Chris Butler September 27th, 2018 1,615 views
In an age of the internet, convenience and city-living, for many people, there is perhaps a sense of disconnect from the natural world, and to a certain extent, the universe at large. In what seems to be an act of defiance against that loss of connection, in recent years astronomy related holidays, now known as Astro-Tourism, has seen a huge upsurge in popularity.
From travellers seeking the clearest skies & best star-gazing activities, to major solar eclipse events & the northern lights alike, the tourism trend revolving around the sky is now one of the fastest growing movements of the travel industry. Last year in the United States alone, Airbnb reported over 50,000 customers had used their site to head to destinations related to witnessing the Solar Eclipse. There are also now over 3000 properties across their platform offering telescopes as a feature of the accommodation, as more holiday providers begin to recognise the potential of the sky.
Along with the simple fact that many people love to experience the best & brightest night skies (and upload pictures of it on Instagram), the rise of Astro-tourism also appears to be indicative of a shifting consumer mind-set, based around a more sustainable kind of holiday. Major concerns about the burdens of over-tourism facing cities like Venice & Barcelona, both environmentally and economically, may well be having an impact on the growing popularity of astro-related & other ‘alternative’ holidays.
Great destinations are usually in rural areas high above sea level, away from the heavy light pollution synonymous with built-up cities. The Canary Islands is home to some of the clearest skies anywhere in the world, and the Teide National Park in Tenerife has one of the worlds best observatories. Built upon Mount Teide, an active volcano and the highest peak in Spain, here, stargazers can get lost in the vast other-worldly landscapes of the park, and find simply breath-taking views of the Milky Way above. Be sure to book your trip to the top a couple of months in advance, as demand for places is incredibly high. Book fantastic Flight & hotel offers to Tenerife.
Alternatively, you don't need to travel half way across Europe to see some astonishing skies. If you don't mind something a bit chillier, the UK is also a fantastic place to gaze away. Great national parks are in abundance across England, Wales and Scotland, but it is the latter in particular where you will find some of the clearest views. The Galloway Forest Park in Dumfries and Galloway is one of a select few parks to have been awarded as an International Dark Sky Park. The award is given to areas where artificial light pollution is extremely restricted, ensuring the park will provide an unforgettable stargazing experience. See hotels near Dumfries park.
What can be a introspective, educational and simply unforgettable experience, stargazing may even change the way you view your place in the universe. Would you consider astro-tourism for your next holiday?