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Adventure Travel

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.



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:


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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  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

4 Ways to Sleep in the Outdoors Without a Tent



Is there anything more enjoyable than spending a night under the stars? Ok, spending a night with Chris Hemsworth, perhaps. But apart from that, getting back to nature and laying out under the cool night air must be one of the last true pleasures available to all of us.

But what happens if you love camping but hate tents? All those annoying poles, pesky pegs and flapping fabric are quite frankly too much to take sometimes.

Well don’t despair my friend, there are many ways you can get your fix of al fresco snoozing without having to resort to the cocooning yourself in canvas. Read on below and we will lay out 4 amazing ways you can get your sleep on without a tent to be seen…

Swinging in a hammock

We love hammocks. All hammocks are great. Well, maybe not banana hammocks but all hammocks that you can swing in are! They are so much smaller and more lightweight to carry than a boring old tent. You don’t need to find a piece of flat ground to pitch them on. All you need are two well placed trees and you are good to go.

What’s more there is just something so romantic about sleeping in a hammock. Come on, nothing sings relaxation more than the gentle sway of hammock. Remember to bring your cowboy hat to tilt over your eyes!

On a lilo/air bed/camping mattress

This one also refers to anything from a cheap air bed to an expensive camping mattress. Basically I mean the thing you would hunker down on normally when sleeping inside a tent, only get rid off the tent part. It’s not necessary.

Take some deep breaths and blow up your airbed or roll out your fancy self-inflating termo-rest and you are good to go. While you obviously aren’t as protected as you are inside the impenetrable nylon fortress of a tent, the joy of leaving the pegs and poles at home and just sleeping outside are well worth the added risk of being chewed on by a curious beetle.

A good addition when adopting this method could be one of those handy pop up mosquito nets you can get. Or if you want to travel as light as possible, arming yourself with a sleeping bag with a built in mosquito net for the face hole is a top idea.

The biggest downside of sleeping on an air-based mattress is the risk that the air may not stay where it should for the entire night. Do yourself a favour, read this article and learn a life skill that could mean the difference between a beautiful night’s sleep and hours of cursing at the moon – like some kind of deranged foulmouthed werewolf!

In a bivvy bag

Some of you out there may be thinking…”what the frick is a bivvy bag!?”. Well if you picture one of those body bags you’ve seen on CSI then you are getting close. Bivvy bags were originally designed for the armed forces as a way to give them a little protection from the elements at night when they are out sneaking up on enemies and the like.

Basically it is lightweight bag that you slide yourself into, either with or without or sleeping bag depending on the temperature. The bivvy will protect you from the harshness of the wind and rain and allow you to be as close to nature as can be. You will be fully encased apart from a small opening for your face to poke out.

Think of it as a tiny streamlined tent just for you body.  

The benefits of a bivvy, aside their size, are that they give you an almost invisible profile. Meaning that you can settle down almost anywhere in the landscape and the chances of you being spotted while you snooze are close to zero. Perfect when you don’t want anyone to interrupt your holy communion with Mother Nature.   

In your car

Cruising along the open road with your mates in the back, the windows down and tunes turned up is one of the best feelings many of us will experience. It is the closest most of us come to living the life we see in the movies and magazines.

What then could be less hassle than finding a beautiful spot overlooking the bay, having a few bevvies and then stretching out to sleep in back? Then repeating the whole process again tomorrow, then the next day, then the next.

Word of warning: Excessive sleeping in cars may not be the best idea for the taller ones amongst you, Back Seat Back is a debilitating condition that affects many of my closest buddies.

Final Thoughts

Sleeping in the fresh air is often pure bliss but obviously choose your night wisely. Check the weather and always be aware of the dangers, big and small. The benefits of all the above suggestions is their simplicity, the downside is once you remove the tent there isn’t much protection between you and the beasties. My top tip, take a mozzie net or get yourself a good spray, or else you’d better prepare for some a little itchy, itchy, itchy, scratchy, scratchy, scratchy in the morning!   

Happy tent-free camping my good friends!

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Adventure Travel

The Outback Planner- How to Get Ready For an Australian Adventure



Australia has some beautiful outback scenery, and exploring this scenery is an experience everyone who travels to, or lives in, Australia should have. Hiking through raw, untamed bush not only gives your body a healthy workout, but also gives you access to some of the best, hidden viewing spots for wildlife and scenery.

Of course, you can’t just hop in your car and drive to the nearest national park to stomp out into the bush, there are things you need to prepare for. Every year, inexperienced hikers get lost out in the national parks and bushlands of Australia, in every state, and some of them even die while trying to make their way back to civilization.

It’s a dangerous country when you take into account the wildlife, the unexpected landslides, the steep cliffs and the complexity of the landscape, which makes it easy to get lost in. To help you get ready properly for your Australian adventure, we have put together a short guide.

Find a Location

First and foremost is the importance of finding a location to explore. There are plenty of national parks with cleared paths to take around, and heaps of hiking trails all throughout each state. The more toward the coasts you travel, the more coastal wildlife and plantlife you’ll see in your travels, and cooler temperatures means more lush, forest-like greenery.

If you head inland, be ready for drier climates and more wide open tracts of land, especially in areas divided up for farmland. Remember, national parks are great places to safely explore, but straying into a farmer’s property is illegal and should be avoided at all costs.

Gear Up

Once you’ve got your location, it’s time to get yourself geared up. Longer trips out into the wilds of Australia will require more supplies and more gear. So, if it’s a day trip, remember to pack lightly and bring high energy food, protein of some sort, plenty of water, and some sort of map of the park, if there’s one available.

For longer trips, like a weekend away of a week of camping, you’ll obviously need more food, lots more water, and other supplies like a tent, towels, a secondary pair of shoes and socks, a few changes of clothes, an axe for chopping wood, a high quality LED torch, and some bedding. These supplies will help you stay alive and in good shape while you trudge through the vast outback.

Check The Essentials

Before you set off on your adventure, it is important that you check the essentials. Things like: what will the weather be like while you’re out there, what are the dangers associated with the location you’ve chosen, what wildlife is hazardous in the area you’ve picked and how to avoid it. These things are all elements that can threaten your life, so learning about them and being aware of what to do in these situations is vital to your survival. Check how many people get lost in this area every year too, and if the number is high, bring a GPS locator as an emergency backup plan in case things go awry.

These tips can help keep you alive, strong, and happy while exploring the beautiful, expansive areas that Australia has to offer. Take in the gorgeous scenery, spot some strange and exciting animals, and most importantly, stay safe.

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Adventure Travel

From Rock To Reef: Some of the Ways To See Australia



The number of tourists choosing Australia as a vacation destination is rising and rising. And in many ways, it is easy to see why. The climate is good pretty much all year round, and the country is vast, meaning many things to see and do. There are more airlines that are flying to Australia from more cities and countries, making it simpler for everyone to get there. So really, the numbers are likely to just keep on rising.

In such a huge country, though, where do you start planning your trip? It can be easy to get a little carried away and be a little over-ambitious with your planning. But it can mean that you don’t get to enjoy some things for as long as you’d want, or can mean too much time on other things; you simply can’t know what you’ll enjoy until you get there. There are plenty of organised tours that you could join in on, as well as arrange your own.

Organised tours will have some benefits, in that they are professionally organised, so it usually means a tight schedule with minimum time spent on internal transfers or transport. But the downside can be that you have to stick to their schedule, and you might not get to explore as much as you may want to. So you do have to think about what you want to get out of the vacation; seeing things, or experiencing things.

There are many great regions and cities to explore too. So staying put in one place could be your preference instead perhaps? With breathtaking beauty to experience, as well as activities and sightseeing, there are many choices. Being able to pack in a whole tour of the country does pose difficulties too. Take the weather, for instance. Summer on the south of the country (December to March) is known for its reliable warm and sunny weather. Whereas at the same time, it can be way more humid during those months, and it better experienced from May to October before the humidity gets too much. So plenty of things to be thinking about. With that in mind, here are some of the best ways to see the country, whether arranged by yourself or as part of an organised tour. What would you prefer?

Do It Yourself

If you like to explore within your own bounds, then planning your own trip could be the best for you. It will take some planning, though, so give yourself plenty of time. A good way to do it could be to hire a car and then use something like PMX Campers caravans as they can travel with you. At least you don’t have to think about accommodation every night, just a campsite to pitch up at. Having some local knowledge is really key too, as there may be some insects and creatures that you’re not too sure about, especially if you’ve not visited before. So make sure that you have emergency numbers to hand, and don’t ever head out alone. Stick in a couple or a group and it will make the trip much easier.

Great Australian Adventure

If an organised tour is more of your thing, and a long one at that, then the Great Australian Adventure tour could be for you. At twenty-one days long, it is not for the faint-hearted, with the tor starting out with a trip around the harbor in Sydney, so that you get some pretty epic views of the classic Sydney sights (Opera House and Harbour Bridge). It also includes Ayers Rock, Cairns to go snorkelling in the great barrier reef, a stay in Melbourne, wine tasting in the Yarra Valley, and visiting Tasmania’s capital. As you can imagine, it does come with a pretty hefty price tag, but for what you get, including all of your flights and transfers, it can be a good deal if you wanted to see all of those things anyway.

Western Australia Best of the Coast


If you want to see a part of Australia that is a little less developed and more rugged than the south or east, then the Western coast could be the spot for you to visit. It is known for its seafood and surfing, not to mention the stunning sandy beaches. You could get a ten-day tour that explores the scenic region between Exmouth and Perth, as well as the National Parks in that area, the beaches, and canoe tours. You’re likely to see dolphins and whale sharks on this expedition, so great for animal lovers and explorers.


Venturing out onto the largely uninhabited island of Tasmania is often part of this part of the world that gets forgotten about. But the location, just off the coast of Australia can make it a destination all by itself. If you are planning your own trip, then it could just involve a flight or boat trip, depending where you are coming to it from. But there are organised tours, like Perfectly Tasmania, where you can enjoy a twelve-day tour of the island. It involves cruise, hikes, national parks, and a trip to a private distillery, and a former prison. So good if you want to learn a little more about the island and its history.

Highlights of Australia

If you have got children or teenagers, then a more classic Australian trip could be for you. I mean, what is a trip to Australia without seeing kangaroos or koalas, am I right? The Highlights of Australia tour involves a few flights internally, which can be a good with children, rather than endless hours in cars or on buses. But you’ll get to see the classic sights in Sydney, Melbourne, and Perth, as well as the Great Barrier Reef, Ayres Rock, and the Yarra Valley. There will be tours and visits to National Parks and animal reserves, so there is something for all of the family.

Have you been to Australia before and taken part in a tour? Or did you plan your own itinerary? It would be great to hear what you think.

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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...