Visby - Sweden’s most traditional travel spot

Sweden is like heaven on earth during the summer months. Long days, warm temperatures, and gorgeous blue skies will help travelers have the greatest time. Start your Sweden adventure with Gotland, a beautiful secluded island positioned 90 km away from the mainland, and reconnect with the country’s medieval roots and Viking heritage. Visby has been a heritage site since 1995, and the mysterious town is located on the west coast of Gotland. Between the 12 and 17 centuries, it used to be a European trading route and nowadays international tourists see it an exceptional travel spot. Visit Visby between May and September and uncover its rich history, simple lifestyle, and alluring scenery.

Middle Age roots

Due to its trading route positioning over the centuries, Visby was extremely vulnerable to foreign invasions. To ward off attacks and stay safe, the town built a protective stone wall around its premises. Named the Ring Wall, the edifice was erected in the 13th century. Nowadays, avid voyageurs will stumble upon 22,000 inhabitants in Visby, out of which 3,000 are still living behind the Ring Wall. If you happen to be on the island in August, make sure to attend Medieval Week, a festivity that celebrates the medieval heritage of Visby.

Visby, a vengeful legacy

The Danish invaded Gotland in 1361, and became a Danish colony in 1645 when it was finally re-annexed by Sweden. Although residents are Swedish nowadays, the Danish influences can still be felt in the people’s distinct southern accent. Check out the Gotland Historical Museum where you’ll have the chance to find out more about Visby’s history in the Gun Powder Tower. Climb the narrow stone stairs and explore passageways that lead to places with spectacular view over the town. Visby has a huge number of preserved ruins, probably the largest in Northern Europe. Most 12th century churches were built by rich German families who became wealthy because they brought Christianity on the island. Presently, some of the ruins are used as theatre and concert venues, thus adding a touch of modernity to the town’s medieval aspect.

Visby’s Germanic traditions

Visby features over 200 medieval structures, including warehouses, vaulted cellars, merchant trading houses, and Gothic facades. The Burmeister House is probably the most iconic of them all. Positioned in the centre of Donners - the town’s main squares, the 2-storey cabin was erected by the wealthy Hans Burmeister in the 17th century, and he used red-dyed timber similar to the materials used in native Germany. Throughout summer, from June to August, travelers can visit the Burmeister House; the museum is open to the people and its interior design and history will certainly keep you engaged. The beautiful 17th century paintings by Johan Bartsch, intricate Baroc decor, and sandstone fireplaces are without a doubt alluring.

European influences

Generally speaking, when people think of a Swedish home they usually have a red cottage in mind with white details. Erected throughout the 16th and 17th century, Visby’s homes were pained in shades of ‘Falu Red’, from Falun village. Interestingly enough, Visby is extremely pleasing. Throughout town, the dark-brown homes are decorated with window panes and green wood doors. These traditional wood homes belonged to merchants of the period who used 18th and 19th century techniques to build their homes in a northern European styles making use of experimental colors, lattice paneling and woodworking techniques.

Lifestyle

Most residents in Visby work in the historic buildings. The Donner House, positioned in Donners plaza, is a stone construction that dates back to 1100. Regarding the recreational areas, Almedalen is the town’s main parks. Named after the famous elm trees planted during 1870, the spot is just outside the walls of Visby. The Beach Boardwalk is the best place in town to admire the coastal landscape. The 5 km path is excellent for biking and walking, so if you’re looking for a place to relax in Visby, this is the place to be. Walk along the north side of the coast and you’ll reach Kallbadhuset, a really popular shore with restaurants and bars for tourists and locals who want to have a good time. The beautiful promenade highlights superb panoramic views of the Baltic Sea, and during the summer months it’s packed with Swedes and foreigners. To conclude, Visby is without a doubt Sweden’s hidden jewel. The summer town is an excellent travel spot for tourists looking to spend a more traditional holiday retreat in Gotland.