Most people visit Stockholm when they come to Sweden, and trust me this city has a lot to offer, but if you want to know more about our scandinavian history and see more of Sweden’s beautiful nature, then Gotland is your next destination.
Gotland is Sweden’s biggest island and is around 200 kilometer south of Stockholm. The island used to belonged to Denmark, 654 years ago and before that it was the location of many great scandinavian stories and mysteries. For example, more ancient Arab Dirham (coins) have been discovered on this island, and apparently they found way more of these silver coins than at any other site in Western Eurasia.
The biggest city on the island is Visby, located on the west side, where 23 000 people live today. Although if you come here in the summer you will mostly meet people from the mainland since the population swells because it is one of the most popular summer destination in Sweden.
Visby was built during the 12th century and has kept many of the old ruins and buildings from this time, the most famous is the wall called the “ring wall” that surrounds the entire city. You will also find several ruins and old houses from this era inside the city.
Visby also got three big happenings during the summer, which could be good to have in mind before coming here! During week 27, there is the famous political week “Almedalsveckan“. This week is filled with speeches, seminars and other political activities and is considered to be the most important forum in Swedish politics.
Then you have week 29 (stockholmsveckan), when a lot of people travels from Stockholm down to Visby to enjoy their vacation and party! Visby has become one of three stops for people around the world to party at before they head over to Båstad and St Tropez. Many of the clubs from the capital moves down here during this week to entertain people from the mainland.
Last but not the least you have the famous “medieval week“, which is a historical reenactment of King Valdemar IV of Denmark´s plundring of Visby, that is staged at the historical site. Visitors dress in medieval clothes while visiting the medieval market or the jousting tournament.
3 things to do on Gotland
1. Eat at the amazing restaurants inside Visby!
Even if it is a small city far from the mainland it has some of the best restaurants in Sweden. You will find a wide variety of food and drinks all made from local, quality ingredients. The typical local food that you need to try is Saffron pancake with a specific jam from Gotland and their special Wisby IPA beer, but of all the restaurants in Visby, these three are my favourites…
Surfers – Surfers is an Asian inspired tapas restaurant with a lot of lime and coriander in almost every dish, my favourite dish were the ribs, the spring rolls and a dish called Bang Bang Ji Zi. If you decide to not eat here you should at least stop in and try one of their creative drinks. The Hainan Honey with ginger and lime caught my eye and I wasn’t disappointed. Delicious!
Supper – Supper is also a tapas restaurant but focuses on the South American cuisine. You can choose all types of south american food, everything from pulled pork, to fish tacos and ceviche. Its a bit more expensive than regular restaurants but definitely worth the price.
Creperi & Logi – This place has both dessert crepes with delicious chocolate and cream as well as galettes with different toppings like prosciutto, different cheeses, salad etc. Its a perfect lunch on a hot summer day. They also are one of the few places I’ve seen who sell dry french cider in Sweden
If you are worried about finding a cosy or nice place you don’t need to look for long, almost everything is nice in Visby since it’s surrounded by old cosy houses and cobblestones.
2. Visit the beaches
Gotland has over 30 beaches to choose from so you need to visit at least one of them! Nordenstrand and Snäck are two nice beaches close to Visby but if you have a car I would recommend driving to the tip of Gotland, over the bridge to another island called Fårö.
Fårö belongs to Gotland with a population of 600 people, this is where most of the locals travel to during their summer vacation, but wherever you choose to go you will find a beach that matches your style!
3. Pick Strawberries at a farm
If you didn’t know it already, Sweden has amazing strawberries! Some of the best ones (according to me) grow on Gotland. We visited one of their biggest farms called Bärgården,
where you can go and pick your own berries yourself. This is both a fun trip to the countryside as well as a great experience and I am sure you won’t regret it!
Want to know more about Gotland or add anything? Comment below!