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Archive for January, 2018

Starlight watching

Spain by daylight is wonderful. But have you ever seen the impressing sky by night, in one of the main areas for star watching? This incomparable beauty by night is not visible everywhere in the country, just some special places are providing the perfect conditions to see this spectacle. The best spots for enjoying the star lights are marked with the certificates “Starlight reserve” and the “Starlight destination”.

starlight cover

Source: Vantastic tours

The certificates

Starlight reserve

The conditions to obtain the international certificate “Starlight reserve” refer to light/darkness, air clearness and nature. All assigned reserves has to be protected according to the law. The aim is to preserve the astronomical conditions, the landscape and nature, the quality of the night sky and the cultural heritage altogether.

Starlight destination

For the starlight destination the basic requirements are the same as for a starlight reserve. And additionally to that, this certificate requests adapted infrastructure for tourism which is either already available or has to be provided in the future.

Places

La Palma

In the year 2012, the first Starlight reserve La Palma, one of the Canary Islands, got designated. Within the last years more and more places got prepared for observations. Moreover, rural country house accommodations which are perfect to spend the night in to watch the millions of stars were build and therefore the place has also the title of a Starlight destination. As the island is perfect for hiking, there are even some routes with astronomic viewpoints.

starlight 2

Source: Starsisland La Palma

Andalusia

Jaén:Andalusia is one of the most important regions for star watching and it contains several Starlight reserves. One of the best designated places for starlight watching there is the Sierra Sur de Jaén, which lies in the East of Cordoba. The natural darkness is conserved perfectly which makes it an unspoiled place for enjoying the beauty of stars. The Starlight reserve also has some places with the designation of a Starlight destination inside. The region is supported by two associations which are specialized in astronomy and star observation. On the one hand the Hubble Astronomical Association of Martos which organizes regular public observations, courses and different kind of activities all around the same topic. And on the other the Einstein Society of Astronomy which arranges together with the Andalusian Observatory of Astronomy visits and guided observations for interested groups and teaching centres.  Sierra Morena:The second significant Starlight reserve and also the largest worldwide is called Sierra Morena and lies at the Northern border of Andalusia. It extends of over 400km along the country. The region worked for one year to make the area ready to become a Starlight reserve and a Starlight destination and to establish a high quality of the night sky. Some of the best viewing points are: Aldea de Los Guindos, Minas del Centenillo, Llanos de Espiel, Cerro del Hierro and Ermita de San Bartolomé.

starlight 3

Source: Mis Cosas

Cumbres de Tenerife: In 2013 several places in Tenerife got assigned as Starlight reserve and destination like the mountain El Teide, or Ganadilla de Abona. One unique activity you can do on the island is hiking up to El Teide and watch the stars on the volcano from an altitude of 2000m through a 25cm telescope with has the option of automatic search.

starlight 4

Source: Volcano Teide

Take a look at those stunning pictures. They are not even close to the wonderful view you will have if you visit any of those places in real life. To enjoy the full experience do not hesitate to contact us to receive the full information and have the best deals for destinations, accommodations and activities.

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Camino de Santiago, internationally known as The Way of St. James, is one of the most important pilgrimage places worldwide. The big interest in the route of St. James Way, to Santiago de Compostela, started with the discovery of the remains of the apostle Saint James the Greater. The final destination is located in the northwest of Spain, in the region of Galicia.

01 cover santiago

Source: TripSavvy

Santiago de Compostela

The capital of Galicia lies in the northwest of the region. Santiago de Compostela is one of the most important and most famous pilgrimage places in Europe, receiving nowadays more than 300.000 international pilgrims every year.

One of the most popular rituals of the pilgrims is getting inside the crypt to see the coffin or to pray to St. James. Due to the high number of people visiting the sight, there is a problem of capacity and sometimes you have to wait for hours to access the interior.

02 santiago

Source: pbase

History

The reason why Santiago de Compostela is such an important pilgrimage site dates back to the 9th century. In 814, when the tomb with the remains of the apostle James the Great was discovered for the first time. A chapel was constructed and years later the huge Catedral Santiago de Compostela should mark the place of discovery. This was the beginning of a big boom of pilgrimage to this place.

Nowadays many non-Christian tourists discovered the routes of Camino de Santiago. There is currently a trend of people following these routes just for enjoyment, sightseeing in combination with nature, sports, or seeking for a new challenge or as a way of self-discovery.

The routes of Camino de Santiago

Various places in Spain, as well as in Europe are known as starting points for the St. James Way. Even though no official way exist, there are some main routes, followed by pilgrims. All ways heading the same final destination – Santiago de Compostela. Below find the most popular ways starting in Spain and Portugal:

The French Way (Camino Francés)

The most popular way, one with some of the deepest historical roots starts in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port on the French side of the Pyrenees and stretches over 780km until Santiago de Compostela. Over 60% of all pilgrims choose this route, which includes the major cities Pamplona, Logroño, Burgos and León.

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Source: Schatz & Schatz

The Northern Route (Camino del Norte)

Stretching alone the northern coast of Spain, this route begins in the Basque country in Irún. It is a rather less popular route compared to others. Several parts of the way require hiking, which makes it more difficult for some people. It follows the old Roman way and passes by some important cities like San Sebastian, Gernika, Bilbao, and Oviedo.

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Source: Camino Ways

The Portuguese Way (Camino Portugués)

It is the second most popular path after the French Way. This route has 3 possible starting points. The farthest one is Lisbon, followed by Porto and then by Tui, a city next to the Spanish – Portuguese border at the north.

Proof of walking

The very first pilgrims who walked the whole route proofed their accomplishment by taking scallop shell as sign with them. Nowadays, pilgrims can buy a special passport and afterwards a certificate, proofing you went by foot or by bike. The passport is used to show evidence of either walking at least 100 km or of the way or going by bike for at least 200 km. To proof the walk/ride with your passport, you have to get a stamp from churches, town halls or other official establishments on your way to Santiago. Arrived at the final destination, people can get their certificate at the Pilgrims Office. The Compostela certificate is an original religious certificate written in Latin.

05 santiago

Source: Keen on Asuncion

For whatever reason you want to accomplish the walking of the route, we put together the best packages for the New Year for you. Just contact us and ask for more information. We are happy to serve you with all kind of questions you might have about our Camino de Santiago packages.

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