One day I saw a picture of an amazing beach and I fell in love with it. It was called the Cies Islands.
I didn’t know anything about it but I told to myself that we have to go there…and two months later we were there.
Somewhere in the Galician Land, there are three Islands: The Cies Islands which are Vigo’s greatest treasure. These islands are part of the Atlantic Islands National Park and one of the Galicia’s most beautiful places, which is why the Romans named them the islands of the gods.
The Cies archipelago means three islands: Monte Agudo, O Faro and San Martino. The first two are connected by a long strip of sand which is Rodas Beach and a bridge between the ocean and the inner lake.
Imagine a paradise beach with crystalline waters, in a natural environment that makes it a unique wildlife observatory, bordered by a forest of an intense green that protects you from the burning sun.
A visit to the Cies is ideal for hiking with your family or for a getaway in search of quiet and unspoiled beaches.
We decided to have the accommodation based in Vigo. We wanted the comfort of the hotels and to be close to the exquisite Galician cuisine. By the way, here we ate the best sea food ever!
So, we preferred to take a ferry in the mornings and came back late in the evenings. And this is what we did for two days in a row.
When we arrived on the islands, early in the morning, everything was covered by a white blanket of clouds that the sun couldn’t get through. The humidity was so high that you could feel it on your skin. Of course, this is the influence of the ocean but soon the sun came up.
We stepped directly to the Rodas Beach, which was voted one of the best beaches in the world and you’ll know why, as soon as you step on it.
The beach joins the islands of Monteagudo and Faro. It has fine, white sand and crystal clear, emerald waters. Next to it, you’ll find natural dune areas. Here the natural beauty of these coastal islands has been preserved.
The beaches themselves are basically perfect: extremely fine, white sand covers the half dozen or so beaches that stretch around the islands’ perimeter, and waves of almost-neon turquoise water gently splash along the beaches. The only way they could improve is if the ocean water wasn’t so ice-cold!
When to visit the Islands
- The standards Ferry service is available only during Summer (June-September), during Easter and some weekends in May.
- Of course that you can visit the island on your own, all year long, but you will need an authorization. The islands are protected areas of the Atlantic Islands National Park
- You shouldn’t worry about the peak season, only 2000 people are allowed each day, so it is never to crowed.
How to reach the islands
- The islands are a national park, so the number of visitors is limited to 2000 a day. But you shouldn’t worry about getting a seat on the ferry.
- You can go to the islands by ferry from: Baiona, Cangas and of course Vigo, which has more daily trips than only other ports.
- Taking the ferry from Vigo:
- There are to main companies: Piratas de Nabia and Mar de Ons. They have the same prices, leaving approximately the same hours. So, I didn’t see a difference.
- Their ferry’s will take you only to the two interconnected islands: Monteagudo and Faro.
- The trip is about 40 minutes and is only for passengers. Cars or pets are forbidden on the islands.
- If you go by yourself you should have a permit to sail and anchor there. The permit is given by the Natural Park.
Things to know before you go to the islands
- Take food and water with you. There is no fresh water on the Cies Islands and the sun is very strong there. You can find three places from where you can buy some refreshments, but there are a little expensive.
- Take and use a lot of sunscreen. Lots of people are having sun burns on these islands.
- Take all your necessary things for the beach including a hat. You will see that it will be much needed.
- Take boots. Remember that there are four hiking trails and it is a pity not to explore these beautiful islands.
- Take your camera. Everything is amazing.
- You won’t find hotels. There is only a camping which is sold out most of the time.
- It is forbidden to make noise here. Especially from 0.00 till 8.00
What to do in Cies Islands
- Sunbathe on one of the beaches. I couldn’t decide which is the most beautiful one. Everything is perfect: the sand, the hypnotic turquoise blue water (cold as ice).
- Have some privacy. Ignore the masses and sunbathe at any of the other 9 beaches around the islands
- Take a hike. There are four hiking trails.
- Cross from one island to another through Rodas beach and over the bridge of the inner lake.
- Visit one of the bird-watch points. There are many protected species around.
- Just sit back, relax and enjoy the atmosphere of the amazing ocean.
- If you are lucky, you can swim surrounded by arroaces (native, smaller sized dolphins).
- Make some diving and snorkeling in the crystal-clear Atlantic waters. The islands form part of the Atlantic Islands National Park and are incredibly rich in marine life
Accommodation on the islands
We choose to book a hotel in Vigo, to have all the comfort of the hotel and to try everything that Galician cuisine can offer. And as I told you before on the islands there is only a camping with limited seats. But if you still plan to camp on the islands, then you should know:
- You should book way in advance. There are limited places and there are getting sold out very fast.
- You can rent a tent if you don’t want to take yours.
- In the camping, there is a nice bar and a small mini market with limited things to buy. Not far from the camping there is a small terrace restaurant where you can find something to eat. The offer won’t be diverse but you can find good and delicious food. And there is also a bar near the ferry, quite expensive and with low-quality food.
- There is WIFI but the signal is not that strong.
- You will have to pay for the showers
Tips: Beware of the birds at Cies, seagulls here can open bags, untie knots and unzip zippers. And if they like something they’ll fight for it. Plus, they breed in the summer and they will protect their chicks wildly.
I personally fall in love with these islands. The beaches are a paradisiacal cove with turquoise waters, white soft sands and stunning landscape. A true piece of haven.