Picturesque cobblestone streets, Medieval architecture and preserved city ruins make Visby, Sweden a must-see destination during a Scandinavian cruise. Visby is quaint but not provincial. As the capital of the island of Gotland and a UNESCO World Heritage site, Visby a popular tourism spot in Sweden and home to a population of less than 25,000 people. In August, Medieval Week attracts plenty of visitors from all over Sweden, so you can expect the city to bustle and glow brightly in summer. The other months of the year, it’s a little quieter, but no less quaint.
During a few hours stopped in Visby, you can visit several of the town’s major sights. The 12th-century city walls make a stunning vista for both photo ops and panoramic views of Visby. Stroll around the 150-year-old botanical garden. Spend time in the square of Stora Torget, where people watching and romantic cafes will capture your heart. If you’re curious about the history of Visby, stop in the Gotland Museum to discover more about the island, including tidbits on how the Vikings began their settlement in the Medieval period. There’s truly no wrong way to experience Visby on a cruise.
Established in 1875, the Gotland Museum is a must-see for history buffs during their Visby cruise stop. You’ll learn the island’s stories and legends, admire Medieval art and archaeological objects, and tour multiple houses, many of which have been converted into additional museums.
Visby’s most famous church is St. Mary’s Cathedral. Stop to admire the stained glass and distinct architectural design, which is markedly different from other buildings in town. St. Mary’s catches the eye from afar, and the interior is even more breathtaking. Walk up the hill behind the church for one of the best views of Visby.
Stop in a local cafe or eatery around the historic district of Visby called Stora Torget. The design features a mix of ancient and modern structures as well as shops. Recent remodeling and conservation efforts have breathed new life into Stora Torget.
Go on a walking tour of the ancient city walls of Visby, a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1995. Its citadel dates back to the 1100s. Learn about its history and construction as you walk through the grounds and soak in views of the Baltic Sea.
The Visby Botanical Garden is well-loved by locals and known for the thriving, beautiful ivy that covers the old church of St. Olof. This green space is a beautiful contrast to the red buildings and brick that characterize Visby. Relax and enjoy this natural oasis where you’ll feel at peace among the fig and mulberry trees.
On a Visby cruise stop, you’ll find all kinds of restaurants, from elegant French bistros to laid-back gastropubs. Lamb dishes are menu staples in this part of Sweden. Head to Bolaget for French food on the square, where the romantic seating offers beautiful views. For a lighter breakfast or lunch, try Visby Creperie & Logi, which has a blend of sweet and savory crepes as well as plenty of ciders to choose from. Surfers offers unique spins on dumplings and Szechuan food, as well as strong cocktails.
Visby, Sweden is the capital of the island of Gotland, which borders the Baltic Sea and the country of Latvia. The city was primarily constructed in the 12th century by the Vikings who settled there. In 1995, Visby’s preserved city walls were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the area saw a boom in tourism as a result. In August each year, the city hosts a festival dedicated to all things Medieval.
When you disembark and arrive at the Visby cruise port, you’ll come across the tourist office where you can ask staff questions about tours, museums, and getting around. There will be city maps and other information there for you as well. A souvenir shop nearby sells plush sheep toys and other small gifts. An internet cafe is also available here.
Visby is a very walkable city, so you can rely on getting around on foot. Taxis are available at the Visby cruise port terminal and can take you to multiple destinations on a city tour for an affordable price.
Spend a few kronor on the famous Gotland sheep goods, whether that’s a fleece or toys modeled after the island’s grey-fleeced sheep. Head to the square to shop the city’s small boutiques, where you can find souvenirs like cheese, fossils, glassware, and jewelry.
The official currency of Sweden is the krona. Euros aren’t widely accepted. If you want to pay with a credit card, make sure to ask if they’re accepted when shopping in smaller stores. Tipping isn’t a requirement in Sweden. If you have great service from a taxi driver, you can round to the nearest kronor as you exit the cab.