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Germany's islands from A to Z
Westerhever: Boats on the shore of island Helgoland

Heligoland – an offshore oasis of relaxation

Heligoland's rust-coloured sandstone cliffs jut dramatically out of the North Sea some 70 kilometres from the mainland. Blessed with a unique natural setting, the island also enjoys a mild maritime climate.

Although Heligoland is not strictly located on the high seas from a geographical or legal point of view, it is often referred to as Germany's only high seas island, due to its significant distance from the mainland. The island has good connections though, with boats travelling to it from Büsum, Hamburg, Cuxhaven, Bremerhaven and Wilhelmshaven. A particularly enjoyable way of making the North Sea crossing to Heligoland is to take a small cruise ship and see the majestic red cliffs rise up out of the water as you approach your destination. Heligoland has an interesting geological structure and is in fact an archipelago. The main island has three distinct areas: the lower, middle and upper lands, although the best spot for sunbathing is on the smaller island known as the Dune.

As there are no cars (and thus no exhaust fumes) on the island, Heligoland is an ideal destination for health and wellness holidays and for allergy sufferers, who will benefit from its fresh, virtually pollen-free North Sea air and mild maritime climate. Various themed trails guide holidaymakers through the island's flora and fauna to the world's smallest nature conservation area – the Lummenfelsen (guillemot cliffs). The charming Heligoland Museum showcases the island's history and culture. It is located in the Nordseehalle, a multi-purpose conference and events centre for business travellers.

Those seeking a real flavour of the island should make a trip to the heritage-listed fishermen's houses in the harbour, where they will get the chance to try a freshly caught local delicacy – the world-famous Heligoland lobster.