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Visiting Las Islas Cies in Galicia

A sailing trip out to Las Islas Cies from the coastal city of Vigo is a must to check out one of the arguably most beautiful beaches in the world.

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Las Islas Cies, Cies Island, Vigo, Galicia

Las Islas Cies, or the Cies Islands, were once named as one of the top 10 beaches in the world by The Guardian newspaper. And after a recent sailing trip to the three islands near Vigo, we definitely agree that the beach is stunning.

Las Islas Cies, Cies Island, Vigo, Galicia

Las Islas Cies

Las Islas Cies is made up of three islands, Monte Agudo, O Faro and San Martiño, and are situated at the entrance to the Ría de Vigo off the coast of Vigo in the northwest of Spain. While a protected National Park, you are allowed to wander around on the islands of Monte Agudo and O Faro.

Although the only way to make it out to Las Islas Cies is to sail.

In summer a number of companies operate regular services, but due to the islands popularity, there are only a limited number of visitors allowed to step on to the pristine beaches everyday. And a maximum of 800 people per night are allowed to camp on O Faro Island in summer, so bookings are essential!

Las Islas Cies, Cies Island, Vigo, Galicia

Sailing out from Vigo harbour.

On one of our mornings exploring Vigo as part of their new #VigoAlive campaign we joined the Sailing charter company Sailway for a relaxing cruise out to Las Islas Cies. Climbing aboard one of their 10m yachts we set out for the hour long trip across the harbour.

Spending the day sailing past the mussel farms and old light houses standing sentry along the shoreline is the perfect way to see more of the Galician coastline.

Las Islas Cies, Cies Island, Vigo, Galicia

The only place to land at Las Islas Cies is on the island of Monte Agudo and as you get closer to the shoreline you begin to realise just why it was included as one of the top 10 beaches.

Walking up the gangplank you get your first proper look across the islands. Sunlight filters through the clouds and reflects off the white particles of sand and tufts of coarse grass protect the fragile dunes from eroding into the Atlantic.

Rodas Beach, the beach proclaimed as one of the top 10 most beautiful beaches, actually joins the two islands of Monte Agudo and O Faro islands via its curving length of golden sand. While the water was freezing in October, it is possible to swim and snorkel straight off the beach in the height of summer.

Las Islas Cies, Cies Island, Vigo, Galicia

At each end of Las Islas Cies there are lighthouses which are easily accessible on winding walkways for the more adventurous explorers.

Strolling along the gravel path across the artificial roadway to O Faro Island we made our way up the zigzagging paths. Between breaks in the trees we could catch glimpses of the protected island of San Martiño to the south. On which only the remains of a few abandoned houses crowd the shoreline from a time when you were allowed to live there.

Now no one except for the Park Rangers are allowed to disturb the native birds nesting on the island.

Las Islas Cies, Cies Island, Vigo, Galicia

Views from O Faro Island to San Martiño Island

Pausing for breath at the top of Faro Island, we watched the birds cartwheel through the skies along the rocky outcrops. A sense of insignificance settled upon us as we gazed across the icy Atlantic Ocean. If you decided to dive in here and start swimming, then the next outcrop of land you stumbled upon would be somewhere in North America.

With so much empty space between the two continents you can only imagine how the waves have changed the landscape over the past millions of year. And how it will change in years to come as the deep turquoise water still churns to white around the base of the three Islands.

Las Islas Cies, Cies Island, Vigo, Galicia

View from Faro Island back across 

As the sun swept low across the ever darkening sky we raced the rain back to the shelter of boat.

The sky began to drizzle and a rush of adventure and excitement filled us as the increasing winds snatched at the sails. The weather threatening to send us on a wild journey should we loosen our hands on the wheel.

But as we drew closer to Vigo and back to civilisation it seemed the further we were from relaxing. I could definitely get used to wandering the deserted paradise of Las Islas Cies and becoming the next Robinson Crusoe.

Expert Travel Information for Las Islas Cies:

Languages:

Many people don’t know that the main language in Galicia is not Spanish but actually another language called Gallego. However, just about everybody also speaks Spanish, so it’s still a good idea to brush up on your Spanish before coming.

Where to stay?

Check out the AC Hotel Palacio Universal if you would like a relaxing Hotel in Vigo. Nice and close to the harbour to visit Las Islas Cies easily.

What to do?

Sail out to the gorgeous Islas Cies of course! Check out the Sailway Facebook page if you want to learn a little bit more about them.

How to get there?

Unfortunately Vigo airport is quite small. But there are lots of flights into Madrid which is only a 50 minute flight from Vigo.

Helpful Travel Guides to use in Vigo and Spain:

Disclaimer: We were guests of the Vigo Tourism Board on the trip to Las Islas Cies. Although our photos and thoughts are always our own.

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36 Comments

36 Comments

  1. Karen @ Trans-Americas Journey

    October 29, 2012 at 4:18 PM

    The Jandals as castaways…I can see it!

    • Cole Burmester

      October 31, 2012 at 10:37 AM

      Should be some sort of reality TV show about this 😉

  2. Oriana

    October 29, 2012 at 10:38 PM

    Nice post Cole! I had never heard of these islands, and now you made me want to go, it looks so peaceful and uncontaminated! Do you know whether you are allowed to sail there by yourself (I mean privately)?

    • Cole Burmester

      October 31, 2012 at 10:39 AM

      Definitely can sail there privately. Just not sure how they enforce who is allowed to stop on the Island. Just get there nice and early 😉

      • Oriana

        October 31, 2012 at 11:01 AM

        I see, thanks. Will suggest it to my dad and his sailing-buddies then!

  3. Stephen Schreck

    October 30, 2012 at 12:38 AM

    You make it sounds amazing and the pictures make it look amazing so I am going to say yes it should be on the Top ten beaches in the world.

    • Cole Burmester

      October 31, 2012 at 10:39 AM

      If the water had been warmer and we were able to swim then it would definitely jump on the Top 10 list 😉

  4. Laurie

    October 30, 2012 at 1:58 AM

    The three islands, Monte Agudo, O Faro and San Martiño are great places to visit.

  5. Shamis @ Gawaya Travel Blog

    October 30, 2012 at 4:37 AM

    Oh no, don’t become the next Robinson Crusoe, although this scenic island is a great vacation spot, because there are so many waiting to read about your adventures 🙂

    • Cole Burmester

      October 31, 2012 at 10:41 AM

      Maybe we can get a satellite phone or something to give us WiFi haha.

  6. Turtle

    October 30, 2012 at 6:41 AM

    It is beautiful… but I get the feeling the Guardian editors were being cheap and wouldn’t let their reporters go more than 1000 miles away for research… 🙂

    • Cole Burmester

      October 31, 2012 at 10:42 AM

      Haha that is true. I sometimes wonder about the truth behind these “Top 10 Lists”. Obviously never been to the South Pacific!

  7. Laurence

    October 30, 2012 at 6:25 PM

    I can totally see you as Robinson Crusoe. Although what would that make Adele?

  8. Matthew Karsten

    October 30, 2012 at 11:08 PM

    I could see myself sailing to these islands to do some camping. Looks peaceful!
    But 800 campers? That seems like a lot. It must be pretty big…

    • Cole Burmester

      October 31, 2012 at 10:47 AM

      The campground would be packed with that many people as it wasn’t that big. Would spend half your time tripping over the tent flys!

  9. Arti

    October 31, 2012 at 1:04 PM

    Looks so pretty!! No wonder it was featured in the top 10!! Would love to spend some time there. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Cole Burmester

      November 1, 2012 at 4:38 PM

      No worries Arti! Hope you visit the area one day. Little bit harder to get to, but worth it 🙂

  10. Molly

    November 1, 2012 at 7:08 PM

    The undiscovered part of Spain for me, the North. I hope to get chance to visit Vigo, Galicia and Asturias at some part. Thanks for great pics.

    • Cole Burmester

      November 2, 2012 at 8:47 AM

      We need to head south now to find our undiscovered part of Spain! Heard it is a lot more laid back down there? And cheaper too?

  11. D.J. - The World of Deej

    November 2, 2012 at 9:21 PM

    Love the view from Faro Island!

  12. Angela

    November 3, 2012 at 5:48 PM

    Beautiful views, I could easily spend a month there catching up with proper, much needed relax.

  13. Susan@Travel Universally

    November 5, 2012 at 2:32 PM

    It’s a perfect place for spending and enjoying the time with the dear ones. For Nature Lovers like me, It’s like Heaven. Awesome!

    • Cole Burmester

      November 8, 2012 at 4:40 AM

      Would love to visit in summer when the water was warm so we could go swimming!

  14. Ashley of Ashley Abroad

    November 6, 2012 at 4:26 PM

    I can’t tell what’s prettier, the sky or the water! GORGEOUS photos. I’ve heard of these islands before but haven’t made it over there yet.

    • Cole Burmester

      November 8, 2012 at 4:46 AM

      Wish we had a chance to dip into the water! Pity it was a bit too chilly for us, but summer is meant to be lovely 🙂

  15. Mary @ Green Global Travel

    November 12, 2012 at 4:45 PM

    Beautiful photos. I haven’t had a chance to explore northern Spain and the protected areas of Monte Agudo and O Faro look like a stunning place to explore.

    • Cole Burmester

      November 12, 2012 at 9:01 PM

      Lots of bird spotting up there on the Cies Islands if you guys make it out to Northern Spain!

  16. Ali

    November 13, 2012 at 4:38 PM

    Looks gorgeous! Spain is one of my favorite countries, and I’d love to explore more. Never been to Galicia.

  17. Tom @ Waegook Tom

    November 18, 2012 at 11:11 AM

    This looks gorgeous! Although gotta say, I’m actually curious about costs – this looks like it’d be a pretty expensive place to go to and stay in?

  18. Izy Berry - The Wrong Way Home

    November 18, 2012 at 2:53 PM

    The clouds in those pictures are fantastic 🙂 I didn’t know about these islands until now.

  19. Muhammad Talha

    December 4, 2012 at 4:32 AM

    You know I love adventure…. Love to see the wonders of the world… btw nice photos.. 🙂

  20. Laura @Travelocafe

    December 4, 2012 at 2:28 PM

    I cannot believe I still haven’t been to Galicia and to Las Islas Cies. How difficult is to get there from Valencia? Your article should finally convince me to make the trip.

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Adventure Travel

Why Should You Choose A Couple Resort as a Romantic Getaway

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There’s no point in planning a couple’s holiday retreat if you aren’t choosing a place that speaks of romance. Different couples have different tastes, some prefer long drives while some are into adventures. A majority of couples also turn to beaches or pick places that are known for calmness and quiet.

This is why it is important to know what your partner prefers so that you can choose a destination that fits everyone. This may be difficult, but what if there was a place that offered all of the above mentioned things? There is. A resort can offer you all this and much more.

You just have to find the best resort for the family and you are good to go. Remember that not all resorts are created same. For example, some are close to the beach while some are not. You need to find a resort that offers all the activities you are interested in so that you can have a great time when you go for a holiday with your partner.

Without much ado, let’s have a look at why you should go to a resort when you plan a picnic in the future:

Excursions Included

If you are looking for memory making adventures as a couple then a couples resort is your best bet. Most resorts have their own excursions that you can opt for. This removes the need to find travel agents as you can book all that you need from the comfort of your room just by dialing the reception.

You can experience heart pumping activities like snorkeling, boat rides, jet ski and a lot more.

There’s no need to panic or worry if you haven’t gone through any of these activities before as you will be provided with safety equipment and training before you embark on your journey.

While all these are adventurous options, this is not all that a resort offers. You can enjoy other activities as well such as a couples massage and other relaxing activities.

Most top class resorts have their own spas where you can relax and allow your mind and body to soothe.

Top-Class Meals

Meals are the soul of a holiday trip and bad meals can definitely ruin your adventure by ruining your mood. However, couple resorts are said to have trained and top notch chefs who know how to make the diners go wow with their cooking skills. There’s a wide variety of foods available at a couple’s resort.

You can look at the available menu before you book a resort so that you know what kind of food you will get at the resort. Many resorts offer all-inclusive deals where you pay a lump sum for your stay and food. This is a good option as it takes the burden off your shoulder and allows you to relax without any worries.

Romantic Spots

What’s your definition of a romantic spot? Sunbathing under an umbrella? Getting drenched in a jacuzzi with your partner? Expressing love on a boat while you’re in the middle of the sea? A couples resort can make all your romantic wishes come true and get you two connected like never before.

Let the receptionist know of your plan and they will make it happen for you. Plus, if you go for a couple resort you will be able to enjoy intimate moments without any trouble as they understand the importance of privacy and will provide you with all that you need.

Pack your bags and start planning your next trip tomorrow. The key lies in being on the same page as your partner and planning in advance so that you do not only save money, but also make every moment count.

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Adventure Travel

4 Uncommon Sights To Find In Australia

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Australia, a country with a rich, versatile and blossoming natural life. A country with amazing food, amazing people, and an amazing history. A trip to Australia can feel a little discombobulating in the first few moments if making the trip from a Western climate to here, as of course the seasons will be completely flipped on their head. However, the moment you exit the airport you’ll be greeted with the beautiful expanse of this wonderful country, and all it has to offer.

However, of course countries are known for many things, but it does feel like Australia is sometimes stereotyped a little too much. While beaches, great foods, crazy wildlife and hats with corks are to be found, as are plenty ‘g’day mates’ and kangaroos, that is only 0.01% of what this country has to offer. In the interest of finding you some wonderful uncommon experiences to see the hidden side of Australia, we have compiled a list of four uncommon sights you should find it more than worthwhile to visit.

Nambung Desert 

The Western Australian Nambung desert is around ninety minutes north of Perth. You can get there even more quickly with a good car hire. Of course, you might be thinking ‘what does a desert have to offer me?’ Well, nestled there are The Pinnacles, one of the most interest natural limestone developments to be found. Jutting out from the surface and spread along around a mile of land, this area almost seems like a natural form of ruins.

There is a storied history here. The aboriginals suggest that these limestone rocks are natural memorials to those who died in the quicksand. Of course, any and all residual quicksand is heavily cordoned off and maintained, so there’s no need to be afraid of this area. However, it can certainly make for an interesting trip, as this is the one and unique place you will ever see a site such as this. Be sure to bring your camera, especially if you’re interested in photographing strange shadows and compositions of nature!

Karlu Karlu

Karlu Karlu are also known as ‘The Devil’s Marbles,’ and for quite a funny reason. These two massive granite rocks standing parallel to one another on rock platforms. This area is a protected conservation reserve, due to them being a strong and spiritually significant area for the aboriginals. This means that it is known as one of the oldest religious sites in the world. Karlu Karlu roughly translates to round boulders, which lends credence and respect to the sight.

You can get here at the exact midway point between Tennant Creek (North) and the Alice Springs (South.) Of course, like any protected conservation effort, you can learn the history here, enjoy a guided tour and relax in the nearby facilities. However, if you’re into your natural history, the age and breadth of this site should give you some genuine pause for thought and wonder.

Wolfe Creek Crater

If you like your odd space history, where else is better to go than a meteoric impact? That is until Elon Musk allows us all to travel to Mars. However, the weather is much more pleasant in Australia, so this will more than serve for now. The Wolfe Creek Crater is located in the Western Australian outback and is of course the filming location of the popular horror series ‘Wolf Creek’. Luckily in real life the tragedies to be experienced here are zero, only a natural wonder and interest that something so small could produce a crater so large. Be sure to bring your hiking boots, and only stick to the predestined path if traversing this rocky landscape.

Nimbin 

If you have a little hippie in you, then it might do you well to visit Nimbin, one of the very first hippie communities to ever grace Australia. Luckily this place is still thriving today, with plenty of community-led stores, events, art displays and musical gigs for you to explore. Nimbin is very popular with tourists, and the self-sufficient community hosts festivals for them to attend every year. This can be quite a tiring place to visit, as almost everyone has profound energy for celebration all the time. However, if you’re looking to blow off some steam with people you’ll think you’ve known forever, then relaxing and enjoying this community can be one of the best things you’ll do on your Australian travels.

So what are you waiting for? A world of incredible Australian adventure lies just around the corner. Be sure to experience the most you can within the time allotted, and you’re sure to have one of the best vacations of your life.

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Adventure Travel

Perfect Your Car for an Offroading Adventure

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There is something awesome about offroading – the ability to just drive is so freeing it can get addictive! But if you don’t want to get stuck or find yourself in a jam, you will need to make sure that your car is properly equipped to handle the terrain in front of you.

Road trips are the best way to discover what the wild has to hold and travel beyond the safety of the city. There is so much land to explore and so many opportunities to get back to nature that you just can’t pass up a road trip when it comes along. Wherever you plan to go, here are the things you should never be without.

Car Snorkel

It sounds weird, but it does work exactly like a regular snorkel and allows you to take your car through deeper ravines without messing up the engine or exhaust. Airflow 4X4 Snorkels are great models to try and you can use their CAD templates to double check your measurements.

Even if you aren’t planning to cross deeper water, having a car snorkel ready is perfect for a spontaneous change of route or if the weather takes a turn and there is a lot of water to deal with all of a sudden. It’s also good to have when you find that you are going through a lot of mud.

The Right Tires

Depending on the terrain you plan to drive on, you will need to make sure your tires can handle it. Regular tires are just made for fairly smooth tarmac so if you want to go anywhere that doesn’t have a road like that, you will need to step up your game and have a look at an off-road tire guide to see which is best for your trip.

Getting the right tires is important because you need to have enough grip on multiple terrain types to get to your destination. You also need to make sure that the car is stable while you drive so you aren’t going to put your back out going over a bump. The better suited your tires are to different terrains, the more comfortable your trip will be and the safer it will be too.

Storing Extra Fuel

When you are far away from anywhere, fuel stations are, obviously, few and far between. This means that you need to think carefully about how much fuel you will need as running out in this environment is extremely dangerous. You could think about installing a long range fuel tank or bring jerry cans of fuel just in case.

Whichever method you choose, you need to make sure that you have enough plus spare to get to your next fuel stop. However, do remember that your vehicle will be weighted down with all your food and water as well as your clothes and whatever else you want to take. This means that you will go through fuel a bit faster than normal – especially if you are using your car battery to cook.

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Meet Cole and Adela

Cole and AdelaWe have been wearing out our jandals (Kiwi for flip-flops) on our travel adventures around the world since 2009. We think our blog is thought provoking and a little witty. But we have been proven wrong before. Find out more about us here...

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