What is the best/fastest/cheapest/most stress-free way to get to sylt??

Double floors of the car train to Sylt

As is well known, Sylt is an island, and one without a direct connection to the road traffic by a bridge. So just driving across by car is not necessary.

The classic way, if you still want to take your car with you, is to take the car train over the Hindenburgdamm. Opened in the 1920s, the causeway connects the mainland of Schleswig-Holstein with the easternmost tip of Sylt via a railroad line, greatly simplifying and shortening the trip for tourists and commuters compared to the previously customary journey of several hours by ferry from the Danish coast.

With the car in the car train

At the loading terminal in Niebull on the mainland, the cars, including all passengers, travel one after the other in the seemingly endless line of wagons of the two providers ‘Autozug Sylt’ (blue) or ‘Sylt Shuttle der DB’ (red).

You should decide early, already before the traffic circle, for an offerer and arrange accordingly, a later change at the payment barriers is not possible any more. If one has reached once its place on a carriage, is more than half an hour idleness announced, because the train drives holiday-makers together with car in a row over the dam up to the station to Westerland on Sylt. You can not get off!

The car train: typical for Sylt. There is always one rattling along somewhere

The motorail train: typical for Sylt. Somewhere always rattles straight one long.

Especially at vacation times there can be long traffic jams at the terminals, so it’s best to book online in advance. I still remember well the car trips with my family when I was a child, long before there was internet: The waiting time around the loading on the car train was always a critical time for the nerves of all involved and the family peace after the already hours-long journey from Cologne.

And only when you had found a place in the car in front of you and behind you, squeezed in between other vacationers, when the train finally, finally rattled off and you could already see the sea to the left and right, then you had almost made it and rest, vacation and relaxation were within reach.

The sea! There it is! Alright, it's low tide, but that's a sign: We are almost there!

The sea! There she is! Alright, it’s low tide, but that’s a sign: We’re almost there!

By train (without car)

You don’t really need a car on Sylt, because all villages on the island are well served by the public bus system.

But you can travel to Sylt with the German Railways, z.B. like we did from Cologne to Westerland in 7.5 hours (okay, not exactly in no time, but doable), and the whole thing non-stop, without changing trains! If you are lucky and get a Sparpreis ticket of the Deutsche Bahn, the whole journey costs only unbelievable 20€, and all children under 15 years travel for free. You only have to specify them on the ticket when booking.

We like to travel by train. The possibility to take your own children with you at no extra charge is simply great for single parents, and for complete families in general, of course. If you book a family reservation for another 9€, you might get seats in a compartment or at least at a table for 4 people.

Even when these are all taken, as happened to us on our recent last-minute trip, it has to be said honestly that even the space in the normal rows of seats is far beyond what you get on an average plane these days. There we were really positively surprised.

Especially when traveling with very young children or children who are inexperienced in traveling, I would always try to get at least seats at a table, so that you can spread out, or even directly in a compartment where you have more peace and quiet, especially on longer trips.

View from the train window - still on the mainland. But you can already smell the sea, soon we will be on the island!

View from the train window – still on the mainland. But you can already smell the sea, soon we will be on the island!

On the crossing to Sylt you can choose – as a group of people without a car – between the regional express and an extra passenger car, which is attached to the car train.

The crossing by regional express is ca. a quarter of an hour faster, because the motorail train still has to shunt first, but for us (one adult, two children) the slightly longer crossing, attached to the motorail train, was much cheaper, so we usually chose this option.

More exact information for the respective constellation one checks best over the reservation side of the German course, at the automat or in personal consultation directly at the counter. For the latter, however, you have to allow for waiting times most of the time.

Arrival at the train station in Westerland - we are there, on Sylt!

Arrival at the train station in Westerland – we are here, on Sylt!

In Westerland itself we were not on the way, only once we left the nostalgic station in the direction of the city for a short shopping trip.

By plane, like the celebrities

Yes, Sylt also has its own airport, two kilometers from Westerland. It takes just one hour to fly to the airport.B. from Cologne, you can dig your bare toes into the sand and let the wind blow around your nose.

There are no public transport connections, at least we didn’t find any. We speculate that the usual passengers are probably brought there in style by shuttle or directly by the chauffeur. We, as non-high-society members, endeavor a cab for the short distance from the station in Westerland.

The disadvantage of this way of traveling: It is of course not exactly cheap. However, the z.B. with Eurowings often only for the outward flights, the return flights are sometimes already for small money to have. And that’s how we did it: There quite comfortably in a good 7 hours by train, then back in no time for a not super cheap, but manageable amount by plane. Jetset-like, much to the amusement of the children.

Sylt's small airport also has - at least partially - a thatched roof. Departure on the left, arrival on the right: That's it

Sylt’s small airport also has – at least partially – a thatched roof. Departure on the left, arrival on the right: that’s it.

The smallest airport we have flown from so far: From the waiting area, the view goes directly to the tarmac, where the plane is about to land.

The airport itself is rather manageable and has almost a cozy living room character. Hectic hustle and bustle is not to be found here. A bakery, which we had hoped for, since our plane leaves early in the morning, is not here either, but there is a tiny branch of the ubiquitous “Sansibar” on Sylt with hearty, sweet rolls, excellent coffee and a charming, slightly graying, honorable Italian, who takes care of the whole thing with form and dignity, while in the background – of course – Adriano Celentano casually sings along.

And with ‘Azzurro’ in our ears we are soon humming in time and happily chewing on the few seats in the small waiting area waiting for our plane home. Goodbye, Sylt!

You won't find a bakery at Sylt Airport, it's too small for that, as we discover hungry early in the morning. But true to style, even here there is a tiny offshoot of the Sansibar!

There is no bakery at Sylt airport, it is too small for that, as we find out hungry early in the morning. But in style there is even here a tiny offshoot of the Sansibar!

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