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Die Lange Anna, Bild: hecke61 / shutterstock

Heligoland: Germany’s only offshore island

Heligoland is a nature-rich island in the North Sea that offers a lot of relaxation. A beautiful sandy beach, restaurants and cafes contribute to relaxing on Germany’s only offshore island. Well-developed hiking trails and quiet places for bird watching are interesting for nature lovers. In addition, there are numerous sights and sports facilities that provide plenty of action, culture and adventure.

The following article shows what else the island on the German Bight has to offer and what insider tips there are.

This is what makes Heligoland so special

Deät Lun is Frisian for Heligoland. The island in the German Bight is Germany’s only offshore island and consists of the main island and the dune. To get to the dune, a short crossing is necessary.

Heligoland looks back on a long history: Due to the New Year’s flood in 1721, the island is divided in two. In 1947, the British Allies blew up the military installations. Since then, the island has been demilitarized.

A real highlight is the journey with the famous seaside resort ships. The passengers are taken from the large ships to the smaller Börte boats. The so-called disembarkation is very popular and provides a lot of fun. The white Börte boats are then moored at the harbour, where it is particularly romantic in the evening: The sunset is a beautiful highlight of a Heligoland trip, which is free of charge and at the same time will be remembered for a long time.

The best time to travel to Heligoland is from May to September. Then the temperatures rise to a pleasant 20 degrees Celsius. The water temperature is around 18 to 21 degrees Celsius and the quality is very clean.

The journey to Heligoland

The journey to Heligoland always takes place by sea. This can be done in an hour by ferry from Cuxhaven: a catamaran takes passengers safely to their destination.

Other ferry piers that depart for Heligoland are located in Hamburg-Wedel, Büsum or Bremerhaven. A journey from Hamburg takes around three and a half hours.

Cars and bicycles are prohibited on the island, which is why only pedestrians are allowed on the ferries. Dogs are welcome on the island and find enough space on signposted beach sections.

If you prefer a quick journey, you should rely on a light aircraft. The flight with a private airline from Cuxhaven takes about 20 minutes and leads to the only landing site on the dune.

To get to the ferry docks, it is possible to arrive by plane, car or train. There are plenty of parking options on site, which are subject to a fee. To save money, the free park-and-ride parking lots are suitable, which are located just outside.

Sights of the offshore island and the surrounding area

Lighthouse Heligoland
Lighthouse of Heligoland, Image: Petr Kahanek / shutterstock

The landmark of the island is the Lange Anna, which is definitely worth a visit. At a height of a good 47 metres, the rock ledge made of red sandstone rises up. With a weight of 25,000 tons, the Nathurn Stak, as the rock is called in Frisian, is very imposing. Not far from there is the old lighthouse, which completely survived the Allied attack in 1947.

The colourful lobster stalls are simply part of Heligoland. The houses were once intended for the fishermen, who stored their equipment in them. Today, boutiques and other shops are located in it.

A popular attraction are the cute grey seals. They can be recognized daily in close proximity on the dune. Bathers on the beach can see from the shore how the island’s well-known inhabitants sunbathe or mate.

Equally well-known are the drum guillemots, which breed on the famous guillemot rock. The birds are almost unique on the island and an absolute highlight for birdwatchers.

From the north beach it goes up via the Jägersteig. The many steps offer a fantastic panoramic view.

These tips are worth it

  • Colorful Houses Heligoland
    The colourful houses of Heligoland, Image: Christian Horz / shutterstock

    With a trip to Heligoland, visitors save twice: One advantage is duty-free shopping on the island. This is because Heligoland is a foreign country. Nevertheless, it belongs to Germany , so all other German regulations apply.

  • To save money when booking, an early bird discount or a last-minute offer is worthwhile.
  • Although a tourist tax is levied, this ensures clean beaches, a wide range of leisure activities for families with children and discounts of all kinds. Museums, mini golf and more are thus cheaper.
  • Two beautiful sandy beaches can be found on the dune. The fine sand creates a lot of holiday atmosphere. The beaches are guarded in the high season, so swimming in the North Sea is safe. On one section there is a beautiful playground, a restaurant and sanitary facilities.
  • Although there is no longer any fresh fish in the colorful lobster stalls today, they indicate the popular dish of the locals. Lobster, sprats and halibut are very popular and can still be found on the local menus today. Freshly caught goods are best obtained directly from the cutter that arrives at the port.
  • For dessert, an egg grog is typical, which consists of rum, sugar, egg yolk and cream. Sea buckthorn grows on the cliffs, known as the lemon of the north and is full of vitamin C. Sweets, schnapps or jams can be considered as souvenirs.


Heligoland is a very special island in Germany that offers beautiful vantage points. Although the only offshore island in Germany is quite tranquil, it has a dream beach and interesting sights on offer. It is worth visiting all year round to come with your family, as a single or as a couple with or without a dog