A Hidden Gem in Sweden

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Experience historical ruins, beautiful roses, interesting design and world-class food – In Gotland, Sweden.

Gotland is a destination where you can spend your vacation among hens, truffle-dogs and hermits.

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To site the locals: “Gotland is a place full of opportunities, a place to explore, a place to relax. It is a place for exciting encounters, between land and sea, between the past and the present but also between people enjoying each other’s company.”

So what is there to explore?

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Truffles safari

Truffles are the black gold of Gotland. At Risungs farm, 50 kilometer from Visby airport, there is a Lagotto Romagnolo kennel, which is a dog that is great at finding truffles. Truffles are delivered from the farm to Maemo in Copenhagen, which some say is the best restaurant in the world. From August through November, the farm invites guests to join their truffles safari.

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Stay in a Hermit cabin?
Driving a short distance from the farm you’ll notice a yellow sign pointing to Fabriken Furillen, a hotel, with a smart restaurant and shapely Scandinavian furniture. We recommend you, however to stay in one of the two Hermit cabins with no electricity, no running water, no lightning, just simple wooden constructions, looking like lumberjacks’ homes, albeit designed by the top Swedish architect, Mats Theselius.

In the Hermit cabins you can forget everything else for a few days. You just find true solitude.

One of Sweden’s top photographers, Johan Hellström, is the founder and manager of Fabriken Furillen (which, by the way have 18 rooms with electricity and hot and cold running water), and where master chef Filip Fastén is in charge of a fabulous restaurant.

The hotel was built on a former limestone plant.

If you want to rent a cabin, there is an interesting payment system; First night is SEK 5,000, second night is SEK 500, third night SEK 50, forth night is SEK 5 and the fifth night is free.

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Viking heritage
When you are on the island of Gotland, be sure to visit the former Viking site, and only city on the island, Visby. Visby was the main center of the Hanseatic League in the Baltic from the 12th to the 14th century. Its 13th-century ramparts and more than 200 warehouses and wealthy merchants’ dwellings from the same period make it the best-preserved fortified commercial city in northern Europe. The 3.5 kilometer long town wall and the old houses have been on UNESCOs World Heritage List for 20 years.

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Pippi Longstockings on Gotland
The home of Astrid Lindgren is on Sweden’s mainland. But the house used in the first Pippi Longstockings film shootings is on Gotland.

Favorites of the locals
After asking the locals for their favorite places to eat or shop, we can offer you the following list:

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Bakfickan (back pocket), Visby’æs only fish and shellfish restaurant. Try fish-soup or smoked shrimps at the restaurant situated by the grand square.

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Gutekällaren, restaurant, bar and nightclub loved by summer revelers, situated by the grand square.

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Amarillo restaurant. Enjoy international inspired small dishes served at thes central restaurant.

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Black Sheep Arms is a “hostery, serving good food, fine ales, beers & malts to regulars as well as Amiable strangers.”
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Want to shop in an old chapel? Then Berså at Tofte (15 kilometer south of Visby) is the place.

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Rute Stenugnsbageri. Bakery and cafeteria in Rute, north Gotland, in an old ruin with a beautiful garden. Famous for their stone oven baked bread.

About Gotland
Sweden’s largest island, 3,134 square meters, 50 kilometers wide. 57,400 inhabitants.

92 churches from the middle ages built between 1100s-1400s. Visby, only city, was listed on UNESCOs World Heritage List in 1995.

What to do?
Guided tours, surfing, kiting, climbing, biking, riding, truffle-safaris, golfing, botanical garden.

How to get here?
Via Stockholm by ferry from Nynäshamn and Oskarshamn.

A Hidden Gem in Sweden, written by Tor Kjolberg