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Cíes Islands: 5 ideas for your boat trip to the islands in summer 2023

Discovering the Cíes Islands by boat is one of the favorite activities of people visiting the city of Vigo. The Cíes Islands are the best known of all those that make up the National Park of the Atlantic Islands of Galicia.

The boost of national tourism and its capacity of recommendation, as well as international tourism, a large part of which arrives to the estuary by cruise ship, have made the Cíes an almost obligatory place to visit for all visitors who come to Vigo and, by extension, to Galicia.

Boat to Cíes Islands
Pirata de Cíes, docked on her return from Islas Cíes. 250 passenger catamaran

1-Visiting the Cíes Islands by boat

The Cíes Islands can be visited by private boat, either owned or rented, although it should be noted that both navigation in the waters of the islands and anchoring must be previously authorized by the Xunta de Galicia.

In addition, it should be noted that all visitors to the park must comply with a series of rules aimed at preserving the park and its species, fauna and flora, and to ensure that human presence causes the least possible impact on natural habitats.

The Piratas de Nabia catamarans that access the park strictly comply with the park’s regulations, also carrying out a very important outreach work on all routes, to make all visitors aware of the importance of preserving the natural environment.

2-Boat trips to the Cíes Islands

Most visitors to the archipelago book a trip from the city of Vigo. Boarding takes place at pier 3 of the Port of Vigo, in the very center of the city. In the vicinity of the port there are several parking lots, although it is common that on holidays, long weekends and throughout the summer they are occupied to capacity, so it is not advisable to get lost or go with the right time.

Another possibility is to use the transport link from the estuary to Moaña. Parking in the city of Morrazo, especially for people traveling from the north of Galicia, is an interesting plan. Moaña offers different leisure alternatives, allows parking in the vicinity of the port without major problems (and especially without cost) and crossing the estuary is not more than 15 minutes of pleasant crossing between rafts.

The shipping company Piratas de Nabia includes the Moaña-Vigo-Moaña route in the price of the ticket to the Cíes Islands, costing the same as if the departure was from Vigo (and saving more than 20 € in the full day of parking).

In addition to Vigo and Moaña, in high season there are lines to the Cíes Islands from other towns such as Portonovo or Baiona, offering different routes that are also very attractive for the traveler.

Cíes Islands, archipelago view
Cíes Islands, archipelago view

3-More boat frequencies to Cíes Islands in high season

Although it is possible to visit the Cíes Islands by boat all year round, trips during the winter are usually reduced to weekends, long weekends and holidays, with a maximum of one or two daily frequencies.

In summer, however, there are numerous trips to the islands, both in the morning and in the afternoon (for people staying overnight at the campsite).

Our recommendation, if you have enough time, is to travel during the day and eat on the island, either in one of the several restaurants that serve the island, or picnicking in any of the areas reserved for this purpose, scattered throughout the islands, where you can enjoy a relaxed meal with stunning views guaranteed.

Again, it should be noted that all waste and garbage generated by the visitor must be retained and disposed of on land, once returned to port.

4-Piratas de Nabia takes you by boat to the Cíes Islands.

The Piratas de Nabia shipping company has modern catamarans with a maximum capacity of 250 passengers, which guarantees the comfort and speed of the trip (just 40 minutes) from Vigo to the Cíes Islands.

This type of catamaran, of limited size, facilitates access to the islands in an agile and orderly manner, with optimal safety conditions for both passengers and the environment. The limited size of the vessels allows for respectful mooring in the Cíes Islands, without affecting the seabed even at low tide.

Larger vessels may sink their hulls to the seabed during berthing at low tide. We remind you that the seabed of the National Park of the Atlantic Islands of Galicia enjoys special protection. It would be highly advisable to avoid docking in Cíes of large vessels of 400 or 500 passengers, whose hulls erode the seabed negatively influencing the habitats.

In addition, Piratas de Nabia is the most economical commercial shipping company to visit the Cíes Islands.

5-How to obtain authorization and purchase boat tickets to Cíes Islands

Depending on the time of the year when the Cíes Islands are visited, it will be necessary to obtain an authorization on the website created by the Xunta de Galicia for this purpose.

The authorization to visit the islands is different if you are a visitor, a camper or an inhabitant/neighbor (especially in Ons Island).

It is important to remember that access to the islands is limited, being less during the low season (all year round except July, August and mid-September). During the low season, the Piratas de Nabia shipping company is in charge of processing the access authorization for all visitors to the Cíes Islands who travel on their catamarans.

Buying tickets is easy. It can be done through the web: Viajes a Cíes.

In case of any difficulty, the telephone number 986 320 048 is available during extended hours and tickets can also be reserved.

Book boat tickets to Cíes Islands 2023

Finally, it is important to remember that the places to access the Cíes Islands and Ons Island are sold out in advance. If you know the days of visit to Galicia, it is advisable to obtain the authorization to visit the islands as soon as possible and buy the ticket.

The Cíes Islands The island offers different natural leisure alternatives, with paradisiacal beaches, including the beach of Rhodes, considered the best beach in the world by the British newspaper The Guardian, or hiking trails that lead to the lighthouses of the island or to the impressive cliffs and views of the Mirador del Príncipe.

Even in the rain, the islands of the National Park are true wonders to be enjoyed responsibly.

Your boat ticket with Pirates of Nabia. Book your tickets.

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