Heligoland is a small archipelago consisting of just two islands, off the coast of Germany in the North Sea. The population is just over 1,000 people and there are very few cars or bicycles allowed – only by the emergency services. The total area of the two islands is just 1.7 km2 (0.66 mi2).
Heligoland enjoys an oceanic climate with warm, sunny summers and mild winters. Being an island, it is almost completely free from pollen, which will suit those with allergies.
The islands are a haven for birds, especially on the Lummerfelsen – this craggy cliff is the smallest nature reserve in the world and is perfect for nesting seabirds to colonise. Thousands of razorbills, gannets and rare murres (guillemots) gather here.
For walkers, there is a themed nature trail with way markers giving information about the island’s flora and fauna and a cliff trail allowing you to observe the sea birds on Lummerfelsen. From this trail, you can also catch views of Lange Anna, a freestanding sea stack rising 47 m (154 ft) to the north west of the island. This is Heligoland’s most famous landmark and climbing it is forbidden.
There are two small beaches, north and south; and Düne, the smaller island, features more great sandy beaches with good swimming and a chance to see harbour seals, grey seals and porpoises. Seal pups are born from November to December, so time your visit if you want to see them at this time.
The island also features an outdoor sea water swimming pool, maintained at a constant temperature of 26°C all year round.
From mainland Germany, approximately three hours sailing time from Cuxhaven at the mouth of the River Elbe.