The beautiful medieval town of Visby
In 2020 I spent one week traveling around Gotland in my car. The first days I spent exploring the southern parts of the island before I headed to the north. The last days of my trip I spent in Visby. Visby is a really charming town on the west side of the island. It is one of the best preserved towns from the Middle Ages in all of Scandinavia. This was my first time visiting the town and it really was just as pretty as I expected. I was here for 1,5 days and strolled around in the town admiring the wall and old church ruins, tried the restaurants and enjoyed the last days of summer.
The old town of Visby
The history of Gotland and Visby is very interesting. During the Viking Age it actually was an independent nation with close relations to Sweden. It was also very rich in trade. Its geographical location right in the middle of the Baltic sea has of course been crucial for its history and for making it such a rich place back in the days. The decades after the Viking Age the island was either Swedish or Danish, but ever since 1679 it has been all Swedish!
The old town is really pretty everywhere you look. The houses are colorful and there are so many beautiful flowers everywhere. It’s really a treat to get lost on these streets. Visby is also called “the town of roses and ruins”. And yes, it really makes justice to the name. Since 1995 Visby has been a UNESCO World heritage site. Did you know that Sweden has 15 places on this list?
The Ring Wall
The old town is surrounded by a ring wall that used to protect the town from intruders. It’s still in a pretty good shape as well. It still has all of 36 towers of the wall from the original 51. Some parts of the wall dates back to the 1100s. Pretty cool right?
In the old town there are several old churches and ruins that you can visit. There’s not much left of them, or well, all is relative. There are so many and they are all in different shape. They’re all pretty cool though! The photos below are from the very big church that once stood right in the middle of the town on the big square.
Just a short walk from the big square there’s another church ruin. Imaging sitting here having a fika?
Visby Cathedral is still standing right in the middle of the town though. It’s majestic and so much higher than the rest of the buildings in town. Around the church you also get one of the best views of the town. It’s really nice to go here when the sun sets and catch the last rays of sunshine, watch the view and maybe have a picknick.
The photos below are from the park called Almedalen. Most Swedish people have heard about this place and associate it with politics. Every year during one week of summer the Swedish politicians gather here and discuss politics and other questions for the community. It’s a beautiful park just outside the ring wall and close to the sea. So when you’re tired from walking around and admiring Visby sit down here for a while and rest your feet.
From Almedalen you can continue to walk to the north and will then reach a boardwalk along the sea. Here you walk with the ring wall on one side and the big ocean on the other.
A perfect destination
Visby is definitely one of the top places to visit in Sweden. I think it’s so cool that it still has so many remaining buildings from the medieval era. On top of that the town is colorful and full of flowers, cute alleys and nice squares with restaurants and bars. I really need to visit this place again! I can understand why some people return again and again. Here you will get the history, the good food and closeness to the nature. What else do you need?