Virtual Tour of Cies Islands
The scenic shots are of the best places on the Cies Islands , My Destination Galicia''''s second favourite place to visit in Galicia after Santiago de Compostela!. The islands are of international conservation importance and have National Park status. Arguably they are the most important wildlife site in Spain and are undoubtedly one the wonders of the world! The Guardian voted its best beach,Playa de Rodas, the best in the world in 2007! The Portuguese call it the "Galician Seychelles".
The Cies cover an area of about 433 hectares and along with Islas de Ons are part of the Atlantic Islands National Park. They are located at the entrance to Vigo estuary helping to protect this stretch of coast including the Bay of Baiona. There are actually 9 beaches of which Rodas beach is the most famous. The campsite (Camping Islas Cies) has to be one of the very best in the world!
Although facing the wild,open Atlantic Ocean they are close to Vigo estuary and enjoy a unique Mediterranean style climate.The islands really have it all : great summer weather, pristine protected habitat, an outstanding landscape/visual beauty ,footpaths for walking, outstanding viewpoints, bird watching observatories, rare wildlife and lots more - a true paradise on earth which everyone should get to see at least once in life.
The boat lands at a recently updated docking point close to Rodas Beach which the Guardian described as "a perfect crescent of soft, pale sand backed by small dunes sheltering a calm lagoon of crystal-clear sea. Locals call this their "Caribbean beach", and the water is turquoise enough, the sand white enough to believe the comparison.." The beach is a kilometre in length which joins two of the three islands (North and Middle).
There are another 8 beaches to visit too. Figueiras Beach is a really beautiful nudist beach. Nosa Señora Beach which changes into a stunning inlet at high tide with emerald coloured waters and views looking towards the Isle of San Martiño. The small inlets known as A Cantareira and Margaridas are close to the work camp for the summer camping holidays. The Viñosor Bolos Beach and the Areiña and Muxieiro Beaches are a natural extension of Rodas making it a spectacular sight.
There are a number of interesting walks around the Islands which are well sign-posted and which offer panoramic,exhilarating views. Perhaps the best is to Monte Faro a distance of 3.5 kilometres (2.5 hours in duration there and back) rising to 175 metres above sea level with a lighthouse marking the highest point on the Islands. The climb to Alto del Principe,111 metres above sea level covering 1.7 kilometres (1.25 hours) is also spectacular as it winds through dense woodland. There are also two other gentler walks : Monteagudo which leads to the north most part of the islands (2.5 kilometres/1.75 hours) and Faroda Porta (2.6 kilometres/1.75 hours) which provides great views to the south of San Martiño.
Check out on the walks the following features: the cliffs,sand dunes,marine bottoms, woodlands, beaches,yellow-footed seagulls,common shag and ocellated lizard. Please respect the basic regulations of the environment so keep only to the paths and don''''t leave any waste etc. For details of how to get there by boat visit Mardeons website. Boats run everday from 1 June to 30 September and there is also a regular service at easter time. You can visit the Islands all year using official approved,private operated boats.