Intact nature is rightfully considered the greatest luxury of our century.
While larger fins roam through the North Sea, tiny feet burrow into the mudflat. Being out and about in a World Heritage Site is all the same to them. And the lambs also see less scenic fascination than proven sources of fodder in the salt meadows, green dikes and heathland. Despite all the beauty, dunes are not a decoration, but an essential island anchorage, and the 40 kilometres of sandy beach are a buffer zone between sea and land, as well as somewhat of an Eldorado for seashell seekers. Hence, it is less a matter of miserliness than generosity that over half of the island is under nature protection status. Only true sustainability can preserve (the joy of) our valuable legacy for generations to come.
The Wadden Sea is the last great wilderness in Central Europe.
At first it seems simply unbelievable that this mudflat is home to several thousand very active residents per square metre. But just because you don't see them right away doesn't mean they aren't there: Look close enough and you'll discover a magnificent biodiversity.
It is thanks to the tides that this wondrous world which stretches between Sylt and the mainland up to the surrounding islands can be experienced without snorkel and diving goggles: to this day tides form the world's largest ecosystem of its kind, and depending on the time of day, clear the way for the exploration of this landscape, which is actually significantly different than all others.
The Wadden Sea has a lot more to offer than its glistening surface divulges. Go hands on and check it out: on foot, by ship, with guidance and without reserve.
The interplay of wind and waves is an unpredictable force, and the inhabitants of Sylt realized early on that they must actively work towards protecting their land. The effort started almost 150 years ago and developed into extensive coastal defensive measures.
What began with planting marram grass to stabilize the dunes and the installation of oak groynes is continued with modern means today. Beach nourishment with about 1,000,000 m³ of sand each year and an unflagging commitment in all areas of environmental protection serve a single purpose: to safeguard a unique landscape and preserve the living space of almost 20,000 people.
Different strokes for different folks: on the island of Sylt, everyone can find their place in the sun.
Those looking for peace and quiet will find it off the central beaches; naturists can skinny-dip and sunbathe among the like-minded; dog owners and their Fidos can frolic on designated dog beaches; and windsurfers can ride the waves in the best surfing spots. There are often no clear-cut boundaries between these beaches, and Sylt and its visitors have a reputation for being quite tolerant.
Westerland’s “Fun-Beach Brandenburg” bustles with life. In high summer, the place is bursting at the seams – much to the pleasure of our numerous young visitors who enjoy playing sports and being where the action is. Beach soccer and volleyball, bowling greens and dartboards are only some of the many attractions, making sure there is never a dull moment. And every Friday at 2 pm, the Beach Olympics draw athletes to the sand stadium to compete under the motto ‘Let’s have fun!’ and ‘It’s taking part that counts!’
Further south towards Rantum, beach names like “Oase zur Sonne”, “Samoa” and “Sansibar” promise exoticism.
The family-friendly main beach of Hörnum, easily accessible via the promenade, boasts a special attraction. It is overlooked by a widely visible red-and-white lighthouse, which can be visited by appointment.
Tucked away behind an unspoilt dune landscape, List’s west beach in the island’s north offers a secluded stretch of seashore, where those looking for rest and relaxation will feel especially at home. However, the young entertainment-seeking generation is not left high and dry either: on their own stretch of beach, kids and teenagers can romp around and make noise to their heart’s content.
Once as famous as it was infamous, Kampen’s Buhne 16 (‘Buhne’ means ‘groyne’) is still legendary. Today, top managers sunbathe side by side with blue-collar workers, large families next to soap stars. There are no social barriers; after all, “In swimming trunks, everyone looks pretty much the same anyway.”
The beach access point at the Red Cliff affords spectacular views of the sea. The viewing platform is wheelchair-accessible. Wenningstedt is not only popular for its wide main beach. At the northern beach access point, generally referred to as “at Wonnemeyer’s” or “Abessinia”, a big play-ship fascinates little visitors.
On List and Hörnum’s east beaches, fine sands and the calm Wadden Sea beckon to swimmers and sun worshippers alike. Here the North Sea shows its mild, almost gentle side; there are no big waves to knock over little water babies. Ideal for families with small children.