Millerine and I share a birthday, and this was it. We awoke fairly early and had completed the 35km to Visby by mid morning. We left the Gotlandsleden and took the shortest route along one of the main roads. It still felt quite safe, and there were no hills even though we passed through the middle of the island.
Outside the Visby town wall
Visby is a very attractive city with a well preserved city wall around the old town and a bunch of church ruins. St Katrins is possibly the most beautiful ruin I’ve seen.
The ruins of St Katrins in Visby
The weather was hot and sunny, and perfect for walking around exploring (with frequent bar stops). We were also fans of the glassworks. Visby is definitely a tourist town, but not incredibly overcrowded and still very pleasant.
The first part of the ride was spent searching for breakfast, which is pretty difficult when most places seem to open at midday. I can be very grumpy when I go without breakfast, and this morning was a struggle. I highly recommend BYO breakfast unless you’re staying somewhere with breakfast supplied. Supermarkets and even stores are hard to come by outside of the bigger towns, so it’s best to carry some emergency supplies. We eventually came across a cafe that was open and had some incredibly satisfying sandwiches. It seems the Swedes enjoy their sandwiches and don’t care much for a normal heavy breakfast of porridge or eggs and bacon. However they all seem to provide the most excellent tea.
We continued to follow the Gotlandsleden which turned off the main road pretty early and went along a dirt road following the coastline. It wasn’t a terrible road by any standards, but made for slow going compared to the asphalt. Some sections were potholed, but it was generally OK. Along the way we came across a restaurant/B&B with a fantastic beach front, and an Australian waitress who was somewhat excited to see a fellow citizen. We also saw quite a few small snakes. There seem to be a lot of them out on the road sunbaking and turning themselves into roadkill.
Snake on the road
It was another fairly hot day, so our lunch break lasted around four hours. We settled into a roadside cafe and had the tallest hamburger I’ve ever seen and a bottle of wine, then we had a long sleep beside the sea at Hallshuk, near some fishing huts.
Fishing huts near where we napped in Hallshuk
We finished the ride into Slite pretty quickly. Slite is a town entirely based around the cement industry and has the dead feel of a mining town. It does have a campsite, restaurant and supermarket though, so suited us just fine.
Ferry Nynashamn to Visby
Cycled Visby to Stenkyrka
Date: 14th July 2010
The ferry we went for was sold out, but they allowed us to get standby tickets and, after waiting in line with other cars and motorbikes for some time, we got on. They were expensive tickets for a three hour trip though – around 500 SEK each. There’s a very nice view of Visby as the ferry approaches.
View of Visby from the ferry
Again there’s a bike route signposted immediately when you get off the ferry (Gotlandsleden). There were a lot of cycle tourists in Visby. Looking at the gear some of the bikes are carrying most of them were probably new to the activity. There were families with huge family tents, backpacks sitting in buckets on the rack, and even a rolled up foam mattress (a proper mattress, not a camping one) tied to a pannier rack.
We arrived in the afternoon and left from Visby at about 3:30pm. Following the Gotlandsleden north, it was flat apart from the climbs to get from the beach to the main road, and very little traffic. Even though it was a late start we still managed a stop to see the Lummelunda Cave along the way. It was a fairly regular tourist cave, but a little overhyped. Apart from Visby itself it’s one of the main tourist attractions of the island, but it would be OK to give it a miss.
Accommodation is easy to find in the area. We passed a few signposted campgrounds, and managed to find a small cabin for the reasonable price of 400 SEK at a “Mix Ranch” near Stenkyrka. The place had a bar and restaurant, and a bunch of goats and other animals on the property.