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Revision as of 05:39, 3 June 2012
Gotland  is a province in the Götaland region and Sweden's largest island. It is situated in the Baltic Sea outside the southeast coast of Sweden. Some 50,000 people live here all year.
In early history, Gotland was an independent kingdom and still today, the older generations don't see themselves as Swedes - they are nothing but Gotlanders.
During the Hansa period in the Middle Age, Visby and Gotland was an important stop on the international trade routes on the Baltic Sea. The island lost its role after a Danish war in the 14th century. The Danes took control over the island for 300 years and in the mid 17th century, the island became Swedish.
The island holds many medieval memories; old farmlands and over 90 churches, all with different architechture.
Visby is the largest town with over 20,000 inhabitants. The town is crowded during summers.
The Gotland dialect is remarkable and is easy to recognize. Still, many islanders speak and understand English.
There are flights all year to Visby from Stockholm, Gothenburg and Linköping. During summer, there's also flights from Oslo and Ängelholm. A flight from Stockholm takes approx. 25 minutes, from Gothenburg approx. 50 minutes.
The airport is situated just North of Visby and the easiest way to get to the city centre is by taxi. There is a special reduced price for travelling the airport-city centre. Approx. 10 minutes.
- Destination Gotland,  runs ferries from Nynäshamn and Oskarshamn to Visby all year. You can also bring your car. This is the cheapest way to get to the island. The ferry takes approx. three hours. The harbour is in the very centre of Visby.
The easiest way to see the island is by car. There are several car rentals in Visby. There are also bus services from Visby to all parts of the island, but be sure to bring a time table before you leave Visby. Outside Visby, there are merely small villages.
- Visby is on UNESCO's World Heritage list as an "outstanding example of a Northern European walled Hanseatic town which has in a unique way preserved its townscape and its extremely valuable buildings, which in form and function clearly reflect this significant human settlement".
- There are over 90 medieval churches on the island. Most of them havn't been modernised since the 15th century.
- The Island of Fårö is situated just North of Gotland and they are linked with a small ferry (10 minutes). Here you find nice beaches.
- Fantastic rock formations (Raukar) are found along the island's coast.
- From Visby going South towards Klintehamn and Burgsvik. Nice coastal roads.
- From Visby going North towards Fårösund.
- 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. Please note that Visby is crowded during this week. More information at http://www.medeltidsveckan.se
- The politican week, (Almedalsveckan) takes place at the large park, Almedalen, in the town of Visby. It is a week when every Swedish parliamental politician comes to Gotland to present their politics to the public. Big media coverage.
Some typical dishes from Gotland are:
- Many types of lamb. A speciality is Sheep's head (Lambskalle), but it is quite difficult to find it in restaurants.
- Dessert: Saffron pancake (Saffranspannkaka) with whipped cream and dewberries.
- Gotlandsdricke - local alcoholic brew. Quite difficult to get in bars and reataurants - you have to know a Gotlander to get to taste it.
- Local beer; Wisby pils or Wisby Klosteröl.
Gotland is, like Sweden in general, a safe destination. Note that Visby is crowded during summer and that pick pockets may operate in central Visby.