sylt

Sylt: 10 top sights for a weekend

Aktualisiert am: 26/02/2024

Who can’t immediately relax at the sight of such beautiful North Sea beaches? I’ve brought you some really cool tips from Sylt and will show you the most important sights on Sylt!

sylt

The best Sylt sights for a weekend

Only a weekend to spare? No problem on Sylt. The island is easily and quickly accessible: by train, plane or car on the train. On Sylt itself, the public island bus is a great way to get from A to B. And let’s be honest: longer stays on Sylt will blow your travel budget anyway. (But more on that later.) So a weekend on Sylt is all you need: as soon as you set foot on Sylt soil, you’ll feel like you’re on vacation.

Welcome to my travel blog!

Hey, I’m Tatiana, a German-Brazilian living in Berlin & the author behind The Happy Jetlagger. I’ve been writing about my travels since 2014. In addition to my job as a flight attendant, this blog is my passion project!

Tip: With a bus tour you can get to know all the important points on Sylt without having to squeeze into the public transport!
Book your tour of the island here*

Sylt sights Rantum beach sauna Sauna on the beach
It was too fresh for the beach sauna, I’m a wimp. But I definitely have to try it out next time: A sauna in the middle of the beach, how cool is that!

#1 Westerland & the spa promenade

There is also a ferry connection to the north of Sylt in List – but the majority of visitors to Sylt actually arrive in Westerland. By train or car train or by plane. Westerland as a place in itself may disappoint some people – charming thatched-roof houses and a dune feeling are few and far between.

Sylt sights Beach Promenade in Westerland
Even if Westerland is not exactly the most beautiful place on Sylt, the beach here is also impressive.

Instead, there are plenty of architectural sins in the form of apartment buildings from the sixties in the form of shabby shoeboxes – above all the new spa center directly on the beach in Westerland. Nevertheless, Westerland is a good starting point for excursions around the island – and is perfect for visitors with little time. It is easy to get anywhere from here and accommodation can be found quickly. And all in all, Westerland is a relaxed spa town with some nice restaurants and a really outstandingly high density of well-stocked, inviting bookshops! (Something I really miss in Amazon-Prime-spoiled Berlin – there’s nothing like cozy bookstores with a nice selection).

Sylt Sights Westerland Spa Center
Strolling along the promenade in the evening: Favorite activity in Westerland.

#2 The Uwe Dune

To the north of Westerland lies the Uwe dune, the highest point on the island – and that’s not much for an island like Sylt, which is in constant danger of disappearing into the North Sea. A narrow wooden staircase leads up to the Uwe dune and once at the top, you can enjoy the complete panorama of Sylt from the viewing platform. On one side is Kampen with its pretty thatched-roof houses nestling snugly in the hilly dune landscape, and on the other is the roaring North Sea. Pure nature all around. And so soothing and beautiful for a city kid like me.

Sylt sights Uwe Düne Kampen
The highest point on the island: the Uwe dune.

Incidentally, Kampen is the hotspot for the rich and famous (actually, it’s already the whole island, but here the concentration seems to be many times higher) – and if you need something from Gucci, Prada, Louis Vuitton or whatnot, you’re guaranteed to find it in the well-stocked village boutiques on Strömwai. Kampen is also home to some of Sylt’s most famous bars and restaurants, which have contributed to the island’s reputation as a jet-set meeting place. But low-budget vacationers like me prefer not to get used to such places in the first place ;)

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#3 The Red Cliff

Instead, you can take a walk from the Uwe dune over or around the red cliff, which glows red in the evening sun, especially at sunset, and is one of the island’s landmarks. You also have such a great view of the beach below from above that I had the feeling that I had taken the photos with a drone – drone photography without a drone, so to speak.

Sylt sights Red Cliff
Best view: The view of the North Sea from the Red Cliff is unique.

The view is truly unique – even if every pore of your body is once again blown through by the stiff North Sea breeze. But on Sylt, the saying goes: there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.

➜ You can find more cool destinations for a short break in Germany here on the blog!

Sylt sights Red Cliff Kampen Dune Path
There are also beautiful dune paths on the red cliff.

#4 Stage 16 – Old hipsters, champagne and dunes

Buhne 16 is just a stone’s throw away from Kampen when you’re out and about by bike. At least on the way there, on the way back you often get caught by the headwind, which reminded me to think about an e-bike the next time I hire a bike. But you have to park your bike on the cycle path anyway. It’s a good walk through the dunes to Buhne 16.

Sylt Sightseeing Dunes Kampen Weg Buhne 16
On the way to stage 16.

In the middle of the solitude, I used my guest card for the first time, which every tourist receives after paying the tourist tax at their accommodation. This means that admission to the beach is free, otherwise it costs a few euros. You can then pay the fee on site.

Sylt sights Buhne 16 Kampen beach
In the middle of the dunes: The famous Buhne 16 in Kampen.

Buhne 16 itself is hidden in the middle of a dune and is actually nothing more than a beach kiosk with a wild history as a lively party venue for prominent beach guests. But Sylt wouldn’t be Sylt if this simple beach hut wasn’t a bit more refined. Unfortunately not the food, the potato salad, for example, also comes from a plastic bucket. No matter, Buhne 16 still exudes the flair of the uncomplicated jet-set beach life of the sixties: there’s plenty of champagne, but on the beach in swimwear everyone is almost the same. And the panorama with dunes, white powdery sandy beach and fresh sea air makes up for the record-breaking prices.

Sylt sights Buhne 16 Kampen dunes
Sylt sights Buhne 16 Kampen beach bar
Actually inconspicuous, but pure Sylt atmosphere!
Sylt sights Kampen beach dunes

#5 Cunning and the elbow

Further north is List, which is only recommended for real cycling enthusiasts when cycling from Westerland – because the route is long. However, public transport is well organized: if you lose your strength on the way, the frequent island buses have a bike rack at the back so that you can simply charge your bike and make yourself comfortable on the bus (which also has free Wi-Fi, it’s incredible!). Incidentally, the northern tip of Sylt is called Ellenbogen because that’s exactly what it looks like.

Sylt Lister Ellenbogen beach chairs beach in List
The popular beach chairs are also located in List.
Sylt sights Lister Ellenbogen Hiking Dune Beach Road

Incidentally, List is less glamorous, more sea, more dunes, more nature. In addition to a permanent exhibition, the Erlebniszentrum Naturgewalten also offers guided nature tours: Hiking through the mudflats, through the dunes or a visit to Germany’s only oyster farm.

Sylt sights Ferris wheel List harbor

#6 The northernmost fish stall in Germany

And a must in List: eating fish sandwiches! This is where Gosch, the famous Sylt fish cave chain, has its origins – this is where it all began. The Old Boat Hall also has a maritime flair. Unfortunately, the prices here are also steep, especially for self-service (who would have thought it), the food is okay, but not sensational, and on the whole a little too touristy. Nevertheless: Gosch must be on Sylt.

#7 Rantum

Rantum is not that far from Westerland, exactly at the narrowest point of the island. Here you will find powdery, extensive North Sea sandy beaches! If you are traveling with a camper van or tent, you can sleep on the campsite between the dunes in Rantum. Incidentally, the Sansibar, another famous beach bar on Sylt, is also located on the Rantum beach section. But you’ve known them at least since the legendary Air Berlin Zanzibar currywurst in-flight menus. Even one of Sylt’s beach saunas is located here!

Sylt sights Rantum Strand Düne
Sylt sights Rantum beach lifeguard
Almost a bit like California: The beaches of Rantum are breathtakingly beautiful.

#8 Rantum bird sanctuary

On one side is a fine sandy beach, while on the other side of Rantum the Rantum Basin bird sanctuary is within sight. Here you can observe a wide variety of bird species. And: there are plenty of sheep – a pure natural idyll! Sylt is not particularly wide, so you have a wonderful view from the dunes on the beach to the other side of the island, where the bird sanctuary is located.

Sylt sights Rantum bird sanctuary
Sheep keep the grass in good shape around the Rantum bird sanctuary.

#9 Lighthouses like in Hörnum

Probably the most famous lighthouse on Sylt is located at the southern tip of the island: you can even get married in the Hörnum lighthouse! A circular walk around Hörnum-Odde is also a popular activity in Hörnum: here you can see with your own eyes how much Sylt has unfortunately been struggling with the erosion that has plagued the island for decades.

#10 The Hindenburgdamm

The last sight is also the first: most visitors to Sylt arrive via Hindenburgdamm. Meanwhile, Sylt also has a busy air traffic via Westerland Airport, even Airbuses land here now. And you can take the Sylt ferry from the Danish island of Rømø to List. But arriving by train via the Hindenburgdamm is still the proper way to arrive in Sylt!

Get to know the whole island in one day!
Book an exploration tour with a local guide* here

Food & Drinks

The most important Sylt tip? On Sylt, people drink all day long, not just at the weekend, but every day of the week too. A glass of champagne or two in the morning, then a white wine at lunchtime with the obligatory fish; in the afternoon, depending on the weather, a tote Tante (yes, it really is called that – it’s cocoa with rum) to warm you up or a refreshing Aperol Spritz in the Sylt sun. Sylt is an island of indulgence, but the high prices sometimes make it difficult to find something suitable.

Here you will find exciting & affordable insider tips on Sylt

Best time to travel to Sylt

The best time to visit Sylt for most people is probably in the summer from June to August. The weather is more stable and warm enough for swimming in the rather cool North Sea. However, Sylt is particularly popular at this time of year, so it’s a good idea to book your accommodation in good time!

Find cheap accommodation on Sylt*

But Sylt can also be very beautiful in spring and fall! As everywhere else on the North Sea, you just need to be prepared for the weather with the right clothing: a rain or wind jacket is a must in your suitcase, as well as several layers for an onion look!

Sylt in the low season

While masses of tourists arrive in the high season, the low season is also becoming increasingly popular. It’s not enough to go swimming, but with a bit of luck you’ll get a few good days and have more Sylt and fewer tourists. And the hardiest of surfers simply wrap themselves in neoprene from toe to nose and plunge into the ice-cold North Sea waves anyway. Wouldn’t be anything for me. I love water, I love the sea, but I only go into the water when the air temperature is 28 degrees and above. Maybe that will change – after all, I was never really a North Sea fan. Too cold, too windy, too few palm trees. But after a few days on Sylt, I think I need to revise my opinion: It can be so beautiful on the North Sea!

Sylt sights Westerland Promenade glass of white wine
Standard drink on Sylt: a cool glass of white wine.

Sylt in one weekend

Yes, Sylt is expensive. And the fact that you can find an excellent selection of the finest champagnes in even the most humble corner shop suggests that some prejudices are confirmed on Sylt. But never mind. Because the island itself, with its dunes, heathland and Wadden Sea landscape, is beautiful. A real nature experience. And you can somehow cope with the sometimes horrendous prices for food, accommodation and other things for a short stay – after all, you get something for it.

Arrival by train

What is also practical is that the island is easy to reach by train, and although you can also take your car with you on the car train, this is not absolutely necessary. All places on the island can be easily reached by bike or public bus. The buses also have bike racks so that you can load your bike in the back for more distant destinations. In midsummer, however, the train connection sometimes becomes a bottleneck and delays are not uncommon.

➜ C heck train connections to Sylt*

Arrival by plane

You might be better off taking a plane – many airlines fly to Sylt, and the airport is actually almost in the middle of Westerland. Incidentally, it’s one of the cutest little airports I’ve ever seen – with two fabulous check-in desks and an airport restaurant with the freshest crab sandwiches you’ll ever see in an airport terminal.

Find flights to Sylt* here

Nevertheless, I find the journey by train over the Hindenburgdamm nicer: the best way to get in the mood for Sylt. The Wadden Sea to the right and left. In front of you, the anticipation of the beach, sea, dunes and lots of white wine. Cheers!

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