Jump to content

Stargazers Lounge Uses Cookies

Like most websites, SGL uses cookies in order to deliver a secure, personalised service, to provide social media functions and to analyse our traffic. Continued use of SGL indicates your acceptance of our cookie policy.

sgl_imaging_challenge_banner_dslr_mirrorlesss_winners.thumb.jpg.9deb4a8db27e7485a7bb99d98667c94e.jpg

stuy

Spanish observing locations for good seeing

Recommended Posts

Hi all

im currently looking for a site in Spain ( villa) to coincide with the opposition of Jupiter next year I’ll be driving down with mrs and a van load of kit (12” Mak Cass 😀)  the  ocean front better laminar air flow of ocean ? Or high Sierra mountains ? Has anyone had any experience of either ? Thanks Stuart 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is difficult to answer and so I'm going to just throw out some ideas, many of which will contradict each other....

Personally, I don't enjoy the east and south beach-coast in July or August. Why? Generally speaking, they're packed with 'giris' or 'canis' of all ages, overpriced, tacky, worsening quality of food and service simply due to exaggerated demand, not the prettiest or most cultural parts of Spain, killer light pollution and at a lower altitude, so in effect you're pushing through more atmosphere.

Nevertheless....you mention planetary observation and none of what I mention (except overly enthususatic giris and canis) will overtly affect your viewing of Jupiter. Indeed, some of the best planetary conditions occur on those still and muggy Spanish summer evenings when the air is heavy with humidity and the sky looks like a milky haze. Perfect, then? Sipping on your G&T or mojito, just after sunset on the Med, some cool mellow vibes oozing from a soundsystem, waiting for a gorgeous Jupiter and Saturn to appear in the eyepiece.

The other extremely important point to recall is that Spain in July is hot, very hot. This summer we were easily reaching temperatures of over 45ºc on many, many, many days and this is not the temperature that your body feels or that which seeps from the asphalt and pavements. If you're down at street level, you can add an extra 10ºc or so to the 45ºc just for fun. Nights are equally as difficult, humidity shoots to over 85% and temperatures rarely drop below 28ºc or so, making sleeping especially difficult. The degree or two cooler at the beach might be a favour.

However, my inner-voice kicks in again and asks, if you've travelled all the way to Spain, why on earth would you want to sit on sand for a week or two and eat dodgy fried food and sip on over priced drinks? Especially if you've come to Spain to do a bit of astronomy. Moving inland away from the coasts and you start entering a more 'authentic' Spain with significantly better skies. There are so many places to go and a simple glance at a light pollution map will give indication of where to go for decent dark skies:

light-pollution-map-contaminacion-luminica-650x422.jpg.9985d5c820726aacee2b92bcbad47abb.jpg

Some of the best areas I've visited in terms of astronomy are around the Teruel area, south of Albacete, south of Toledo and north east of Zaragoza. Other areas in no particular order have included:

  • Monfrague National Park - set up in one of the car parks for exceptional nights skies.
  • Soria - pretty much anywhere around the area, you'll find a nice site to observe.
  • Sierra de Gredos
  • Area of Alta Tajo, Orea (Guadalajara)
  • South of Ciudad Real (moving towards Andalucia)
  • El Piornal near Caceres
  • The Aragon Pyrenees
  • Cabañeros National Park
  • Around Las Majadas near Cuenca (look for los callejones for easy parking)
  • Around Nerpio
  • Around Molina de Aragón (exceptionally cool in the summer)
  • Vinuesa (nice camping areas and great skies)
  • North of Palencia (Villanueva etc)
  • Area around the Lago de Sanabria
  • Area around La Sierra Morena
  • Area around Tamajón
  • Area around Valverde de los Arroyos
  • North/South of Áger (a fan of the place)

Word of warning: Before planning a serious trip to some dark site, I like to think of Spain as the second most moutainous area in Europe. I've found that in the mountain villages, although the altitude removes the atmosphere air over you, there is the problem of air currents speeding through the narrow and steep valleys. Mountain ridges also generate turbulence. When having a good night of observation, I prefer the Spanish flatlands, the steppes since they have an average of between 600 and 1,000 metres above sea level together with a dry continental environment.

Hope this post helps a little and let me know if you need any help or further information :thumbright:

 

Edited by Rob Sellent
  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks rob 👍brilliant we are looking at a few villas in and around Cádiz ( el Gastor ) up in the mountains , I want to get as much in the south direction to get Jupiter and Saturn as high as I can  stu 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Stu,

I've visited the Cadiz area on a number of occassions - camping, Spanish Hostels (not to be confused with UK ones), and even posh hotels 😀 However, the last visit was possibly just under a decade ago, so any information I give might be a little out of date.

Along with the coast around Almeria, the Cadiz area has some of the finest 'wild', non-built up beaches in southern Spain. The main differences are that the Cadiz beaches are rockier and windier. As such, although amazing places to visit and chill out, I'd be wary of carrying my optics down to the coast. 

If you're into your coasts, your seas and beaches, and havens of peace and quiet, you have to pop along to some of these:

Call me a snob, but not a skyscaper or drunken lout in sight :smiley:

If you fancy a number of white washed abodes and some tasty food, El Puerto de Santa María and Sanlúcar de Barrameda are both worth a visit. They'll be packed in July with Spanish families but such is the nature of things. Other places to visit in a day would be, Arcos de la Frontera, Jerez de la Frontera, Vejer de la Frontera, Medina Sidonia, La Suara National Park, and Doñana National Park.

I really can't comment on whether it'll be best to rent a villa in the mountains or down nearer the coast. Rather than focus on astronomy, I'd keep an eye on what activities you were wanting to do during the day and early evening. The coast will have a lot more going on but will be pricier. The mountain areas will be more relaxed, perhaps cheaper and more secluded but you may feel a little cut off.

I'd also like to comment on timetables. Often tourists will come over and yet continue with their home timetable but I feel this is an error - as if I could come to the UK and continue with my Spanish timetable! Typically, in the summer, you'll have your breakfast and enjoy the morning, then around 2pm, if you're eating out, you want to order 'el menú del día' not 'a la carta'. The menu should give you 3 plates, bread, and wine all included in a very reasonable price. After lunch only fools head out. It's just too hot. You want to stay indoors, or near the pool until around 7pm or 8pm and then enjoy the evening with light snacks/tapas. Again, in the evening there is no 'menú del día', so if you do order 'a la carta' expect to pay handsomely. 

If there's anything else I think of, I will continue to add here, but for now I have to go to lunch :)

Edited by Rob Sellent
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks again ! I’m lucky in that my wife will just chill out wherever we go, the mountains are calling rob around el gastor  it’s a stunning villa sleeps 8 air con , private pool 2 weeks for under£2 k a bargin 👍 

im going to test a few high telescopes a 12” f9 Maksutov Cassegrain from zen

A Intes Micro 10” f5.5  Mak newt 

it’s going to be a interesting couple of weeks thanks rob regards stu

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Rob Sellent said:

Stu,

I've visited the Cadiz area on a number of occassions - camping, Spanish Hostels (not to be confused with UK ones), and even posh hotels 😀 However, the last visit was possibly just under a decade ago, so any information I give might be a little out of date.

Along with the coast around Almeria, the Cadiz area has some of the finest 'wild', non-built up beaches in southern Spain. The main differences are that the Cadiz beaches are rockier and windier. As such, although amazing places to visit and chill out, I'd be wary of carrying my optics down to the coast. 

If you're into your coasts, your seas and beaches, and havens of peace and quiet, you have to pop along to some of these:

Call me a snob, but not a skyscaper or drunken lout in sight :smiley:

If you fancy a number of white washed abodes and some tasty food, El Puerto de Santa María and Sanlúcar de Barrameda are both worth a visit. They'll be packed in July with Spanish families but such is the nature of things. Other places to visit in a day would be, Arcos de la Frontera, Jerez de la Frontera, Vejer de la Frontera, Medina Sidonia, La Suara National Park, and Doñana National Park.

I really can't comment on whether it'll be best to rent a villa in the mountains or down nearer the coast. Rather than focus on astronomy, I'd keep an eye on what activities you were wanting to do during the day and early evening. The coast will have a lot more going on but will be pricier. The mountain areas will be more relaxed, perhaps cheaper and more secluded but you may feel a little cut off.

I'd also like to comment on timetables. Often tourists will come over and yet continue with their home timetable but I feel this is an error - as if I could come to the UK and continue with my Spanish timetable! Typically, in the summer, you'll have your breakfast and enjoy the morning, then around 2pm, if you're eating out, you want to order 'el menú del día' not 'a la carta'. The menu should give you 3 plates, bread, and wine all included in a very reasonable price. After lunch only fools head out. It's just too hot. You want to stay indoors, or near the pool until around 7pm or 8pm and then enjoy the evening with light snacks/tapas. Again, in the evening there is no 'menú del día', so if you do order 'a la carta' expect to pay handsomely. 

If there's anything else I think of, I will continue to add here, but for now I have to go to lunch :)

Hi rob I’ve booked this villa high up in the sierras el gastor 👍

0DA030BB-0F97-4A5E-9AE5-0723A2E90F36.png

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Olé :headbang:

That looks the absolute business, Stu :biggrin: You must be super chuffed finding that gorgeous looking place, quintessentially Andalucian :hello2:

El Gastor is part of the White Village route and is known as, The Balcony, which is just another way of saying you're going to get some spectacular views and the entire area will create a lovely backdrop while you're sipping on your chilled white wine and zooming in on Jupiter. Not only that but you're in fine reach of some amazing towns like La Ronda etc.

The outstanding guitarist and one of the fathers of modern Flamenco, el Gastor is from the village :smiley:.

I imagine you'll be driving down from the north, so any further tips or help I can offer, just let me know :thumbright:

Edited by Rob Sellent
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks rob 👍yes driving down as il have a van load of telescopes and no doubt other stuff thinking Santander or Bilbao ? Over night ferry ? Stu

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.