Saturday, November 26, 2016

The Best Places In The World To Stargaze

Humans have a certain fascination with stars. They're millions of miles away and yet shine so brightly. Living in cities, it's almost impossible to really enjoy looking up at night sky and marveling at the stars. I had my first stargazing experience on a safari adventure in Kenya. The sky was unexpectedly clear and the stars littered the sky. I laid back and spent hours gazing at them. 

The list below offers some of the best stargazing experiences around the world. Share with a friend and plan your next trip around stargazing!

1. Kiruna, Sweden

Close to Kiruna is Jukkasjärvi. This village offers suitable accommodation with such winter activities as snowshoeing and ice sculpting. Best of all, you can have a picnic outside while stargazing and marveling at the Northern Lights. 

2. Mauna Kea, Hawaii

Paradise surrounds you in Hawaii. From the warm weather to pristine beaches, there is a lot to love about Hawaii. The Mauna Kea, which is a dormant volcano, is an added bonus. On its peak, there are thirteen telescopes built by eleven different countries. There are even free stargazing programs that allow you to gaze at the wonders in the sky.  

3. Northumberland Dark Sky Park, United Kingdom

Boasting the darkest skies in England, you can see the Milky Way and even the Andromeda Galaxy with the naked eye at this park. Going to the park offers a great opportunity to visit the countryside and smaller towns in the United Kingdom.

4. Mont-Mégantic National Park, Quebec, Canada

This park has one of the most important astronomical observatories in Canada. The observatory has a lot of activities that allow you to observe and learn about the stars. If you happen to visit this park to stargaze, stay in Quebec for a few days. As one of the first provinces in Canada, it has a rich history and well-preserved architecture. 

5. Kerry International Dark Sky Reserve, Ireland

The reserve is on the southwest coast of Ireland, which is about a five hour drive from Dublin. The reserve is surrounded by the Kerry mountains and hills on one side and the Atlantic ocean on the other. Its dark, unpolluted skies, remote wilderness, pristine beaches, rivers, and lakes provide a quiet getaway for stargazers.  

6. Chaco Culture National Historical Park, New Mexico, United States

This park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that has a high number of pueblos (old communities of Native Americans). You'll be able to explore around during the day and enjoy the stars at night. While in New Mexico, you can enjoy a lot of other outdoor activities too: there are a ton of great hiking adventures and other parks to visit in the area. 

7. Perth, Australia

From the Sydney Opera House to the Great Barrier Reef, there is a lot to see and do in Australia. This is great news considering a flight from North America to Australia takes 20+ hours. And now? You can add stargazing to the itinerary. You can find great night views by driving an hour and a half from Perth to the Australian countryside. 

8. Paranal Observatory, Chile

Parnal in Chile has the world’s finest optical telescope in the world’s driest desert. Touring the observatory is free, however, you can't go at night. But book the later tour and you'll be able to enjoy quite a view on the drive back, which will take a few hours.

9. Hortobágy National Park, Hungary

This is one of the biggest unpopulated areas in Hungary. The park's dark, unpolluted sky offers some of best stargazing in all of Europe. You can also observe a great number of migrating birds in this park. Stay a while longer in Hungary and you'll enjoy its great architectural landmarks and natural surroundings. 

10. Pic Du Midi International Dark Sky Reserve, France

Located in the mountainous region in the south of France, this reserve gets about 1.5 million visitors a year. It's a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a French national park. The reserve is located in La Mongie, so you can treat yourself to a ski trip after enjoying the stars.

11. Poloniny Dark Sky Park, Slovakia

This park is on the northeast corner of Slovakia, and it borders Poland and Ukraine. Another UNESCO World Heritage Site, this park has a very minimal human influence on the environment. This allows for a true nature and stargazing experience.

12. Denali National Park, Alaska

From snow-clad peaks to tall evergreen trees, this park offers quite a natural sight! During August, when the sky is especially dark, you can see the Northern Lights and stars. Temperatures do drop significantly though, so this excursion is a tough one, but the sights will be worth it!

13. La Palma, Canary Islands, Spain 

This beautiful island is known for its incredible landscapes, majestic volcanoes, lush forests, clean beaches, and star-filled skies. The island offers a relaxing stay with all the needed amenities. So how do you get there? You can easily take a ferry to the islands from mainland Spain. 

14. La Fortuna, Costa Rica

In the small village of La Fortuna, Costa Rica is one the best spots to stargaze. It's also close to Arenal volcano, which is one of the largest and most active volcanoes on the planet. Two things checked off on that bucket-list! This city also offers a lot of adventure activities and is only three hours away from San José.

15. Musala, Bulgaria

The highest peak in Bulgaria offers a great stargazing experience. Reaching the peak is challenging and scenic. You can take a gondola lift half the way up and then hike the rest of the way up to the peak. There are clear signs to guide you and you can spend a night close to the peak in a mountain hut. They're not the most comfortable accommodations, but at least you'll get a surreal stargazing experience. 

16.  NamibRand Nature Reserve, Namibia

The cloud free and dry air (it doesn't absorb much light) in this environment is great to observe stars. Visiting Namibia, you'll be treated to wildlife and adventure during the day and all the stars you can see at night. 


Author: verified_user