Here’s How to Get to Gotland, Sweden
Getting there: SAS flies every day except Tuesday from Los Angeles direct to Copenhagen (flights depart Copenhagen every every half hour for Stockholm). Starting June 5, SAS flies every day. Call (213) 322-7100. American Airlines has a daily direct flight from Chicago’s O’Hare to Stockholm. Call toll-free (800) 624-6262. TWA flies daily from New York City’s Kennedy Airport to Stockholm.
Transportation in Sweden: Note: Check the catalogue and ask for packages including boat or plane transportation and accommodation. Gotlandsbolaget Co. connects Visby and three ports on the mainland. Departing Nynashamn (south of Stockholm), passengers can spend the six-hour crossing in one of the comfortable lounges, or in a cabin (from $25). Tickets one way start at $25 per person, with an extra fee for cars.
Linjeflyg Airline flies every other hour from Stockholm to Visby. The flight takes less than an hour. Cost varies depending on season and the number of family members traveling (young children may travel at reduced price).
Getting around Gotland: Car rental available in Visby. Bicycle is the ideal mode of transportation on this flat, small island, with abundant smaller country roads where farm tractors are the only motor vehicles in sight. An eight-day bicycle rental starts at about $25 (including insurance). Or go for a package including accommodations at a hotel or campsite. There is also a network of buses serving the island.
Where to stay: Several possibilities from hotels, apartments, pensions, to youth hostels, cottages and campsites.
Hotels central in Visby are Visby Hotel, (P.O. Box 2044, 621 02 Visby. Tel: 119 25). A package including ferry transportation (round-trip ticket) bath and breakfast is about $75-$100 per person a night for a double room. Hotel Lindgarden, (Strandgaten 26, 621 21 Visby. Tel: 187 00), and Strand Hotel (Strandgatan 34, P.O. Box 2070, 621 02 Visby. Tel: 126 00).
Rental of apartments in Visby and cottages in the countryside are attractive alternatives, so make reservations in advance.
The price during summer is about $150-$250 per week for one person, including ferry transportation.
Accommodations: Here are a few of the countryside hotels and pensions that offer packages similar to those of the Visby hotels: Ljugarns Badpensionat, (620 16 Ljugarn. Tel: 932 05). Hotel Bjorklunda (620 10 Burgsvik. Tel: 970 47). Hotel Slitebaden (620 30 Slite. Tel: 223 70).
Small cottages with two to four beds can be shared or individually booked in one of Gotland’s eight youth hostels that are open to all ages. Contact Svenska Turistforeningen, Gotlandsbokningen, 620 16 Ljugarn. Tel: 912 20.
Events: In early August, during Visby’s annual Medieval Week, history comes alive with medieval plays and recitals performed in the old church ruins, guided historic tours and citizens wearing period costumes.
The second week of July, at Stangaspelen sports competition, islanders compete in sports dating to the Viking era.
When to visit: The peak tourist season is between midsummer and September. Most Swedes vacation in July, which means you need to plan for accommodations. For those who enjoy beaches and water sports, summer is the best time to visit. Spring (April-May) and early fall are beautiful and compared with the U.S. long seasons, ideal for visitors who wish to avoid the summer crowds.
For more information on travel to Gotland, contact the Scandinavian Tourist Board, 655 3rd Ave., 18th floor, New York 10017, (212) 949-2333; or write for a catalogue to Gotlands Turistservice, Ostervag 1, 621 45 Visby, Sweden. Tel: 0146 (country code) 498 (area code; when dialing in Sweden, except Gotland, preceded by 0)-490 50. The catalogue includes everything from airline and boat schedules and prices, to hotel prices including special packages with bicycle rental, horseback riding or camping.