Gotland is an island in the Baltic Sea; it is Sweden’s largest island. It is a Swedish province and is made up of the island of Gotland and four smaller islands. The main town on the island is Visby, which is on the northwestern side of the island, nearest to Sweden. The island is accessible by ferry from the Swedish mainland at Nynashamm or by air from Stockholm or Goteborg.
Gotland has been occupied since prehistoric times, as well-preserved settlements such as Ajvide show. DNA from Gotland also proves that the early agricultural settlers came from as far away as the Mediterranean and Finland. In later centuries, the island was under Viking rule. Visby is one of the best examples of medieval architecture and design and has been on the UNESCO World Heritage list since 1995. It is an attractive vacation destination for Swedes, with is ancient city walls, cathedral ruins, and Hanseatic history. Visby was a leading economic, defensive, and cultural centre for the Hanseatic League in the Middle Ages.
The archaeological relics that have been found in Gotland give incredible examples of how trade in the ancient world occurred. The number of Arad dirhams found on Gotland almost matches the number found in the entire Muslim world, while the largest hoard of Viking silver was unearthed at Spillings farm in 1999.
Budget hostel accommodation on Gotland can be found in Visby, the capital of the region, around the country in small towns, and on all of Gotland’s smaller islands: Faro, Lilla Karlso, and Stora. Traditional hostels with dorms, shared bathrooms, and a common kitchen are easy to find, as many Swedes stay in them while on vacation; either search for a hostel or a “vandrarhem.”
Once you have your accommodation sorted, you can explore this island region. For the outdoor enthusiast, Gotland has several large lakes and popular beaches as well as over 200 shipwrecks for the avid scuba diver. To get to one of the smaller islands, catch a ferry from Klintehamm Harbour, in Visby. The smaller islands of Stora and Lilla Karlso are known for their nesting bird cliffs and orchids. Ferries to these two islands are seasonal. Faro is the main agricultural island outside of Gotland; there are more sheep than people and farming is a way of life. The ferry to Faro is free and runs year round. Whatever you choose to do in Gotland, you will find warm, welcoming hospitality and a vibrant culture.
Hi, I'm Jakob Lombardi,
the Hostelz.com local expert for Gotland hostels. Welcome.
Visby was one of the stops on a cruise we took from Copenhagen to St. Petersburg. Visby was, by far, a definitely highlight of the cruise. Our ship was too big to dock in the harbor, so we had to take the lifeboats from the ship to the harbor. That was fun. It was so beautiful in Visby, and the medieval city and the …