The Cíes Islands: the Caribbean in Galicia, Spain

In summertime the beaches of northern Spain truly blossom, and catching a cheap flight to the city of Vigo will reward beach bunnies with what in many ways is the region’s jewel in the crown: the three-island Cíes [“see-yes”] archipelago, just a few minutes’ ferry ride from the city. It’s an unspoiled paradise of green wilderness, white sands, and turquoise-blue waters (one of its beaches, Rodas, was chosen by the UK Guardian in 2007 as “the world’s best beach”).

The islands are designated as a national park and are almost completely unsullied by buildings; the only accommodation out here is the Camping Illas Cíes, with 800 spots where visitors can stay a maximum of 15 days. Demand is high, so be sure to book well in advance – or you’ll have to take the ferry back at afternoon’s end!

Apart from sandy stretches worthy of the Caribbean, these islands also offer great hiking trails affording spectacular views. All excellent reasons to say “sí” to the Cíes!

Flights to Vigo.

Photo | Karen Bryan