Gotland County, Sweden
Visby is an enchanting medieval town, located in Gotland, a secluded island 90 km east of the mainland. You’ll be transported back in time by its cobblestone streets, timeworn fortresses and ruined Gothic churches.
On Ferryhopper, you can find all the information you need for your holiday in Visby. Discover the best things to do and how to get there. Check all available routes and book ferry tickets to Visby from mainland Sweden and Germany at no extra cost!
The Ringmuren, Visby’s medieval city wall
Holidays in Visby
Visby is Scandinavia's best-preserved medieval town. In fact, it was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1995 and is characterized as having “outstanding universal value.”
Thanks to its maze of cobblestone streets, pastel cottages and colorful wildflowers, "the city of roses and ruins" (as it’s often called), is also one of Sweden's most photogenic destinations.
While some visitors prefer traveling to Visby during the busy spring and summer months, when the sea is warm and the island is in full bloom, others are more drawn to its quieter periods. Either way, Gotland's richly historical capital offers plenty to do at any time of the year and has something for everyone, whether you're looking for history, nature, culture, delicious food, or just want to unwind on the beach.
How to get to Visby
You can catch a ferry to Visby from Nynäshamn, Oskarshamn and Vastervik in Sweden, as well as from Rostock, in Germany. Check all info about ferry routes and schedules to Visby here!
You can also reach Visby by plane. There are several direct flights to Visby Airport (located 4 km north of central Visby) from the Swedish mainland year-round. During summer, there are also flights from Norway, Finland and Germany.
What to do in Visby
The first thing you should explore when arriving at Visby is its medieval ring wall. Start at the northern gate and proceed southwest on your journey. You’ll end at Kruttornet, a gunpowder store at the oldest part of the wall.
Afterwards, head to Visby Cathedral and the medieval churches of the town - there are 15 inside the city walls and 2 outside. Walk along the fairy-tale town’s narrow picturesque alleys and make sure to pass by Fiskargränd, the most photographed street in Visby today.
Visiting the Gotland Museum’s Fornsalen (Hall of Antiquities) and the museum’s Treasury, which boasts the largest silver treasure in Europe, is another must-visit for history lovers! Alternatively, stroll through Visby’s Botanical Garden and admire its exotic trees and plants. You can even go for a picnic there!
For magnificent views over the town, hike to Högklint, 7 km south of Visby, and for panoramic views of the Baltic Sea, walk along Strandpromenaden (the beach boardwalk), a 5 km walking and biking path that runs along Visby’s northern coast.
The magnificent Saint Mary's Cathedral on a cold winter’s day
Sightseeing in Visby
Dating back to the 12th century, this well-preserved medieval Hanseatic town boasts several historic churches and more than 200 medieval structures. Visby actually has the largest number of preserved ruins in northern Europe.
- The Ringmuren ("the Ring Wall"), with 36 towers and 3 main gates, it stretches almost 3.5 km and stands 11 m high
- The ruins of St. Clement church
- The ruins of St. Nicholas Church
- Visby Saint Mary's Cathedral, built at the end of the 12th century
- The Gotland Museum, with 7 different structures scattered throughout Visby
- Villa Villerkulla, the brightly decorated home of a beloved fictional character, Pippi Longstocking
- The 2.5-hectare Botanical Garden, dating back to 1855
- The Fenomenalen - Science Centre, perfect for children
- The iconic Burmeister House, located in the heart of Donners plats
Useful info: keep in mind that many of the town's attractions are only open during the summer months.
Majestic flowers at the Botanical Garden in Visby
Nightlife in Visby
Visby is one of the best party cities in Sweden in the summer. It’s where you’ll find the majority of Stockholm´s hip and cool crowd hanging out.
During the peak season, there are many after-beach clubs open in the afternoons. The most popular one is Kallis, situated in the old medieval town of Visby. There are also numerous nightclubs in the evenings, playing a wide variety of music to suit all tastes.
Tip: during a summer evening, it is sometimes possible to marvel at the extremely rare night-shining clouds, known as the noctilucent clouds or NLCs, on the island of Gotland.
Food in Visby
There is a lot of fresh, local produce available thanks to Gotland's lime-rich soil and favorable climate. Asparagus, truffles, lamb, as well as smoked salmon, flounder and herring will be on the menu in all forms. Don’t forget to wash the food down with beers like Wisby Pils and Sleepy Bulldog!
Some of the best dishes and delicacies to try in Visby are:
- hånnlamb (horned sheep)
- fisksoppa (fish stew)
- fried Baltic herring
- turbot (Gotland’s national fish)
- the rare Mellerud rabbit
- saffranspannkaka (saffron pancake served with berries and cream)
Tip: the majority of Visby’s restaurants are scattered around or close by Stora torget (the main square).
Here are 3 tips that we hope will be useful to you during your stay in Visby:
- If you want to bring back home some cool souvenirs, keep in mind that Gotland is particularly known for its wonderful ceramics and woolen items. The main shopping areas in the city are Adelsgatan, Hästgatan, Sankt Hans Quarter, and Östercentrum.
- Visby is also home to many major events, such as the Medieval Week and the Gotland Truffle Festival. As you start planning your trip, make sure to check out what festivals are taking place and make the best of your holidays in Visby!
- From Visby you can go on a day trip to various interesting places such as Fårö, a smaller island on the north side of Gotland, and Karlsöarna, the second oldest natural reserve in the world.
Alley of roses in the charming Fiskargränd street in Visby
Useful information about Visby
Visby is quite developed, so travelers can enjoy all necessary amenities during their trip, including a hospital, ATMs and rental services.
Regarding accommodation, options are plenty, whether you travel alone, as a couple, or with family, and friends. If you prefer to stay inside Visby, there are many hotels and apartments to choose from depending on your vacation style and budget. Most places are located in the city center, at Strandgatan street.
Important phone numbers for your stay in Visby
Here are some useful contacts for your trip to Visby:
- Port of Visby: +46498269470
- Vårdcentralen medical center: +46498268931
- Police station in Visby: +46771141400
- Visby tourist information center: +46498201700
- European emergency number: 112
Transportation in Visby
Even though Gotland is Sweden's biggest island, the distances are short and the landscape mostly flat. This makes Visby’s inner city (Old Town) ideal to be explored on foot. The rest of the city has several excellent bike trails and is easy to navigate on two wheels.
Additionally, there is a public transportation system that consists of Visby city lines. There are also several bus lines going out to the rest of the island. You can buy single tickets as well as 24- and 72-hour passes.
In the summer, cars are not permitted inside the city walls. Although there are parking options free of charge, the city center often charges a small parking fee.
Tip: there are many bike rentals available in the summer, but they can be pricey. If you're staying in Visby for a longer time, buying a used bike might be a more cost-effective option.
Ports in Visby
The port of Visby is located in the south-western part of the city center. The picturesque medieval town of Visby is located within walking distance from the port. In the port area, outside the terminal, you will find a taxi rank and a bus stop. Long-term parking is also available.
Visby ferry: schedules and tickets
Here are more details on the ferry routes to Visby:
- Nynashamn - Visby ferries: the ferry connection from Nynäshamn to Visby is available all year round with up to 14 weekly crossings. The route is operated by Destination Gotland and the trip takes around 3 hours.
- Oskarshamn - Visby ferries: there are normally 14 weekly ferry crossings from Oskarshamn to Visby operated by Destination Gotland. The ferry ride lasts less than 3 hours.
- Vastervik - Visby ferries: you can travel by ferry from Vastervik to Visby in the peak season with up to 9 weekly crossings by Destination Gotland. The duration of the ferry ride is approximately 2.5 hours.
- Rostock - Visby ferries: the Rostock - Visby ferry route is usually operated with up to 2 weekly crossings served by Hansa Destinations. The ferry trip to the port of Visby lasts around 12 hours on average.
On Ferryhopper's Map of ferries, you can see all available ferry routes from/to the port of Visby, so you can easily plan and visualize your ferry trip.
Tip: as ferry schedules are subject to change, we recommend checking the latest ferry information on Ferryhopper.
The port of Visby as seen from the window of a ferry
Where to book ferry tickets to Visby online
On Ferryhopper, of course! Check all ferry routes to and from the port of Visby in Gotland, compare prices, timetables and companies, and book ferry tickets to Visby online at the same prices as ferry companies.