Liv Hambrett

Germany + Australia + Culture + Motherhood + Home

Sylt, Travel + Life Abroad

The German Hamptons

For a long time, I have been hearing murmurs of an island with sand so white, it’s blinding. Of an island where wealth abounds, of an endless stretch of beach-baskets, lapped by the North Sea. Sylt, the people whispered, Sylt. 

Others told me it was a snobby haven of tax evaders, ridiculously expensive and there are spots as nice as Sylt on the North Sea, minus the pretension.

The train took 2.5 hours and we waved at Denmark as we made our way across the (what is essentially) marsh that separates Sylt from mainland Germany. At high tide, the island is clearly an island, surrounded by delicious blue sea. At low tide it is all but visibly connected to the mainland.



The weather could not have behaved in a more fitting manner. There was, for the first time in many, many months, not a cloud in the sky. The breeze was gentle. Locals and tourists filled the cafes’ outdoor seating areas, their chairs turned in rows as if having an audience with the sun. There were a lot of ice creams and refreshing beverages going on. The strand-korb we paid 8 euro for the pleasure using (after paying 3.50€ for the pleasure of entering the beach … a concept utterly foreign to an Australian) trapped the heat of the sun with pleasing efficiency, creating a warm little nest in which we could sunbathe. Which we did until our pale winter skin went pink.

When we left the beach, bound for ice cream sundaes of considerable size, we put our feet in the North Sea. Not as cold as expected by flipping freezing. And, if truth be told, a little magical.





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  1. Riayn

    4 May, 2013 at 9:22 pm

    Looks gorgeous, but I had no idea you had to pay to go onto the beach. That’s ridiculous.

    1. Liv

      5 May, 2013 at 10:45 am

      Haha, I know, right? There are two things that will never take off in Australia – paying for beaches and paying to use sun lounges/strandkörbe that ‘belong’ to the beach. But it was a beautiful day and the beach, despite lacking surf, was stunning. White, blue, blue.

  2. Dom

    6 May, 2013 at 4:32 am

    My favourite island up there is Föhr. But the Halligen are definitely the cutest things ever!

    1. Liv

      7 May, 2013 at 8:54 am

      I will have to try and get to Föhr? Sylt was beautiful, but I am aware of its knowledge of its beauty, haha. Is Föhr perhaps more laidback?

      1. Hainuo

        4 December, 2013 at 1:19 pm

        As someone, who is coming from northern Germany, I want to give you an advice. You should visit Amrum, it’s one of the most beautiful islands in the Northern Sea. Because it is somehow inconvenient to go there, it’s not as crowded as Sylt. And most important: the rich folks haven’t destroyed the local culture so far 😉

  3. Isa

    7 May, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    Part of the HH Jetset, eh!

    1. Liv

      7 May, 2013 at 2:31 pm

      You know how it goes!

  4. Sarah Ayoub (@sarahayoub)

    11 May, 2013 at 11:36 pm

    3.50 Euro for a beach visit is not so bad, even for an Australian unaccustomed to paying. Imagine my reaction in Lebanon where you pay between $20 USD to $80 USD for entrance to the beach, plus more for inclusions (a cabana or similar). The height of pretension there would warrant such a good rant from you Liv. And you would make that narrowed eyes face that I love.

    1. Liv

      12 May, 2013 at 10:01 am

      $20 + for a beach? Get out of town! I don’t like the whole cabana/sun lounger/strandkörbe thing on the beach. It feels strange. The beach is the beach, it isn’t ours to cover with public, costly chairs and things. I much prefer the Australian relationship with the beach, it’s a special one.

  5. lilac

    16 July, 2013 at 9:43 am

    Heya ;O)
    But you are aware that these fees only apply at certain entrances to the Beach in Sylt? And even so, you should pay for a Strandkorb, there are spots and places where nobody cares.
    Yes, it has it snobbish side, but there are so many beautiful gems on sylt – I am there each year, since I’ve been born, so 37 years, and there are still places I am discovering… ;O)
    So, next time – let me know, I’ll share some tipps with you ;O))

    1. Liv

      16 July, 2013 at 9:52 am

      It is so beautiful – I’d love to take a little holiday there. I didn’t know I could get onto the beach cost-free (hurrah!) – we entered at one of the quite main entrances, so obviously no escaping there!

  6. zalp

    9 September, 2013 at 12:25 am

    My favourite island up there is Amrum (south of Sylt, southwest of Föhr). It’s less snobbish than Sylt and I find its landscape more varied.
    But nevertheless tomorrow I will be on my way to a short holiday in northernmost Germany including a day trip to Sylt 🙂

  7. Renate Barreras

    10 October, 2015 at 5:28 pm

    I was born there, in Keitum, just returned from a visit, great weather but no waves for the World wind surfing (happens every year) love my island, still have lots of family. There are many beaches where you do not have to pay. I lived in Sydney for 2 years, loved every moment. Heading to Queensland next year.

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