My first warm welcome to the region of Galicia was a trip to the Cíes Islands off the coast of Vigo. These islands are one of the region’s gems, especially because the government regulates tourism keeping the islands in pristine condition.
Myself and the other Ourense & Vigo English Teaching Assistants planned this trip together, which included an overnight in Vigo and a day trip to the islands. Vigo is located about 1 hour to the west of Ourense, and is the region’s largest city. I highly suggest taking a Blablacar, a carpool app, because the drive is only one hour on the highway, but the bus is over two hours through curvy village roads which left me a little motion sick. I arrived in Vigo in the morning, the city still deep in a layer of fog.
Once in Vigo, my friends and I dropped our backpacks at an Airbnb and headed to the ferry station. To go to the Cíes, it was essential to book the ferry tickets in advance and receive government approval. We had planned the trip a week before and were ready with our beach bags for a short bike and some ocean swimming.
The ferry lasted about one hour, and dropped us in the heart of the tiny island. I was happy to have brought along a tomato and ham sandwich because there was no food on the ferry and the only restaurants on the island were expensive and had limited options. Together, we embarked on a “hike” across the entire island. The island is covered in easy walking trails for tourists, and the island itself is only a couple of kilometers across. The hike to the top of the island was only 1 kilometer. We took advantage of the photo-op and worked up a little sweat before the beach.
The hike was absolutely beautiful with the fog creating a thick barrier between the small island and the mainland. Because the island is so small, we were able to complete all trails in about 2 hours leaving a couple more hours for beach time before our ferry returned to Vigo.
We quickly learned that although the weather was absolutely beautiful, warm, sunny, with a light breeze, we would not be swimming. The Atlantic Ocean was FREEZING. I had been every excited to unveil my new J. Crew Playa swimsuit in the ocean, but instead only I utilized this beach time as a photo-op. ¯_(ツ)_/¯ I spent the next two hours sunbathing and protecting backpacks from the most aggressive seagulls I’ve encountered.
All in all, the Cíes are beautiful for an afternoon hike and some sunbathing in the midst of precious views. 9/10 recommend, one point short of perfect due to the freezing water. The trip was made all the sweeter with dinner at Thai Garden in Vigo finally quenching my desire for some pad thai and thai rolls after realizing that Ourense would be unable to meet my foodie needs.
Thanks for reading. Ciao!