Lying 90km off the east coast of Sweden, the island of Gotland is the Pearl of the Baltic Sea and a historic gem.
Gotland, including the island of Fårö, is 175km long and measures 50km at its widest point. It is well-known as the Swedish playground because of its beautiful sandy beaches and the vibrant social scene in the summer. To find out more about Gotland, read our blog.
On the west coast of the island stands the medieval walled city of Visby – considered by some as the best preserved medieval city in Northern Europe and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Among the most notable historical remains are the 3.4km long stone wall that encircles the city and the old church ruins. A stroll through the cobbled streets will show a wealth and richness of architecture, picturesque medieval buildings and peaceful squares.
A 10-minute ferry journey from the northernmost point of Gotland, Fårösund, leads onto the barren island of Fårö (114km²). It is here where you will find the imposing ‘raukar’ or stone pillars which are scattered along this storm beaten coastline. This island is also famous for being the resting place of Swedish film director, Ingmar Bergman.
Rolling green countryside, small fishing villages and medieval churches – 92 in total, one for each parish on the island - add a charm and quaintness to the island’s landscape. At the southern tip of Gotland are the parishes of Storsudret. Here, the scenery is magnificent with shingle mounds, raukar, heathlands, forest meadows and sandy beaches.
The island of Öland, stretching 150km along the east coast of Sweden, is the smallest province in the country and a renowned summer paradise. Here you will find 500km of coastline and a wonderful natural environment – coniferous and deciduous forests, agricultural lands and limestone plains - which attracts many species of migrating birds each year.
Öland is also famed for its windmills; there are some 350 windmills on the island; and for its ancient castles and countless historic monuments.
Borgholm, the capital, is located on the east coast of Öland overlooking the Kalmar Sound. On summer nights, the town hums with a holiday atmosphere – Restaurants and bars brimming with locals and holidaymakers open onto the streets. To the rear of town stands the ruin of 17th century Borgholm Castle. The Castle today, is a fascinating museum which enables visitors to step back in time. From June-August, guided tours as well as a range of concerts and art exhibitions take place.
At the southern tip, the unusual limestone-based plain of Stora Alvaret has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its extraordinary biodiversity and heritage. The region features the ancient burial grounds of Gettlinge, which includes graves and standing stones from the Stone Age to the late Iron Age; and the ring-fort of Eketorp. Thanks to its thin soil mantle and high pH levels, this is also a wonderful area for naturalists, with rare flora species and rich birdlife.