From rugged limestone cliffs and windswept shingle shores to lush meadows and velvety sand beaches, the huge diversity of our Gotlandic nature is a treat for every nature-loving traveller, throughout the year. The island is also enriched by a huge number of nature reserves, which are signposted and give tips on specific points of interest in the area.
Gotland’s limestone bedrock provides the perfect environment for a large number of plants to thrive. 35 of Sweden's 44 species of orchid can be found on the island, and three of these only grow on Gotland. You won’t find Spitzel’s orchid (alpnyckar), swamp orchids (kärrnycklar) or white helleborine (stor skogslilja) anywhere else in Sweden.
The north of the island is barren, with long pebble beaches lined with windswept trees, but there are also vast stretches of golden sand amongst the rocks and shingle. Sudersand and Ekeviken, both on Fårö, are well worth a visit. Between these two beaches you’ll find Ulla Hau, a dune area surrounded by pine forest with some very special features. With a little luck you may even see some myrlejonen (also known as ant lions or doodlebugs) and their trapping pits in the sand.
The south of the island is completely different from the north. What the coast lacks in high cliffs it makes up for with vast meadows. You’ll also find some fantastic sea stacks. The most famous, Hoburgsgubben, or ‘Hoburg’s old man’, gazes out over the ocean on the southwest tip of the island.
The island's biggest sea stacks are at Diggerhead in northwest Fårö, where the majestic rock formations are unparalleled in the Swedish countryside. The sea has eroded the limestone over hundreds of years and now only the harder core (rauken) remains.
The spectacular vertical cliffs that stretch along the island's northwestern coast from Tofta to Hallshuk are also unique to Gotland and offer a breath-taking view over the sea. Cosy paths will lead you up through the trees to your own little hideaway to enjoy beautiful views of the sunset.
Travel in a little from the coast and the landscape changes yet again. You’ll find outcrops surrounded by pine forests and special grass marshes (agmyrar), which are yet another aspect of nature that’s unique to the island. Make sure you also visit at least one of Gotland’s beautiful meadows. In the spring the ground is covered with a carpet of wood anemones and the sun's rays break delicately through the greenery to let the leaves bathe in the light.