“Second to the right, and straight on till morning.” This is what Peter told Wendy as they were flying through the night sky, eyes glistening, towards marvellous Neverland. A magnificent island unfolded in the dark before them, shining with shades of blue and green. If you ever daydreamed about the magical worlds created by J. M. Barrie, keep reading and you will find that there is a place on earth as wonderful as the home of the boy who would not grow up.
Either with fairy dust or by boat, we will reach this extraordinary archipelago near the Galician coast: the Cíes Islands. This landscape marked by green hills and turquoise beaches constitutes a striking sight even for those who believe in fairy tales. It is, indeed, an unspoilt natural paradise, full of magic and adventures awaiting around every corner.
If you still refuse to believe this is the actual Neverland, you might be surprised to know this place has a history with piracy too; in fact, the very Francis Drake set foot on the island! If you wish to discover this stunning landscape and the world’s greatest beach according to The Guardian, join us in this awfully big adventure.
The Cíes Islands belong to the Atlantic Islands of Galicia National Park. This archipelago was declared a Natural Park in 1980, due to its breathtaking landscapes and rich ecosystem. The highest peak here is called Alto do Príncipe. We can sit on its peculiar rock formations, and contemplate the green silhouette of the islands rising above the world.
The hills and rocky cliffs in the archipelago are surrounded by delightful forests drenched in scents of pine trees and sea breeze. We might wander through the woods, enjoy the fresh shadows and the feeling of the soft grass under our feet, let our imagination soar free and find infinite pleasure in following the steps of the Lost Boys of Neverland.
Besides, there are four main routes for exploring the islands: Faro do Monte Faro, Faro da Porta, Alto do Príncipe, and Faro do Peito. At night, said paths are guided by the bewitching beams of the lighthouses, the silent guardians of the Cíes Islands. These white towers stand majestically over the hills and the rocks of the coastline, welcoming lost travellers as if they were otherworldly heralds.
The archipelago consists of three islands: Monteagudo, do Faro, and San Martiño. However, the first two are linked by Praia das Rodas, which is regarded by many as the most beautiful beach in the world.
In 2007, the British newspaper The Guardian chose Praia das Rodas as the best beach in the world. This long, pearly strip of sand is kissed by the turquoise waves of the Galician sea, and the silky dunes shine under the sunlight in a dreamlike scenery.
Under the command of the tides, a lagoon emerges to one side of the beach. Lago dos Nenos magically changes the landscape, which goes from a naked sandbank to a beautiful lake surrounding the strip of sand opposite the sea. In fact, it could easily be considered our very own Mermaid’s Lagoon. This stretch of saltwater provides an ecosystem of great biodiversity, home to species like breams or wrasse. It also hosts endemic birds and seaweed.
There is a stone path connecting Monteagudo and do Faro which allows us to walk over the water and across the lake. Its name is Camiño do Faro de Cíes, and it offers a breathtaking view of the bright blue sea, the woods and the rocky slopes of the Cíes Islands.
The sun is setting over the sleepy hills, softly painting the rocks and the sand with shades of gold and crimson. Gentle whispers echo under the sombre trees, which aim at the stars, always seeking to embrace eternity. All living creatures fall under the spell of the night, fresh and crystal-clear. They know everything is going to be okay, tomorrow the sun will raise again and the world is going to be the same. The waves will continue to sway smoothly on the sand, the paths will remain in place, and the adamant lighthouses will protect their shores, just like they always do. Even if we need to leave this magical place behind, it will always be there, waiting for us to return.
“Second to the right, and straight on till morning.”