The best places for stargazing

Look up and enjoy the night sky in the best places around the world to observe the stars

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The starry sky at the Shira II campsite, a crossing point with the Lemosho and Shira routes on the Kilimanjaro, one of the best places in the world to see the stars.
The starry sky around the Shira II campsite (Kilimanjaro) - Photo by @Bertigps

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.

Clear skies in Roque de los Muchachos (Spain)

The astronomical observatory in Roque de los Muchachos, on the island of La Palma, above the sea of clouds.
Astronomical Observatory in Roque de los Muchachos on La Palma (Spain) – Photo by @Bertigps

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.

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Stargazing in Kilimanjaro (Tanzania)

Tents camping under a starry sky on one of the paths along the Lemosho and Shira routes, in the Kilimanjaro National Park.
Campsite under the stars in the Kilimanjaro National Park (Tanzania) – Photo by @Bertigps

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.

Distance

39.09 mi

Elevation +

15157 f

Carlos MM
with
Distance

39.09 mi

Elevation +

15157 f

Carlos MM
with
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Stars and the Northern Lights in Tromsø (Norway)

A typical home in a Norweigan fjord near Tromsø, one of the best places on the planet to see the stars and the Northern Lights.
A starry sky with Northern Lights in Tromsø (Norway) – Photo by @rouckas

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.

Distance

33.52 mi

Elevation +

5794 f

Distance

33.52 mi

Elevation +

5794 f

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The astronomical observatories on Mauna Kea (Hawaii)

The Mauna Kea astronomical observatories, located on a dormant volcano on the island of Hawaii.
The Mauna Kea (Hawaii) astronomical observatories – Photo by @sextante

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.

Distance

6.35 mi

Elevation +

4656 f

Distance

6.35 mi

Elevation +

4656 f

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Starry nights in Qurnat as Sawdā’ (Lebanon)

Views of the Beqaa Valley and Zahlé seen from the Qurnat as Sawdā' Mountain on a starry night.
Starry night in el Qurnat as Sawdā’ (Lebanon) – Photo by @zahi.ramadan

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).

Distance

13.65 mi

Elevation +

1946 f

zahi.ramadan
with
Distance

13.65 mi

Elevation +

1946 f

zahi.ramadan
with
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See the stars from El Valle de la Luna (Chile)

The Three Marias, one of the natural beauties in El Valle de la Luna, in the Atacama Desert.
The Three Marias in El Valle de la Luna, the Atacama Desert (Chile) – Photo by @ZorbaMan

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”.

Distance

23.77 mi

Elevation +

1030 f

Distance

23.77 mi

Elevation +

1030 f

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Astronomical tour in Monument Valley (the USA)

The rocky Monument Valley, the most typical image of the Navajo Reserve, between the states of Utah and Arizona.
Panorama in Monument Valley (the USA) – Photo by @Mário Ramos

“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.

Distance

4.09 mi

Elevation +

377 f

Distance

4.09 mi

Elevation +

377 f

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The Pyrenees lookout point: Pic du Midi (France)

The scenery from the last leg of the trail towards the Pic du Midi de Bigorre, in the French Pyrenees.
Reaching the top of the Pic du Midi de Bigorre (France) – Photo by @stanislav stoyanov

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.

Distance

28.96 mi

Elevation +

5948 f

stanislav stoyanov
with
Distance

28.96 mi

Elevation +

5948 f

stanislav stoyanov
with
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The stars within reach in Annapurna (Nepal)

View of Annapurna from Pedhi, one of the best lookout points in the Himalayas.
View of Annapurna from the Pedhi lookout point (Nepal) – Photo by @mgilgar

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.

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The sky from Adam’s Peak (Sri Lanka)

The reddish sky from Adam’s Peak, in Sri Lanka, one of the best places in the world to look at the stars with the naked eye.
Reddish sky from Adam’s Peak (Sri Lanka) – Photo by @AntonioGPS

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.

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