Tofta, Gotland

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Cottage by the Tofta beach
Cottage by the Tofta beach
Tofta is located in Gotland
Coordinates: 57°31′16″N 18°10′7″E / 57.52111°N 18.16861°E / 57.52111; 18.16861Coordinates: 57°31′16″N 18°10′7″E / 57.52111°N 18.16861°E / 57.52111; 18.16861
Country Sweden
Province Gotland
County Gotland County
Municipality Gotland Municipality
 • Total 38.19 km2 (14.75 sq mi)
Population (2014)[2]
 • Total 508
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)

Tofta is a locality on the island of Gotland, Sweden. Formerly a socken,[3] on 1 January 2016, it was reconstituted into the administrative area Tofta District.[4] It is most noted for its long, sandy beach. In the north part of Tofta is a military firing range, which is also the location of the annual Gotland Grand National, the world's largest enduro race.


The village of Tofta dates from Medieval times. The oldest preserved text where the name is mentioned, is from 1304. The name may be related to the Swedish word toft, meaning thwart.[1]

In the greater Tofta area there are a number of remnants from earlier eras. During excavations, Stone Age settlements and a cist has been found. There are stone ships and grave mounds from the Bronze Age, and from The Iron Age there are 23 grave fields, groove stones, stone walls, a picture stone and a hillfort.[5][6][7] There are also runes chiseled on a stone in the church. The stone is from 1170–90, and is a more likely to have been a tombstone than a runestone dedicated to a man called Röde Orm ("Red Snake"), a common name at that time.[8]


Tofta is the name of the socken, now district. It is also the name of the small 0.3 km2 (0.12 sq mi) village surrounding the medieval Tofta Church,[9][10] also known as Tofta kyrkby. Tofta is on the central west coast of Gotland, situated on a high rocky plateau mostly covered in pine forest, 48%, while 22% of the area is used as farmland.[1][11]

In the northwest part of Tofta, between the coastline and road 140, is the Tofta firing range (Tofta Skjutfält). It is a military compound, approximately 6 by 2 km (3.7 by 1.2 mi), used for training with live ammunition, tanks, artillery and land mines.[12][1] Once a year, the Gotland Grand National, the world's largest enduro race, is held on the range.[13]

At the Tofta coast, there are two old fishing villages; Blåhäll to the north and Gnisvärd a bit further south. Blåhäll has several caves and Gnisvärd has some of the grandest stone ships on Gotland. Inland is the Smågårde village. Tofta is most noted for the long sandy beach along the southern coastline. It is the second largest and most visited, on Gotland after the Sudersand beach on Fårö.[1]

One of the asteroids in the asteroid belt, 11308 Tofta, is named after this place.[14]


A reconstruction of a Viking village has been made in Tofta, where visitors can try out life during the Viking age.[15]



  1. ^ a b c d e Carlquist, Gunnar (ed.). Tofta, socken. Malmö: Svensk uppslagsbok–Baltiska förlaget. 
  2. ^ "Gotland i siffror" [Gotland in numbers]. Gotland Municipality. Retrieved 27 June 2015. 
  3. ^ The exact extent of the socken, now district, can be obtained by clicking on Kartinställningar and check the Socken box in the menu of this map from the Swedish National Heritage Board database.
  4. ^ "Förordning om district" [Regulation of districts] (PDF). Ministry of Finance. 17 June 2015. Retrieved 25 May 2016. 
  5. ^ "Go, Tofta socken". Swedish History Museum. Retrieved 29 June 2015. 
  6. ^ "Sökresultat Tofta". Swedish National Heritage Board. Retrieved 29 June 2015. 
  7. ^ Sjögren, Otto, ed. (1931). Sverige: geografisk beskrivning. D. 2, Östergötlands, Jönköpings, Kronobergs, Kalmar och Gotlands län [Sweden: geographical description D.2. Östergötland, Jönköping, Kronoberg, Kalmar och Gotland county]. Stockholm: Wahlström & Widstrand. LIBRIS 9939. 
  8. ^ Enderborg, Bernt. "Röde orm från Tofta" [Red Snake from Tofta]. Guteinfo. Retrieved 29 June 2015. 
  9. ^ Lagerlöf, Erland; Svahnström, Gunnar (1973). Gotlands kyrkor [Gotland's Churces] (in Swedish). Stockholm: Rabén & Sjögren. pp. 253–255. ISBN 91-29-41035-5. LIBRIS 7232718. 
  10. ^ "Småorternas landareal, folkmängd och invånare per km2 2005 och 2010, fortsättning" [Statistics area, population, 2005 and 2010] (PDF). Statistics Sweden. p. 23. Retrieved 27 June 2015. 
  11. ^ "Tofta". Nationalencyklopedin. Retrieved 31 May 2016. 
  12. ^ "I 19 tar över på Gotland" [I 19 takes over on Gotland]. Swedish Armed Forces. Retrieved 14 March 2015. 
  13. ^ Gottfridsson, Thomas. "GGN firar 30 år med rekordantal" [Record breaking number of participants celebrates 30 years of GNN]. HelaGotland. Retrieved 14 March 2015. 
  14. ^ "11308 Tofta (1993 FF76)". NASA. Retrieved 27 June 2016. 
  15. ^ "Här är alla vikingar" [everyone is a Viking here]. Vikingabyn. Retrieved 30 June 2015. 

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