These days, couples are increasingly interested in one-of-a-kind adventures that take them off the beaten track. “Travelers want to blaze their own trail, post about it on social media, and, of course, create lasting memories.
Astrotourism satisfies these desires,” explains John Spence, president of Scott Dunn. Besides, what could be more romantic than observing otherworldly skyscapes alongside your soulmate? It certainly doesn’t hurt that the best places for spying the aurora borealis, meteor showers, and rare supermoons are remote regions.
Astrotourism continues to skyrocket in popularity. At Scott Dunn, bookings for celestial experiences are up 120% as compared to last year. With growing demand comes a slew of stellar opportunities to marvel at the awesomeness of the universe.
In a busy city, it’s near impossible to fully appreciate the magic above. You really need a pristine nocturnal environment. Hence why the emergence of Starlight Tourism Destinations and International Dark Sky Parks are such a big deal. These designations are bestowed upon protected lands where light pollution isn’t an issue (AKA fantastic place for viewing the cosmos). Case in point: Alqueva Dark Sky Reserve. When the sun goes down, couples can pop a bottle of espumante under a canopy of astral stunners at São Lourenço do Barrocal or venture to the Observatório da Cumeada for expert-led discovery sessions.
ALTO ATACAMA DESERT LODGE & SPA
Astrotourism is also a major reason for the influx of travelers trekking to the Atacama Desert. It boasts the clearest skies in the Southern Hemisphere, which makes for some pretty incredible stargazing. We recommend shacking up at the Alto Atacama Desert Lodge & Spa for prime viewing (and top-notch pisco sours). Bonus: this bone-dry expanse is home to the famous ALMA Observatory.
Sure, basically everyone on the planet says they want to see the northern lights, but tons of people are legit making it happen. As a result, countries like Finland, Iceland, and Norway are experiencing a tourism boom. You’ll find all sorts of tours and excursions specifically designed for aurora chasers. Lest we forget the out-of-this-world lodgings. Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort lets guests snooze in glass igloos, while Hotel Ranga built an on-site observatory.
Speaking of cosmos-centric stays, Soneva Fushi—the first resort to launch 3D astronomy—gives guests the chance to peep phosphorescent planets and celestial bodies through a state-of-the-art Meade telescope. The property also offers a handful of activities for star-crossed lovers, including astronomical dinner cruises.
If sleeping under the Milky Way is on your bucket list, we’ve got some fabulous news. You can walk (and slumber) on the wild side in a honeymoon-worthy treehouse at Lion Sands in South Africa. For folks who can’t give up contemporary comforts the transparent dome-style digs at Attrap’Rêves in Allauch, France are perfect. Expect 360-degree views and telescopes for looking up at the heavens.
The cosmic fun continues at sea. Last year, Viking Cruises added the Viking Orion (named after the constellation and NASA spacecraft) to its fleet. The new ship not only features a high-tech planetarium, but also a resident astronomer who leads lectures and guided night-sky tours.