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Overview

North of Bremerhaven and Hamburg, this island in the North Sea close to Germany's border with the Danish Jutland has Germany's longest continuous beach, stretching the entire western side of the island. White sands and mild summer weather draw Germans and Danes to this and the other Frisian Islands, but few American tourists. So a little knowledge of German is helpful. Bicycles, easy to rent and available at many hotels, are the best way to explore the lanes, beaches and streets of the pretty towns, where many houses have picturesque roofs made of reeds. Bus routes follow the same roads and tired cyclists can always climb aboard and put ...

North of Bremerhaven and Hamburg, this island in the North Sea close to Germany's border with the Danish Jutland has Germany's longest continuous beach, stretching the entire western side of the island. White sands and mild summer weather draw Germans and Danes to this and the other Frisian Islands, but few American tourists. So a little knowledge of German is helpful. Bicycles, easy to rent and available at many hotels, are the best way to explore the lanes, beaches and streets of the pretty towns, where many houses have picturesque roofs made of reeds. Bus routes follow the same roads and tired cyclists can always climb aboard and put bikes onto the back of the bus. The towns of Westerland and Kampen have quite different atmospheres, the latter attracting a moneyed crowd to its chic watering holes and boutiques. While the western beaches are busy in the summer, fewer people go to the northern beaches or to the east coast's tidal mudflats, which are a national park. Migrating birds rest here to feed on the fish and crustacea in the shallow water, making the island popular with birders in the spring and fall. Seafood couldn't be fresher than in Sylt's many restaurants, which range from beach kiosks to pricey fine dining. Be aware that bathing is clothing-optional on nearly all beaches.

Lura Seavey
About the Expert

Lura Seavey is the author of Fun with the Family in Vermont and New Hampshire and she has contributed to several Thomas Cook guidebooks, including Drive Around Catalonia, Travellers Mallorca, and Travellers Barcelona.

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Lura Seavey for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    June-September for beaches, spring and fall for bird migrations