Visby, Gotland, Sweden
This delightful hilly town, boasting medieval houses and ruined fortifications, is the island of Gotland's capital city. Due to its gentle climate an abundance of roses bloom here, even as late as November, marking Visby as "The City of Roses." In its heyday, Visby was one of the richest trading centers in northern Europe. Remains of the medieval city walls are considered to be among the best-preserved in Europe. Additional points of interest include the cathedral, one of the town's 17 medieval churches still in use today; the Old Apothecary, a late medieval four-story merchant's house; and the Fornsal Museum with an interesting exhibit of medieval artwork, hordes of silver from Viking times, and impressive picture stones that predate the Viking rune stones. Sweden's main holiday island offers wide sandy beaches, wild cliff formations, and verdant sheepfarming country and glades in which 35 different varieties of wild orchids thrive, attracting botanists from around the world. There are also a hundred more churches dating from Gotland's great commercial era scattered across the island which are still in use today.