Stora Karlsö

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Stora Karlsö
Fyren på Stora Karlsö.jpg
Limestone cliffs and lighthouse on Stora Karlsö
Stora Karlsö is located in Gotland
Stora Karlsö
Stora Karlsö
Location Baltic Sea
Coordinates 57°17′1″N 17°58′19″E / 57.28361°N 17.97194°E / 57.28361; 17.97194Coordinates: 57°17′1″N 17°58′19″E / 57.28361°N 17.97194°E / 57.28361; 17.97194
Area 2.5 km2 (0.97 sq mi)
Length 1.5 km (0.93 mi)
Width 2 km (1.2 mi)
Highest elevation 52 m (171 ft)
Additional information
Official website Welcome to Stora Karlsö

Stora Karlsö is an island off the west coast of Gotland, Sweden. It is mostly known for its rich birdlife with large colonies of common guillemot, and flora. Stora Karlsö is a nature reserve, the second oldest in the world after Yellowstone National Park.


Stora Karlsö is a small Swedish island in the Baltic Sea, situated about 6 km (3.7 mi) west of Gotland. It has an area of about 2.5 km2 (0.97 sq mi) and is up to 52 m (171 ft) high. Most of the island consists of a limestone plateau, bordered by steep cliffs along the shore. It is mostly covered with alvar, with many juniper bushes and some small groves of deciduous trees.[1]

Birds and plants[edit]

The island is mostly known for its rich birdlife and flora. It has large colonies of common guillemot (about 7500 breeding pairs) and razorbill (4500 pairs). In spring, there is an extraordinary number of orchids, mostly elder-flowered orchid and early purple orchid. There are also several very rare plants for Sweden such as Adonis vernalis, Lactuca quercina (called Karlsösallat in Swedish), hart's-tongue fern and Corydalis gotlandica (the only endemic plant on Gotland).[1]


There is evidence that Stora Karlsö has been inhabited since the Stone Age. During the Middle Ages there was a marble quarry, which gave the material for many of Gotland's churches. The island is a nature reserve, and after Yellowstone National Park is the oldest established protected nature area in the world. From May to August there are tour boats from the village Klintehamn.[1]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Stora Karlsö". The County Administrative Boards of Gotland County. Retrieved 8 July 2015. 

External links[edit]