- Timo Kiviluoma
Medieval Visby tells stories for history lovers
When I was a kid, I heard older people talking about Visby as a dream summer travel destination. Back then, I didn’t really understand why. However, when a lady from Tallink Silja communications department asked me whether I’d like to experience Visby their special summer cruise, I didn’t hesitate.
Gotland has a very good strategic possession position in the middle of the Baltic Sea. Because of that, it has suffered a lot during over the centuries. One conqueror after another has landed on the island and tried to take it by brutal force. The city of Visby decided to defend itself and built a sturdy wall to protect itself and the people of Visby. The wall has survived very well, and there are almost no modern buildings inside it. The feisty past is far behind, so the city of Visby and the entire Gotland island has become wealthy. While the sea is no longer a major passageway, the favourable climate has driven development. The mild winters and sunny summers are a very attractive combination for modern people.
We travelled to Gotland from Helsinki on the cruise ship M/S Silja Europa. The old but properly reconditioned vessel took over 2000 passengers, mostly families with small children and pensioners, to Gotland. For families, there is the Kneippbyn, the Pippi Långstrump summer park in Gotland. For pensioners, the cruise itself is more important. The atmosphere during the entire cruise was very peaceful and almost quiet.
From the Visby harbour, it is about a 1,5-kilometre walk to the old town. In good weather, the distance is easily walkable along the shoreline. The streets in the old town are paved with stones. Walking is surprisingly difficult because there are a lot of ups and downs in the city. Personally, I wouldn’t take a carrycot to the old town. We also took a trip outside the city to the Högklint cliffs and the scientific gardens of Visby. Both destinations were visually wonderful, and they deepened our understanding of Visby and Gotland.
The M/S Silja Europa only offers six cruises to Visby during the summer. If you want more information, please go to their website.
My trip to Visby was provided with co-operation from Tallink Silja. The opinions expressed on this blog are my own.