Sylt, the isle of plenty for German bon viveurs, is popular among many for its air, which is a unique blend of iodine, salt and vast, open space. Others come to recharge their batteries on pristine beaches that seem to go on forever. Yet others have acquired a taste for Sylt because of its gourmet restaurants. Hardly anywhere else in Germany has so many Michelin stars within such a small area.
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A moment ago the day was bright and calm with a gentle breeze rippling the surface of the North Sea. Suddenly the wind stiffens, roaring from the southeast across the land and out to sea in gusts that flatten the trembling pale green grass against the dunes. Within a matter of minutes, gray clouds loom over Listland, darkening the lonely heath landscape. Better find shelter from the rain fast, I think to myself.
Abrupt weather changes like this don't worry people like Randolph Kohns.
The tall IT expert from Hanover pushes back his baseball cap, surveys the sky and pronounces confidently: "It will soon pass."
He knows what he's talking about, and so he should because Randolph Kohns has been coming to the island of Sylt for over 20 years. A quarter of an hour later, the clouds have disappeared, the sky is clear and blue as if washed clean. This North Frisian island has its own special microclimate, and it's a benevolent one.
Compared with the German mainland, Sylt has less cloud cover, more sunshine and fewer rainy days. I meet Kohns again in the evening, sitting with his wife in Johannes King's Söl'ring Hof in Rantum, one of the two two-star restaurants on Sylt. He likes to indulge in at least one "starry" meal during each visit to the island, as he says. Sometimes he goes to King's, where the master chef presides over an open, country kitchen, greets his guests personally and bids them farewell when they leave.
Nature's beauty: The force of the west wind can blow Sylt’s famous shifting dunes a number of meters eastward each year.
Wind or sunshine, roofed wicker beach chairs offer great protection and set the holiday scene. While on the island, many Sylt fans even order a beach chair for their garden at home.
Unique location: The exclusive two-star Söl'ring Hof restaurant stands amid the beautiful dune landscape of the romantic North Sea resort of Rantum.
Pure luxury: Hotel accommodation on Sylt ranges from elegant to exquisite. Hotel Stadt Hamburg in Westerland has been welcoming guests from all around the world since 1869.
North Sea panoramas: The Red Cliff in Kampen doesn't offer much protection from the wind, but the view out over beach and sea is fabulous.
Idyllic harbor: Before the Hindenburgdamm causeway was opened, large ferries crossed from the mainland to the small port of Munkmarsch. Today, private yachts tie up here.
Dorint Söl'ring Hof:
Am Sandwall 1, Rantum, Tel.: +49-(0)4651/836 20-0. Open: Mon-Sat from 6:30pm.
Jörg Müller gourmet restaurant:
Süderstraße 8, Westerland, Tel.: +49-(0)4651/277 88. Open: Tue-Sun 6-10pm (different opening times apply at the bistro and the cozy Pesel restaurant, which serves Frisian specialties).
Bodendorf's at Landhaus Stricker:
Boy-Nielsen-Straße 10, Tinnum, Tel.: +49-(0)4651/88 99-0. Open: Tue-Sat 7-10pm.
Bi Heef 1, Munkmarsch, Tel.: +49-(0)4651/93 97-0. Tue-Sat, in the summer also Sun, from 6:30pm.
Restaurant at Hotel Stadt Hamburg:
Strandstraße 2, 25980 Westerland, Tel.: +49-(0)4651/858-0. Open: daily from 6pm (different opening times apply at the bistro).
Das kleine Restaurant Franz Ganser:
Bötticherstraße 2, Westerland, Tel.: +49-(0)4651/229 70. Open: Tue-Sun from 6pm, Wed-Sun also 12 noon-2pm.
Restaurant Karsten Wulff:
Museumsweg 4, Keitum, Tel.: +49-(0)4651/303 00. Open: Mon-Sat 12 noon-2:30pm, from 5:40pm.
Süderweg 2, Kampen, Tel.: +49-(0)4651/440 41. Open: Mon-Sun from 5pm, closed Tuesdays in the off-season.
Gurtstig 2, Keitum, Tel.: +49-(0)4651/318 84. Open: Tue-Sun from 6pm, in the summer also lunchtime, 12 noon-2:30pm, coffee and cake 2-5pm, closed in November.
Stiindeelke 1, Rantum, Tel.: +49-(0)4651/15 51. Open: from 9am, daytime menu 12 noon-5pm, evening menu 6-10pm, also breakfast, and coffee and cake.
Pictures: Modrow/Raach/laif, Westendorf/Widera/Sylt Marketing, PR (2)