Why go to Sylt?
Get to know the German Hamptons. Sylt (pronounced 'zoolt') is the tiny island off north Germany you’ll wish you’d known about sooner.
While Germany’s rich and famous have been coming here for yonks, the rest of the world is just beginning to wake up to its charms. Mainly, the pristine 40km-long beach, aka one of the longest unbroken beaches in Europe. Miraculously untouched, the main nod to civilisation you’ll see are the blue and white Strandkorb dotting the sand – ludicrously comfy beach chairs for two that shelter you from the wind and come with pull-out footrests.
There’s an unearthly beauty here, thanks to the island’s melding of riviera scenes with bucolic German countryside.
Keitum village is a confection of immaculate thatch houses and home to the island’s main five-star hotel. Ms Merkel herself has graced its hushed rooms.
Kampen, another corker of a village, has a lighthouse, cliffside walks and all the jazz that’s fit to eat. There’s also the UNESCO World Heritage site Wadden Sea mudflats. Wait for the tide to recede, roll up your jeans and leave footprints in the silky mud as you walk to one of the nearby islands (but always with a guide – there's quicksand about).
Nearby Föhr Island is a mere two hours away by ferry and is a fairy tale come to life – quite literally, as Hans Christian Andersen used to holiday on it. Or stay where you are: walk through the long grass, paddle in the waves, and stop and smell every pink and white Sylt rose you see. It’s all paradiesisch here.