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Outside the medieval city walls of Visby.
Photo: Sven Halling/Johnér


Gotland and Visby

Approaching the island of Gotland in the Baltic Sea, by ferry, you are met by the medieval, walled town of Visby - 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.

In summertime, park yourself at one of the many cafes and eateries and soak in the medieval surroundings with a contemporary cup of coffee and Gotland speciality saffranspannkaka, a saffron pancake with red berries and cream. 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.

A must on Gotland is a visit to Sudret and Fårö to visit the giant Rauks –  natural limestone pillars that proudly dot the coastline here. If you are a movie buff you’ll love Fårö as it is the former home of world famous Swedish film director Ingmar Bergman. Otherwise it is a gorgeous, almost ‘tropical’ island. Another natural marvel is Gotska Sandön National Park. It really is like being on a tropical island, with azure waters lapping the shoreline, sand dunes and mile upon mile of beach – all to yourself.

If you didn’t know it Gotland was a major Viking trading settlement  and 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 etc. Otherwise, Gotland has 800 km of coastline, and in summertime that means beaches, sun bathing, picnics and relaxation.

You can get to Gotland by air and ferry.