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» Preparing for your trip: guide Ons Islands
Get useful information on every aspect that should be taken into account when preparing your visit to the Ons Island – booking your tickets, preparing the documents nedeed for the trip, packing your luggage, etc.
Booking your tickets
Ons Island is one of the main tourist destinations in Galicia, so it is advisable to book your tickets as soon as possible, since there are limited spaces, especially in June, July, August and September.
You can book your tickets to Ons Island quickly and safely from home. Just book online at www.mardeons.com or call (+34) 986 225 272.
When booking your tickets, you will have to choose between all the departure ports available and the 24 possible schedules.
For traveling, you will need to have the required documents readily available in order to withdraw your pre-booked tickets (booking ID or travel voucher).
Children must always travel with an adult, and they are required to show the proper documents (DNI, NIE, passport or family record book) when boarding, since our staff will check whether the children are under the age of 13.
In order to board quickly and efficiently, we thank you for having your documents ready to show them to us.
Each passenger can take a maximum of 20 kg of luggage to the island. However, it is important for you to consider the weight that you can carry by yourself, and to pay special attention to valuable objects. Mar de Ons is not liable for any luggage or personal objects lost or stolen.
It is important to take into account the objects that you are not allowed to bring on board, as they are considered illegal or dangerous, and the forbidden objects.
For safety reasons, it is forbidden to carry any kind of objects that may put the passengers safety at risk in the hand luggage. This includes objects such as:
- Explosives, ammunition, pyrotechnic elements or sparklers, and dangerous weapons.
- Gases (flammable, not flammable, intensely refrigerated or poisonous) such as camping gas, oxygen, propane and butane.
- Flammable liquids, such as fuel, paint or solvents.
- Flammable solids, such as easily ignitable items, substances subject to spontaneous combustion, substances that emit flammable gases in contact with water.
- Oxidising substances, such as caustic soda or peroxides.
- Radioactive materials.
Travelling with pets
It is completely forbidden to disembark any type of animal on Ons Island, except for guide dogs accompanying blind persons. If you are interested in visiting Ons Island and you need pet accommodation services, there are available for you in the city of Vigo.
However, if you decide to take only the journey to Ons Island (without disembarking), you should know that all kinds of pets are allowed on board, as long as they are documented. We consider pets the following animals: dogs, cats and those harmless animals that board wearing a lash, collar and muzzle. The pet must stay on the outside part of the boat for the entire journey.
Please ensure that you carry your pet’s medical card with you and that your pet’s vaccinations and dewormings are up to date.
Issuing of boarding tickets
Reserved tickets can be issued from the time of booking until 30 minutes before the chosen departure time at our information points. To print the tickets, you will simply have to provide the booking details which we will send directly to your email.
If you have any doubts, we recommend you to go to any of the Mar de Ons information points, where our staff will be happy to help you.
In order to board, you should go to the signalled point at least 15 minutes prior to departure. Passengers must be in the corresponding queue and hold their ticket on their hands, so that the boarding goes quickly and efficiently, making it easier for the boat to depart on time.
There are no rubbish containers on the island, so we recommend bringing bags for rubbish collection, etc.
Find out about the Park rules and contribute to their preservation.
Wearing sports shoes and comfortable clothes is recommended. Do not forget to bring your raincoat or some warm clothing for the boat trip, in case of possible temperature changes.
Bring water with you and try to drink plenty of it during your visit. Long exposures to the sun, summer temperatures and wind can cause dehydration problems.
Do not forget items such as your sunglasses, a cap or your sunscreen.
Walk only along the paths that are authorised for public use (free-visit areas), following the indications on the signs.
It is advisable to bring a camera, a video camera, goggles and binoculars.
Please pay attention to the instructions established by the Park management and follow the indications of the National Park guards. Actively help to preserve this natural area, warning about possible faults and suggesting improvements. Communication is an essential management tool.
It is also important to note that there is no medical service available, except for the summer months, when the Red Cross has a daytime care stand.
» Useful Information
Access useful information about the aspects that you should take into account once you are at your destination: National Park regulations, services on the island, trails, beaches, etc.
You are NOT allowed to:
- Throw any food waste or rubbish, because there are no containers. Therefore, you need to bring rubbish back to the departure dock and throw it in the trash bins when you disembark.
- Disembark pets (except for guide dogs).
- Access or move with motor vehicles (except for wheelchairs).
- Camp outside of the areas designated for this purpose.
- Light any kind of fire, campfire or suchlike.
- Access the areas signalled as restricted to the public.
- Disturb, harm, catch or kill any wild animals.
- Pull out, cut or harm any vegetation, including flowers and fruits.
- Collect, destroy or alter any elements of an archaeological, historical or geological interest, both on land or at sea – stones, shells, etc.
- Introduce native animal and/or plant species.
- Carry out any activity that may destroy, damage or alter the unique natural elements in the area.
- Use sound systems or make noises that may alter the natural peace of the place.
- Go scuba diving with no prior authorization.
- Go spearfishing and recreational fishing.
- Carry or move around with weapons, harpoons, spearguns or other similar objects.
You ARE allowed to:
- Bring food, as long as the waste is taken to the departure point, since there are no trash bins.
- Smoke, as long as the cigarette butts are not thrown to the ground.
- Disembark guide dogs.
- Access with manual wheelchairs (power wheelchairs are not allowed on the boat).
Health care – As of todat, none of the archipelagos has health care staff working permanently. Health care services are available during the months of July, August and September only, coinciding with the greatest flow of tourists. On Ons Island, the health care services are located at the crossroads of Curro neighbourhood on the way to the lighthouse. There is a nurse and a lifeguard.
Drinkable water – The existence of natural springs was one of the reasons that favoured human settlements on the island since the ancient times. However, it is important to take into account that drinkable water is scarce, especially during the driest periods, which coincide with the greatest flow of tourists. The fountains on Ons Island are signalled, but drinkability is not guaranteed. It is this advisable to bring plenty of water with you to visit the island, since this is a windy area with a great amount of salt in the air, which favours dehydration under the sun.
Public restrooms – There are no public restrooms independent from other services on Ons Island, but the restrooms that bars have for their customers will be publicly available for you to use. Please note that these restrooms are not accessible for people with reduced mobility.
Information Stand: there is an information stand on Ons Island, right at the end of the access dock, opposite As Dornas beach. At this point, you can ask for any information that you may need about the National Park, concerning services and possible activities that you may carry out on the island. Its main goal is to provide the visitors with all the information allowing them to enjoy their visit to the fullest. Its main goal is to provide the visitors with all the information allowing them to enjoy the visit to the fullest. This service is available during the seasons when there are maritime transport regular services. It offers uninterrupted opening hours during the months of July and August.
Ons Visitor Centre: This interpretation centre is located on the Curro neighbourhood, opposite the church, where the old Ons Civic Centre used to stand. It is based on the heritage and ethnography of the island and the old islanders. Ons, an island of legends and traditions, has a long history full of events that had an impact on the survival of its inhabitants and contributed to a culture having a wide knowledge of nature and holding popular beliefs that marked the daily chores. The exhibition shown at this centre includes examples of the natural value of this archipelago, as well as an in-depth trip through the history, the customs and the life on the island in ancient times. The centre is generally open during the summer season.
Viewpoints: Even though there are several places on the island from where the landscape can be admired, only some of them are considered viewpoints, which are accessible for most of the visitors because of their landscape interest, spaciousness and location. The Fedorento viewpoint in Ons offers an impressive panoramic view of Ons Island, Cíes Islands, Costa de la Vela and the continental area which is closest to the archipelagos.
Hotel and Restaurant Services
Casa Checho Restaurant – It has the largest and the best offer of typical dishes of great quality, based on fresh and freshly-caught fish, such as octopus and scallop pie, among others.
>> Getting here – Port maps
» South Trail
In its first section, parallel to the beaches of the southeast coast: after the first one, Area dos Cans, you can see the group of rocks where O Laxe do Crego is located, an anthropomorphic sarcophagus dated to the Middle Ages and since then an object from multiple legends. A little further on, the Canexol Beach and its fragile dune complex appear, currently in the process of recovery. In front of it, on the other side of the road, the old rectory with its traditional granaries, the school, the nearby cemetery and the old church are part of the history of man on the islands. The houses along the way, some of them still inhabited today, formed the neighborhoods of Canexol and Pereiró.
The path will take us, in about 45 minutes from the beginning of the route, to the beautiful viewpoint of Fedorentos, from where it offers us the best views of the nearby Onza islet and the entrance to the Bay of Pontevedra, with the majestic Cíes archipelago. Going back a little to the west, there is the Buraco do Inferno, where the continuous attacks of the ocean have built this curious geological formation, a hole of more than 30 meters that communicates with the sea, producing an unforgettable hoarse sound, between the vertical cliffs that make up this area of the island. From here we continue skirting the west coast until we reach Ensenada de Caniveliñas.
The path continues up north, until it reaches the highest point of the itinerary: the crossroads where the track that comes from the lighthouse meet.
Up to here it takes about 40 ‘approximately. The path continues northwards between gorse, heather and broom, with the immense Atlantic Ocean as a continuous scenic background. If visibility allows, from here you can see the Sálvora Island, with Ribeira in the background, the entrance to the Bay of Arousa and the tip of the O Grove peninsula. The path, now descending, continues to undulate until it reaches a junction where if we turn left it will leave us, in about fifteen minutes, at the Punta Centolo viewpoint. After two hours of journey, this spectacular balcony, located in the extreme north of the Ons Island, will allow us to enjoy one of the most beautiful and complete views of the coast: Sálvora, now very close to the Riviera coast and the cut-off mountain range of the Barbanza; behind the peninsula of O Grove, A Lanzada, the Bay of Pontevedra, the small Bay of Aldán, Costa da Vela, Onza and the Cíes Islands as a backdrop.
The importance of this place, in addition to being landscaped, lies in the fact that it is one of the breeding areas for the shag cormorant and the yellow-legged gull, the two most abundant and representative species of seabirds in the National Park. For this reason, access to the viewpoint is restricted from February 15 to July 31, the nesting season for these birds. Contrary to the always boisterous seagulls, which will play with the wind next to us, to observe the elusive shaggy cormorants we must look at the most remote rocks and islets, where they gather to dry their black plumage in the sun. We will pass through Punta Liñeiros and Punta Xubenco, until we reach the Melide Beach, the most beautiful sandy area of Ons. Years ago, Melide was the place chosen by many visitors to spend long periods on the island; from this time, only the nudist tradition of the beach survives, since currently camping is only allowed in the area established for it, in the place of Chan da Pólvora. Next to the descent to the beach, to the south of it, begins the path that, skirting the east coast of Ons, will take us to the starting point. At first, among eucalyptus trees, which are gradually giving way to native vegetation, such as some young horses, laurels and even a specimen of Cytisus insularis, a broom for now only described in Ons and Sálvora, which we can observe along the way, next to a small elderberry. When the scrub becomes predominant, it will be interesting to look back to see Alto de Centulo and Melide, with the sandy bar of A Lanzada in the background. Soon, arriving at the Cucorno neighborhood and after the willow-covered slope, you can see part of the lighthouse lantern.
» North Trail
» Faro Trail
Later, after the factory closed in the early 20th century, the Riobó family, who owned the island at the time, settled there. Once at the main crossroads, after crossing the town, the route continues along the paved track that begins by gently ascending towards the southwest. About 200m to the right we can see one of the country houses that best shows the architecture of the area: rectangular floor plan, ground floor, doors and windows facing east, barn, granary and a space to store the dorna, traditional fishing boat , dry.
Before taking the next turn, the splendid views of the Bay of Pontevedra will make us stop for a while. It meanders now between ancient farmland. A little later, a few scattered houses warn us that we have reached the Cucorno neighborhood. In the background, the large hexagonal tower of the Ons Lighthouse is cut out.
Currently, it is not possible, unless expressly authorized, to access the Lighthouse site, so we will turn off, 100 m before it, along a track that leads to the west of the island on our left. In a few minutes we will be next to the detour that accesses the small heliport and which is worth approaching, since this is where the magnificent lighthouse building is best viewed. Located at the highest point of the island, at 119m above sea level, it raises its lantern to 128m; along with that of Sálvora, it is one of the few remaining in Spain still attended by lighthouse keepers. Uninterruptedly since 1926, the year in which it began to operate, first with oil and nowadays through a system of solar panels, its powerful beam of light guides the numerous maritime routes that cross the Rías Baixas.
After imagining the hard but interesting life of a lighthouse keeper, we will retrace our steps to resume the previous track, which ends at the one that borders the entire west coast. We will head south (to our left), following the path that descends through the thick thicket of gorse, heather and rockrose that begin to lose ground in the face of the harsh conditions imposed by the Atlantic Ocean, which we can see in the trimmed modeled cliffs by the force of the water.
The Ensenada de Caniveliñas, which gradually fills our field of vision, is the deep inlet that determines the narrowest area of the island, about 350m wide.
We cross a small trough in which the native riverbank woodland, such as willows, indicates the presence of fresh water, which in these islands, unlike Cíes, is abundant. A little further on, looking to the left at the height of a small clearing, we will see the lantern of the Ons Lighthouse appear, at 128m above sea level. The path, which now winds through a corridor of hawthorns, sloes, rockrose, gorse and ferns on a fluffy carpet of clovers and silenes, will take us to the Mirador do Castelo (15 minutes from the pier), an old defensive fortification, nowadays in ruins, and that we will find to the right of the clearing in which the path ends.
This magnificent watchtower offers us beautiful views of the entire eastern coast of the Ons Island and the Bay of Pontevedra. Towards the North, in the foreground, we see Melide Beach, the most beautiful and emblematic sandy area of the Ons Island. To the South, the pier, Curro, the Canexol Beach, the small Onza Island and in the background, almost always between mists, the Cíes archipelago.
Following the coastline, the trimmed profile of Costa da Vela, the small Bay of Aldán, Bueu, the inside of the Bay of Pontevedra and to the north, the spectacular A Lanzada Beach, stand out.
» Castelo Trail
» Ons Island Excursions: guided tours
This experience offers our clients the possibility of discovering in depth the picturesque Ons Island and its incomparable marine charm. Fill your senses with new sensations in contact with nature, feel the immensity of the Atlantic Ocean and discover the beautiful beaches with crystal clear waters, which offer a familiar look towards the Bay of Pontevedra.
Discover this fantastic place from the hand of our specialized guides through the official routes designed by National Parks. A knowledgeable guide will accompany you throughout the course of the route to let you know first hand its history, its beaches, its impressive views, etc.
This two-and-a-half-hour route allows you to explore the southern part of the Ons Island by accessing the Fedorentos viewpoint. With just over 6 kilometers in length and a slight drop of about 86 meters, it stands out for the impressive views from its two viewpoints and for its peculiar geological forms.
The beauty of the Ons Island is not only scenic, but it is fed by legends and magical corners, such as the Buraco do Inferno, a vertical crack that descends into the sea, from where they say that the laments of the wandering souls are heard between two worlds trying to explain their sins and erase their guilt to get away from hell and rest in peace.
With a length of 8.1 kilometers and a drop of 100 meters, this route runs through the northern part of the island, crossing its narrowest part and strolling over the cliff of its Atlantic facade.
Throughout the three hours the tour lasts, the path runs through Punta Liñeiros and Punta Xobenco and allows you to observe numerous birds and their breeding areas.
With a length of 4 kilometers and a difference of 120 meters, this route, lasting an hour and a half, offers us a short tour that will allow us to get a general idea of the island. This route brings us closer to the narrowest part of it, the Ensenada de Caniveliñas, where you can see one of the most important sources of fresh water. From there, walk along the Atlantic facade up to the highest point, the lighthouse, which offers unrivaled panoramic views.
It should be noted that the Ons Lighthouse is one of the longest in Spain and also one of the largest. It is located in the highest part of the island, in the village and mount of O Cucorno. It was lit for the first time on April 3, 1865. In 1932, the lighthouse was externally coated with tiles and, together with those of Sálvora and Sisargas, was one of the last oil pressure lighthouses that existed. In 1990, its power was converted to photovoltaic energy. The lighthouse, which has the peculiarity of being covered in tile, is the work of the architect Rafael de la Cerda, who built another twin on the Island of A Rúa (Ría de Arousa).
RUTA DO CASTELO
With a length of 1.1 kilometers and a drop of 33 meters, the Castelo Route runs from the dock to the old battery of Castelo das Rodas. It is the lightest of the routes and passes through Dornas Beach where you can see some traditional boats.
It is recommended to wear comfortable clothes and shoes, sunscreen, a cap or hat, and sunglasses. You should also bring water and even something to eat, although on the Ons Island you have Casa Checho, where you can find a wide variety of food and drinks.
» Protected Natural Area
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.
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
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.
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 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.
The other fort that is known as “Cova da Loba” was located in the northern part of the island, but there are only remains of ceramics, tiles and abundant concheiros.
Recently, archaeological prospecting works have brought to light the existence of various graphic representations or petroglyphs that are ascribed to a historical stage between the 4th centuries B.C. and II AD, something almost unprecedented in an insular territory.
» Ancient History
» Middle Age
The Suebi and Visigothic occupation in Galicia left no trace in Ons.
However, the existing indications suggest a total depopulation of territory due to their attacks.
» Modern Age
» Contemporary Era
Between 1835-1840, the first salting factory was installed near the quay and this changed the life of the islanders: they made fishing their main economic activity and with it they increased their population. When the company finally closed, they moved the sale of their catches to the coast.
In 1929, Manuel Riobó bought the island and installed a company for drying and trading octopus and conger eel, which meant that the islanders specialized in these species. In 1940, the State expropriated the island for national defense. Three years later, in 1943, the Ministry of Defence undertook it, intending to install a submarine base that was never built. During the 1940s and 1950s, Ons Island lived its most thriving period with almost 500 inhabitants. Its progressive depopulation over 20 years time was caused by the lack of improvement of the life conditions for the islanders. This is similar to what happened on Cíes Islands, and it came hand in hand with the tourism boom, especially relevant from the 1970s onwards. Today, Ons is the only Atlantic Island that still has a stable population, although there are fewer than 20 people living on the island.
For many years, the Isle of Ons has been known for several of its legends, which make it more attractive to tourists. One example is the legend of the famous Buraco do Inferno, a place from which it is said that you can hear the lamentations of the souls of those who suffer torment for their sins.
The island currently belongs to the Maritime-Terrestrial National Park of the Atlantic Islands and is a tourist destination of nature and gastronomy.
» Gastronomy on the Ons Island
The star dish is octopus, prepared in caldeirada or “á feira”. However, you can also taste other first-class fresh seafoods as a result of artisanal fishing and the tradition of this island, such as sea bass, clams, razor clams or scallops. The unmistakable flavor of its dishes will delight any palate.
In addition, the traveler will be surprised by the quality of its wines, especially the white wines like Rías Baixas or Ribeiro Designations of Origin; its desserts, made in an artisanal way and its impressive views of the sea.
Contact information: Curro 10 Aptdo. 36930. Telephone number: (+34) 986 687 698
» Casa Checho
» Pulpo «á illa»
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IF YOU ARE GOING TO TRAVEL TO THE CÍES ISLANDS OR THE ONS ISLAND FROM EASTER AND 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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