Gotska Sandön Travel Guide

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Gotska Sandön is a very isolated island in the middle of the Baltic Sea, 38 km N of Gotland. It consists entirely of sand, which is about 70 m deep. It is 9 by 6 km in size and the sand is constantly shaping and re-shaping its surface. The highest sand dune reaches 43 m a.s.l. The whole island is a national park.

Most of the island is covered by a uniform and rather monotonous pine forest but at a few more favourable places there are deciduous forest groves with a much richer flora, including some orchids. The battle between the forest and the moving sand has created dead forests at some places. However, the nature protection of today and complete lack of grazing animals has had the consequence that sand dunes are stabilizing to an extent that is considered problematic by conservation authorities.

People visited the island already during the Stone Age but there has probably never been much of a permanent population. It was mainly fishermen and hunters who temporarily stayed there. It came under Swedish rule at the peace agreement between Denmark and Sweden in Brömsebro 1645.

Gotska Sandön was considered dangerous among sailors until the first lighthouse was erected in 1858-9. Innumerous ships have stranded there.

The island can harbour a limited number of visitors and tourism is strictly regulated. Overnight stay is possible in small cottages and in tents.

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April 12, 2005 new by ingvar

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