The anchor-shaped island of Sylt is attached to the mainland by a narrow causeway. On its west coast, the North Sea’s fierce surf and strong winds gnaw mercilessly at the shoreline. By contrast, Sylt’s eastern Wadden Sea shore is tranquil and, yes, silty. At low tide, the retreating shallows expose vast mudflats.
Sylt’s candy-striped lighthouses rise above wide expanses of shifting dunes, fields of gleaming yellow-gold rape flower and expanses of heath. Dotted along the beaches are several saunas, where the idea is to heat up and then run naked into the chilly North Sea!
Despite Sylt's glut of upmarket restaurants and designer boutiques, it’s easy enough to lose the glamour and crowds on the beaches, in the dunes or on a hiking or bike trail.
Sylt is 38.5km long and measures only 700m at its narrowest point. The largest town, commercial hub and train terminus is Westerland.