When you think of the Canary Islands, your probably think first of the gorgeous beaches. Or maybe the water sports. Or perhaps the clubs. Or the volcanoes and nature reserves. But the Canary Islands have got something extra special that few places can match: some of the clearest, least light-polluted skies in Europe. Perfect for star-gazing! You’ll find fabulous star-gazing spots across the Canaries, or you could even book a fascinating guided visit of one of the three international astronomy observatories on La Palma and Tenerife. We’ve put together an essential list of all the best places to go star-gazing in the Canary Islands. So all you have to do is grab some warm clothes, (temperatures plunge on the mountain tops) and your binoculars!
Teide National Park
The Teide National Park, which has Spain’s highest peak, is centred on the vast volcanic crater of Mount Teide (3719 metres) and has been designated a Starlight Reserve. The star-gazing is excellent everywhere in the park, but there are two main viewing areas, which both sit at an altitude of about 2,700 metres. Las Cañadas del Teide is home to the Canarian Institute of Astrophysics, and has several dedicated viewing spots – or you could just find your own. (What could be more romantic than watching the magical Perseides meteor show in August?) Perhaps the best place of all is the top of Mount Guajara, Tenerife’s third-highest peak: hike up to the summit to see the dazzling constellations, then stay until dawn to watch the sunrise. You might also be interested in visiting the Teide Observatory in Izaña, which runs guided tours.
Buenavista del Norte
There are a couple of spectacular viewing spots in Buenavista del Norte in north west Tenerife. The Masca and El Palmar viewpoints are at an altitude of 1000 metres, and both offer night skies stunningly framed by canyons and mountains.
Cumbre Vieja Nature Reserve
The Cumbre Vieja nature reserve is located in the southern part of La Palma, probably the best of the Canary Islands for marvelling at the night skies, owing to its lack of light pollution. This area has been designated a Starlight Reserve, and offers exceptional views of the dazzling constellations and galaxies. The Llano del Jable viewpoint in the north of the park is excellent, while the San Antonio viewpoint, which overlooks a volcanic crater in the south, has been specifically designed to study the movements of the sun.
Mount San Bartolo
The mirador (viewpoint) of Mount San Bartolo is located near Puntallana in the east of La Palma. It’s one of the easiest of the star-gazing spots to reach, and there are lots of information panels, making it a great option if you’re bringing the kids. The views, framed on three sides by mountain peaks, are breathtaking.
Peñas del Chache
The Peñas del Chache viewpoint sits atop the highest peak (670 metres) in Lanzarote, and is located in the northern part of the island. It’s the island’s main star-gazing site, and offers spectacular views of the Milky Way (remember your binoculars!). As an added bonus, it can easily be reached by car.
Fuerteventura has very little light pollution, making it ideal for star-gazing. The Tefía observatory, in the centre of the island, is a marvellous place to enjoy the night skies, and even has its own small refuge where you can spend the night if you book in advance.
The Sisacumbre viewing point near Pájara in the south of the island, and is conveniently accessible by car, plus it has lots of information panels. Although it is only 300 metres above sea level, you can still soak up some heavenly views of the night skies.
Morro Velosa viewpoint
The Morro Velosa viewpoint (669 metres above sea level) is located near Betancuria in the west of Fuerteventura. It’s easily accessible by car, and the clear, unpolluted skies present some dazzling constellations to the viewers.
Roque Saucillo Observatory
The Roque Saucillo astronomic observatory is one of the longest-established in the Canary Islands, and is a fantastic place to learn about the stars. It’s just 15 miles from the island’s capital of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, but its viewpoint offers breathtaking views of the night skies.