital of South Georgia, Grytviken.  It was established by the Norwegian captain Carl Larsen in 1904 as the island’s first land-based whaling station, and its name literally means “Pot Bay” for the number of seal- oil try-pots left here by early sealers.


Over 300 people lived in Grytviken during its busiest years. Nowadays it resembles a ghost town strewn with the remnants of rusty oil tanks, oil processing plants and the skeletons of derelict whaling vessels. The house of the station manager has been restored to become the South Georgia Museum. The Lutheran church and the white crosses of the cemetery are restored to their former state and stand in stark contrast to the verdant green peaks above. A monument marks the grave of the heroic British explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton, affectionately known by his men as ‘the boss.’ Grytviken also has its own post office, selling unique South Georgia stamps, while across the cove is the British Scientific Station at King Edward Point.