Gotland Island, Sweden is Sweden’s largest island, the largest island in the Baltic Sea, and a popular tourist destination with visitors from all over the world. The island has an extensive history dating back to prehistoric times, and interestingly, it was not always under Swedish jurisdiction. That said, there is plenty to see and do on Gotland Island. Getting to the island is easy as there are frequent ferries from the mainland which take about 3 hours. Or if you prefer flying, Gotland has its own airline that flies from mainland Sweden to the island.
The medieval town of Visby, also the most populated Gotland town, is a must-see in itself. Deemed a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Visby is arguably the best preserved city of its kind in the whole of Scandinavia. August is the busiest month to visit the city due to the highly popular annual Medieval Week, consisting of markets, food, jousting tournaments and the like. You can supplement Medieval Week with a visit to one of the many medieval churches scattered around the city.
The Gotland Fornsal Museum in Visby is the most visited museum on the island. The museum houses parts of Stone Age, Viking, and Medieval history, making it the most extensive museum of Scandinavian history. The museum is open Tuesday to Sunday from 11 am until 4 pm. The Gotland Fornsal has exhibitions running for months at a time, and information can be found online before you visit.
Bungemuseet is an open-air museum and one of Sweden’s largest. It consists of farmland and farm houses dating back as early as the 1600s, making it a unique museum to visit. The museum gives insight into peasant life on the island, before the industrial age. For guided tours be sure to call at least one day in advance to make sure you can get a tour. The city of Bunge is also famous for a 14th century fortified church that is worth seeing after your tour of the Bungemuseet.
The Sankta Maria Cathedral is a must-see out of the over 90 historical churches scattered throughout the island. Construction of the Sankta Maria began in the late 12th century, and was originally meant to be used by German merchants passing through Visby’s port.
The St. Nikolai Church ruins in Visby’s city center is one highlight of a trip to Gotland Island. The church was named after the patron saint of merchants in the Middle Ages and now hosts concerts and various cultural performances year round.