Las Islas Cies beach in Galicia, Spain
- The National Park
- Las Islas Cies Archipelago
- Las Islas Cies Beaches
- How to get to Las Islas Cies
- Accommodation on Las Islas Cies
Not your average Mediterranean Beach Holiday in Spain
Unlike most of Spain's best beach vacations in the Mediterranean, Las Islas Cies, as the name suggests in Spanish are actually an archipelago of three islands on the coast of Pontevedra in Galicia, north western Spain. This means that they are just north of Portugal and as such are actually on the Atlantic coast.
Las Islas Cies were declared a nature reserve in 1980 and form part of the Atlantic Islands of Galicia National Park (Parque Nacional Marítimo-Terrestre das Illas Atlánticas de Galicia).
In Spain, National Parks are nature areas with the aim of being untouched by human activity, this means that the islands of Cies are uninhabited and only open to the public during the summer.
The Cíes archipelago consist of three islands, Monteagudo, known as "Sharp Mount" and is the Northern Island, do Faro, known as the "Lighthouse Island" or "Isla do Medio" and is the Middle Island and San Martiño, also known as "Saint Martin" and is the Southern Island.
The main beach that people come to is Rodas Beach or Praia das Rodas on Las Islas Cies which means "Wheels Beach" in Galician. Praia das Rodas has been named as one of the best beaches in the world in a few polls, including a list created by The UK's Guardian newspaper (see the Guardians Top Ten beaches in the World) and with good reason, it is stunning and is often referred to as Sapin's own “Caribbean Beach”. Backed by small dunes sheltering a calm lagoon of crystal-clear water, with it's pine forests, white sands and turquoise blue waters, it is easy to see why. One thing to mention though is that the water can be cold, remember that this is not the Mediterranean.
Playa de Figueiras is found on the northern side of the island, 500 meters from the boat landing and is around 300 meters long. It faces the peninsula of Morrazo and consists of beautiful fine white sands. Whilst I don't think Figueiras beach is officially a nudist beach, you will often find that this is where people who like to be nude on a beach go.
As mentioned earlier, it is only open to the public during the summer, arriving by boat and leaving to return to the mainland after your day of snorkeling and lazing on the beach. One thing to remember is that because this area is in a national park, there are no waste bins on the islands and you are required to take all your litter back with you.
There is a supermarket, a visitor center and a great little restaurant serving mostly seafood.
You can only get to Las Islas Cies, on a boat, which takes around 40 minutes. Most trips run from Vigo, Cangas or the pretty town of Baiona. Baiona is one of the historic towns in Pontevedra, which is one of the four provinces forming the Autonomous Region of Galicia, in the North West of Spain.
A good way of getting to Northern Spain is by ferry, travel with your own car and without any luggage restrictions: Ferries to Spain.
The only accommodation on the Cies Islands is an idyllic campsite campsite, which is open from June to September and during the week of Easter. As far as I know you have to get permission at the Vigo port to stay at it.
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