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The largest of the German islands in the North Sea, Sylt is a magnet for tourists across Germany. Since as far back as 1855, Westerland has been prized as a sea-bathing spot frequented above all by spa enthusiasts. But the famous artists' colonies in Kampen have also made a name for the island. Today, Sylt is known as a showcase in miniature for the beauty and variety of the North Sea coast. Here, the North Sea, the Wadden Sea, the heath, dunes and sandy beach are all within a short walking distance of one another. The twelve towns on the island, featuring Frisian houses with their characteristic thatched roofs, offer one-of-a-kind views.
Sylt is also well known as a nature preserve. This unique setting has created a habitat for many plant and animal species that have lost their native environment on the mainland. Sylt will long hold interest for nature lovers, whether they are looking for grey seals on the beach, one of the 600-plus species of butterfly on the heath, migratory or water birds in their breeding territory or baby porpoises in their nursery. More sport-orientated travellers will also have plenty to choose from in Sylt. Naturally, any water sport like sailing, kite surfing and stand-up paddling is very much in demand. But cycling and horseback riding are also popular activities, taking visitors not only from place to place but also closer to nature.
A walk in the tidelands is really a must for any holiday on Sylt. The unique landscape between the island and the coastline, between high and low tides, has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2009. But visitors can also sail the North Sea in one of the many cruise vessels or head for a visit to the Danish island of Rømø north of Sylt. Besides providing rest and relaxation, the North Sea plays a major role in Sylt's cuisine: Sylt Royal oysters, fresh plaice and a fish cake typical of the island are just some of the delicacies that must be sampled. For discriminating tastes, there are also several restaurants with Michelin stars and a gourmet festival every year.