Galicia is one of the most beautiful and amazing regions in Spain. Wonderful rias, lush forests, historic cities, marine landscapes, emblematic places like Santiago de Compostela… and also islands, in this case some islands declared National Maritime-Terrestrial Park and that are a wonderful ecological reserve and a unique destination for the traveller: The Cíes Islands.

Located between the Vigo and Arousa estuaries, the Cies Islands have the cleanest beaches and the purest waters on the European Atlantic continent.

Known from ancient times but rarely stepped on by Man in the past centuries, the Romans called them the islands of the gods for their incredible beauty.

Photo: Archipelago of Cíes Island

The Cies Islands archipelago consists of three islands: Mount Agudo, O Faro and San Martiño, joined the first two by a wide stretch of unspoiled land, a large arenal, the beach of Rhodes, which has been repeatedly considered and awarded as the best beach in the world.

Photo: Rodas Beach

Its fine sand and crystal clear waters make the beaches of the Cíes Islands a true paradise. But not only its beaches are unique, but also the landscape around it and its flora and fauna form a natural and ecological complex that today has no equal in the West.

Photo: San Martiño beach

Despite being declared protected natural heritage they are an increasingly attractive tourist destination. Tourism, however, is particularly limited, as are the activities that travellers can develop, which are, fundamentally, hiking, nature observation and diving. It should be noted that the sea-bed of the Cies is especially protected by their exceptional natural wealth, in which the existence of 200 different species of algae stands out, something that does not occur anywhere else on the planet. The amount of different seabirds that make the steep cliffs of the islands, their refuge and migratory stop is also important.

Photo: Trekking routes

The level of protection of the Cies is such that there is a daily quota of visitors and you can only camp in them with a special permit.

There are nine beaches on the islands and they amaze with their wild state. They preserve their primitive orography and are a spectacle worth photographing and remembering for the lucky visitors who can step on its clean sands. Although the most important and largest is the Rodas beach, the rest of the small beaches are also extremely beautiful, such as the Figueiras beach, also known as the Playa de los Alemanes, and the Bolos and Nosa Señora beaches.

Photo: Nosa Señora beach

Getting to the Cíes Islands is always done by means of small boats rented or own, or by route from Vigo by transport, affordable for all, round trip in a day. As we have only commented with special permission, which must be requested well in advance given the demand for visitors, you can camp, with limitation of a weekend.

No undisturbed, nature-loving traveler should miss the Cies Islands. Doing so in summer is best to ensure clear skies and sun given the weather of the area. But visiting them anytime of the year is also an unforgettable experience.

Foto: Alemanes nudist beach

So close to what was called the end of the Earth for millennia, the Cies Islands are an emblem of the most natural and clean Europe. An example of a human-cared nature that we should contemplate and follow.