Dark Sky® has been awarded two more international trophies

This week the 2021 International Travels Awards were released and Dark Sky® has just won two more international awards. Dark Sky® Alqueva received the Europe’s Best Tourism Destination 2021 trophy, while its Official Dark Sky® Alqueva Observatory, located in Aldeia da Cumeada, in Reguengos de Monsaraz, received the Europe’s Best Tourism Attraction 2021 trophy. These are recognitions that contribute to strengthening Dark Sky® Alqueva, its territory in the Alentejo, its Official Network of Partners and the Dark Sky® Portugal Network. The year 2020 showed the importance of rural and nature destinations, whose foundations are based on sustainability, differentiation and innovation but during 2021 this trend was reinforced.

It is, without a doubt, a great honor to be awarded these two distinctions, which give us the strength to continue investing in a project that was born in 2007 and that had to overcome many obstacles. The year 2020 was undoubtedly a milestone in the recognition of medium and long-term work, often invisible, but unquestionably fundamental for the implementation of Dark Sky® Alqueva and 2021 maintains the same level of recognition and this is very important for the consolidation of the destiny brand.

At a time when the most sustainable destinations are gaining ground, it is essential to invest in positioning Portugal as a leading international destination in Astrotourism, as it currently involves about 13,000 km2 certified as Starlight Tourism Destination representing roughly 14% of the continental territory.

The Dark Sky® Portugal Network thus comprises of Dark Sky® Alqueva, the world’s first Starlight Tourism Destination and the first cross-border as it spreads into Spain, Dark Sky® Aldeias do Xisto (Schist/Shale Villages) and Dark Sky® Vale do Tua.


More about Dark Sky® Alqueva:

Dark Sky® Alqueva is the first Portuguese astrotourism destination whose creation dates back to 2007. Based on the knowledge acquired that allowed believing and investing in astrotourism as an important future trend in tourist demand, in 2007 progress was made towards the development of a sustainable destination where the night sky resource was the mainstay of the framework. Combined with sustainable tourism development, our mission also lies in protecting the night sky and, with that, working with the objective of reaching values close to zero light pollution.

In 2011, Dark Sky® Alqueva became the world’s first Starlight Tourism Destination and in 2018 the first cross-border as it extends into Spain. It includes 10 Portuguese municipalities, Alandroal, Barrancos, Évora, Mértola, Moura, Mourão, Portel, Redondo, Reguengos de Monsaraz and Serpa, and 13 Spanish municipalities, spread over 9,700.00 km2 around Lake Alqueva.

The Dark Sky® Route offers several astronomical observation activities with the unaided eye or with telescopes, which can be carried out at the Official Dark Sky® Alqueva Observatory, in Cumeada, or in any area of the certified territory always guided by a Dark Sky® Guide. In addition to these activities, other complementary activities have been developed that can be carried out at night but also during the day, such as walking tours that combine heritage and nature, canoeing, Solar System Yoga, horseback riding, photographic tours and workshops, wine tours and wine tasting (normal and blind), team building, orientation, bird watching, wildlife watching, among others on request. Among the activities that can be carried out at night, we highlight the private or group astrophotography workshops, led by the international astrophotographer Miguel Claro. 

From daytime experiences, we highlight boat trips through the Alqueva Lake, Sunset Dark Sky® with sun observation through a solar telescope accompanied by a Gin Sharish aperitif or non-alcoholic cocktail, and ballooning at sunrise or sunset. These are some of the most sought after activities but our team and partners are always available for new creations and tailor made programs. To learn more about our activities and the Official Partners Network, visit our website www.darkskyalqueva.com. It is only there will you find the official Dark Sky® Alqueva partners.

Since the end of last year, Dark Sky® Alqueva has been introducing improvements, diversifying the offer of activities and increasing the network of local partners, which will soon be visible on the website.


Dark Sky® Portugal:

The Dark Sky® concept has also grown at a national level as a result of regional partnerships, thus originating the birth of Dark Sky® Aldeias do Xisto (Schist/ Shale Villages) in partnership with ADXTUR and which integrates 14 municipalities in the universe of Aldeias do Xisto, and Dark Sky® Vale do Tua in partnership with ADRVT which integrates 5 municipalities around the Vale do Tua Regional Natural Park. These two destinations and the Dark Sky® Alqueva thus form the Dark Sky® PORTUGAL Network.


More about the International International Awards:

International Travel Award is crafted to honor the excellent performers in the tourism and travel industry around the world. The participants are from Tourism boards, travel companies, hotels, villas, apartments, attractions, theme parks and tourism individuals. https://internationaltravelawards.org/