For nearly a century, Sylt’s particular blend of nature and rustic sophistication has attracted a variety of German celebrities including writer Thomas Mann, actress Marlene Dietrich, tennis legend Boris Becker, football star Günter Netzer, and supermodel Claudia Schiffer. It remained a relatively obscure destination until the 1970s, when it morphed into a German Ibiza of sorts. Today, this vaguely T-shaped island serves as Germany’s ground zero for all varieties of surfing—board, wind, kite—and is also a prime spot for polo, with matches played on the beach in the spring
Places of note: On the east coast, metalsmiths, ceramists, glassblowers, and painters continue age-old artistic traditions in the 13th-century village of Keitum, while theater-lovers come for the summer opera on the beach. A must-stop on Sylt’s fine-dining circuit is Restaurant Jörg Müller. Part of the hotel run by Jörg and Barbara Müller, it serves haute pan-European cuisine with a Frisian twist. Farther south, Sansibar is equal parts beach club, wine bar, and dining room. For your stay, the Dorint Söl’ring Hof occupies a gabled country house also on the island’s southern peninsula with just 15 smart guest rooms.
How to get there: More than a dozen trains depart daily for the island from Hamburg.
When to go: Visit during the summer, which in Sylt starts in May.