The Cíes Islands are an archipelago located at the entrance to the Ría de Vigo, serving as a bulwark of it. They have a total of 2,658 hectares of sea and 433 hectares of land, and their coordinates are: latitude 42º 15′ north and longitude 8º 54′ west. They are found in the Rías Baixas and belong to the municipality of Vigo, in the province of Pontevedra (Galicia, Spain).
This archipelago is made up of three islands measuring between 1.5 and 3 km long: Faro Island (106.6 ha) and Monteagudo Island (179.5 ha) are connected to each other, while San Martiño Island (145.5 ha) is the one furthest south; this archipelago also includes the islets of Penela dos Viños, Ruzo, Grabelos and Agoeiro.
The gorgeous beaches of Rodas and Figueiras are found on the east side of the islands, on a sand isthmus linking both islands together. In contrast, the west side is where you’ll find the stunning cliffs where the highest point in the Cíes Islands (standing at 197 m) is, to the north of the archipelago.
Now belonging to the Atlantic Islands of Galicia Marine-Terrestrial National Park—which was constituted in 2002—, the Cíes Islands had already been declared a Nature Reserve in 1980. But without a doubt, despite the great appreciation for the islands in Galicia, their renown only spread worldwide in the 21st century. In February 2007, the British newspaper The Guardian declared Rodas Beach “the best beach in the world” after falling in love with its calm, crystal-clear waters, its powdery white sand and its lovely crescent shape. In 2013, the wheels were set in motion to get it declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
In the past, they were a haven for pirates, but are now uninhabited. It is only possible to go to the Cíes Islands by boat. in order to preserve this natural paradise. Enjoy an amazing experience at the Lighthouse while listening to the squawking of the largest colony of seagulls in Europe with the cliffs at your feet. The rich fauna and vegetation of this archipelago (there are more than 200 types of algae), as well as the stunning beauty of its cliffs and dune landscapes, constitute a natural heritage site of immense value, which calls for everyone’s cooperation in its conservation.
There are two ways to visit Cíes Island: by private boat, in which case you’ll need to apply for an anchoring permit, or by riding our ferries, which have regular departures in winter and daily departures in summer, weekends in May and Easter. Piratas de Nabia offers ferry services running from the ports of Vigo, Cangas and Baiona.