Visby Things to Do

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Best Rated Things to Do in Visby

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    Gotlands Fornsal

    by Sjalen Updated Aug 7, 2007

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    A major reason to visit Visby for anyone interested in Scandinavian history! Gotlands Fornsal is the Visby part of the Gotland County Museum and its prime exhibits are on the ground floor in the form of stunning Iron age "pictorial stones", like Viking stones but with pictures rather than runes to tell a story. They tell of both religion, adventures and life at home, and some include fascinating whirl symbols. Then there is the main picture here where the stone has the cultural heritage "H" sign on it, so now you know where that originated.

    The museum also has a section on Viking life consisting of exhibits dug out on Gotland such as tools, equestrian items, graves and even proof that there was trade with the Romans on the island. Then you go on to Medieval Visby and on to the arrival of the Danes in rooms dedicated to the building of the wall, battles and such. The other main reason comes almost last: the Treasury. Here you will find the largest Viking silver hoard ever found in Europe and other treasures, old coins from Europe and the Middle East and so on found on Gotland. Apart from all this, there are exhibitions on medieval merchant halls, furniture, churches and other things.

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    Högklint views

    by Sjalen Updated Aug 13, 2007

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    H��gklint from below
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    Whatever you do, try not to miss this wonderful viewpoint five kilometres south of Visby. You can climb it, but personally I love staying on the beach at Fridhem below it and just marvel. Fridhem is also a great place for a coffee (see tip). Hög(e)klint is not even 100 metres high but looking at it from down the beach it looks higher and the setting makes it spectacular. You find a parking place by the top of it, but you can also approach it from the houses below to the north where there are steps and a footpath to take you through what is actually a nature reserve. Both on the way there and at the top you have excellent views back towards Visby in the distance and on the top you will also find stairs to the base of the cliff, although it was far too windy at my visit for me to dare climbing those safely. You can see many more images of wonderful Högklint on my Kneippbyn page since VT doesn't have a separate entry for it and it is quite close to the family park.

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    The Ferry to Visby!! M/S Visby

    by CharleneP Written Feb 25, 2003

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    Model of the M/S Visby

    The M/S Visby was super! You can sit and relax, look at the sundowns, there is a restaurant, coffee shop, lounge, art corner & a cinema. There is a few other ferries aswell like the M/S Thjelvar & HSC Gotland ect. See my travellogue for more pictures of the luxury Ferry!

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    S:ta Katarina

    by Sjalen Updated Aug 7, 2007

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    The major church ruin in the city as it is so central, next to the main square and you are sure to stumble upon it without effort. S:ta Katarina, or Karin as it is sometimes known, started off as a Fransiscan monastery in 1233, only a decade after the Pope agreed to St Francis of Assisi's ideas. It was then extended in the mid 14th century to look more like nearby St Nicolai. You can see most ruins inside between 11-17 summertime, and this one makes particular sense to visit since it has a small exhibition on the Visby ruins in general. It is thought that St:a Katarina had around 13 monks since that was the normal number all over Europe, and they lived in total poverty, saving souls around the city.

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    Pippi Longstocking

    by Sjalen Updated Aug 8, 2007

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    The Pippi films were mostly shot in Visby and its surroundings so if you are a fan, don't wonder why you recognise the odd street corner even if shop fronts and so on have changed. A classic is in the first film when Pippi moves in at Villa Villerkulla, the colourful house, and comes riding through a city gate. The house itself was found when SF, the film makers were out looking for the perfect house for shooting at and found this hidden in a military area just outside Visby.

    After the films were shot, the army wanted to tear Villa Villerkulla down but then it was rescued by a local who bought it and transported it to the nearby Kneippbyn park three kilometres or so away. That is where you still find it today, even if I am sure that I've read somewhere that this is an exact copy after a fire years ago. Around it, Kneippbyn has now turned into a full blown family park and it costs quite a bit to go in, but if you have children or like swimming pools it could be worth it (see my Kneippbyn page). The house had nothing much in it anymore, until some years ago when it was restyled to look like in the films again so visitors would recognise things.

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    Lummelunda caves

    by Sjalen Updated Aug 8, 2007

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    The real entrance

    Lummelunda 13 kilometres north of Visby has some of Sweden's biggest caves which were discovered in the 1950s by some local teenagers. You can only visit a bit more than 100 metres of the 4,5 kilometres as the rest are for cave explorers only, with the exception of a bit which is shown to those taking the Adventure tour including a short boat trip and dive further in but which has to be booked in advance. The rest of us are shown a small but nevertheless impressive part of the caves, including the stalagmites known as Jesus and Mary. Our tour only had Scandinavians on it so I'm not sure if tours are given in English but I am sure that you will still enjoy the 20-30 minutes in the underground and that the guide can still explain things to you. The teenagers who discovered it entered a different way to the now arranged visitors entrance and you can also visit the real entrance seen in these pictures but not enter as it is too narrow for adults. On the way there you will also see a famous stone stack (rauk). The limestone caves have been eroded in this way thanks to the stream flowing through here from the swamps at nearby Martebo and lots of rare cave creatures live inside although to you and me it all seems empty of everything but stalagmites and stalagtites. In the barn opposite the entrance is Silurium, a small exhibition on the local geology which is for free with a cave ticket.

    The caves are at Lummelunda mansion which once had a huge watermill for paper and flour, and which is still up and running, claiming to be the biggest in northern Europe and it IS impressive in its museum with a symbolic entry fee. You can also have a coffee here, buy souvenirs or walk the grounds down to the sea or up to the nature reserve. VT has not so much as a village listed in the local parish so the rest of my Lummelunda pictures are as a travelogue below.

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    Fiskargrand

    by MikeAtSea Written Aug 11, 2007

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    Fiskargrand
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    This is redoubtably my favourite lane in Visby. Translated it means Fishermen's lane since in the medieval times fishermen had their business' here. At the time a rather smelly lane :-) Somehow to improve the "smell" roses were planted and today they nestle and lean on every house - making this lane the most photographed lane in Visby.

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    Almedalen

    by MikeAtSea Written Aug 11, 2007

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    Almedalen
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    If one stands here today looking at this beautiful park with a pond in the centre one could not imagine that this used to be the main port during the medieval times. During the 12th and 13th century ships offloaded here the goods, but already in the 14th century the port closed because of mud and could not be used anymore since ships also needed deeper water to sail. Hence the port was moved to its current location.

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    City walls

    by Sjalen Written Aug 6, 2007

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    Known in Swedish as "ringmur" as it is a wall encircling what was once the entire city, this is an impressive wall and whilst you can walk on the walls at York or Tallinn, what is impressive with Visby is the setting of it all, here and there along the seafront and much of it along the ditches where stone has been dug out, creating so called "gravar" or graves outside the walls to the north and east which is particularly visible in my intro picture. To be ctd.

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    Österport

    by Sjalen Updated Aug 7, 2007

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    The eastern gate was the main road into the Gotland countryside in medieval days and the route taken by farmers wanting to sell their produce. Today it is the road leading to the shops of Östervägen and then further on to the village of Roma. It is a place where you will almost certainly find yourself at one stage or other since you will be exploring Hästgatan or perhaps look for the bus station nearby. Remember that Visby was once a city excluding its countryside and therefore there was once a portcullis here but only a wooden bar remains if you raise your head inside it today.

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    Helge And

    by Sjalen Written Aug 7, 2007

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    Yes, I'm afraid it is yet another ruin, but this time it is a quite interesting one in that it is unusual. Not much is left of it, but what is left is the octagonal piece and that is what makes it special. Only Lärbro Church, also on Gotland, and Trondheim Cathedral have a similar design. The "Wholy Spirit" as its English name would be belonged to Visby's medieval hospital.

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    Gotland Art Museum

    by Sjalen Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    This is the museum for Gotland art from the 19th century, and is run by the County museum close by. Tyra Lundgren is perhaps the most famous artist represented, but there is also the couple William Blair-Bruce and Caroline Benedicks who lived just north of Visby. There are also temporary exhibitions such as that on the special artists' light at Fårö and what works that has inspired.

    If art interests you, you should perhaps also pay a visit to Villa Muramaris north of the city (signposted along the main coastal road). Today, it is a well-known restaurant in a garden setting by the sea, but it was built by the artists Johnny and Ellen Roosval. He Sweden's first professor of Art and she a painter and sculptress. The house was finished in 1917 and is built in the style of an Italian villa. I have only passed by myself - would probably have stayed if it would have been dinner time.

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    S:t Nicolai ruin

    by Sjalen Written Aug 7, 2007

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    St Nicholas' church belonged to a Dominican monastery and was probably built around the mid 1200s. Today, it is a popular place for the many music festivals on Gotland and it was a special feeling to bike into town one sunny evening and be met by choirs singing inside when we once passed it. You can also enjoy the freemasons' garden just outside, where you can sit and meditate and study the ruins. That's if you don't come in the evening when the garden restaurant (see tip) is open.

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    Norderport

    by Sjalen Updated Aug 7, 2007

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    The northern city gate is my favourite. Perhaps it is because it is the one which mostly resembles the York bars I have come to love, but perhaps also due to the seaside views you get near it (second pic) and the good views looking back to it from inside, with Visby cottages lining the way such as in this picture.

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    The Tar Makers'

    by Sjalen Updated Aug 9, 2007

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    Again, this house doesn't look Swedish but like something from the Med. In Swedish it is called "Tjärkokeriet", the "tar boilery" and that is what was done here. If you want to see the inside close up, you can borrow a key for a deposit at the County museum.

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Visby Things to Do

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