Visby is one of the most remarkable towns in the Nordic countries. It is on the west coast of Sweden's largest island Gotland in the Baltic Sea with about 23,000 citizens. Visby is known for the city wall, the Cathedral and many church ruins. In 1995 the old city was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site.
During the Swedish summer, from mid-June to mid-August, Visby is crowded. It is one of the best party cities in Sweden in the summer. Many Visby residents leave during these hectic months and let their apartments to visitors. During the rest of the year, the atmosphere is quite different.
There are flights all year to Visby from Stockholm (Stockholm-Bromma Airport and Stockholm-Arlanda Airport), Gothenburg, Ängelholm and Nyköping. During the summer you can usually fly to various destinations such as Oslo, Hamburg, Riga, Helsinki and Örebro.
The inner city (Old Town), which is located within the city walls, is small enough to be covered by foot. The rest of the city is easy to get around by bike and has plenty of good bike paths.
Visby is best enjoyed by foot, especially the Old Town, located within the city wall.
During the summer there are usually plenty of bike rentals, but they can be expensive, if you're staying for a longer period purchasing a used bike might be a cheaper option.
There are several bus lines going out to the rest of the island, check the timetable before heading out though.
During the summer cars are not allowed within the city walls. There are parking options free of charge, though a small parking fee is usually required in the city center.
Like the rest of Sweden, taxis can be expensive, and are best for short trips when you are unable to get around otherwise.
- Taxi Gotland, phone number: +46 498-200 200
- Taxi Kurir Gotland, phone number: +46 498-50 000
- Din Taxi Gotland, phone number: +46 498-20 70 70
By sightseeing train
There are a few sightseeing "trains" - practically a couple of trailers with seats and roofs pulled by a vehicle making tours around the old town with an audio guide playing through the speakers. Tours take about 30 minutes and tickets typically cost 65 kr/person.
Note that many of the town's attractions are only open during the summer months, usually until Aug 30th.
- City wall (Visby stadsmur, Ringmuren). Built during the 13th and 14th centuries, Visby's city wall stretches almost 3 and a half kilometers and stands 11 meters high. Today, 36 towers and three main gates remain.
- DBW's Botanical Gardens. Enter through the "Door of Love" to this picturesque garden of trees and ruins.
- Klinten. Once the workers' quarter and now a popular spot to take in the view over the lower town, Klinten is an attractive maze of small, rose covered, homes.
- Visby cathedral (St.Maria church). Built in the early 13th century.
Church ruins in the Old Town
Visby once had many more churches, but most of them were destroyed in a major fire in 1525. Today the ruins of these remain as attractions.
- St. Clemens ruins.
- St. Gerturde ruins
- St. Hans ruins
- St. Karin ruins
- St. Nicolaus ruins
- St. Olof ruins (located in the Botanical Gardens)
- St. Per ruins
- St.Katarina ruins
- Gotlands Museum, Strandgatan 14. Open 10 AM-6 PM. Museum of local history (Fornsalen), plus a science museum for children (Fenomenalen). Entrance: 80-100 SEK.
- Gotlands Konstmuseum, S:t Hansgatan 21. Open Tu-Su 12 PM-4 PM. Entrance: 40-50 SEK, or it's included in the fee for Gotlands Museum above. Art museum.
- Boda Borg. Fun and challenging quests for people of all ages.
- Medieval Week (Medeltidsveckan), a large feast during a whole week in the beginning of August every year. Visitors dress in medieval clothes while visiting the medieval market or the jousting tournament. The feast is concentrated to Visby, but arrangements are held on all of Gotland. 2008 was the 25th anniversary. Visby is crowded during this week, and venues and connections are heavily booked.
- The politicians' week, (Almedalsveckan) takes place in the Almedalen park in Visby, first week of July. All political parties and organizations meet for debates and seminars, most of it open to the public; mostly in Swedish, but some in English. Big media coverage.
There are only three ATM machines in the old town and port area: one at Donners Plats just as you come up from the water front, one on Adelsgatan, and one on Stora Torget. The one on Stora Torget in the wall of the small grocery store with the hand-painted text saying "Uttagsautomat" is a minor sight in itself. Along the Östercentrum there are several others.
Most shops close at 5pm on weekdays, 3pm on Saturdays and are closed on Sundays.
- Adelsgatan This is the major shopping street, and by far the most touristy. Don't be discouraged though, it has plenty of interesting shops selling small trinkets and local handicraft. If you venture off this street you'll get to see the beautiful alleys and the smaller streets, which are less crowded, and there are smaller shops hidden here and there.
- Sankt Hans Quarter (Sankt Hansgatan) - some clothes and design shops
- Östercentrum (exit the old city through the Österport gate) Modern pedestrian shopping district with most of the usual European retail outlets, as well as banks, pharmacies, and fast food joints.
There are countless restaurants in Visby, especially during the summer, though the best cooked food is usually served at the year-round-establishments.
- Strykjärnet Visby Crêperie & Logi, Wallérs Plats 3. Nice crêperie with world music on the stereo.
- Bakfickan, Stora Torget 1. Seafood.
- Surfers, Södra kyrkogatan 1. Sichuan kitchen, also great place to lounge and enjoy a few drinks.
- Gamla Masters, Södra kyrkogatan 10. Traditional Swedish cuisine and bar menu classics. Open every night with a great "living room atmosphere".
- Bolaget, Stora Torget 6. At the sunniest place of the main square you find Bolaget. Try the great French food, or have a steak from the barbeque. Or, just enjoy a drink in the sun.
- Black sheep arms, St Hansgatan 51. Traditional British pub menu. The fish and chips is a given choice.
- Köpmannen II, Wallérs Plats 7. Tasty pasta.
- Siesta Konditori & Café, Österväg 5 (Exit the old town through the eastern gate, walk 100 m along the pedestrian street). Mo-Fr 9AM-6PM, Sa 10AM-4PM. A typical Swedish bakery-cafe with fresh made cakes, sandwiches and beverages. In the summer you can enjoy your coffee in the backyard of the cafe as well, just watch out for the ubiquitous jackdaws that will grab a piece of any unattended food and drink. Coffee and sandwich 50kr.
- G:a Masters, Södra Kyrkogatan 10. Open 6PM-2AM.
- Munkkällaren, Sankt Hansgatan 40. They also have club nights.
- Hamnplan 5, Hamnplan 5. They also have club nights.
Gotlandsdricke is a local type of beer. It is no longer legal to sell, but it's still legal to make it yourself so if you ask around you might be able to find someone who makes it. Back in the day, every farm had their own recipe.
- Hotell Villa Borgen, Adelsgatan 9-11. Nice rooms, breakfast and location. Good wifi.
- Clarion Hotel Wisby, Strandgatan 6.
- Donners Hotell, Donners Plats 6.
- Visby Fängelse Vandrarhem, Skeppsbron 1. A former prison turned into a hostel.
- Tidsfördriv, Hästgatan 12. Free wifi for the cafe's customers.
- Café Amalia, Hästgatan 3. Free wifi for the cafe's customers.
- Almedalsbiblioteket, Cramérgatan 5. Free wifi at the public library.
- Visit various small villages and other interesting places here on the Gotland island.
- The bigger cities Stockholm and Uppsala are reachable from here without too much effort.