The stargazing or astronomical tourism has gained followers in the last few years. The observation of the stars, both for experts and amateurs, attracts lot of people to the Canary Islands.
Canaries is one of the best places in the world to the stars watching due to its good environmental conditions. Therefore, the Canary sky has become protected heritage of the islands. This fact has been guaranteed by the Law of Atmospheric Quality of the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands. This has allowed for the installation of advanced telescopes and the creation of some of the most important astronomical facilities of the world. La Palma and Tenerife have as well the seal of “Starlight”, which means both islands have been recognised as destinations for the astrotourism.
The preservation of the sky in Canary Islands has become a reference for other corners of the world. Tenerife island leads the EU Sky Route project with the objective of consolidating astrotourist routes in Europe.
For the stars watching is necessary skies during the night are dark and clear. Therefore Canaries offer ideal conditions for astrotourism lovers, due to its proximity to the equator and its high altitudes in certain places of the islands.
The different constellations can be seen from the whole archipelago, but it is in La Palma and Tenerife, as we mentioned before, where are located the two international astronomic observatories which are focused on the stargazing. In both, it is possible to make a guided visit to their facilities with the objective of showing us the functioning of the Universe.
This volcanic island, ideal place for the hiking lovers, is also the perfect destination to practice astrotourism. It offers many astronomic activities, like for example, stars watching routes reaching the edge of the mountain Caldera de Taburiente, very close from another mountain, Roque de Los Muchachos. The views are spectacular, under your feet a sea of clouds invites you to float, and over your head a star-filled sky will captivate you.
It is an island with a “guanche” (people who lived in Canary Islands before XV century) soul, where tradition and modernity go hand in hand. Nice beaches in the south and daring paths in the north with the Teide National Park as the crown jewel. If to all this we add an spectacular sky, the final result is wonderful. Here takes place the biannual Starmus Festival, where the participants have the chance to share their passion for astronomy.
All islands have special corners to watch stars…the heart of Gran Canaria, the Corralejo dunes, or the Cuervo Volcano in Lanzarote are ideal places to lie down silently and enjoy a star-filled sky.
And you? Do you know any place else? Have you practised astrotourism in any island? If so, share your experience with us.