Cíes Islands (Islas Cíes) - Galicia
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Directions to Cíes Islands (Islas Cíes)
The Cíes Islands (Islas Cíes) are of international conservation importance and have National Park status in Spain. Arguably they are the most important nature conservation and wildlife site in Spain and are in the opinion of My Guide Galicia one the wonders of the world! The Guardian voted its best beach,Playa de Rodas (Roas Beach), the best in the world in 2007! The Portuguese call it the 'Galician Seychelles'. It seems that outside Galicia and Spain few people have much awareness about their existance and significance.
The Cíes Islands (Islas Cíes) cover an area of about 433 hectares and along with Islas de Ons are part of the Atlantic Islands National Park in the province of Pontevedra close to the city of Vigo. 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, diving and lots more - a true paradise on earth which everyone should get to see at least once in life. There are steep climbs through woodlands, golden sandy beaches, granite outcrops and cool sea breezes even in summer. An interesting fact is that no-one lives on the islands all year round.
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). The individual islands are called Isla Sur o de San Martiño (San Martiño Island), Isla del Medio o del Faro (Faro Island) and Isla Norte o de Monteagudo (North Island).
There are another 8 beaches to visit too. Figueiras Beach is a really beautiful nudist beach where the waters are emerald colour and where the woodlands and sand dunes coexist . 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 Viños or Bolos Beach and the Areiña and Muxieiro Beaches are a natural extension of Rodas making it a spectacular sight. Even in summer it´s easy to find a peaceful spot away from the crowd at one of its many beaches although Rodas beach has the most people as it´s also close to where the boats land and leave.
There are a number of interesting walks around the Islands which are well sign-posted and which offer panoramic,exhilarating views and walks through shaded woodlands with firs and eucalyptus trees . Perhaps the best is to Monte Faro a distance of 3.5 kilometres from the boat arrival/departure point (2.5 hours in duration there and back) rising to 175 metres above sea level with a lighthouse (Faro de Cíes) 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 Faro da Porta (2.6 kilometres/1.75 hours) which provides great views to the south of San Martiño Island.
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.
VIGO - ISLAS CÍES
Departures from Vigo: 11:00 - 12:30 - 16:00 - 18:30
Departures from Cíes: 11:30 - 13:15 - 17:30 - 19:30
CANGAS - ISLAS CÍES
Departures from Cangas: 10:30 - 12:10 - 18:00
Departures from Cíes: 13:15 - 17:30 - 19:30
You can also visit the Islands all year using official approved,private operated boats.
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