The Atlantic Islands National Park was created in 2002 and is made up of four archipelagos—Cortegada, Sálvora, Ons and Cíes—, located on the west coast of Galicia covering a total of 8,333 hectares, of which 7,285.20 hectares are in the sea. It is the only national park in Galicia is the tenth most visited one in Spain.
The flora in the Atlantic Islands National Park is perfectly embodied by its widespread laurel forest, the corals, and the more than 200 species of algae growing in its waters. With regard to the fauna, birds such as cormorants and Caspian gulls abound, although the presence of dolphins is also noteworthy.
The Cortegada Archipelago is found on the Ría de Arousa, in the province of Pontevedra. This archipelago is comprised of the main island, Cortegada, and other smaller ones known as Malveira Grande, Malveira Chica, Briñas and the islet of Cón. This archipelago is distinguished by a flat relief, the characteristic features of an estuary and a lush laurel forest in the interior of the main island.
The Sálvora Archipelago is located at the mouth of the Ría de Arousa and is made up of the island of Sálvola and several islets called Vionta, Con de Noro, Herbosa, Rúa Insuabela, Gaboteira, las Sagres and las Forcadiñas. On Sálvola Island, you can visit an abandoned village where the utensils used by its inhabitants in their everyday lives have been kept intact. Among the most distinctive features of the island are the sculptures made by the wind out of the combination of rocks and salt.
The Ons Archipelago, one of the most well known in the Atlantic Islands National Park, is found on the Ría de Pontevedra. This archipelago is made up of the island of Ons, the island of Onza and the islet of Freitosas. It has some rocky areas beside dunes and sandy areas.
And finally, the jewel of the national park located at the mouth of the Ría de Vigo—the Cíes Archipelago, made up of the islands of Monteagudo, Faro and San Martiño and the islets of Agoreira, Penela dos Viños, Carabelos and Ruzo. This archipelago has been considered a Nature Reserve since 1980, a Special Protection Area for Birds since 1998 and a Site of Community Importance since 2001. Cíes is characterised by a very varied relief, with steep cliffs on one side of the island and quiet, sandy beaches on the other. The ruins of a salting factory, a water mill and a monastery are proof that this was one of the most populated castros in Galicia.