You could buy flowers or chocolates, but we've got a better idea: this Valentine's Day give something that won't wilt and that isn't bad for you... a super romantic getaway to gaze at the stars from the most incredible places.
You don't to have read “The Little Prince” to know that the stars are full of meaning. This is probably why they are always used in romantic films, where someone tries to impress their date with (made up) stories about constellations. So if you want to plan a romantic five-star trip, whether you know much about astronomy or not, we suggest visiting some of the most beautiful skies in Europe and part of Africa.
PIC DU MIDI (France)
If you take the cable car up to Pic Du Midi (3,000 metres), you'll almost be able to touch the stars! This location is spectacular, and not only to gaze at the stars, but also to watch the sunset: you get two for one in romanticism! At the top you'll find the great Midi-Pyrénées Observatory and the highest museum in Europe. They hold interesting evenings called “Soirée Etoilée” (“Starry Evening”) where you can enjoy workshops by astronomers. If you book well in advance you might even be able to snap up one of the 18 rooms that the scientists used to use when they spent long periods up the mountain.
ALQUEVA LAKE (Portugal / Spain)
The Alqueva Lake area, situated on the border between Portugal and Spain, was awarded the “Starlight Tourist Destination” certification in April 2018. This certification, promoted by the Starlight Foundation and supported by UNESCO, awards places with ideal conditions for observing the stars, like a clear sky and low light pollution. And if you add Dark Sky Alqueva, which offers a moonlit canoe ride or blind wine tasting session, romanticism is guaranteed! You're welcome!
How to get there: Lisbon and Badajoz Airports.
LA PALMA (Canary Islands, Spain)
The Starlight Foundation has also given the skies of La Palma the “Starlight Reserve” and “Starlight Tourist Destination” awards. It comes as no surprise that this small island in the Canaries, also known as “The Beautiful Island”, has become an astrotourist destination. If you want to see a perfect starry sky, above the clouds, you should go to Roque de los Muchachos Observatory (2,400 metres), or sign up for one of the astronomy tours offered by the local agencies.
How to get there: La Palma Airport.
SAHARA DESERT (Merzouga, Morocco)
What could be more romantic that going to the desert in the night, riding on a camel, to discover a vast and clear sky, like the one you can see from the Erg Chebbi dunes (Sahara Desert, close to Merzouga)? As there are no large cities around, there is no light pollution and you'll feel like you can actually reach out and touch the stars! Just one tip: it's very cold at night in the desert, so we recommend wrapping up warm (or having lots of cuddles!), and if you are planning on spending the night there, the best thing is to book a tent at one of the Berber camps.
And if you have fallen in love with the idea of astronomy tourism, here is an interactive map of the best skies in the world, so you can start choosing new destinations. Love is in the sky!