Sweden's holiday island of choice, Visby is a pretty medieval city that has been delightfully frozen in time. A dramatically walled Hanseatic trading centre, Visby faces out across a 60-mile gulf towards the Swedish mainland. An island of sparse, scenic landscapes, Gotland is dotted with quiet fishing villages, roaming sheep, and unusual limestone natural structures. With beautiful beaches, as well as spell-binding history, crowds from across Scandanavia and beyond set sail for these escapist shores every summer.
Set on the Baltic Sea's largest island, the steep medieval walls of Visby are at once a gorgeously picturesque, and incredibly imposing welcome to this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Built between the 13th and the 14th century, the two long walls were reinforced with 29 large and 22 small watchtowers. The oldest section, the red-roof capped Gunpowder Tower, is one of Sweden's oldest surviving constructions. Inside the walls, the elegant Cathedral of St. Mary's rises, with its pair of pepper-pot towers. Visby has an irresistible tangle of medieval streets, with photo-opportunities waiting around every narrow bend. The scattering of ruined churches adds another layer of eerie beauty, while a splash of colour is provided by blooming botanical gardens, thriving within the island's mild climate.
A place of rich history, visit museums to learn the island's whole story - from its formation, to the ancient inhabitants who have occupied its shores. Archaeological evidence points to 8,000 years of human history, while the Viking and Medieval eras have plenty of tales to tell. For the best view, head to Hogklint - a coastal cliff area on the south of Visby. Or explore the island via beautiful coastal bike trails.