The ferry to the island of Fårö takes less than 15 minutes and is free. The ferry crosses twice each hour, but during summertime around double that. It is a popular crossing to make, so long queues are not unusual, especially during the high season in summer.
We decided to take an early ferry, to avoid the crowds for one, but also to spend as much time as possible on Fårö during this daytrip. The sky is blue and the sun is happily shining down on us, a perfect start to the day. And as we are travelling off-season, we are spared from the long waiting lines.
Our first hike of the day is at Langhammarshammaren. It is located on the other side of the island, but as Fårö isn't a big island it only takes 20 minutes, approx 17 kilometers to drive from the ferry to our destination.
We drive leasurely along the country roads on the island from the ferry terminal towards Sudersand, where we turn left towards Langhammars. From here we follow the road to the farms at Langhammars while we enjoy the surrounding landscape. And we easily spotted the windmill on the right, the spot to turn of the road and park our car. Most people drive onwards to the Sea Stacks, but we decided to do a loop hike 5,5 kilometers starting here at the windmill.
One of Sweden's best-known rauks, with a variety of particularly large and especially bizarrely shaped rauks, is located in the nature reserve Langhammars Naturreservat in the north of Fårö, Gotland's northern neighbouring island. Langhammars Naturreservat is located on the peninsula of Langhammars between the bays of Aursviken and Tällevika. It is home to around 50 freestanding limestone columns that natural erosion by wind and waves has sculpted into bizarre rock formations over thousands of years. The rauks reach heights of eight to ten metres at this point and are concentrated along a long pebble beach at the northern tip of the peninsula near Klajvika.. With a size of 479 hectares, Langhammars Naturreservat does not only protect the rauk terrain, but the overall special landscape of the peninsula, which shows several different natural forms in a relatively small area. These include the vegetation-free and up to 300-metre-wide fossil pebble beaches and seawalls along the coast, as well as the heart of the peninsula, whose treeless vegetation is characterised by centuries of sheep grazing.
The stately rauks on the beach at Klajvika are without a doubt the most photographed rauks on Gotland. The rauks are also pictured on the back of the Swedish 200 kronor banknote. But Langhammar's nature reserve has so much more to offer than raukar. The 480-hectare nature reserve includes the Langhammars themselves, which stand out as a more than 2.5 kilometer long peninsula between Aursviken in the west and Tällevika in the east, but also the alvar fields closest to the south of Langhammars.
The vegetation on Langhammar and the land to the south is strongly characterized by the fact that the area has been grazed by sheep for a long time. Mainly in the southern part of the reserve, the landscape has almost the character of a slightly broken savannah landscape, where pine groves alternate with barren, heathy elm areas and smaller areas with slightly more lush wet meadows. In the central part of Langhammar, the rocky ground is largely covered by low, creeping juniper bushes, which have been disciplined by sheep and wind.
After a short walk we reach the beach. The birds are swooping over the calm sea and we see groups of Cormorants on the rocks sticking out of the sea.
Gotland's raukar is a strange phenomenon. They are part of an exciting geological history. Gotland is largely made up of coral reefs that originated in a tropical sea about 430 million years ago. Between the fossil reefs are packs of limestone and muddy marl. After the last ice age, a little more than 10,000 years ago, Gotland was completely covered by water for a long time. As the ice retreated, however, the land mass began to rise from the sea free from the weight. Where land and sea met, the waves worked the bedrock. The reef bodies themselves, in hard limestone, could withstand this abrasion better than other rocks, and when the water receded they could remain as insulated stone pillars - rauks. The Raukarna thus consist of hard limestone and are remnants of the ancient reefs that once gave rise to Gotland. They are also rich in fossils from a lot of different ancient animals that lived there a very, very long time ago.
Some of the rauks are indeed similar to statues, and they can be quite tall. The highest rauk at Langhammarshammaren was at least 8 meters high.
The stones appear to have been created by Picasso. They are really impressive, both in size and as a proof of the greatness of nature.
Several of the rauks are reminiscent of faces, the most famous being called "Langhammarsgubben".
Helgumannens Fishing Village
Helgumannens Fishing Village
The drive to our next destination is so pleasurable. The winding country lanes through the typical landscape of Fårö. And once again we spot a windmill, and of course I had to make a stop to take a closer look,
hike in the nature reserve Skalahauar