The much-visited Swedish island of Gotland is an amazing destination located in the Baltic Sea between Sweden and Latvia with a population of around 60,000. The county Gotlands län is made up of the main island and several smaller ones including Fårön, Gotska Sandön, and Karlsö. One highlight (of many) is the walled capital of Visby... truly picture postcard stuff.
Gotland is easily reached by plane or there is a car ferry running from mainland Sweden (Nynäshamn or Oskarshamn) to Gotland.
Gotland has a very pretty capital; The wonderful walled city of Visby should be high on any traveller’s wishlist. Gotland is an amazing Swedish island situated in the Baltic Sea between Sweden and Finland with a population of around 60,000. The county 'Gotlands län' is made up of the main island and several smaller ones including Fårön, Gotska Sandön, and Karlsö. Gotland is easily reached by plane or there is a car ferry running from mainland Sweden (Nynäshamn or Oskarshamn) to Gotland.
It is truly unique and has one of the prettiest ‘old town’ areas there is; so unique that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site… and the reason for that is apparent with any visit to the wonderful city. The beautiful Ringmuren (the wall around the town) was built in the 13th century incorporates over 40 turreted towers and stretches over 5 kilometres around the port city.
Visby is located on the west coast of the island, it also serves as the ferry port and as such provides a beautiful and welcoming vista for anyone arriving on from the mainland by ferry. Visby has a truly magical feeling to it with its wonderful narrow cobblestoned streets and squares (Stora Torget) lined with beautiful shops cafes and restaurants. Throughout the walled city, there are also a vast array of church ruins which compliment the vibe and homeliness of the vibrant centre.
Also known as the ‘City of Roses’ (a visit on the summer months makes that an appropriate title) as floral displays abound and the pride that Visby has in its gardens enhances the city even more; no surprise that Visby also has a well renowned Botanic Garden.
Church Ruins: There are some wonderful church ruins around the Innerstad of Visby and a great example of the grandeur and importance of religion can be seen at the Ruins of St. Hans, which with the St. Per Kyrka (Saint Peter Church) was once the largest church in Visby. S:t Per dates back to the 12 century with S:t Hans Kyrka being built in the 13th Century.
Fårö (Faro), a small island off the northern tip of Gotland, is a must-see destination for anyone travelling to Sweden. Only 5 minutes by ferry, the island’s landscape and scenery is uniquely different to the rest of Gotland and is famous for not only the limestone sea-stacks (Raukar) along parts fo the coast but also was the home of Ingmar Bergman; world-famous Swedish movie director, writer and producer of film, stage and television.
The Raukar that line the north coast and provide a surreal sight; their surrealism is complimented by the man-made cairns that visitors create from the unique stone that lines the coast. Gotland is easily reached by plane or car ferry that departs from mainland Sweden (Nynäshamn or Oskarshamn).
The Raukar formed over many millennia as a result of softer sandstone being eroded by the wind, rain and sea while the more resilient limestone remained intact; forming the sea-stacks that are up to 12 metres tall and provide a unique, stack and beautiful landscape, especially at sunset.
Over the years, people have started forming smaller stone cairns that provide a wonderful contrast to the larger limestone formations. One very famous Raukar is the Hoburg Raukar which, if viewed from a certain angle looks like the head or face of an old man.