20th eawe PhD Seminar

24-26 September 2024, Visby (Sweden)

Visby – a Swedish fairytale town on the island of Gotland

“Ask any Swede about Visby and they’ll probably get a dreamy look on their face. It’s rare to find someone who isn’t fond of this enchanting medieval town, located on the island of Gotland, east of the Swedish mainland.

Whether you’re looking for history, nature, culture, good food or just want to relax on the beach, the town of Visby has it all. Located on the island of Gotland, in the Baltic Sea, this fairy-tale town is a national treasure. It’s also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, characterised as having “outstanding universal value.”

Gotland's warm climate and endlessly sunny summer make it the ideal summer destination for many Swedes. Summer comes late but also stays longer on Gotland due to the surrounding Baltic Sea. Even Septembers can still be warm and sunny, and for many Gotlanders this is the perfect time to enjoy the island, after the tourist season has quited down.

This well-preserved medieval Hanseatic town dates back to the 12th century and contains several remarkable church ruins from the period such as St Clemens, St Nicolai and Drotten’s ruins, and the St Karin church ruin with its high arches. Visby boasts several historic churches as well, including the Sankta Maria Cathedral built at the end of the 12th century.

Visby also has a well-preserved 3.5 kilometres long medieval ring wall (The Visby City Wall) with many of its original towers from the 1200s still intact. The wall encircles the centre of Visby and was initially built for protection against both foreign enemies and Swedish assailants from the countryside”.

Find out more here about Gotland and Visby

Gotland has a rich history of wind energy, dating back to the end of the 1970s when Näsudden Peninsula was chosen for the testsite of one of Sweden's first wind turbine prototypes. Today, a large portion of the islands electricity is produced by wind energy on and around the island.


Image credit: Guillaume Baviere from Copenhagen, Denmark, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Gotland is well known for its many unique features, such as the sea stacks, or "Raukar" in the local dialekt. They are washed out fossilized corral reefs, that form bizarre shapes and can be found in many places on the coast of the island. Image credit: Bene Riobó, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Another typical Gotlandic site are the fishing villages used by farmers to go fishing during the summer. The small huts have barely enough space for a bed and some fishing nets. These little villages can be found all over the coast, some even very close to Visby.