The small Canarian island of La Palma will, for the second consecutive year, host Astro Fest La Palma, and shine a light on the island’s world renowned astronomy. The Astro Fest La Palma festivities run from 5 April to 30 May, and include a variety of diverse and authentic activities which centre on the island’s starry skies.
Known as ‘la isla bonita’ (the pretty island), La Palma is internationally recognised by UNESCO as an official Starlight Reserve for the countless stars which can be observed and the island’s commitment to its environmental preservation. La Palma’s longstanding international recognition has also been bolstered by their internationally acclaimed observatory, El Roque de Los Muchachos, which sits at an altitude of 2,420m. Often referred to as the ‘Balcony to the Stars’, it is one of the three best observatories on earth, and home to the largest optical telescope in the world.
When is Astro Fest La Palma?
Astro Fest La Palma, kicks off on April 5 with the Carrera de las Estrellas (Star Race), in the area of Reventón, and is the first ever competition to be certified as a Starlight Sports Event. A 2.4km uphill race to the islands stars, the race begins at night in Hermitage Pino of the Virgen and culminates in the forest track of La Hilera, illuminated along the way by the starry skies. Another sporting event during the festival takes place on 12th May, and is a reinvention of the world renowned Transvulcania trail runs, fittingly titled Transvulcania “Space Runners” 2018, as the race climbs to the Roque de Los Muchachos Observatory; the highest point on the island. The race is one of toughest trail running races in the world, with a distance of 74.33 kilometres through volcanic terrain.
From the 15th to the 21st May, the Vi Astromaster La Palma takes places, giving the opportunity to join world-leading astrophotographer Babak Tafreshi, for a 7-day intensive workshop focusing on Advanced Timelapse imaging and processing and landscape astrophotography. The program will include guided tours to astrological viewing points across the island, including a visit to the European Northern Observatory.
Another popular event includes the 12th edition of the Little Festival of Stars, or the “Festivalito de Las Estrellas” which takes place from 19 to 27 May. Based in Los Llanos de Aridane until the 23rd and then finishing off in the capital, Santa Cruz de La Palma, the activities focus on creativity, consciousness and nature. During this week, visitors will be able to take part in film shootings, music concerts, poetry sessions and astrology workshops, all conducted under the starry night sky.
La Palma’s homage to astronomy provides activities during the day and night which are not only exciting, but also educational for all ages including conferences on “Preserving The Skies” on the 20 April and the Night Landscape Conference on 23 May, Astro-photography master classes, children’s drawing contests, outdoor cinema screenings, and local musical performances. The Astro Fest La Palma has become one of the highlights of the year on the island, mixing astronomy with sporting activities, education, investment, music, culture and much more.
For more information and updates on events please visit: www.astrofestlapalma.es/en/
Return flights to La Palma are available with EasyJet from London Gatwick from £74. Return flights to La Palma are available with TUI from Manchester Airport from £69.