Grytviken was originally established as a whaling station back in 1904 and during its first season operating 195 whales were landed here. At its peak, Grytviken was home to over 300 persons and substantially reduced the whale population in the waters surrounding the island.
The settlement is famously known as the end of Shackleton’s fateful journey on the Endurance where after becoming stranded on Elephant Island, Shackleton and some of his crew managed to reach the south coast of South Georgia, where they were forced to climb over the mountains to reach Grytviken. While Shackleton survived this initial expedition, he later returned to Grytviken and subsequently passed away – his grave is located at the settlement.
These days the town is home to the British Antarctic Survey who maintain an operational base on the island, with cruise ships visiting during the summer months. Some of the original whaling vessels remain trapped in the bay, slowly rusting away as well as the original church and a small museum with post office where you can send post cards home.