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Luxury Yacht Charter Destination - Gotland

Sep 3, 2008
Gotland, the largest island in the Baltic, lies almost equidistant from the Swedish east coast and the Baltic state of Latvia. This beautiful island, surprisingly unknown to foreigners, is a favorite vacation destination among Swedes. First-time Swedish visitors often comment that it feels like being abroad, perhaps somewhere in the Mediterranean. Having grown up on Gotland, I am perhaps biased, but from the medieval, walled-in cobble-stoned city of Visby to the stark, windblown, sheep-studded landscape of Faro, Gotland truly is a spectacular and fascinating place.

From Sandhamn in the Stockholm archipelago, it is about a 24-hour sail to reach Gotland. There are no luxury yachts available for charter on Gotland, but many in Stockholm, so this is the way to go.

Visby, the only city on the island, gets quite crowded in the summer, and if you like an intense nightlife, you definitely want to check it out. "Everybody" in Sweden shows up in Visby at some point in July: celebrities, politicians and royalty alike. After mid-August, however, most of the tourists are gone, so if you have your heart set on Visby but don't want to fight the crowds, that's a great time to visit. September can also be beautiful, with summer warmth lingering well into the month. To the surprise of many, the water around Gotland gets quite warm in the summer - it can reach 80F and above in August and sometimes way into September as well. It is a lovely experience to go swimming when the water is warmer than the air and then treat yourself to a hot chocolate or a vin chaud afterwards.

But you can find quiet spots with very few visitors all over the island even in July (with varying degrees, or lack, of nightlife). There are several other ports around the island well worth a stop:

Lickershamn (about 13 miles north of Visby), a small fishing village with a few beaches, restaurants and shops, and the highest rock formation (of which there are many) on Gotland called "Jungfrun".

Lauterhorn on Faro (a small island just north of Gotland, which Ingmar Bergman used to call home) has a large area of rock formations, an old viking harbor, bike rentals, and one restaurant, bar, cafe and shop.

Farosund, the northernmost village on Gotland, is a tad more lively with a few restaurants and shops.

Slite, on the east coast, is often overlooked by tourists since it's mainly known for its cement factory, but the town (the second largest on the island after Visby) also has a nice, sandy beach, tennis club, and a few stores and restaurants, although not much in the way of nightlife.

Katthammarsvik, further down on the east coast, is an old fishing village with a locally famous seafood smoke house (try the smoked shrimp), several restaurants, cafes, shops and sandy beaches.

A bit further down the coast lies Ljugarn, one of the most popular vacation spots, and the one with the most active nightlife, on this coast. Ljugarn has a beautiful white sandy beach, a few museums and several restaurants, pubs and cafes.

If you go all the way down the coast and head back up on the west coast, you arrive in Burgsvik, the southernmost village on the island. Burgsvik has a nice, sandy beach, a few shops and restaurants, a farmer's market every Saturday in the summer, and several artisans with shops. A bit south of Burgsvik is one of the most well known rock formations on Gotland, Hoburgsgubben (The Hoburg Man), who, according to one American friend, looks like Richard Nixon.

Gotland is also a popular biking destination, and most towns have bike rentals (in Visby you can also rent cars, scooters and motorcycles) so if you want to see more than the coastal areas, that's a fun way to do it.

There are of course many more harbors and beautiful places to visit on Gotland, but these are some places to start with, and I hope I have inspired you to explore this unique island on your next yacht charter vacation.
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