If you hear “Sylt” and just think of high society and celebrities in sailing shoes, polo shirts with popped collars, and pearl earrings, you have only seen one of the many facets of life on the charming North Sea island …
Sylt is often called the “Saint Tropez of the North” or the “Friesian Carribean”. It is no coincidence that the island has had a magnetic pull for famous artists like Marlene Dietrich, Hermann Hesse, and painter Emil Nolde, who spent many holidays here. The Bismarcks, the Krupps, and the Sachs’ also partied here in the past. Today the glitterati let their hair down on the “Whiskeymeile”.
Between “Rotes Kliff” and “Buhne 16”, the legendary wooden shack and party restaurant of Gunter Sachs and Brigitte Bardot, lies one of the most beautiful parts of the island. The 20-minute walk to the beach bistro is definitely worth it. Who else could claim to have had a barbeque in the dunes – it is otherwise illegal. The best spot to watch the sunset is the viewpoint on Uwe Düne, while the prettiest sandy beach is located at Rotes Kliff.
But Sylt has so much more to offer: You will find many kilometres of white sandy beaches just like in the Caribbean, blue-and-white-striped cosy beach chairs, and a breathtaking unspoilt landscape as far as the eye can see. A timeless charm is radiated by this North Sea island, that bewitches all visitors. Leave your sports car in the garage, as Sylt is best explored by bicycle. You ride along narrow streets from Kampen to Keitum, through List and Westerland, along dunes and meadows all over the 100 square kilometre island. Pretty houses, boutiques, as well as pastures with happy sheep and grazing cows will certainly enchant you.
Now you might ask yourself in which season would it be best to pay Sylt a visit? In winter only true-blue fans brave the way to the island. A bit of a pity, as the houses with their thatched roofs and the cosily furnished cafés are particularly comfortable in winter. In the early summer the tourist season starts on Sylt. Sleeping is difficult, as the sun is up until 11 PM in the summer months. It only really gets dark between midnight and four AM. What is the conclusion? Sylt is worth a visit at any time of year!
Sylt is also a great place to find unique jewellery. Katharina Herold is a jewellery designer, runs a gallery for North-German art and designs fantastic pieces from vintage elements that she finds during travels or at flee markets. This may sound kitsch, but it’s far from it. Even Christie’s in London trusts the islander and recently asked her to decorate the window of the London branch.
SYLT IS EVERYTHING BUT PROVINCIAL!
Fine food plays a crucial role on the island, and it’s worth looking beyond Sansibar and the like. The culinary scene is dominated by crab fishermen, farmers, and their main customers – starred chefs and distinguished restaurateurs. Make a gourmet tour of the island part of your travel itinerary, starting for example at the restaurant “Siebzehn84 – Landhaus Stricker”. Chef de cuisine Holger Bodendorf and his team, approach classic dishes with creativity and present craftsmanship as well as haute cuisine. Enjoy culinary delights of the highest order with your companion. A worthy second stop could be the restaurant of “Sö`lring Hof” – sporting two stars – which is run by Johannes King and Jan-Phillip Berner. Down-to-earth, seasonal, and honest products are on offer, sourced from the region, so that freshness is guaranteed. This place is well known far beyond Sylt. If you tried it once, you are almost certain to return again and again. The kitchen is open so it feels like you can look the chefs over the shoulder. Currently, white truffles are in high demand – treat your beloved to something very special during the truffle weeks. Let Bärbel Ring, who manages the restaurant and furthermore is its brilliant sommelière in chief, serve you excellent wines and champagne. For a little snack in the daytime opt for one of the locals’ favourite cafés: In Hörnum you will find Café Lund which does not only feature the island’s best bread but also the most delicious ice cream (including vegan choices). Definitely worth a visit. Kampen is a curious place: Gentrified thatched-roof houses stand next to design boutiques, and luxury restaurants that pretend ordinariness. But not only the jet set populates this village, also ordinary folks cycle here from Westerland to sample the delicious sheet cake at “Kupferkanne”, located amidst the dunes and with a great view: The eastern Wadden Sea. A unique destination!
“Dorfkrug” – this ordinary name (“village pub”) cannot hide the tastefully furnished restaurant with an outside bar, reopened on December 19 2016 under new management. The new owners Anne Floto and Thomas Samson have resuscitated Kampen’s “Dorfkrug ”. A sense of disbelief had spread around the village when former owner Joachim “Muffel” Stoltenberg and his wife announced that they would close the place after 34 years. It had always been more than just another pub, it was the heart of Kampen, where not only the rich and beautiful visitors gathered, but also the 300 local inhabitants’ community life was taking place. Now everybody is content again and able to enjoy stellar food and aperitifs right in the centre of Kampen. To sum it up: On Sylt every North Sea lover will have a great time. Fantastic parties, silence, nature, or culinary delights – everything is possible. Enjoy it!