Gotland Island: Sweden’s largest island floating in the Baltic Sea


While Sweden has many islands, the largest one is Gotland Island. It played an important role in medieval Sweden from the Viking Age to the Hanseatic League era. In this article, I will introduce the features, history, and famous spots of Gotland Island.

Features of Gotland Island

Gotland Island is Sweden’s largest island and located 300 km south of the capital city Stockholm. It has a population of about 60,000 people, and the dialect spoken there is mainly called Gutnish. The climate of the island is relatively mild, and it is also a popular resort destination. Many people visit the island for vacation during the summer season.

Gotland Island’s history is ancient, and its original name is derived from the ancient Germanic tribe, the Goths. As it was the land of the Goth tribe, it was named Gotland.

During the Middle Ages, Viking pirates ruled the island, and it was used as a trading hub in the Baltic Sea. Later, it became part of the Hanseatic League, and the central city of Visby became one of the member cities. Visby flourished as a trading port connecting Sweden and Europe from the 12th to the 14th centuries.

The central city of Gotland Island: Visby

Visby is a town located in the southwestern part of Gotland Island, with a population of 22,000 people. It is known as the central city of Gotland Island and as mentioned in the previous section, it was a member of the Hanseatic League and prospered as a relay point for many merchant ships.

Currently, Visby is known as a historical spot where ruins and churches built during the Hanseatic League era remain. The old town is surrounded by a 3.5 km long wall built in the 13th century, and there are many ruins and walls built during the Middle Ages. It has an atmosphere where time seems to have stopped.

Visby is also known as the “City of Roses,” and vibrant roses bloom along the cobbled path called the “Fisherman’s Path.” The townscape of Visby as a whole is also beautiful, with houses with red-brown roofs lined up, providing a unique atmosphere different from mainland Sweden.

By the way, it is also known as the model for “Koriko Town” in the Studio Ghibli film “Kiki’s Delivery Service.” You may enjoy the townscape more if you watch the movie beforehand.

Abundant resources such as nature and ruins

Gotland Island has many ruins built during the Middle Ages, making it an attractive tourist spot for history enthusiasts. The rich nature is also one of the attractions, and you can enjoy activities such as swimming in the sea.

Gotland Island has unique wildlife, such as Gotland Sheep and Gotland Snake, which are not found on the Swedish mainland. Gotland Island, which has a wealth of natural landscapes that cannot be found on the Swedish mainland, is an ideal place to take a leisurely vacation away from work.


Gotland Island, floating in the Baltic Sea away from Sweden, is a region with numerous ruins and nature, including the medieval city of Visby. While Stockholm has developed attractions, Gotland Island with its untouched history and nature also has its unique charm.