ONS ISLAND

NATURE

National Maritime Terrestrial Park of the Atlantic Islands of Galicia, since 2002

» Protected Natural Area

Thanks to its marine and terrestrial biodiversity, the Ons Archipelago became a part of the Terrestrial Maritime National Park of the Atlantic Islands of Galicia in 2002, together with the Cíes, Sálvora and Cortegada archipelagos. Its underwater depths are a significant nature reserve serving as a breeding ground for many species.

The Ons Island also has other natural protection systems, since it belongs to the European Natura 2000 Network, to the OSPAR 2008 Agreement. It is a Special Protection Area for Birds, is a Site of Community Importance and has the Blue Flag on the Melide Beach.

Unlike the Cíes Islands, the main Ons Island is regularly inhabited throughout the year. It is a fishing village with great charm and with great island peculiarities. It is a unique place where time stops to contemplate this magnificent jewel of nature.

The Ons climate, like the rest of the Terrestrial Maritime National Park, is the so-called sub-humid Mediterranean climate of the Atlantic transition, wich allows the proliferation of a wide variety of species.
On the Ons Archipelago, it rains nearly half as much as in the nearby coastal areas, which shows the important effect of insularity on the climate. The annual average precipitation stands at round 800-900 mm.

This pleasant climate is the warmest in Galicia, with an annual average temperature ranging 13 and 15 degrees Celsius. This fluctuation is more pronounced in summer and spring, when it reaches 18-20 degrees. Maximum temperatures of 35 degrees are reached in summer.

» Climate Ons Island

» Terrestrial Flora

The terrestrial flora of the Ons Archipelago stands out for the existence of many endemic species. In this territory, there are plant species which became extinct millions of years ago in other areas of the planet, and specimens which have lived here for centuries, quietly witnessing the passage of time.
The Ons Island presents a landscape where shrub formations predominate, such as gorse, heather, fern, broom, hawthorn and blackthorn, reducing the tree vegetation to the willows and alders of the streams and springs and some specimens of pine, eucalyptus and Pyrenean oak.

In the Ons cliffs several bands of vegetation are distinguished according to their proximity to the sea. In the lower areas, sea fennel and armenia abound and, in more humid sectors, sea mayweed.

Currently, there is little indigenous flora left on the island, such as rebollos and cork oaks. The mythical camarina grass is now extinct on the island.

Thanks to its geographical location, its special microclimate and its great variety of different ecosystems, the existence of different animal species is possible in Ons Island. The wide range of animal species inhabiting the island is similar to Cíes Islands and the other areas in the National Park.
The privileged situation of the islands make it a perfect habitat for various colonies of seabirds that choose them for breeding or as a stop on their long migrations.

The most important animal group is the Cormorán Moñudo colony, which breeds on the most inaccessible cliffs and is the most important breeding nucleus of the Iberian Peninsula, along with that of the Cíes Islands. Other birds that usually breed in this area are the gull arentea, the European gannet, the black-legged tern, the Balearic shearwater and wild pigeons.

Also noteworthy are the colonies of birds of prey such as the goshawk, buzzard, buzzard, peregrine falcon and swift, among others. The partridge and the arao, which until the 1960s used to nest among the rocks, practically disappeared.

Among the most important amphibians, the Iberian newt and the ground salamander stand out; among the reptiles, the ocellated lizard and the stair snake.

Terrestrial mammals are scarce, highlighting the common shrews and otters. There is also a specimen of a deer in the wild, released a few decades ago for hunting purposes.

» Terrestrial Fauna

» Marine Environment

The marine environment of Ons Island is a unique territory which offers shelter to a wide variety of species; many of them only exist in this small corner of the Atlantic Ocean. It stands out mainly for its biodiversity and the spectacular nature of its depths. It has to be remarked that 85% of the Maritime-Terrestrial National Park belongs to the ocean realm, which reaches 70-metre depths at some points. The marine areas of the park have a huge ecological value, both for their stunning underwater landscapes and their plethora of fauna and flora.
Undoubtedly, the seabed is an essential part of the National Park, since in its bowels they hide great treasures of nature, which make it a place worth protecting and caring for.

The biodiversity that characterizes this marine environment is a consequence of its particular oceanographic conditions and the multiple habitats found in it, which create ideal conditions for the settlement and development of a wide variety of communities representative of the Galician Atlantic seabed.

The outcrop of the cold water currents of the sea, off the coast of the Rías Baixas, make its waters very rich in nutrients and oxygen, providing the main characteristics of the biological richness of the environment.

The variety and richness of the Ons seabed implies a great diversity and abundance of fish and shellfish, the main protagonists of the island’s gastronomy.

The most abundant marine mammal in the waters of the Ons Island is the common dolphin. The sightings of Atlantic bottlenose dolphin and sperm whales also being relatively frequent. It is also not uncommon to see some fin whales and, to a lesser extent, other cetaceans.

Sometimes specimens of leatherback and loggerhead turtles come to its waters, but these sightings are increasingly rare.

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IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT

IF YOU ARE GOING TO TRAVEL TO THE CÍES ISLANDS OR THE ONS ISLAND FROM MAY 15 (EXCEPT CAMPERS), before buying the ticket, you must obtain the authorization requested by La Xunta de Galicia, in which they will provide you with the pre code -reserve (necessary to acquire the boat ticket).

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