Located on the Swedish island of Gotland, the UNESCO World Heritage Town of Visby is one of the most remarkable in Scandinavia. Known for its incredible scenic beauty and stunning historic sites, this former Hanseatic City has to be seen to be truly appreciated. The “City of Roses and Ruins” is like a living museum, and is renowned for its well-preserved medieval wall and defensive towers. Uncovering the 12th century Gunpowder Tower, Love Gate and Långa Lisa – the wall’s tallest tower, is highly recommended. Visby’s wonderful Old Town is home to 15 of Visby’s 17 medieval churches, and the Burmeister House – the town’s oldest merchant house – St. Mary’s Cathedral, and a beautiful botanical garden can also be found within its ancient walls. The main square, Stora Torget, has cobblestone streets lined with charming cafés and restaurants.
Visby City Wall
Arguably the most famous attraction in Visby is its medieval city wall, said to be the strongest and best-preserved of its kind in Scandinavia. This spectacular wall, which stretches for almost three and a half kilometres (two miles), was built from limestone in the 13th century to protect Visby. The wall features 44 towers, 36 of which are still intact, including the 12th century Gunpowder Tower, Love Gate and Långa Lisa – the wall’s tallest tower.
Botanical Gardens Visby
Visby Botanical Gardens are regarded as one of the best in Sweden, home to a wide range of trees, flowers and plants from all over the world. Within the Botanical Gardens lies the mossy, ivy-covered ruins of Church of St Olaf, which was built in the 13th century and once one of the biggest and most lavish churches in the area.
Gotland is home to 92 medieval churches, so there are many for visitors to discover. One of the most impressive medieval church ruins is St Karins Kyrka (St Catherine’s), which was founded by the Franciscans in 1233 and still dominates Visby’s skyline today. Other notable ruins include the Helge and Kyrka, which was built in 1200 and is the only stone-built octagonal church in Sweden.