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Vigo’s Island Paradise

Vigo is the largest and liveliest city in the verdant Galicia region on Spain’s northwestern corner, and the unspoiled Islas Cíesislands that guard the entrance to the Vigo estuary provide the contrasting note of blissful peace and quiet, in a natural setting of fine beaches, dunes, lagoons, thick forests, and hiking trails. The three islands are the crown jewels of the Parque Nacional Marítimo Terrestre das Illas Atlánticas de Galicia, which includes theIslas de Ons archipelago to the north, and their almost pristine state is jealously protected. There are no hotels, only a campsite open in the summer months, and the number of visitors is restricted to 2,200 per day, so it’s wise to take an early morning boat. That will also give you time to relax on the beach and to explore the hilly islands which are criss-crossed by hiking trails –no cars or bicycles are allowed. You’ll see spectacular views, rich vegetation, and large colonies of both resident and migratory seabirds, such as the yellow-footed seagull, the cormorant, and many other species.

Monte do Faro and Monteagudo Islands

The ferries take you to the two northernmost islands, connected by a stone footbridge and by the Playa de Rodas itself, which is really a sandy 1.2 km-long isthmus separating the Vigo estuary from the tidal lagoon between the islands. A third island, San Martiño, can be reached only by private boat, and indeed, dozens of sailboats and a few luxury yachts can be seen lying at anchor near all three islands in the summer. There are nine beaches on the two connected islands, each with its own character, and the most famous after Rodas is that of Figueiras, a popular nudist beach with plenty of shade, on the north island, Monteagudo. Serious nature lovers can easily hike all the trails in a few hours, looking down the steep cliffs on the windward western shore, or admiring the panoramic views in all directions from the lighthouse –faro in Spanish– built in the mid 19th C. at 178 metres above sea level on Monte del Faro, also known as the Isla del Medio or “middle island”.

Playa de Rodas

The halfmoon-shaped curve of Rodas beach connecting the two islands on the leeward, eastern shore is a true gem of fine gold sand and shallow crystalline waters –you can walk 200 metres from the shore and keep your hair dry, so it’s very safe for children. The tides regularly flush it clean, also renewing the water in the lagoon behind, which is the abode of a rich variety of fish and shellfish (diving is allowed, but spearfishing is not).

Where to Eat

Asador Soriano
To restore your strength with some local fare you should try the pulpo á Illa –octopus, island-style– tender chunks of boiled octopus with onion, coarse sea salt, and both sweet and spicy paprika. But the large menu also features roasts and other specialities. The restaurant has a choice of rooms in which to enjoy your meal –public, private, with fireplace, etc. – and cellars where you can sample some of Galicia’s exquisite wines

How to Get There

From June through September there are ferries at least every hour from Vigo harbour, or the nearby towns of Baiona, Cangas, and Moaña, from 0630h until 1030h. In the off season you must hire a boat, with or without crew, which is easy to do in Vigo, but you’ll need a permit, and another permit for anchoring off the islands.

Fancy a hop to the islands? Check out our fares here! 

Text:  Isabel y Luis Comunicación

Photos: Tour Galicia

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Finisterre means the end of the world and so was considered by different cultures in ancient times, still believed that the earth was flat. This point, where is located the well-known Cape Finisterre , is the most western one to where pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago can arrive. They burned their clothes on the cliff and throwt their ashes into the sea as a symbol of purification.

The drive journey to Costa da Morte is the most suitable way to enjoy the magnificent views of the area . Before arriving at Faro Finisterre is a turnoff to the right that leads to Mount Facho, which houses the chapel of San Guillermo , related to beliefs about fertility. On the outskirts of this city stands the Church of Santa María das Areas , Romanesque style. This parish church houses Cristo dos Barbas Douradas , by which professes great devotion. Between Finisterre and Cabo da Nave it is the wild beach Mar de Fora , and open to the Atlantic Ocean surrounded by sharp cliffs. It is one of the most beautiful beaches of the coast.

A bit more to the south of Finisterre, we find a fishing village in the municipality of Dumbría O Ézaro , which houses a waterfall which has the distinction of being the only one in Europe that flows directly into the sea . It is recommended go and see it in winter as its volume rises as a result of heavy rains that increase its power and beauty.

Can not help but mention the seafood cuisine that is abundant in this Galician coast’s area. Finisterre is the realm of seafood and fish: barnacles, lobsters, scallops, clams, razor clams, cockles, sea bass … are some of the endless list of marine products that may be tested in these lands. Beef product is also of extreme quality, hence the famous Galician beef.

Don’t you feel like going to this land? Some of the best scenery in Galicia make this trip a visual feast!

Imagen de ricardo

By Blanca Frontera

Makes you want to go, right? Do it! Check out our prices here!

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Europe's Top Food Festivals

It's fine to visit monuments and museums, but we think that the best way to discover a country is through its food. Enjoy festivals like the Pizza Village in Naples. Come with us to discover some of the best food festivals in Europe, and choose your next destination based not on what you can see, but on what you can taste!

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Lighthouse Routes Around Fuerteventura

These simple constructions are a beacon for sailors. Powerful flashes of light ringing the coast help ships navigate and indicate the distance separating them from land. These lighthouses (or “Pharos” in old English, while in Spanish the word is faro) owe their name to the tower lighthouse of Pharos off the coast of Egypt. They have become veritable places of pilgrimage, providing amazing 360° panoramas of everything around them. The island of Fuerteventura, with its nearly 326 kilometres of coastline, is encircled by five such faros, linked by a route which affords travellers a lofty vantage point over the wonderful scenery surrounding this Canary island.

Faro de la Entallada – the African Viewpoint

Situated on the island’s east coast, 6 kilometres from the resort of Las Playitas – a wonderful seafaring enclave with volcanic sand – its unusual architecture makes this the most original lighthouse on the island. It is located at the closest point on the Canary Islands to Africa, some 100 kilometres away. To get to the top of cliff, be sure to keep your wits about you as the road is narrow, with hairpin bends. You can drive there, but do so with the utmost care. Once you get to the top, however, you will encounter a splendid, 200-metre-high balcony over the ocean, with views of the Cuchillos de Vigán (Vigán Knives) Natural Monument, lava fields which have sculpted a spectacular mountain chain. Built in 1952, the lighthouse has a 12-metre-high tower and two side buildings rendered in lime and red pumice stone, imbuing the ensemble with a lot of character.

Jandía Lighthouse – the Southernmost on the Island

Located at the southernmost tip of Fuerteventura, enveloped in a volcanic landscape with steep cliffs, Punta de Jandía is accessible either by private vehicle – preferably a four-wheel drive – or a public, 4x4 minibus which plies the route running from Morro Jable to Puertito de la Cruz, a village of 20 houses and two restaurants where it is said you can get the best fish soup on the island – I can vouch for this. This hamlet of houses built in traditional style leads you to the Jandía Lighthouse, set atop the finely tapered tip of the island. If you look at the sea, you can spot the delicate ripples set up by the ocean currents coming from both the Barlovento coast on the one side, and the Sotavento coast on the other. Built in 1864, the lighthouse is now home to the Jandía Nature Park Interpretation Centre.

Tostón Lighthouse – the Finest Sunset

Located at Punta Ballena, 5 km north of the picturesque fishing village of El Cotillo, is the Tostón Lighthouse, which went into operation in 1897. Together with the Martiño lighthouse, on the Isla de Lobos, and the Pechiguera lighthouse, in Lanzarote, it forms a triangle illuminating the Bocaina Strait separating Fuerteventura from Lanzarote. The site of the Traditional Fishing Museum, it is made up of three towers built in different periods, one of which is brightly coloured, with a formidable presence. It is no overstatement to say that it affords one of the most stunning sunsets on the island. The lighthouse is surrounded by little coves with calm, crystal-clear water, ideal for having a dip at the day’s end.

Morro Jable – the Island’s Modern Lighthouse

The most picturesque spot in Morro Jable, a village in the south of Fuerteventura dominated by its British and German inhabitants, is Matorral Beach, with over four kilometres of white sand fanning out from the village centre. This magnificent beach, perfectly suited to hiring a pedal boat – they really round off your holiday nicely, believe me – is the site of the modern Morro Jable Lighthouse, which began operating in 1996. It is a simple, slender reinforced concrete tower about 60 metres high. It can be accessed from the village or beach along tracks which are well signposted, as it stands in a protected Scientific Interest Site, the Saladar de Jandía wetlands, an unusual coastal ecosystem which is flooded at high tide.

San Martiño Lighthouse – the Trekkers’ Choice

The San Martiño lighthouse, built in 1865, stands on the Isla de Lobos, a picturesque rock located a few kilometres off the coast of Corralejo which can be reached by a regular ferry service. The only way of getting to the lighthouse is by walking along one of two signposted footpaths – one hugging the coastline and the other leading into the interior. The walk is suitable for visitors of all ages and your arrival at the lighthouse, after a steep but short final stretch, is ineffably rewarding. A plaque pays tribute to the novelist, Josefina Pla, who was born on the island. A breathtaking 360° panorama.

Texto de Teresa Vallbona

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