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Death Valley, California © Paxson Woelber / Wikicommons
Death Valley, California © Paxson Woelber / Wikicommons

The 10 Best Places In The World To Stargaze

Picture of Zoe McIntyre
Updated: 9 February 2017
If you’re fascinated by the thought of faraway galaxies, then gaze up at the night’s sky in one of these 10 destinations where the sight of countless constellations is sure to make you starry eyed.
Stargazing on Easter Island
Stargazing on Easter Island| © Nimish Gogrl /Flickr

Easter Island, Chile

It’s only extreme adventurers who venture to Easter Island. In this mysterious setting, you’ll feel the true magic after dark, when the sky comes alive with a million blazing stars that watch over the statues until sunrise.

Easter Island, Chile

Trysil, Norway

Every sky-scanner’s bucket list should include seeing nature’s most remarkable light show, the Northern Lights. You’ll find the heavens ablaze with ethereal swirls of color in Trysil, eastern Norway, where ski slopes and hiking trails make it a fantastic outdoor destination. Stay in one of the stargazing cabins to watch the lights come to life against an inky night plotted with limitless constellations.

Trysil, Norway

Mauna Kea, Hawaii

Perched atop the dramatic summit of Mauna Kea, the tallest sea mountain in the world, the observatory’s 13 telescopes represent 11 countries watching the twinkling heavens. Tour companies take keen stargazers up to the peak and offer detailed narratives on the history and significance of the astrological epicenter.

Mauna Kea, HI, USA

NamibRand National Reserve, Namibia

Stargazing is one of the prime activities offered at this remote nature reserve set in the arid Namib Desert in southern Namibia. Visitors come to watch amazing wildlife by day and star-filled skies by night at Africa’s first dark sky reserve. The sight of stars twinkling above sand dunes and mountains to the orchestra of an animal chorus is an unforgettable experience.

NamibRand National Reserve, D381, Namibia, +264 61 224 882

Pic du Midi, France

Keep your head in the clouds with a visit to the Pic du Midi. In summer, outdoor adventurers make the hike up to the top, while those coming in winter can take the cable car before staying the night in the sky-high hotel that offers use of the giant telescope to get a closer look at the looming galaxies and lunar craters.

Pic du Midi, Rue Pierre Lamy de la Chapelle, Bagnères-de-Bigorre, France, +33 825 00 28 77

Death Valley National Park, California

As the sun sets on Death Valley, in California’s desert, darkness reveals the expanse of the Milky Way in all its finery. As the world’s largest dark sky reserve, the 300 acres of expanse harbor some of the blackest night skies in the US; a great contrast to the neon flare of Las Vegas, just two hours’ drive away.

Death Valley, CA, USA

Cherry Springs State Park, Pennsylvania

The exceptionally dark sky over Cherry Springs, an 82-acre park in north-central Pennsylvania, means that a clear night will reveal an overwhelming sight of thousands of bright, glimmering stars. Visit during a new moon and you’ll find the Milky Way is so bright that it casts shadows, so stargazers can hold out their hands and admire the shapes on the ground below.

Cherry Springs State Park, 4639 Cherry Springs Rd, Coudersport, PA, USA, +1 814 453 5010

Atacama Desert, Chile

In this 600-mile stretch of dry and isolated desert in northern Chile, it’s the high-altitude, crystal-clear skies and little rainfall that contribute to the unparalleled stargazing opportunities. Various tours run stargazing excursions, and there are hotels with special packages for exploring the desert by night.

Atacama Desert, Chile

Aoraki Mackenzie, New Zealand
Park, Natural Feature
The Aoraki Reserve
The Aoraki Reserve| © catnthehat / Flickr

Aoraki Mackenzie, New Zealand

The dark sky reserve of Aoroki Mackenzie was the first to be designated in the Southern Hemisphere and remains the world’s biggest. The reserve recently gained a gold status for being almost entirely free of light pollution, allowing dazzling starlight to shine out against a pristine, inky-black sky.

Aoraki Mackenzie, New Zealand

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Glacier Point, Yosemite National Park

Set in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains, Yosemite National Park is often explored by day, but it also provides the perfect backdrop to stargazing when night falls. Above the sky scraping, ancient sequoias, you’ll get a glimpse of faraway galaxies and shining stars of the Milky Way that are intense and inspiring without any light pollution. Stargazing tours are run at Glacier Point in summer.

Glacier Point, Yosemite National Park, CA, USA