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The best cure for a New Year’s Eve hangover is to take part in the popular Neujahrsbaden (New Year’s Day Swim) on January 1st in Wenningstedt. Whether you are a local or a visitor, whether in your bathing or your birthday suit, this icy pleasure has never failed to breathe some life back into a tired reveller after a hard night’s celebrating. Many viewers come to convince themselves of the cold North Sea’s healing powers – not without a glass of hot punch, though.
The culinary firmament above Sylt shines very bright: Michelin stars twinkle in the sky, guiding the way to the Sylt Gourmet Festival. In January six of Sylts best gastronomes Holger Bodendorf, Franz Ganser, Pius Regli, Detlef Tappe and Jan-Hendrik Rose and Tobias Evers invite you to explore their culinary world of finest delicacies.
Literally translated the “dog days” have become a popular set of events that takes place two times a year for an entire week (March & November). Within these two weeks the focus of the village Wenningstedt-Braderup almost completely lays on the humans best friend, the dog. The different events include for instance guided tours through the wadden sea, presentations of veterinarians and therapists, photography courses and a lot more.
The Syltlauf (Sylt run) on the 18th of March attracts distance runners from all over Germany. More than 1400 runners set off from Hörnum to List every year. The distance from Sylt’s southernmost tip up to the island’s northern end is exactly 33,333 metres.
On 31st of March locals and guests gather around the traditional Easter eve bonfire in Hörnum. One day later on Easter Sunday, Kampen’s Strönwai, also known as the “Whiskymeile” (Whiskey Street), hosts the traditional Ostereierlauf (Easter egg-and-spoon race). While the little ones balance their fragile freight on a tablespoon, Kampen’s restaurateurs slip into their famous bunny costumes. Later on, everyone gathers around the Easter bonfire lit on the beach at Buhne 16 next to Kampen.
When the so-called “Galgen” (gallows) are put up in the east of Sylt between June and August, it is not because some criminal’s last hour has struck. The only thing swinging from these gallows is a tiny brass ring, which it is the Ringreiter’s task to snatch at a gallop by means of a lancet. This Sylt tradition reminiscent of medieval tournaments is kept up by eight clubs.
Between May and October there’s music in the North Sea air. With the theme “Musik am Meer” (music by the seaside), Westerland’s Musikmuschel resounds with the songs of the Romada Singers. In July and August, Camerata Budapest adds classical music to the daily programme.
The summer opening in Westerland officially starts the surfing season on Sylt. The kitesurf and windsurf event presents a diverse programme, which attracts numerous visitors and guarantees a great atmosphere.
Pure energy promises the Beach Polo World Cup in Hörnum. On 19th and 20th of May international polo teams fight for win and glory.
For July and August, Kampen’s literature festival, the Literatur- und Klassiksommer, has invited high-profile writers to delight their audience with readings and interviews in Kaamp Hüs. The festival is now in its fourteenth year.
On 20th of June the sun is in the most northern angle to the earth. In the northern hemisphere this constellation leads to the longest day and the shortest night of the year. The day of sun solstice is going to be celebrated with a walking-tour (Mitsommernachtswanderung) around the Hörnum Odde, the southern tip of Sylt.
The worlds best Kite Surfers demonstrate spectacular manoeuvres during the German Kite Surf Trophy from 27th June to 1st of July in Westerland.
Until the end of August, the InselCircus in Wenningstedt invites Sylt’s youngest visitors into its tent village – not only as spectators but also as real circus artists! In the MitmachCircus, children and young people of all ages can prove that there is a little clown, a great magician or a trapeze artist hidden inside every one of them. And for one weekend in August, when young circus artists from all over the world compete at the SOLyCIRCO Festival for the Sylt Artistes’ Award, the island becomes a Monte Carlo of the North.
The Meerkabarett (Sea Cabaret) is first-class entertainment with top performers. Prominent and unknown authors and artists come together here for events and exhibitions. The extraordinary cultural festival is held in the Sylt-Quelle in Rantum from July to September.
Vintage wines and an atmospheric ambience: from the 10th to 15th of July, Westerland’s promenade hosts the Winzerfest (wine festival) with tasting stands from various wine-growing areas. Special highlight: the “Seefeuerwerk”, a big firework right on the beach.
Between the 24th and 29th of July, Westerland’s Brandenburger Strand is the venue of the German Windsurfing Cup, in which the nation’s best windsurfers compete for valuable points for the title of the German champion. Different disciplines, such as racing slalom, waves and freestyle, guarantee sensational performances.
The traditional long-range-regatta, 60 seamiles off the coast of Sylt, takes place on the 28th and 29th of July in Hörnum. The participants’ task is to master the challenging distance from the South up to the most northern point of Sylt on the west coast within two to four hours. On the second day it’s time to head back to Hörnum where guests can watch the finish of the participants.
In the month of August the polo world meets in Keitum for the German Polo Masters. A total of six teams play for the Sal. Oppenheim Gold Cup. The high-goal-polo-tournament is one of the most renowned and glorious tournaments within Europe and has been exciting participants and guest for years.
From 3rd to 5th of August, the Harbour Festival in Hörnum offers a wealth of activities on land and at sea. This year it celebrates the 30th anniversary.
A blaze of colours salutes the eye between the 3rd and 12th of August, when the catamaran regatta Super Sail Sylt fills the sea of Westerland with sails flapping in the wind. Culinary delights and a fringe programme round off the event.
On a wave on Kampen’s beach, Buhne 16 hosts the Longboard Festival Sylt from the 6th to 10th of September.
The world’s best windsurfers meet in Westerland between the 28th of September and 7th of October for the World Cup Sylt. They compete for world ranking points in the disciplines of wave, slalom and freestyle. The “Wimbledon of windsurfers” is one of the most important windsurfing events in the world and attracts more than 200.000 spectators every year. From the Brandenburger beach you can watch the breath taking manoeuvres of the one hundred international top athletes at close quarters. When the contest is over, it’s time to celebrate in the big marquee on the promenade.
On 26th of December, the Westerland Christmas Swim, a tradition since 1985, invites intrepid swimmers to plunge into the icy waters of the North Sea – in a fancy dress, swimsuit or in the altogether. Their courage is rewarded with a certificate and a glass of hot punch. And as the several thousand viewers feel chilly just watching, you might think it best to join them for a drink.
On New Years Eve Sylt’s longest party whatsoever takes place in Wenningstedt – the Kliffmeile. Initially the party marathon was planned for the millennium in 2000. Since then it’s become an amazing event offering a great laser show and fire work right on the beach.
Those who want to get some exercise before partying can take part in the Silvesterlauf (New Year’s Eve run) in Westerland. Crazy costumes are not strictly required, but they show what the run is all about: lots of fun!
The open-air New Year’s Eve Party on Westerland’s beach promenade has become a cult event.