The most amazing mountain passes by bike
Hop on your road bike to climb some of the most famous mountain passes around the world
The cloudless nights which are also absent of light pollution make for the perfect combination to see one of the best gifts the universe has to offer: the starry skies. Discover the top 10 places in the world for pondering the stars.
The island of La Palma in the Canary Islands is also known as the “Isla Bonita” for its beaches, tropical forests, and volcanic cones like the Caldera de Taburiente (2,426 m) in an area found inside the boundaries of the National Park. In this steep nature preserve, there are multiple routes around Roque de los Muchachos and its well-known astronomical observatory, one of the most complete telescope centers in the world. At night, the clear skies of La Palma are ideal for stargazing.
Standing at 5,895 meters, Kilimanjaro is the tallest mountain in Africa and one of the greatest challenges for active tourism lovers. The routes to the peak are often several days long on the way up along with overnighting at different campsites. One of the most highly recommended options is reaching the top from the west side of the massif, taking the Lemosho route. Such an adventure pays off big time every night when the stars light up the Eastern African skies.
Is there anything more beautiful than a starry sky? Yes, a starry sky with Northern Lights! This color show takes place between the months of October to March in the Nordic countries. One of the best places to catch a glimpse of these magical water paints is in the area around Tromsø, a northern Norweigian municipality where you can carry out a 3-day trek from Oldervik, one of the top places in the world to see the stars and aurora borealis.
In the heart of the Pacific Ocean, on the islands of Hawaii, there is a privileged location which allows for taking in one of the most captivating skies on the planet. On “Mauna Kea” (White Mountain), a dormant volcano on the island of Hawaii, there are the Mauna Kea observatories, considered by many as the best observatory center for stargazing around the world. The climb to the observatories (4,205 m) can be done in many ways, for instance on foot, by bicycle or even by an all terrain vehicle.
El Qurnat as Sawdā’, the tallest mountain in Lebanon (3,088 m), is the arid landscape from which you can follow the night trail to the peak to peacefully admire the light from the stars. An adventure just a bit more than 20 kms from the Oyoun Orghosh pass that you can top off with an energy rebuilding meal of scrumptious tabbouleh. There awaits the most epic version of the 1,001 Nights (a medieval compilation of traditional tales from the Middle East).
Recorded as one of the clearest skies in the world, the desert skies of the Atacama Desert are ideal for pondering the sunset and the magic of the stars. “El Valle de la Luna” (Valley of the Moon), well-known among astronomers for its lunar landscape resemblance, also for being an idyllic spot to follow an MTB trail on the Cordillera de la Sal. Before a night full of stargazing, we can take off from San Pedro de Atacama towards the Three Marias, passing by places like “Quebrada Cari”.
“Monument Valley” (translate into other languages) is a natural museum of rock formations in the heart of the Navajo Native American Reservation. It is on the Colorado Plateau, between Utah and Arizona where you can follow an easy day trail such as the “Wildcat Trail” which takes you to the best panoramic views in the valley. To end the day, there is nothing better than taking an astronomical tour in one of the must-see top places on the planet for looking at the stars.
The Pic du Midi de Bigorre (2,876 m) surfaces in the French Hautes-Pyrenees with an amazing lookout point and astronomical observatory at the peak. In addition to the cable car which starts at La Mongie, one of the most common options in summer to reach the peak is to go by mountain bike along the mythical Col du Tourmalet, then later take a detour to the peak. At night, we suggest finding lodging in the area to be able to take in the stars and the Milky Way.
Annapurna is one of the most emblematic mountain ranges in the Himalayas. This mountainous region has many routes etched out such as the one that goes between Shree Kharka and Pedhi, which is the perfect lookout point with views of Annapurna and Chulu West. A unique trip among Buddhist temples and small villages where you can enjoy a rich Nepalese lentil soup before heading back to the hostel and spend part of the night gazing at the stars from the top of the world, now more than ever, at your fingertips.
Located on the island of Sri Lanka, “Sri Pada” (Adam’s Peak) is a mountain with legends abound. One of them explains that Adam, after being thrown out of Paradise, fell on the peak, leaving an enormous footprint behind, measuring about 2 meters. Nowadays, Adam’s Peak is a sacred mountain in the eyes of several religions. A night adventure that is fairly difficult but worth reaching the peak at sunrise while storing the memories made while going up over 5,000 steps under a starry sky.