On 21 July 1969 man set foot on the moon for the first time. This year marks the 50th anniversary of a milestone that changed history. We offer a route through the best places in Spain to contemplate the stars in a year so deeply linked to space.
The Starlight Destination certificate, created by the Starlight Foundation and endorsed by UNESCO, catalogs the best skies on the planet for astronomical observation, among which our country is a world reference.
Destination and reservation Gúdar-Javalambre Starlight
The region of Gúdar-Javalambre obtained the double rating of Destination and Starlight Reserve in 2016. The territory includes 23 towns and preserves an exceptional starry sky, clean of light pollution. These conditions led to the construction of one of the most important observatories in Spain: the Javalambre Astrophysical Observatory, located at El Pico del Buitre. Nearby is the Galáctica building, a center for the diffusion and practice of Astronomy promoted by the Centro de Estudios de Física del Cosmos de Aragón, which has facilities for scientific, educational, cultural and environmental visits.
The elegance of the Parador de Teruel is present in all its rooms. The Mudejar-style palace decorated with marble, tiles, pointed arches, and Arabic details that makeup very refined rooms. The whole city maintains an enchanted atmosphere, linked to the eternal history of the lovers of Teruel who gazed at the sky in amazement.
Sierra de Gredos, Starlight touristic destination
The sky of the Sierra de Gredos preserves excellent conditions for astrophotography and astronomical observation. In 2013, it was declared a Starlight Destination, a distinction that aims to protect the sky and promote sustainable development in tourism. The mountains are home to a magnificent landscape of great beauty. Conservation programs are essential to raising awareness of ecotourism. As examples, the Piorno Festival and the promotion of the Km0 gastronomy prove the vocation for the defense of natural values.
A pioneering site
The royal walls of the Parador de Gredos stand out among the splendid landscape of the Sierra: a radiant tumult of crystalline waters, intricate rocks, and green pine groves.
The magnificent building was the first in the Parador network, a pioneer in combining the excellence of this natural environment with cozy and stately accommodation. From its impeccable rooms, you can enjoy breathtaking views of the Gredos massif and spectacular mountain paths.
Monfragüe National Park, Cáceres
The first Starlight Tourist Destination of Extremadura award was given in 2016 and comprises the incredible scenery of the Monfragüe National Park. The park is a paradise for bird lovers and an extraordinary example of Dehesa (grasslands), one of the most emblematic ecosystems of Mediterranean Spain. The darkness of the sky, good weather, and atmospheric clarity were essential to win the deserved recognition.
Between stars and cherry trees
The Parador de Plasencia, while the cherry blossoms dazzle with their incandescent white, is an excellent starting point for a journey through the Jerte Valley. The whole building tastes of history in this peaceful 15th-century convent.
Also in Extremadura, the Parador de Trujillo rises above the beautiful 16th-century convent of Santa Clara. Both hotels pride themselves not only on the serenity of their history but on being very close to environments where the Dehesa displays its full splendor.
The Astronomical Park of the Serranía, Cuenca
The Astronomical Park of the Serranía Conquense is part of the Natural Park of the Serranía de Cuenca, a place that stands out for its extraordinary natural wealth. The land is privileged by the imposing orography and the value of its environmental resources. To glimpse the stars among the limestone formations of the Enchanted City is spectacular, a whim of nature which has carved streets, squares and buildings into the rock.
A canvas of legends
Cuenca, a World Heritage City since 1998, welcomes visitors with open arms at the San Pablo Convent, which houses the Parador. From its rooms, you can contemplate a canvas of steep walls of the Hoz del Huécar and abundant vegetation facing the hanging houses.
Valleys of Leza, Jubera, Cidacos and Alhama, (La Rioja)
The La Rioja Biosphere Reserve, located in the valleys of Leza, Jubera, Cidacos, and Alhama, was the first natural space in Spain to receive the Starlight Tourist Destination certification in 2012, for the aptitudes of its night sky as well as its natural and cultural resources linked to astronomy tourism. This beautiful landscape of green valleys and thick forests shelters protected species such as the griffon vulture that circles the sky with its majestic flight.
Comfort among stars
In La Rioja, the Parador de Santo Domingo de la Calzada occupies an old 12th-century hospital built to accommodate pilgrims on the Way of Saint James. The Gothic arches, coffered ceilings, and the large rooms provide a solemn atmosphere that gives way to warm and comfortable bedrooms. Also in La Rioja is the Parador de Calahorra, an elegant reddish building that contrasts with the intense green of its palm garden. Its cozy character makes it an ideal family retreat.
Los Pedroches Starlight Reserve
Los Pedroches was declared a Starlight Reserve in 2016, thereby confirming the quality of the sky in this region located to the north of the province of Cordoba. There are several star watching spots in the area, including periurban parks, hermitages and old mines spread over 17 municipalities. The skies have, among other qualities, extraordinary darkness and cleanliness.
On the ruins of the summer palace of Abderramán I, sits the Parador de Córdoba, a modern and cool building surrounded by a garden called “Los Naranjos” where you can find the oldest palm trees in Europe. A perfect place to rest and enjoy some of the most memorable jewels of the Andalusian legacy.
Gorafe Sky Interpretation Centre
The Sky Interpretation Centre (CIC) in Gorafe, in the province of Granada, is a 600 m2 complex with a public square that hosts astronomical activities and astrotourism events. This Starlight Park has a clear horizon of 360º, which enables us to contemplate the quality of the sky without disturbances.
The Parador of Granada invites you to enjoy the richness of Arab and Christian culture. Fountains, gardens, and tranquility celebrate a past of splendor. This old convent built by the Catholic Monarchs over a Nasrid palace maintains a charming interior, according to the magic that exudes from every corner of the city.
Montsec Starlight destination and reserve
The Montsec mountain range, in the Catalan Prepyrenees, was a pioneer in astronomical observation in the 1990s. The low rainfall, a high percentage of clear nights, the good stability of the images and, above all, the confirmation of its low light pollution, currently credit it as the best sky in Catalonia and one of the best in the world. A total of twenty-four municipalities have been awarded the Starlight Tourist Destination certificate, and eleven of them are Starlight Reserves, in other words, they possess outstanding skies.
Enjoying the calm
The Parador de Lleida is a 4-star hotel located in the 17th-century Roser Convent. The rooms, organized around a beautiful three-story central cloister, are the ideal place for peace and quiet.
Trevinca Starlight Destination
The protected area located within the Natural Area of Pena Trevinca, declared LIC and Zepa in the municipality of A Veiga, adjacent to the Natural Park of Sanabria. The main activities organized under the umbrella of the Starlight Destination are the observation of the Perseids meteor showers in August and the Geminids in December; the night walk “Between wolves and stars,” coinciding with the September full moon; the “AstroTrevinca” days in October; the choco-anocheceres (chocolate-dusk) and musical concerts “Nanas para Trevinca” from the Star Viewpoint of O Rañadoiro.
In the heart of the Ribeira Sacra, the Parador de Santo Estevo hides among a large blanket of trees. The building preserves three impressive cloisters, through which you can walk on quiet nights, under dim lighting accompanied by a faint sound of religious music.
El Teide Starlight Reserve
In January 2014, Teide became the first World Heritage Site to be listed as a Starlight Tourist Destination. From Tenerife, it is possible to observe 83 of the 88 officially recognized constellations. In summer the most spectacular phenomenon takes place as it is possible to contemplate the silvery band of stars that make up the Milky Way.
The heart of the volcano
The Parador de las Cañadas del Teide, in the heart of the Teide National Park, offers breathtaking views over the cone of the volcano. The clean and refreshing air, the sea of clouds and the beautiful starry sky turn the horizon into an idyllic picture.
Starlight Experiences in Paradores
At the Parador, a Starlight guide offers a fun introduction to astronomy. Then, an excursion to contemplate the constellations with the naked eye.
Every Friday of the year.
Free for hosted guests.
An astronomical association guides the theoretical and practical presentation at the Parador. With the help of telescopes and laser pointers, you can observe Stars, nebulae, or star clusters.
New moon summer weekends.
Free of charge for guests staying and passing customers dining at the Parador.
Cruz de Tejeda (Tejeda Cross)
Enjoy a star-studded dinner. Includes a master class and observation on the terrace with professional telescopes.
Friday from May to October.
55 € per person.
On nights with a new moon, the garden and access to the Parador lights are switched off to allow the stars to light the way.
New moon nights.
Free of charge.
Two nights at the Parador (one of them as a half-board) with certified Starlight Foundation monitor and stargazing on the terrace with a telescope. It includes two Scottish blankets and two thermoses with chocolate, infusion or broth.
From 1 April to 31 October.
Includes dinner and stargazing at the Parador.
July and August.
The Tiedra Astronomical Centre is 35 km from the Parador de Tordesillas. You can make day and night observation.
All the public.
Accompanied by an expert, observe the sky with a telescope from the terrace of the Parador.
On Sundays at 23,00 hours.
All the public.