Star Routes
from the desert to the sea
from the plains to the mountains
new tourism and knowledge dimensions of nighscapes


Declarations - Conferences
Cultural Heritage
Environment protection
Light pollution
The right to the stars
Climate Change
The Star Routes

La Palma - Biosphere Reserve

Astronomy and clean skies
Tourism, one of the most important and innovative activities on our planet, could act as the vector of a new alliance for promoting the quality of night sky. The sight of a clear sky is an asset for the development of specific products geared towards scientific or “knowledge tourism”, but it is also a frequently forgotten attraction influencing the quality of a tourist destination as an additional scenic element. At times, the starry sky forms part of the very essence of the tourism product, such as in the case of observations of the Northern Lights, the multitude of sailing holidays featuring navigation by the stars, some pilgrimage routes, or the innovative visions offered by desert tourism.

The firmament, as a scenario for tourism in modern times, has been present as a basic reference point in historical destinations such as Santorini or Taormina. “Venezia, salvare la notte”, the slogan for one of the most important meetings in defence of the quality of the night sky, warned of the danger of forgetting the beauty and appeal of the night for an activity mobilising more than six hundred million people a year. This vital resource has almost fallen into oblivion due to tourism’s rapid development, standardising and massification. The present challenge is to reintroduce this resource as a basic part of the offer for those destinations which still have a chance to recover the clarity of their night sky.

Cultural heritage associated with astronomy also acts as motivation for many travellers nowadays. At present, there are many consolidated locations and destinations in which heritage connected with astronomy, including archaeoastronomical heritage, constitutes the tourist attraction par excellence.

Observatories and their surroundings are also candidate areas for the development of innovative and respectful tourism activities, where intelligent visits can be made compatible with the careful protection of the extraordinary natural conditions at such locations, and their quality for astronomical observation.

Star Routes

Camino de Santiago (Way of St. James) - The Route of the Stars.
It is one of the most important cultural and tourist routes of Euope, declared World Heritage by UNESCO. A very ancient pilgrimage route under the stars, where the Milky Way pointed the way to Compostela (Campus stellae, the field of stars) and the edge of the known world (Finis terrae).
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"Ruta de las Estellas" project.
Astronomical educational expeditions for students through contest (Atlantic Ocean, Turkey, Zimbabwe, Kilimanjaro, Machu Picchu, etc.).
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Atacama. Astronomical Route
Route conceived as a sustainable tourist product that integrates natural landscape and the associated  cultural heritage with the astronomical offer.
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Other examples:
Star-gazing at the Khurel Togoot Observation Center (Mongolia)...>

New tourist products related with astronomy and star observation.

Astronomical Tourism in the Southern Emisphere - CHILE...>

Aurora Tourism. Economic Impact in the NWW. (Canada)...>

Kruger National Park. The southern hemisphere skies as a tourist attraction at Olifants Rest Camp...>

Astronomy in Torun. From Nicolaus Copernicus to Alexander Wolszczan, both of whom were born in Torun...>

Rural House and Astronomical Tourism at Borobia (Spain). A new dimension of rural touris. More information...>

Elqui Domos

Astronomic Hotel. Valle de Elqui, Chile
More information...>

Other examples and references
Astronomy Cruise...>

COAA Centro de Observação Astronómica no Algarve...>

Astronomy Vacations...>

Space Tourism...>

Dome C. Windows to the Star...>

The Northern Lights Cruise Trip...>

Northern Lights holidays...>

Hamza Astronomical Eco-tourism Camp...>

Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary....>

Space Travel Law Association...>

Examples of visitable Observatories - The tourism of the stars

Mauna Kea Observatory - Hawaii (USA)...>

Visits to the Paranal Site of the ESO La Silla Paranal Observatory (Chile)...>

The South African Astronomical Observatory - Virtual Tour (SAAO)...>

The Kitt Peak National Observatory Visitor Center (NOAO-AURA)...>

The Frank N. Bash Visitors Center - McDonald Observatory, Texas (USA)...>

The Jodrell Bank Visitor (Lovell Radio Telescope -Jodrell Bank Observatory)...>

Lowell Observatory - tour and a multimedia (USA)...>  

VLA Tour (Very Large Array) - USA...>

National Radio Astronomy Observatory Tours (USA)...>

Arecibo Observatory (Puerto Rico)...>

Siding Spring Observatory (Australia)...>

Royal Observatory Edinburgh Visitor Centre...>

Starlight Initiative - Contact >