The 5 Best Stargazing Spots In The World
Levels of light pollution seem to increase all the time. Bright lights in cities that never sleep, it’s becoming more and more difficult to escape and seek out real darkness. But this isn’t true the whole world over – there are still stunning locations where the night’s sky will take your breath away, without bright city lights getting in the way.
For fans of astronomy or simply taking in the great outdoors at night, discover our 5 best places to stargaze in the world, from secluded national parks to deserted volcanoes.
Where to go stargazing
We’ve chosen our 5 best stargazing spots across different parts of the world. There are a lot of differences between all these places, but they all have something in common: they’re all great places to go stargazing.
1. Atacama Desert, Chile
Looking for some good stargazing spots across South America? You have to consider the Atacama Desert. Located in Chile, to the west of the Andes, The Atacama is the driest desert in the world. The high altitude and lack of cloud cover makes the Atacama one of the best stargazing spots in the world: in fact, the European Southern Observatory has two observatories in the Atacama – La Silla Observatory and Paranal Observatory.
But for amateur stargazers, there are so many good stargazing spots across the whole Atacama Desert. The small town of San Pedro de Atacama in the north of the desert is popular among stargazers. While deserts have a reputation for heat, temperatures at night can drop significantly – so be sure to wrap up warm with extra insulating fleece layers as you gaze up at the stars.
2. Nambung National Park, Australia
Drive a couple of hours northwest of Perth and head to the Nambung National Park. It’s in Western Australia’s Wheatbelt region, and is considered one of the best places to see stars in the whole of Australia. Remote parts of Australia have very little light pollution – making them ideal spots for stargazing. The Nambung National Park covers just under 200km2 of perfect stargazing landscape.
The Nambung National Park contains thousands of natural sculptures, known as The Pinnacles. They were formed around 30,000 years ago, after Indian Ocean winds eroded the surrounding sands, leaving limestone pillars exposed to the elements.
Stargazing next to these ancient sculptures offers you the chance to see the Milky Way above. With moonlight as well, the stars and Pinnacles make Nambung one of the best stargazing spots in the world.
3. Brecon Beacons, Wales
It may have a reputation for cloudy and damp weather, but when the skies are clear the Brecon Beacons is one of the best places to stargaze in Britain. On a clear night it’s possible to see the Milky Way, as well as the major constellations. In 2012, the Brecon Beacons became Britain’s first International Dark Sky Reserve. Local residents go to great lengths to try and reduce levels of light pollution, to preserve it as one of the best stargazing spots.
There are some great locations to stargaze across the Brecon Beacons. Llanthony Priory, close to the border with England, offers you the chance to gaze upon the stars, surrounded by the ruins of this Norman priory. Alternatively, head to Usk Reservoir. It’s a flat area, perfect for setting up a telescope to get a closer look at the stars and constellations.
4. NamibRand Nature Reserve, Namibia
The NamibRand Nature Reserve is so far removed from civilisation that night skies are some of the darkest on earth. In fact, it has seen some of the darkest skies ever recorded by the International Dark-Sky Association. NambiRand became a designated Dark Sky Reserve – earning ‘Gold’ tier status – making it one of the most recommended stargazing spots globally.
NambiRand is a private nature reserve, making it perfect for private stargazing trips. If you’re planning a safari trip to Namibia, make sure you opt for one that includes stargazing in the NambiRand nature reserve.
5. Mauna Kea, Hawaii
For a stargazing holiday like no other, why not pay a visit to Mauna Kea in Hawaii? Unlike other destinations on this list, Mauna Kea is perfect for anyone looking for even greater adventure. Mauna Kea is a dormant volcano, and the highest point in Hawaii.
Visit the Mauna Kea visitor centre, at 9,000 feet it offers fantastic views of the night sky. Head up a little further to the Haleakala crater to experience 360° views of the starry sky. Be warned: at these heights it can get very cold – so make sure you don’t forget to bring a warm layer!
So, there you have it, our 5 best stargazing spots in the world. Don’t forget to tag us in your stargazing photos on Instagram – use the hashtag #mycraghoppers to show off your best starry shots.