Ons Island – Galicia – Spain

islandThis post is about a trip in a boat that takes almost 2 hours to reach the Natural Park Illa de Ons . And in the almost same amount of time I’ve had sea sickness. My advice for travellers: don’t try to look thru the view-finder of you camera all your journey.

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There is a special boat that goes from Vigo to Illa de Ons and back to mainland just once a day (one full trip) If you get at the port in Vigo, some 15 minutes earlier, you might have the chance to get a seat on top so that you can enjoy the panoramic view.

Inside the bay of Ria de Vigo, the water is calm and many small boats can be seen going to Cangas or to or from the more common attraction: Illas Cies.




As you pass the Costa da Vela, there is a perfect, classic shape Lighthouse: Faro de Cabo Home but also the waves become bigger and bigger.


I have done many other pictures of the area, but the big waves, the high-speed of the boat and a passengers strong smell, made the perfect ingrediens to get sea-sick.

So I will fast forward to the moment I get on the Island itself. Took a big sandwich and lots of water to drink and started to look at the map


To start the hiking we chose the green route, planned to do the yellow and then the red if there is time left.

So here we start the photo-journal with this Catholic Church San Xaquin and the calm road up the hill.



Now there are not more than 80 people living permanently on the island but since 1900, there were at most 500+ inhabitants (in 1955). This explains the many houses that are left abandoned, scattered on the island.



The road is dusty and nicely cleaned of spiky plants, perfect for big groups of hikers or hikers + bikers. There was just a small tractor that was seen on the road, but no ATVs (which is a great news)




Mirador de Fedorentos. A small height fence made out of stones, make it the perfect spot to admire and hear the hundreds of birds that have nests here.

Such is the case of the Yellow-legged gull or Larus michahellis



A surprising sight for us was this beautiful Papilio – Swallowtail butterfly- Papilionidae family. In the image bellow, he was seen at the Mirador. Another one was spotted at the Faro de Ons.[scroll down]


Far on the South side of the island the landscape changes, into this fully covered in green and spiky land with magenta flowers. Many lizards can be heard running from the road and into the darkness bellow the green cover.




Besides the big colonies of Yellow-Legged gulls that stay on the island (notably on the south side) there is (in my opinion) the most interesting place of the island: Buraco do Inferno. A hole in the land (so safe this whole place must be…) shaped by the forces of the ocean (as the brochure says). There are rings to hook the ropes and aid you to descend into the abyss. I was OK just with the sight from outside.

In the image bellow you can see the hole itself, then the nesting place of the gulls, Illa de Onza, Illa de Cies in the distance and even more into the distance, the main continent.


Yellow-legged gull or Larus michahellis [bellow]


The Blue Passion-flower or Passiflora coerulea [bellow]


The Carlina acaulis  flower [bellow]


And if you think is hard to get so far away, well for some dads, having to carry the baby stroller was no brainer.

Because the routes are not so long, nor they are tedious, we found ourselves next to the lighthouse in no time.






The blue course, promises to show to the tourists a region populated by lizards and some can also be found on other portions of the island too. Since the vegetation is very abundant but also very low height (max 20cm of ground), spotting these creatures is very hard (in time to catch them on photo). I gave up for the moment.

Because it was time to catch the boat back, we canceled the Blue hiking trail and headed towards the port.



As you wait in the port, look between the rocks in the water, you could spot some Shore Crabs or Carcinus maenas


It is a great place to visit (if a 2 hour journey on a boat is not a problem) and a great place to camp too. With prices starting at 70 euros per night for a 2 person tent (price much lower if you already have a tent) this is also a perfect place for night photography. Since there is no light pollution, a good tripod can turn your night camping experience into a astro-photography delight.

Perhaps I will return, for this unique advantage. Oh and bring battery packs!



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