James Morris - Dec 5, 2011
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Sweden has a reputation of one of the most beautiful countries which lures thousands of visitors each year. However, the Swedish islands in the midst of the Baltic Sea are equally dazzling yet still retain a distinctly medieval feel inviting heritage enthusiasts.

Gotland and Öland count as exceptional holiday destinations, and while the Swedish praise local scenic charms foreign visitors still have not fully discovered these two large islands.

Those who enjoy the lull of sea arrive by ferry, which takes approximately 2.5 hours; however, the fastest way is by air. The only airport available takes tourists to Gotland’s Visby, the local medieval gem. This uniquely picturesque town is entirely under UNESCO World Heritage protection.

Visby gained a very important economic status in the Middle Ages when it became the main trading hub of the Hanseatic League. Its well preserved city walls remind one of its formerly grand status and discovering Visby’s hidden corners is a wonderful experience.

From here, tourists may travel by car or bike to several attractions scattered around the island. Bird watchers visit the Hoburgen rock in the southern part of the island. Here, spring and autumn becomes the high season for ornithologists who come to admire an abundance of bird species.

Gotland’s varied coastline invites outdoor enthusiasts; rocky cliffs and clean beaches lure hikers and swimmers especially in the summer months.

The two smaller islands of Sudret and Fårö embody the tough spirit of the north with some amazing sceneries and typical rauks, local unique stone sculptures. The Stora Karlsö and Lilla Karlsö islands are also stunning islands with rare orchids and impressive bird life.

Öland, the long, narrow island with flat plains and white beaches, is reached from the town of Kalmar by a bridge. Spring and autumn are the best seasons for nature lovers who come to admire the beautiful and peaceful wilderness.

Alvaret or limestone plateau is a must-see destination for and traveler coming nearby. Thanks to its unique nature values, rare orchids, plants and species, it is UNESCO’s World Heritage Site. Bird watchers on the other hand can’t omit visiting the Långe Erik lighthouse and the Ottenby bird station.

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