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Thursday, September 10, 2009
The whole atmosphere of this wonderful island is redolent of theViking Age- ruins and runestones, cairns, medieval churches, windmills and trolls. According to some historians the original home of the Goths,Gotlandlies 90 km east of the mainland and isSweden''s largest island, covering in area of 3,140 sq km. The island is known for its natural beauty – a craggy limestone and share landscape with rugged shores, mainly given over the farmland.
Gotlandwas once an important independent Baltic nation, eventually integrated into Sweden in 1645. The picturesque medieval city ofVisby, aUnesco World Heritage site on the west coast, was once the main port of the Baltic with trading links as far away as Arabia. Its massive city walls are 11 m high and 3,4 km long; as you walk along its cobbled streets and wood houses, to the medieval harbour, you can’t help being blown away by its Viking charm.
The north coast has a peculiar Nordic beauty with its stony shoreline and breathtaking clifftop views. Most of the island is rich pastoral scenery of fields, woods and moors with drystone walls, whitewashed churches and windmills – perfect for horse riding and cycling. All along the east coast spectacularraukar– limestone columns up to 6m high, weathered into extraordinary shapes. The most famousraukis the island’s landmark ofHoburgsgubben(Old Man’s Rock) on the south coast, which is a magnet for birds.
When to go:Late May to early September.Population:57,317.How to get there:Daily flights from Stockholm. Ferry several times a day from Nynashamn or Oskarshamn on the mainland, takes about three hours.