If you are pressed for time, we recommend heading straight to Visby. But if you have 4 or 5 hours and have rented a car, we have devised this road tour of Gotland that encapsulates the island in a nutshell. Arm yourself with a good road map before setting out. If you get lost, that's all right, as you won't be lost for long -- the island is too small for that.
From Visby, drive north on Route 149, heading toward the fishing port of Lickershamn. Look for a narrow trail along the cliffs. This path leads you to a rock that juts into the water. Known as the Maiden, this promontory offers some of the best views on Gotland.
From Lickershamn, continue along Route 149, passing the towns of Ire and Kappelshamn. From Kappelshamn, follow Route 149 south to the junction with Route 148 in Lärbro. Here, go north on Route 148 to Fårösund. The village of Fårösund sits on the shores of the 1.5km-wide (1-mile) Fårösund channel, which separates the small island of Fårö (Sheep Island) from the main island of Gotland. You can take a ferry to Fårö to visit some of the island's superb beaches.
From Fårösund, take Route 148 back to Lärbro. A few kilometers past Lärbro, take Route 146 southwest toward Slite. Follow it down the coast to Aurungs. Here, go west on a secondary road heading toward Siggur. In Siggur, follow signs south to the village of Dalhem. The most remarkable sight in Dalhem is the village church, situated just outside town. Its wall paintings and stained glass are the finest on Gotland.
From Dalhem, continue south on the road that brought you to town. Head toward Roma. Look for the ruins of Roma Abbey, a Cistercian monastery destroyed during the Protestant Reformation.
Head west from Roma on a secondary road toward Route 140 that runs along Gotland's western coast. You'll pass the villages of Bander and Sojvide before you reach Route 140. Follow it south to Burgsvik, a popular port and resort town. Just east of Burgsvik, visit the small hamlet of Öja. Its church boasts a triumphal cross dating from the 13th century.
After visiting Öja, return to Burgsvik. Here you head south, passing the villages of Bottarvegården and Vamlingbo. At the southern tip of Gotland you'll find Hoburgen, with its towering lighthouse. Along with the lighthouse, you'll encounter cliffs, many with strange rock formations, and a series of caves.
Return to Burgsvik to connect with Route 140. Turn off after Fidenäs, following Route 142 toward Hemse. Outside Hemse, take Route 144 to Ljugarn, a small port and resort town on Gotland's east coast. Just south of Ljugarn, on a secondary road, is a series of Bronze Age stone sculptures. The seven rock formations, depicting ancient ships, form the largest group of stone settings on the island.
Follow Route 143 northwest from Ljugarn and return to Visby.
There are as many as 20 different bus routes on the island. Depending on how many zones you travel, bus fares range from 55SEK to 95SEK ($11-$19/£5.50-£9.50). However, because the bus schedules are inconvenient, renting a car is your best option.
Gotlands Resor (tel. 0498/20-12-60; www.gotlandsresor.se), whose offices lie within the Ferryboat Terminal for all boats arriving from both departure points on the Swedish mainland, is the area's leading purveyor of bike rentals. It charges 70SEK to 130SEK ($14-$26/£7-£13) per day for rentals.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.