We now head south, to discover the Cíes Islands, one of the archipelagos that together with the islands of Ons, Sálvora and Cortegada make up the Galician Atlantic Islands Maritime-Terrestrial National Park.

Their wealth of plant and animal life, combined with spectacular landscapes, make these islands a major and valuable cultural and environmental asset.

To talk of the Cíes Islands is to talk about nature in its purest state. The boat trip from either Vigo, Cangas or Baiona Baiona , all of which have scheduled catamaran sailings to the archipelago in high season, enables us to admire their imposing presence at the mouth of the Ría de Vigo. Like age-old leviathans, wild and untamed, to see them is to travel to a different age, an age in which only our immediate surroundings are of consequence, an age in which to enjoy the moment.

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On board the boat taking you to the islands you’ll have seagulls, cormorants, gannets and ever-playful dolphins as travelling companions that will claim your full attention throughout the trip. Dozens of small artisanal fishing boats will be dotted around the surface of the sea, proof of the almost inexhaustible riches of the Galician sea bottom.

Even the best photograph of the three islands, namely North, or Monteagudo Island; Middle, or Lighthouse Island; and South, or San Martiño Island, pales in comparison with the beauty of the landscape that opens up as the catamaran draws near its destination, the pier next to Rodas Beach. This spot can be considered the hub from which to set out to explore this paradise on Earth, baptised by Ptolemy as the “Islands of the Gods“.

After stepping ashore you can choose whether to just relax on the beautiful white sands of  Rodas Beach or to head for a more secluded one, such as Figueiras Beach. The clear waters, teeming with sea life, will enchant anyone who decides to go diving. White sea breams, sea basses, ballan wrasses and cuckoo wrasses, all manner of invertebrates and seaweeds of every colour imaginable. A profusion of life will be the memory you’ll take with you after your dive in the underwater paradise surrounding the Cíes Islands.

A visit to the Interpretative Centre, where you can learn everything there is to know about this earthly paradise, is a must, as is a visit to their lighthouses. Walking along the path leadingto any one of them will be an experience that ramblers will find hard to forget, given the beauty of the surroundings and the sensation of almost timeless calm. However, if we had to recommend one over all the rest, it would be the one on top of Monte Faro, which is absolutely peerless. The views on the way up culminate, naturally enough, in an impressive land and seascape of picture postcard beauty. And if this panorama is framed by the rays of the setting sun, the image will remain engraved on our retinas for life.

For your information...
- Find out more at www.iatlanticas.es
- Boats to the islands leave from Baiona, Vigo and Cangas

And now the day is over, you can say goodbye to this oasis of peace and life whilst the sea around the Cíes Islands merges into the crimson-coloured sky and the wake of your boat is your last remaining link with this heavenly spot.

Xunta de Galicia

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