Vigo Holiday 2012: Day 4 – Islas Cies

[Previous parts: Day 1; Day 2; Day 3;]

Sunday, 15th July 2012

If you’ve read my previous posts you’ll know the three of us, and definitely two of us, were drinking until beyond the small hours. You won’t be surprised to learn of a fragile head or two when we awoke on Sunday! Nonetheless we had a plan for another day trip and we were all determined not to waste the time lying about feeling sorry for ourselves, I didn’t come all this way to sit in bed, so I had to force myself up and out.

We met up to rejuvenate ourselves with coffee, orange juice, some food and to get some water to take with us. It just so happened we went to the marina to the same place I went for breakfast on Friday, except this time I had the benefit of translators which resulted in a nicer brekkie! To be honest after that I didn’t feel too bad, just tired from a lack of sleep. Sunday was another bright sunny day, and noticeably warmer than Saturday had been – we were definitely going to need that water.

All At Sea

Looking across Vigo from the boat to the Cies

Today’s day trip a visit to Islas Cies, a small group of islands acting as a natural barrier at the entrance of the bay (or rias). It is a nature reserve, only open to tourism for two summer months every year, and I was disappointed to miss the chance to go when I was last here in April 2010. Now it was July and I had the chance to go! After a couple of busy evenings, a relaxed and sunny beach day would be just what the doctor ordered.

I make no apologies for this being more of a photoblog than the others and I think when you’ve seen our destination you will agree!

Glorious clear blue both above and below.

The journey takes about half an hour, maybe it was 40 minutes, and the boat runs at a fair clip. Out on the water it was a lot cooler which was very much welcome, at times a little too cool! We sat outside to enjoy the sun, the views, and to take some photos of the coast of the ria.


The Islands!

Arriving at the Islands

The boat slowed and drifted into a small bay, with white sand and as we approached we could see, yes, clear blue water. The beach wasn’t too busy away from the dock and nearby shop/cafe. Perfect.

Welcome to the Cies!



Rather than laze on the beach, which is kind of what I wanted to do, unusual for me but I was hot and yes hungover, we started walking along a trail through the trees. I had mixed feelings because I’d waited so many weeks for the sun I didn’t want to be out of it, yet it was hot enough I was thankful for the shade! It was a nice walk and the path was well-maintained so it wasn’t difficult, being a national park has certain benefits, and it wasn’t an enclosed space either – it was open and light and airy. It winds its way uphill and we took a fork to the left to climb further. We stopped part-way for some lunch. Along the way there were tantalising glimpses of the blue.


Great Views

Our destination was the highest point on the Northernmost island where we could look out on the next island along. We could’ve walked to the high point on the other island (these two islands are connected by causeways) but it would’ve taken an hour longer, I was told, and we preferred take it a little easier and give ourselves some beach time.

We were looking out over the opposite side of the island to where we arrived, so we were now on the Atlantic side and you could definitely see the difference in the choppiness of the water even from this vantage point.

You might recognise the view from my blog header!

Looking over at the other islands as the Atlantic crashes against the rocks. Part of the beach is in the distance on the left.

Up here there were some cool-looking formations in the rock too, where puddles and running water had eroded it away.



Tremendous views.

To The Beach

We ambled back down to the beach, where the sand and sun were hot and the air was a cool gentle breeze – just how I like it. You get the benefit of the heat yet the breeze stops you from overheating.
We found a spot with a few people but not too busy, well away from the main crowd but not so far as to be isolated. People bring their own motorboats and sailboats over from the mainland and they moor up along this beach.

Here’s the view left, centre and right (click to enlarge):


Yes, I could use some of this.

One of the UK newspapers rated this as one of the greatest beaches in the world and it is hard to disagree. We must’ve stayed there for two or three hours, sleeping or dozing for most of it, with a bit of food and pesky seagulls looking to steal it. A great way to recharge. Mind you it was good job I’d brought the Factor 20 and the Factor 50 sun creams!

As the afternoon drew towards evening and we began to feel the chill of the wind, it was still sunny but the heat was fading, we collected our things and made our way to the boat for the return to Vigo. We had plans for later.

If you ever get the chance to go to these islands you should definitely take that chance. They’re only open in July & August (or is it June & July?) although I think you can take a private boat over at other times.

Leaving the Islas Cies, hopefully not for the last time.

Sunset & Fireworks

After a stop at the hotel for a shower and a change it was out again. In the very first photo on this page you can see a tree-covered hill. It didn’t show the full extent of it. Tonight we were climbing this hill. It climbs very steeply and we went fairly quickly so I was a bit out of breath by the top! Why rush? To get there in time for this:


We weren’t quite at the top and it was lighter than it looked in this photo. Once we got to the old fort on the top of the hill we found ourselves a spot on the wall.

At this time of year all the towns and villages along the ria hold their annual fiestas, and they try to outdo each other with firework displays. Tonight it was the turn of Bouzas, an adjacent town-turned-dockland which Vigo is rapidly subsuming into itself. Kerryn told me that in the town itself between rounds of fireworks they break to tell a story and the whole thing is in four chapters, but it gets so full of people it isn’t fun, so why not go to the top of the hill which central Vigo has surrounded and watch from there? By the way, check out the view of the Cies islands from here.

Of course, this being the last night of the weekend we had to bring along a little something.


Then as the sun’s light really faded, and truth be told it did get a little chillier than I’d expected, the fireworks began!


And so ended another brilliant day in Galicia!

[ Read on in Part 5 ]

For more photos from my trip please click here ]


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