“Sometimes while gazing at the night’s sky, I imagine stars looking down making wishes on the brightest of us.” – Richelle E. Goodrich
Stargazing has always seemed like such a romantic pastime to me. The thought of sitting in an open field deep into the night, with a blanket wrapped around my husband and I, sipping wine and pointing out shooting stars is worthy of Austin-esque narratives.
Mallorca is that rare bird that allows for this kind of setting to actually be played out in real time in today’s light pollution-filled world. So much of the island is still rural, and many of the beaches free of spotlights at night. In fact, UNESCO has designated the island as a reserve that protects the natural darkness of our skies. Who knew?
Some say the best time for stargazing here is July and August when the Perseid meteor shower is in full tilt and you can see upward of 100 meteorites fall every hour. But in truth, in the cooler seasons the skies can prove just as beautiful if not as dramatic (and as it gets dark earlier kids can enjoy the night show, too.)
Affordable Mallorca is going to take you to some of the best spots on the island to get your romance on, or just let you pass a super nice evening beneath the stars with friends!
Great Outdoors #
If you like the thought of passing an evening under the stars, there are many options on the island for you.
Wait for a dark sky period (around the full moon period nowhere is good for star gazing), gather your kids or a group of friends and a picnic, or even go it alone, and visit one of the hundreds of spots on the island where you can bring your telescope and contemplate the stars, planets and other heavenly bodies floating above us.
Choose your location as far away as possible from the light pollution of Palma and the southwest, as well as places in direct vicinity to larger dwellings, and make sure no local football field or tennis ground or waste disposal facility will spoil your experience with the glare of its floodlights. Also, make sure you don’t land yourself on private property and fall afoul of a local farmer who isn’t keen on uninvited guests or who has a prize bull he’d be happy to set loose on you! Likewise, don’t find yourself at the top of a mountain without a guide and anything other than a Magellan-like sense of direction.
Beaches are “open” at night on Mallorca, and so long as the rules are obeyed, you can pass a whole night there. Just remember, no fires, unless it is in a designated BBQ pit, and no tents.
Some Affordable Mallorca suggestions where to go are Coll de sa Gramola, where Andratx’s astronomy group go and providing good parking and little to no light pollution. Costitx, in the island’s centre, is also a great option as its elevated and surrounded by mountains that can be scaled for better viewing. The village’s relative isolation is ideal for viewing on clear nights.
Less Rustic Viewing Options #
Sitting outside for hours on end may not be your cuppa, but don’t despair! There are other ways to enjoy the night sky that don’t leave you feeling like you’re going on a forced march into the wilderness.
The Mallorca Planetarium is one such civilised way of going. Located not far from Sineu, in the dead centre of the island near the rural village of Costitx, it opened in 1991 and is part of the Observatorio Astronómico de Mallorca (Mallorca Observatory). Friday and Saturday evenings at 19h in winter and 20h in summer, the Planetarium projects a fascinating multilingual video called “Evolution” onto the domed ceiling. The presentation is a lesson on stars, asteroids, meteors, the moon and our solar system in general and is well worth the trip. If you are interested in more, there are also guided tours of the observatory that delve deeper into the research they conduct. The Planetarium occasionally has special events as well, which include being able to scan the sky using their high-resolution telescope. Tickets are €12 for adults and €8 for kids under 12.
Address: Cami de Son Bernat 9, 07144 Costitx +34 695 073 312
If you like more flexibility, roof terraces and country or mountain homes are another option. You may be lucky enough to live in the country and/or the mountains and have a roof terrace or big garden already. In that case, you can pass endless evenings with this gentle diversion, but many of us don’t even have friends with this kind of set up, so consider making it a weekend and book into a country hotel or an agroturismo that offers large grounds and typically quiet surroundings.
They are scattered all over the island in nearly every region, but for the best shot at clear skies and little light, avoid Palma and the southwest.
A Few Parting Thoughts #
Any time you plan to be out of doors for an extended period at night, it is wise to consider attire. Pack for inevitabilities, such as rain, or even a damp chill setting in.
Summer is not exempt from extreme conditions, so pack a lightweight jacket and wear long pants to protect yourself from a thoroughly miserable experience in that one-in-a-million chance the weather turns. These things are also good barriers against bugs. Talking of which – for those with a sensitive skin it's wise to wear a repellent during mosquito season.
Good shoes are also recommended. You will most likely have to work a little to get to a good viewing spot, meaning at least a short walk through a field or a dirt path to a beach. Sensible footwear may not be sexy, but it certainly is better than being caught out in flip flops on a rocky outcropping.
Otherwise, the only thoughts on your mind should be the gentle sound of lapping seas, the chirping of crickets in an open field and the celestials views you are bound to encounter. And should you see a shooting star, don't forget to make that wish! According to Greek mythology, chances are it might come true! Ptolemy, the astronomer, was convinced the Gods would sometimes, out of boredom, open a gap between the spheres to peer down at the earth, and stars would tumble down through it. So, whatever it is you are asking for when you see one sailing past, chances are the Gods will pay attention.
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By Stephanie Horsman
1 October, 2019