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Alqueva “Starlight Tourism Destination"

Algarve, Portugal
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for Vilamoura, Algarve, Portugal
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Alqueva “Starlight Tourism Destination"

Alqueva (Alentejo) is the first site in the world to receive the “Starlight Tourism Destination” certification. This certification, awarded by the Starlight Foundation is supported by UNESCO, UNWTO and IAC.

Starlight destinations are visitable places characterized by excellent quality for the contemplation of starry skies, and the practice of tourist activities based on this resource.

The region of the Great Lake Alqueva in Alentejo, Portugal is a wonderful place to see the stars, constellations and distant galaxies such as the Milky Way. The unique characteristics of the night sky with a very low rate of light pollution, in the municipalities of Alandroal, Reguengos, Monsaraz, Mourão, Barrancos, Portel and Moura ensure the ideal conditions for an excellent observation of the dark sky.

In Alqueva the sky has good atmospheric conditions for stargazing most of the year. Such skies are disappearing in Europe, where most of the population has no longer the privilege to observe an unpolluted sky.

http://www.darkskyalqueva.com/eng/

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1. Re: Alqueva “Starlight Tourism Destination"

The phrase "unpolluted sky" means no street lights, advertising or anything else. And yes the skies out there are fabulous, the stars seem bigger and the constellations fill the sky in a way there don't do back home. We are working our way up the eastern Alentejo and will be in moura this September but two years ago in Sao Domingueas there was no moon, the starlight was sufficient to walk back to our Agro tourismo just outside of town.

Algarve, Portugal
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2. Re: Alqueva “Starlight Tourism Destination"

Unpolluted sky: there's no industry around. And adding to that no artificial light makes it quite special. Glad you enjoyed!

Kitchener, Canada
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3. Re: Alqueva “Starlight Tourism Destination"

This is definitely something we will be building into our 12-day trip of the country! I have longed for a dark sky night of nothing but stars for years (haven't had a decent dark sky experience since I was a kid, so much light pollution here in Ontario).

Are the towns/municipalities that you mention all very good for stargazing, or is there one or two locales that are better? We will have a rental car and would truly like to get off the beaten trail. Any recommends on places to stay for a couple of days (and daytime sites and experiences to take in, also)?

The dark sky is actually something I am most anticipating about the trip!

Algarve, Portugal
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for Vilamoura, Algarve, Portugal
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4. Re: Alqueva “Starlight Tourism Destination"

All towns/municipalities mentioned on the website http://www.darkskyalqueva.com/eng/ are good. If you like, have a look at:

tripadvisor.com/…REVIEWS

From there you could explore the area and visit quite a couple of towns. Evora is only 45 min. away. You probably would be interested to visit the megalites formation Cromelegue dos Almendres, just outside Evora. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pN3C5ig3Psg

Have you already seen the following website:

http://www.visitalentejo.pt/en/

Lisbon, Portugal
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for Azores, Lisbon, Portugal
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5. Re: Alqueva “Starlight Tourism Destination"

In Monsaraz area you have some accommodations that even have telescopes for a an "amateur" view of the skies. But if you really want to be out of the beaten trail look at Noudar and stay there for a night at least. The website is being "renewed" http://www.parquenoudar.com/

https://www.visitportugal.com/en/node/195145

Portugal
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6. Re: Alqueva “Starlight Tourism Destination"

"...wonderful place to see the stars, constellations and distant galaxies such as the Milky Way."

Only for those who can not quite understand that sentence:

...Other galaxies beyond the stars that are part of the galaxy to which the Earth also belongs as a planet, that is, the "Milky Way".

Algarve, Portugal
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for Vilamoura, Algarve, Portugal
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7. Re: Alqueva “Starlight Tourism Destination"

Monte Santa Catarina's owners share their telescope.

Kitchener, Canada
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8. Re: Alqueva “Starlight Tourism Destination"

fthw and 64novpt, thank you for the links shared! I will peruse.

I'm actually thinking of tacking on two more days to our trip to give us a full 14 days in the country (which I'll dedicate to the Alentejo region!). The more I read, the more I want to extend my time exploring!

Algarve, Portugal
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9. Re: Alqueva “Starlight Tourism Destination"

Very nice. Hope you'll share a trip report with us.

Kitchener, Canada
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10. Re: Alqueva “Starlight Tourism Destination"

I will definitely do a writeup to share, yes!