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Thatched cottages in Kampener Heide on Sylt

Sylt (North Frisian: Söl, Danish: Sild) belongs to the North Frisian Islands and is one of the most popular holiday destinations in Germany. It is a narrow island with a 40-km white beach and dunes on the western (sea) side and opens to mudflats on the eastern side.


Geologically, Sylt originated as a terminal moraine of the Saale glaciation; it was connected to the mainland until a devastating flood in 1362. In the 1920s a rail only causeway was built once again linking Sylt to the mainland.

The island, and especially the city of Kampen, were traditionally known as a meeting place for Germany's high society, and many rich Germans maintain holidays homes on the island. Accordingly, Sylt is the most expensive island in Germany, so plan your budget accordingly. That being said, the expensive things are mostly lavish holiday apartments and champagne at the high prized bars and restaurants, so you can mitigate the impact somewhat by avoiding those.

Get in[edit]

By train[edit]

After Germany lost its harbour with direct Sylt connections due to World War I, some other mode of transportation to the island had to be found and with neither air nor car travel commonplace, a railway only causeway was the logical consequence. The Hindenburgdamm (named for the rather infamous conservative/reactionary Reichspräsident who made Hitler chancellor in 1933) has connected the island to the mainland ever since and remains railway only, although some trains do transport cars.

There are hourly connections by regional train from Hamburg's Altona station via Itzehoe or Intercity & overnight trains from most of Germany via Hamburg main station. An overnight Alpen-Sylt express also operates a summer overnight train from the Alps to the Sylt coast, terminating at Salzburg in Austria and Konstanz in Germany with stops at many major cities along the way such as Frankfurt, Munich, Nuremberg, and Hannover.

  • 1 Westerland train station. The terminus of all island-bound trains, famously with a Frisian/German bilingual station sign. Westerland station (Q801596) on Wikidata Westerland (Sylt) station on Wikipedia
  • 2 Morsum station. The first stop on the island. Skipped by the IC.
  • 3 Keitum station. The second stop on the island for regional trains. Skipped by the IC.

By plane[edit]

  • 4 Sylt - Westerland Airport (GWT IATA). This airport offers flights to and from domestic and Swiss destinations. Operations are mostly seasonal. Sylt Airport (Q20755) on Wikidata Sylt Airport on Wikipedia

By boat[edit]

  • Sylt Ferry, +49 461 864-601. This company runs a year-round ferry from Havneby on the island of Rømø (in Denmark) to 5 A mooring in List on the northern part of Sylt. It may be cheaper and/or more convenient than taking the train, especially if your final destination is on the northern part of the island. €48.30 for a car €8.10 for a single adult; discounts for round trips and frequent travel.

By car[edit]

Similar to most other North Frisian islands, Sylt allows cars and there are several options of getting your car on the island, though driving it yourself isn't one of them. As mentioned above you can take the car ferry from Rømø. The other two options both use the causeway, in which the docking station for your car at the mainland is Niebüll station. Alternatively, if you wish not to bring a car onto the island, which is recommended considering the difficult parking situation, park at the same station for €5.50 per day and take the train for approximately €7 one way.

  • Sylt Shuttle, +49 180 6 22 83 83, fax: +49 461 861 486. The Sylt Shuttle is a subsidiary of Deutsche Bahn, the national railway, and has been operating on this route for decades. Since the liberalization of the railway market, others have tried to enter the market and DB has thus tried some arguably underhanded tactics to keep competition from gaining the upper hand. €54 for a car one way. Discounts for round trips and travel in the middle of the week..
  • Autozug Sylt, +49 4661 736 87 27, . This company is a venture of American RDC and as such the newer entrant to the market. They have less brand name recognition, but they use the same terminal on both sides of the trip as DB and their travel times are roughly the same. Depending on how important money is for you and which departure time works best for you, you can certainly choose either operator. €40 for a car one way. They also have pre-booked tickets from €19 but they are only valid on the train booked and should you get caught in traffic they won't reimburse a cent..


  • 1 Westerland. The main city, with the railway station, all amenities and a beach promenade. Westerland (Q27998) on Wikidata Westerland, Germany on Wikipedia
  • 2 List. A harbor at the north-eastern end of the island with ferries to Denmark. List auf Sylt (Q21160) on Wikidata List auf Sylt on Wikipedia
  • 3 Kampen. It has bars, restaurants, galleries, and holiday mansions. The beach at Kampen is bordered by a 30-m-tall red cliff. Here you'll also find the 50-m-tall Uwe Düne, the island's highest point. Kampen (Q27332) on Wikidata Kampen (Sylt) on Wikipedia
  • 4 Hörnum. A city at the southern tip of the island, with ferries to Amrum and Föhr. Hörnum (Q28013) on Wikidata Hörnum on Wikipedia

Get around[edit]

Map of Sylt

Bus is the easiest although bikes are also popular. An all-island three-day bus ticket costs about €28. You can also take a bicycle on the bus. Because many visitors arrive by car across the causeway and of the rather limited space on the island, there can be surprising amounts of traffic in the high season.


Seal Willy in Hörnum harbour
  • 1 Denghoog, Wenningstedt-Braderup. Neolithic passage grave dating from around 3200 BC. This is the biggest and most impressive of the island's megaliths; for a fee you can enter the grave which is covered by 3 massive stones, the largest of which weighs 20 tons.
  • 2 Rotes Kliff (Red cliffs) (between Wenningstedt and Kampen). 30-metre high line of sea cliffs. Rotes Kliff (Q314716) on Wikidata Rotes Kliff on Wikipedia
  • 3 Uwe Düne. A dune that marks the highest point of the island; stairs lead to the top, with a wonderful view.
  • 4 Wandering Dunes of List. The last wandering dune of Germany, which marches east about 7 metres per year.
  • 5 Sylter Heimatmuseum, Am Kliff 19, Keitum.
  • 6 Altfriesisches Haus, Am Kliff 13, Keitum.
  • 7 The Seal Willy (Often seen in the Hörnum Harbour).


Classically Sylt is a beach destination and this still remains the main draw of the island. While the landscape of the German coast is beautiful even for those who don't want to swim or bathe, the temperature of the water rarely exceeds 20 °C even in the summer and it can get rather windy. Sunburn is, however, a common concern especially when it is windy and appears to be cold, as the sun's UV rays are unperturbed by wind or temperature.

Several segments of the beach are officially declared as FKK (German for "nudist"), but these designations carry little weight; nude and non-nude bathers are tolerated everywhere.

A typically German thing to do at the beach is renting a Strandkorb (a wooden roofed beach chair) and just sitting in it and relaxing.

Along the beach, concrete groynes were built into the sea in an effort to halt sand erosion. These groynes are not visible at high tide and present a danger to unaware bathers. They are marked with cross signs along the beach.

Adults must pay a fee to access the beach (€4 per day from May to October, €2 from November to April); it's €3.30 or €1.65 if you pay in advance at your hotel or pension.

You may want to hike along the beach, along the paths in the dunes and heath behind the beach (it is forbidden to stray from the paths though), and near the mudflats on the western side of the island. Several dozen megalithic graves dating back to the neolithic (c. 3000 BC) can be found on the island.


Square with stores in List, Sylt, you can see Strandkörbe in the foreground


Almost every restaurant on the island serves seafood, with the fish burger being considered something of a takeaway speciality. The island is definitely not cheap with the prices somewhat inflated by the wealthy German tourists who seem to make up 95% of the tourist traffic.


  • 1 Susi's Sylt Kantine, Keitumer Ch 6A, Westerland.
  • 2 Habibi Sylt, Paulstraße 3, Westerland.
  • 3 Münchner Hahn Wenningstedt, Dünenstraße 37, Wenningstedt-Braderup.





  • 6 Marinara Beachclub, Lornsenweg 13, +49 4651 2999393. 13:00-22:00. Pizza and wine.
  • 7 Wunderbar, Paulstraße 6, +49 4651 21701. M-Sa 21:00-05:00 (closed Su).


Go next[edit]

This city travel guide to Sylt is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.