Sylt is a popular North Sea island for the rich and famous!
What is so special about it?
It starts with getting there. It's called an island, though there is a connection with a dam to the mainland. This dam would be easily big enough to drive on it, but no, the only way to get to Sylt is via train!
If you don't want to miss your car, that's no problem as you can just hop with your car onto the train, enjoy a 35 minute ride (around € 95 return), while you stay seated and there you are...
My recommendation, get somewhere else. Westerland is the biggest town on Sylt, but there are nicer ones with more atmosphere, like Kampen, Westerheide, Rantum or Hörnum. There you find the typical houses with thatched roofs.
We stayed in Hof Galerie Hotel in Morsum, which I can highly recommend. It's a very cozy hotel with only 20 rooms, all decorated different, a yummy breakfast and that personal atmosphere I love so much. They also made it onto "Epic Accommodation List" of Booking.com.
Things to do on Sylt:
- There are plenty of wonderful beaches and I recommend the one in Hörnum, which is perfect if you love loooong beach walks! Park and start your tour at the harbor in the centre. Take the beach right next to the harbor and walk South. You'll pass the surfschool & restaurant Südkap. Have a drink or snack here, take some photos of the lighthouse next door, which you also can visit (more info beneath). Then head further along the beach until you get to the end. Now you are the most Southern point of Sylt!
Turn right and keep walking along the beach until you pass the wave-breakers. There you will find the beach restaurant Kap Horn. Head there, have lunch or a drink. From there you can walk back into town, passing nice little houses lying in the dunes.
- The beach at Sansibar is also very beautiful. The Sansibar is VERY popular and pretty much everyone who visits Sylt, will head there at least once. I did as well and won't head there again. They know how to market themselves very smartly, but if you stay objective, it's nothing special. It's a nice overcrowded beach restaurant with a huge wine list. They are very kid friendly and have a nice playground as well. Next time I would visit the beach restaurant Seepferdchen, which is just a bit further North, but didn't seemed overrun.
- Ellenbogen is a nature sanctuary, which you'll find all the way to the North. You have to pay € 5 to enter it and it's worth it. The landscape is a bit wild with dunes and grassing sheep in between. Also here you'll find a nice little lighthouse. You could park your car at Wassersport Sylt, a surfing school, and then walk along the beach until you reach the end, from where you can see Denmark! Then make a turn and walk the beach on the other side back again.
You'll find excellent restaurants on Sylt. There are several high end restaurants. We visited Sylt in December and they were unfortunately closed and we were "only" able to eat at their "bistros". Seriously, even those had some VERY good meals, which I can highly recommend:
- Restaurant Bodendorf's in the Landhaus Stricker
You'll find Bodendorf a bit outside of Westerland in a residential area of Tinnum. So it might not be directly on your route, but it should be. The restaurant is very cozy, the staff friendly and the chef will make sure that you get a very delicious dish with fresh products. Next door is the luxurious hotel, worth checking out!
- Restaurant Strönholt in Hörnum
You have a wonderful view over the harbor of Hörnum and can even see all the way to the island Föhr. The staff was very friendly, the restaurant was spaceous and cozy and the food was excellent.
- Restaurant Alte Schule
This is where you find a more basic, but very delicious meals. Also here the staff was very friendly and the old school provides a cozy atmosphere. Kids get some toys, so that waiting time is stress free.
- Alte Backstube
The perfect place to have some coffee or hot chocolate and eat some waffles! Mobile phones are not allowed, which adds to the cozy atmosphere inside. Take a seat on a big couch and feel home.
Things to see:
- Naturgewalten Sylt
Find out more about Sylt and how the island changed over the time. This experience center is for young and old and you should really plan to visit it. Click the button and see a demonstrations how waves are born and hit the beach, all in a huge water tank. You can decide yourself how much wind the waves affects.
Or would you like to touch a tornado? Do it here! There is plenty to discover, so take one of the headphones and walk around. Find out in several languages about the flora and fauna on Sylt and how the island changed over the years.
A must see when on Sylt!
- Lighthouse in Hörnum
The lighthouse is a popular landmark and often photographed. It's situated next to the city on a little hill. Between 1914 and 1933 the lighthouse was as well a school. There was one single room for the pupils. I bet they enjoyed the view more than the lessons. You can join a tour and climb all the way up. The tours are Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 9 am, 10 am, 11 am and 12 pm. But be quick, as only 10 people are allowed to join. You get a ticket for € 5 (kids € 2,50) at the Hörnum tourism office. A reservation can be made via email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone (+49 (0)4651 96260).
- Watching seals and whales
just walk along the beach and keep an eye on the water. We've seen a small family of porpoise whales at the beach of the restaurants Seepferdchen and Sansibar. The chances are higher to see gray seals and the common seals. There are several areas around the island where they like to be. There are also boat tours to sandbanks to watch seals. You'll get those tours in the harbor of Hörnum or List with the company Adler Schiffe.
- Sylt Aquarium
This could be worth a visit if you should have rainy weather. I was lucky and had no rain in December, so I enjoyed my time mainly outside. I can't recommend it directly, as I haven't seen it. If you have been there, please leave a comment and let me know how it was.
I'm not sure if I would head to Sylt in the main season. I guess it will be overrun with people. Something I don't like when being on an island where you don't have many possibilities to escape. But outside of the main season, Sylt is worth a trip! It's a beautiful island with a good mix of wild landscape, awesome food and many things to do.
There are plenty of hotels, apartments, villas and even three youth hostels on the island. Even if it's known as a posh island, there is something for every budget. If you don't want to drive there and hop over by train, Sylt also got an airport (GWT).
Have a great time and enjoy Island Life!
Note: this post is part of the #BookingEpic campaign, a collaboration between iambassador and Booking.com to initiate discussions on and highlight exceptional accommodations. The views expressed above, including the chosen hotel, are mine and mine only.