Remains of the past are to be seen everywhere on Gotland, on a scale found nowhere else in Sweden. The Gotland Tourist Association (Gotlands Turistförening) operates numerous excursions during the summer to the island's main features of interest. Gotland is also a paradise for the cyclist (with facilities for the rental of bicycles).
Visby to Lickershamn
Leave Visby (Norderport) on Road 149. In 4km/2.5mi a side road goes off to the seaside resort of Snäcksgärdsbadet. 6km/4mi beyond this is the Herb Garden (Krusmyntgården), on the Brissund road, with some 200 species of medicinal plants.In another 4km/2.5mi Road 149 comes to Lummelunda, with a stalactitic cave system discovered only in recent years. In the immediate vicinity are a wildlife park, a mink farm, the remains of an old iron foundry (closed down in 1712) and a large mill-wheel 10m/33ft in diameter.4km/2.5mi north, still on Road 149, is the late 13th century church of Lummelunda (restored 1960). 9km/6mi beyond this is the fishing port of Lickershamn. From here a narrow footpath (600m/660yd) runs along the cliffs to a striking rauk known as the Jomfru (Maiden; 11.50m/38ft high), from which there are extensive views.
Visby to Fårösund
(55km/35mi)Leave Visby (Norderport) on Road 148, which passes the airport to Bro (12km/7.5mi). The church, in Romanesque and Gothic style (13th C.), has a Baroque interior; 15th century bell with an inscription in Low German. Built into the facade are stones from an earlier church with animal figures and symbolic devices.
12km/7.5mi from Bro is Tingstäde, on the northwestern shore of a lake, the Tingstäde Träsk. Under the waters of the lake are the remains of a pile-built defensive structure from the Iron Age known as the Bulverk. This was the birthplace of the engineer and inventor Christoffer Polhem (1661-1751). There is also a fine 13th century church.
10km/5.5mi beyond Tingstäde Road 147 goes off on the right to the port of Slite (9km/6miles south), center of the Gotland cement industry.Road 148 continues to Lärbro (3km/2mi), a popular tourist destination. The church (14th C.) has an unusual octagonal tower and contains numerous sculptures and paintings. Beside the church is a 12th century defensive tower. A few kilometers northwest is the ruined 13th century church of Gann.
From Lärbro the road runs past Rute church (ca. 1260) and through a restricted military area to Bunge (13km/8mi), which has a fortified church (14th C.) richly decorated with sculpture and painting. To the east of the church is an open-air museum with some 50 old buildings.The village of Fårösund, 2km/1.25mi beyond this, has a small harbor on the Fårösund (1.5km/1mi wide), which separates Gotland from the island of Fårö (ferry).
The little island of Fårö ("Sheep Island"), off the northern tip of Gotland, has several beautiful sandy beaches (Sudersandsviken, Ekeviken, Norsta Auren) and large numbers of raukar. The island has only recently been opened up to foreign visitors.
Visby to Roma and Dalhem
(17km/10.5mi, 24km/15mi)Leave Visby (Söderport) on Road 143, which runs past the church of Follingbo to Roma, with a fine church built about 1250. 2km/1.25mi southeast are the ruins of Roma Abbey, a Cistercian house founded in 1164 and destroyed after the Reformation. Continue east to Dalhem.
7km/4.5mi east of Roma is Dalhem. Above the village is a church of about 1250 (renovated in the early 20th century) which is one of the most interesting on Gotland, notable particularly for its wall paintings and stained glass. 300m/330yd south of the church the old railroad station now houses a Railway Museum.
Visby to Burgsvik
(81km/50mi)Leave Visby (Söderport) on Road 140. In 3km/2mi a road branches off on the right to Kneippbyn and the Högklint. 13km/8mi farther on is Tofta church (13th C.); to the right of the road is Tofta bathing beach. Continue to Västergarn.
26km/16mi from Visby is the little seaside resort of Västergarn, with a church which was originally the choir of a larger church. By the beach is Kronholmen golf course. 7km/4.5mi beyond this is the port and seaside resort of Klintehamn.
From Klintehamn motorboats ply to the island of Stora Karlsö (12km/7.5mi southwest), passing Lilla Karlsö, on which there are sheep of the old Gotland breed. Stora Karlsö is famed for its abundance of bird life (250 species recorded, including razorbills, peregrine falcons, eiders and guillemots), and its rare plants (orchids). There are numerous raukar and caves, the largest of which, Stora Förvar, was occupied by Stone Age man. Both islands are nature reserves.
From Klintehamn continue either on Road 140, which runs closer to the coast via Fröjel (12th C. church with an old wooden crucifix) to Burgsvik (39km/25mi), or by the 9km/6mi longer route on Road 141.The harbour at Fröjel was a popular destination during the Viking Age but abandoned in the 12th century. The settlement is being excavated by students of Gotland University.
From Fröjel 2km/1.25mi along Road 141, on the right, is Klinte church (13th C.). 20km/12.5mi farther on is Hemse, once an important trading town, with a Romanesque church (C. 1200; 14th and 15th century paintings).Planks of oak from the original stave church floor are found in the present day church in Hemse. The original stave church is in storage at Statens historiska museum in Stockholm.
Visby - Smiss Slott
From Hernse continue south on Road 142, which also comes from Visby. 2km/1.25mi along this road is Smiss Slott, an old fortified castle. 10km/6mi beyond this is the fine church of Grötlingbo (1340), with well-preserved medieval stained glass; the pulpit (1548) was originally intended for Visby Cathedral.
In another 12km/7.5mi the road from Grötlingbo comes to Burgsvik, a port and seaside resort on the south side of the inlet of the same name. 2km/1.25mi east the 13th century church of Öja has a fine 13th century triumphal cross.
From Burgsvik a road leads south, passing the old farm of Bottarvegården (5km/3mi), now a museum, and Vamlingbo church, to the hill of Hoburgen (37m/121ft; lighthouse), at the southern tip of the island. Here there are curious cliff formations, including the impressive rauk known as Hoburgsgubben (4.5m/15ft high), and a number of caves.
An alternative route from Burgsvik to Hoburgen is on a narrow road which turns right off the main road 9.5km/6mi south of Burgsvik, making for Gervalds, and continues close to the coast, through rugged cliff scenery, to Hoburgen.13km/8mi southeast of Burgsvik is Holmhällar, with imposing raukar. On the beach is an old stone fisherman's cottage. Offshore is the island of Heligholmen, with a "Silver Cave" which is the subject of many legends.
On the southeast coast of Gotland, second only to Visby in its attraction to visitors, is Ljugarn, a port and seaside resort with a small Customs Museum. 2.5km/1.5mi northeast are the fields of raukar, extending for some 500m/550yd, of Folhammar.
7.5km/4.5mi southwest of Ljugarn we come to the 11th century church of Garde, with paintings in Byzantine style.
A few kilometers north of Ljugarn, in forest country, is the Torsburg, the oldest fortified settlement on Gotland, probably dating from the fifth century. It occupies a steep-sided limestone crag; on the south side is a wall 1.5km/1mi long and between 4 and 7m (13 and 23ft) high. There is a lookout tower.
Guffride - Stone-Settings
6km/4mi south of Ljugarn, at Guffride, are seven Bronze Age stone-settings in the form of ships, the largest on Gotland.