Founded in 897, Visby is the oldest city in the Baltic region. Even prior to Stockholm, being established, Visby had already become an important commercial trading town and was larger than Stockholm during the Middle Ages.
Visby has not always been a Swedish city. For almost three centuries, during the period 1361-1645, Gotland belonged to Denmark apart from some brief periods, when the Teutonic Order reigned from 1398 to 1408. It wasn’t until 1645 before Gotland then became a permanent part of Sweden.
Visby is the legendary city of roses and ruins with a romantic and historical aura. Although an idyllic small town, it is still Gotland’s largest urban area accommodating 25,000 permanent residents.
Gotland’s capital has many guises; from party town to the Almedalen Week of political debate to the Medieval Week’s sense of time travel and even the looming presence of a world heritage site.
A weekend visit to Visby is also a valuable experience, with its narrow cobble-stoned streets, lovely climbing roses and beautiful facades. Once you begin to appreciate all the buildings’ wonderful entrances and their doors you’ll find it difficult to stop and hard to believe that people actually live in all the dollhouse-like houses with their small fairy-tale courtyards glimpsed through the gates and doors.
Visby is a destination not easily forgotten with her lush botanical garden, dramatic seafront promenade that shifts character with the changing seasons and, of course, the much-loved city walls that frame the oldest part of the town.