Visit Sweden

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A man is sitting on top of a limestone monolith, looking out over the ocean.
Limestone monoliths, Gotland
Photo: Lucas Günther/imagebank.sweden.se

Destination

Gotland - draft

Gotland is an island full of contrasts and can entice you with both pulse and pause for relaxation. It is a place for exciting meetings between sea and land, present time and history as well as between people.
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Did you know that..?

  • Gotland has more than 100 nature reserves..
  • There are more sheep than people living on the island. 
  • Gotland has a unique breed of horses called the 'Gotlandsruss'(Gotland pony), a sturdy breed that originated on the island during the Iron Age.
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Gotland is the largest island in Sweden. It is an ideal holiday destination for all types of travelers. The island offers limestone sea stacks in the north, chalk cliffs in the west and white sandy beaches in the south. The picturesque island is only 90 km from the Swedish mainland. From Nynäshamn, 58 km south of Stockholm, it takes about 3 hours by ferry to Visby, a beautiful medieval, walled town and a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Visby is Gotland’s only town and what a town it is; in summertime expect and get low-rise, red rose-covered cottages, tall towers, turrets and spires, shady arches and ‘twisty-turny’ cobblestone streets and olde worlde shops. The word ‘charming’ was invented for this town.

Must do’s in Visby include footing it around town to see its medieval marvels and a walking tour along the 2 km-long medieval wall of the city. Include the Sankt Mary Cathedral (Visby Domkyrka) for some 13th century architectural delights in your walkabout. Check out the Gotland Museum in Visby for the island’s fascinating history.

Follow in the footsteps of Vikings

If you didn’t already know it Gotland was a major Viking trading settlement. A visit to Tofta Viking Village and its 10th century Viking village tells the Viking story wonderfully. You also get to throw axes (careful now), bake Viking bread and shoot bows and arrows. There is also lots of 'gravfält' (grave field) and 'runstenar' (rune and picture stones) for those interested in historic and unique findings. Here is a list of 11 places in Gotland where Vikings left their mark.

Enjoy your visit to Gotland with local delicacies

During the summer we suggest that you sit down at one of the many cafes and eateries and soak in the medieval surroundings with a contemporary cup of coffee and the Gotland speciality saffranspannkaka, a saffron pancake served with berries and cream. In fact, it is a bit more similar to a ricepudding then a pancake, but it is nonetheless a really tasty treat. A common companion to these delicious pancakes is “salmbärssylt”(dewberry jam). It’s made of dewberries, related to blackberries and looks a lot like blue raspberries. The dewberry grows in the wild all over the island and tastes like a mix of raspberries and blackberries. 

The saffron in the pancakes might be local too. Since 2009 Stafva farm has been growing their own, making the most out of the islands mild climate.

The nature on Gotland - an open invitation for outdoor activities 

Gotland has 800 km of coastline, and in summertime that means beaches, sun bathing, picnics and relaxation. The mild coastal climate, more often seen at latitudes further south, provides and nurtures spectacular landscapes of magnificent beaches, rugged cliffs, lush flower beds and open plains with low trees and shrubs. 

Although it is Sweden's largest island, the distances are short and most sightings here are very accessible. The island is, among other things, perfect to explore through both short and long walks. Those looking for more action-packed activities can enjoy climbing, explore caves or kitesurfing or try sea kayaking in the blue waves. Many come to the island for surfing, fishing and golf but the landscape is also excellent for walking or cycling.

Juniper treeNärsholmen is a peninsula on Gotland with wind-blown pines and juniper trees, kept open by grazing animals. The peninsula is home to plenty of birds, animals and plants, as well as a beautiful lighthouse. About 45 bird species breed here and to protect the sensitive birdlife, part of the peninsula is off limits for humans from early spring into the summer. Photo: Jerker Andersson/imagebank.sweden.se

Take a swim in a limestone quarry

Sit back and enjoy the beach life on some of the island's family-friendly sandy beaches. Or jump in the "Blue Lagoon", a unique bathing spot in an old limestone industrial area. It’s gorgeous, with crystal clear water and a peaceful and serene atmosphere and it's sure worth the trip. It is located close to the island of Fårö, so be sure to combine these two on your day trip!

During your holiday to Gotland, try to include both Fårö and the South of Gotland, or "Sudret" as the locals call it, to experience their famous “raukar” (limestone stacks). Smaller islands to visit could be Stora Karlsö and Lilla Karlsö.

Sigsarve, GotlandSigsarve, Gotland. Photo: Roine Magnusson/Johnér