Sometimes all you need to make a holiday perfect is a sky clear enough for a stupendous night of stargazing. However, finding a nice patch of sky without light pollution of cloud cover is harder than you might think. Sometimes to really see something incredible, you need to travel to the far corners of the world. Spend your holiday gazing up at the worlds beyond our own at these breathtakingly beautiful stargazing destinations.
1. The Atacama Desert, Chile
When it comes to stargazing, Deserts are usually a safe bet for incredible sites. There are no houses, which means very little light pollution, and there’s very little water in the air, which means very little cloud cover. All that’s left is a sky so clear you’ll think you’re in a sci-fi movie! The Atacama has the bonus point of being at a high altitude. Hundreds of visitors visit the Atacama daily just to see the stars!
2. Death Valley, California
Despite the proximity to the glowing city of Las Vegas, the night skies appear undeterred by the light pollution. You might as well be out there on your own! Can you imagine? You, the canyons, the salt flats, and the night sky. Is there anything more magical?
3. Namib, Namibia
The Namib remains as the first destination in the world to gain a gold-tier status by the International Dark Sky Association. And it isn’t hard to see why. Namibia has some of the darkest skies on record and great conditions for stargazing all year round.
4. Tenerife, Canary Islands
Just a boat trip away from mainland Morocco, Tenerife is famed for its incredibly clear skies. There are even laws in place to control flight paths of planes to avoid cluttering the night sky. Make sure you check out the Teide Observatory while you’re there for an even closer look at the stars.
5. Reykjavik, Iceland
I say Reykjavik, but really the conditions in Iceland are perfect for stargazing countrywide. The air is crisp and clean with very little cloud coverage so you can spot those stars at any point of the year! If you’re in Iceland around September through March, why not try your chance at viewing the aurora borealis (northern lights) for a truly spectacular sight!
6. Penang National Park, Malaysia
You probably weren’t aware that Malaysia had some of the best starry skies in the world. Unlike most of the other spots on this list, Penang national park doesn’t have an observatory or a gold tier ranking. Penang is best known for its wildlife and natural reserves. BUT the completely natural environment of the Penang national park make it an absolute stargazing wonderland!
7. Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand
Usually, you can only dream of skies like this! In recent years, the entirety of New Zealand’s South Island became recognised a dark sky reserve, making it the largest dark sky reserve in the world! And at the foot of Mount Cook, you can enjoy dark sky tours that’ll take you from the observatory and around the mountain.
8. Brecon Beacons National Park, South Wales
Not far from Cardiff, you can take your binoculars to see some truly stellar extra-terrestrial sites. Thanks to the hard work of local communities around the national park, the light pollution here has been reduced significantly in recent years, and the park provides many specifically designated stargazing spots. But remember to bring a coat with you! even in the summertime, the temperatures in Wales at night tend to plummet!