Sights: The ring wall, the ruins, Cathedral of St. Mary, the Botanical Garden, the Historical Museum, the sea! And lots, lots more …
Shopping: Wisbyströvet and the St. Hans district.
Lots of us have come up on deck to see the tower of St. Mary’s silhouetted against the sky as the ferry swings in towards the port of Visby. Now we can see Almedalen and the old warehouses down by the port. We can see the newly built congress hall and the ancient ring wall. Many of the passengers seem deeply moved as we draw closer. She’s just SO beautiful – the pearl of the Baltic. Visby is a modern county town with a medieval core. Here, innovative design, cutting-edge technology and the old ring wall, now over 700 years old, live comfortably side by side. Here there’s partying galore, great shopping and a network of rose-clad lanes. The city that now rises out of the sea to greet us is indeed one of many faces.
The ring wall, the townscape and its many historical buildings gave the medieval
Hanseatic city of Visby a place on UNESCO’s world heritage list in.
The ring wall, almost 3.5 kilometres in length, is one of the world’s
best preserved city walls. Several of the magnificent medieval trading
houses, with their characteristic stepped gables, are still standing, as are
many of the 17th and 18th-century wooden buildings. The Historical Museum
gives fascinating insights into the history of the whole of Gotland. Can’t
wait to find out more about historical Gotland? Read
A stroll through cobbled lanes, past the ruins and the Cathedral and across Klinten, a popular spot from which to take in the view of the town silhouetted against the sea, is a great opportunity to brush up on your cultural history and pop into one of the shops or enjoy a cup of coffee in one of the town’s many cafés. In Visby, nothing is very far away.
Visby has several good shopping districts. Wisbyströvet, offering a huge range of clothes and shoes, cafés a-plenty and lots more, runs from Östertorg through Österport, into the central city via Hästgatan and then continues down Adelsgatan to Södertorg. In the St. Hans district you’ll find shops selling furnishing, clothes, delicatessen and a whole lot more besides.
In the district between Almedalen and the port, modern Visby meets up with its medieval counterpart. This is the site of the university, accommodated in an old malt factory, the Almedal library, which opened in 2001, and, as of spring 2007, the Wisby Strand Congress Hall. The library and congress hall are excellent examples of how architecture, technology and the natural world can come together in a near ideal environment. In both buildings, the waters of the Baltic and the rays of the sun are used to keep the interior cool in summer and warm in the winter. In other words, a comfortable indoor climate that has a minimum impact on the environment.
The Botanical Garden, planted in 1856, is a must for gardening enthusiasts. Throughout the year, visitors can enjoy exotic trees and plants alongside common Swedish species. Southern trees include magnolia, almond, mulberry, acacia and sweet chestnut. Read more about “Green Gotland”!
As the long summer evening settles softly over the city, partygoers and eaters-out hit the streets. Today, Visby boasts more restaurants per capita than any other town in Sweden, all year round. Gotland cuisine almost always makes use of locally sourced products, such as asparagus, lamb and fish and even a few local exotics like ramsons and sand leeks. Read more about food and drink on Gotland.
The partying district runs from Stora Torget along Strandgatan to the port. On summer nights, merrymakers throng the streets in almost continental fashion as they head towards the many restaurants. It’s an atmosphere in which culture thrives. You can see that here, artists, musicians and poets are very much at home.
Lots of us out on deck have a lump in our throats as the boat leaves Visby. As the cathedral tower gradually recedes into the distance, we’re already longing to return.