If you think about Spain’s islands what first pops into your head? Ibiza? Tenerife? But what if we told you that on the Atlantic Coast of Spain you can find some of the most beautiful islands in the world? If you don’t believe us, we invite you to take a tour of the Cies Islands with us and see the natural, untouched beauty that they have to offer.
A few km away from the Galician city of Vigo, lies the Cies Islands, an unspoiled paradise of green wilderness, white sand and turquoise-blue waters.
These islands are designated as A National Park, therefore an protected area. There are technical three islands in this archipelago: the sought island – San Marino, The North island – Monteagudo, and in the middle – Do Faro, which is linked to Monteagudo by a stretch of sand known as Rodas Beach, one of the most beautiful beaches in the worlds. The Cies Islands offer dozens of nature trails. This is the best way to experience its wild nature, observe its uniqueness and breathtaking views.
We left Vigo early morning and took the ferry to the islands. It was such a pleasant ride. After 45 minutes ferry ride we disembarked on Rodas beach. That day was a strange morning. Whole the island was covered is a strange mist. The humidity was very high. The weather is influenced here by the Ocean and is different from what is the normally expected in Spain. It is mild oceanic. The wind blows frequently, the fog is common and can present its self all years round. So it was the perfect time for a hike.
There are 4 hiking trails:
1. Lighthouse Mountain Trail
This is the trail that offers one of the most spectacular views of the Vigo Estuary. It is one of the longest and the most popular one.
From the ferry deck we crossed the bridge that connects the two islands, entering the camping. Here we had a break for a drink with the best view ever: Rodas Beach.
Not long after that we continued our trail and passed Nosa Senora Beach. From here the road will zig-zag climbing in a very cool and welcoming forest but once in the upper part of the island you can hardly find some trees or shade.
Half way up, on the right we found Pedra da Campa. Here mountain is brutally cuts into the sea by the Atlantic ocean winds. Close to there at about 200 m, there is bird observatory, from where you can see the thousands of yellow-footed seagulls nesting in the cliffs and even groups of cormorants who choose the areas closest to the sea to build their nests. They are extremely protective of their young. You can also enjoy breathtaking views of the lake and Rodas Beach.
Back on the main road the climb continues way up to the highest point of the mountain. The lighthouse is at the very top and from here you have a panoramic view of the whole archipelago: the three islands, their cliffs, beaches and the entire Vigo estuary. On the way back at a crossroad, close to the Pedra da Campa, there is a path that goes to the second lighthouse: A Porta lighthouse.
Tips: Upper part of the island hardly has any trees or shade, so in summer it’s advisable to use sun protection and hiking boots.
2. A Porta Lighthouse Trail
A Porta Lighthouse Route it is less known to the travelers than the Faro Mountains, this Trail offers a journey along the coast with a view of the islands that is closer to the sea. So, from the ferry dock take the same path as to the Mountain Lighthouse, pass the connected bridge, the camping and let the Nosa Senora Beach on your left. The trail begins to climb slightly until you reach the A Porta lighthouse. From here you can enjoy the panoramic views of the island of Saint Martino.
3. Alto del Principe Trail
This trail will take you way up to the top of the Agudo Mountain. It is the shortest and the easiest trails from the four. As you can see all the trails, started from the ferry deck. So, from the ferry, this time turn right, along the trail that leads to Figueiras Beach. First you will pass Figueiras-Muxieiro dune complex, which is protected area. Passing is forbidden because theses dunes hosts rare birds and plants. Once you reached Figueiras Beach, you will have to torn left to the Alto del Príncipe trail. From there you will have breathtaking views of the cliffs on the west coast Tips: This route passes by Figueiras Beach, which is nudist. We didn’t know about it and went just in the middle of it. 🙂
4. Agudo Mountain Trail
This trail take you through the forests of the Cies Islands. Beginning as usual at the ferry deck, then turns to the right, passing the Protected dunes and the nudist Figueiras Beach, you rich the island main crossroad. From here you will have to go straight to the side of Agudo Mountain, then turn left towards the bird observatory that watches over the islands’ steepest coast, overlooking the ocean. This is another place to observe the hundreds of yellow-footed seagulls.
We enjoyed the hike so much: with its jaw-dropping landscapes, sandy white beaches and turquoise blue waters, the intense green forest.
Cies was the best surprise and perfect getaway.
At the end of the two days on the island I was disappointed to leave.