“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” – Mahatma Ghandi
Last weekend I visited a place that has been on my mind since August of last year. When I arrived in Galicia, every Galician I met told me I had to go to Las Islas Cíes. However, by the time I had enough time and the wherewithal to go on a weekend trip the weather wasn’t suitable for a trip to the islands and the islands are only open from Easter until September (to keep them looking flawless) so I was too late. That resulted in my waiting until my second last weekend in Galicia before reserving a spot to go to Las Islas Cíes and discovering a Galician paradise.
Las Islas Cíes are islands about 14km off the coast of Vigo. It is a nature reserve, therefore you must book a spot on the islands prior to setting sail. The Galician government limit the number of people that can visit the islands everyday (to keep it flawless). Only 2,000 people can be on the islands at any one time, which makes for the most joyous tranquility you can find. I went with Hattie and JJ (who have both played a cameo part on the blog which you can find here, here and here). The islands are uninhabited and consist of two restaurants, a bar, a shop and a camping site. We decided to camp and it was the best decision ever. One day on the islands would not have been enough. I would have loved to have stayed for a month if I could! You can reserve your camping spot here for only €10 per person, it’s such a small price to pay for the experience you get in exchange.
The islands also have 9 beaches. Ordinarily, when people think of Spanish beaches, the Costa del Sol springs to mind and the Mediterranean is on the tip of your tongue. Las Islas Cíes, however, only 40 short minutes from the coast of Galicia have actually been deemed the best beaches in the world by The Guardian newspaper. And I can vouch for that! The beaches look like something you’d see in the Caribbean and there are far fewer people on them than those in the Costa del Sol.
The islands are my idea of paradise and I can safely tell you that on Friday, I had one of the best days of my life. I’m pretty sure we have all established that I am a huge fan of boats – well I got to take one on Friday (AND Saturday! Lucky me!) and not only that but the boat was accompanied by a pod of dolphins for a few minutes – it was sensational! Then we arrived and set up camp (literally). I really enjoy camping however I’ve only ever done it at music festivals but it’s an entirely different scenario when you’re camping for real. I loved it and I’ll definitely be doing it again soon! After that we decided to do one of the four hiking trails that are on the islands. Hiking has become one of my favourite activities over the last few months, hence the camino! In the afternoon, after a 3 hour hike we got to chill out and relax on the most beautiful beach in the world.
We passed a beach on our hike that was lovely and secluded and seemed even quieter than the already quiet beaches we had passed previously, so we decided we’d go back there after our hike. We did and we soon realised why the beach was so quiet and secluded… We accidentally ended up on the only nudist beach on the islands!!! It was hilarious. Luckily, most of the nudists were perched in between rocks (apart from one man that greeted us, bum up in the sand wearing nothing but a hat!) and the rest of us, bikini clad folk, could enjoy the serenity of the beach in peace! The day was perfection and we ended it by cooking over Hattie’s very nifty camping stove and watching the sunset while sipping on gin and tonics. I loved every minute of it.
Blathering about beaches. Words can’t describe the beaches on Las Islas Cíes. When we arrived onto the beach first, I genuinely thought that the sand had come straight out of the Early Learning Centre and it was fake sand for a sand pit – but it’s not! It’s perfectly white and glitters in the sun. It’s totally surreal. The main beach (which connects the two sides of the islands) is the most popular Praia da Rodas. The sea is turquoise, the water is pristine and the parametres are lined with trees, it’s really the ideal place to spend a day.
How about the hikes? There are four hiking trails on the islands. The camp site is in the middle of the islands and two of the trails are to one side and two are to the other side. The first day we hiked to Monte Faro and on the way ended up doing the two hikes on that side (we went to O Faro da Porta too). We stopped off at the bird observatory as well which was amazing. Thousands upon thousands of seagulls are flying around your head, it’s out of this world. Monte Faro brings you to the lighthouse on the Northern island where you can see to the other peak of the island and you have the most spectacular view of the entire island, the beach that joins the two ends and the Atlantic ocean. It’s wild. On the second day, we packed up and set off on another hike. We did the two hikes on the other side of the island, we made it to Alto de Princípe and O Monteagudo. These hikes were both spectacular. The hikes brought us to the South part of the island and once again provided some of the most breathtaking views I’ve ever witnessed. We could see across to where we had hiked the previous day and we got panoramic views of the Atlantic!
If I haven’t convinced you, I don’t know what will. Las Islas Cíes are one of the few places on the planet that I can say, I will definitely be back at some stage. As someone who prefers to visit new and unknown places before re-visiting an area, that’s a big statement from me! It’s my idea of the perfect holiday, morning hikes followed by afternoon snoozing on the beach, I couldn’t have asked for more. I had been afraid that it wouldn’t live up to my standards considering I had been looking forward to a trip there since September, but it did and a million times over. So much so I want everyone else to go because my pictures and explanations could never do it justice. It’s out of this world but it’s in Galicia! Galicia really never ceases to amaze me!
I snapchatted the whole trip (my username is imperfectlyfree), I normally snap all of my travels, to see what I get up to on my next trip follow along there. If you’ve been or are going to Las Islas Cíes, I would love to hear all about it. I am obsessed with it and my photographs of it, so I’d only love to see yours. Don’t be afraid to get in touch, as always you can find me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat.