Even though Sweden is a member of the European Union, it has chosen not to use the Euro as its unit of currency. Being that Gotland is part of Sweden, the national currency of Sweden is also used on Gotland and of course in Visby. The Swedish unit of currency is the Krona which is abbreviated SEK or SKR. One Swedish Krona is the equivalent of 100 Ore (forgive the lack of grammatical accent). When we visited in August, 2005, one U.S. Dollar was worth about 7.8 Kronor. However, you may wish to ask individual merchants if they will accept American money as some did on our visit there. If not, ATM's or currency exchange offices are open approximately 7 a.m. to 9p.m. Major credit cards are accepted in some establishments, but inquire first.
Swedish is the predominant language of Gotland, but English is also spoken.
Service charges are usually included in restaurant bills and taxi fares.
Shops are generally open weekdays from about 9 a.m. to 6p.m. However some larger stores open later. Sweden is famous for crystal, but also woolen clothing, amber and the traditional "Salahast" carved, painted horses from the Dalarna province. You will recognize the stylized little horses painted red or blue with additional decorative painting detail as soon as you see them. They are very cute and make a nice gift. (In Stockholm I purchased some chocolates shaped in the form of the "Salahast" horses.
If you see the 3-crown stamp on any gold jewelry, you can be sure that this stamp indicates a minimum gold purity of 18 carats.
Fondest memory: I am a postcard collector and sender and the postcards in Visby got less expensive as you wandered further into the center of Visby. This rule also applies to the cost other souvenirs as well because the shops closest to the cruise ship piers charge more for everything hoping to snare the unwary passenger.
Favorite thing: On the seaside just outside the city walls there was this Ferris wheel that my sister and I was going to try. When standing in the queue for pay the entrance it was a power failure that made the wheel stop. First after about 45 minute the power came back. And as you might guess, then we weren't so interested in taking the wheel trip.
Favorite thing: The big, curly horned sheep (I don't think this is their technical name.) is the symbol of the city. This sheep provided the early settlers with wool and food and is now immortalized on Visby's flag and in many artists' renditions around the island. I especially liked the cement sheep that were placed everywhere. They were cute.
There are alot of churches in Gotland. Every little Town got his own Church. They are so big and I like how they are looking inside. I am not use to all the paintings and ornaments inside a church, so I'd appriciate it alot.
Fondest memory: The old big white and grey chuches, you can see they are very old. You can see them for a distance.
Favorite thing: A very popular place for a picnic with friends or a romantic stroll is Kyrkberget, the "Church hill"m just above the cathedral. On a sunny evening this place will please any photographer trying to seek out images of Visby rooftops and the sea. You reach it either by walking from Österport gate northwards along the inside of the wall, or Norderport uphill. Alternatively there are stairs next to the cathedral which are easy to find but then you miss some lovely houses and alleys. When you have seen Kyrkberget, keep on walking along Norderklint, the street along the cliff up here.
Favorite thing: Since Visby is a popular Swedish summer resort, the city is full of adorable, little, sweet cottages that I just fell totally in love with. I was actually trying to figure out how I could go about buying one. Their gardens are just as lovely as the houses are. Most of them are full of gorgeous climbing roses. They are like something out of a fairy tale.
Favorite thing: The coastline just north of the city walls has a great bicycle path along the sea and I urge all of you to hire a bike and set off for a lovely 4 kilometre ride passing a couple of camp sites and ending up at Snäck where you can round the amazing cliff at the little end of road circuit and find yourself at Snäck's sandy beach. Alternatively, you follow the Gotlandsleden bike trail up the hill at Snäck instead but then you're in for a whole daytrip or more along the northern coast. Should you feel like it, you could of course walk or run along the sea instead. Start just below the hospital in any case.
Favorite thing: The Gutasagen, Gotland's saga tells the story of the island's ancient legend. In the legend the enchanted island of Gotland rises from the sea every day at twilight and sinks beneath the waves again at dawn. The spell was broken by the hero, Tjelvar, when he brought fire to the island. The legend was oral prior to the 13th century, but since then can be found in written form.
Favorite thing: Being in Visby is like experiencing medieval times all sorts of seasons but still, nothing comes close to the Medieval Week in early August when the whole city is full of minstrels, jesters, knights and damsels, and when there is jousting on a meadow down by the sea. You don't have to dress up accordingly but lots of people do, tourists and locals alike, and you will be dragged into all sorts of events depending on the theme of the festival for that year. Usually the legend of events around Valdemar Atterdag and his invasion force is included one way or another. If you haven't booked accommodation well in advance for this week, you might as well make it a daytrip from Nynäshamn or be prepared to camp in the middle of nowhere.
There is so much to see on this island so make sure you bring an excellent pair of walking shoes or consider renting a bike. Of course the best alternative is to just stay over a long weekend. You'll want to bring some shopping money for the medieval market and make sure you have plenty of film (or batteries for the digital cam) because you can get up close and personal with all of the old ruins spread throughout the city. Take the time to research the history of this town to really enhance its' authentic spirit.
Fondest memory: The residents have to be some of the most remarkable people I've seen. The most interesting thing about them is that it seemed like everyone from the grandparents to the teenagers wore period garb as they made their way through their day to day tasks. Whether it was a merchant or a pirate, the locals did their part to ensure the town's authenticity. Overall this was both highly interesting and very relaxing.
If you have a chance, try to make your trip with good company - as I did, and went there with my girlfriend.
Wander around the streets of Visby and enjoy the sunshine in Visby park!
All the different ruins. They are so big and some are just a wall left over through the years.
Fondest memory: The presence of history.
Favorite thing: Even though Sweden is part of the European Union the country chose not to be part of the Euro monetary union. Hence the currency in Sweden is still the Swedish Krona.