For the ultimate star-gazing experience, pick your spot carefully. Being far away from the glow of city lights is fundamental. But would you prefer a silent, snowy, mountainous setting or would you rather stare at stars in the desert on a balmy night?
Using endorsements from global travellers, the data analysts at Booking.com worked out the most highly-rated destinations for stargazing.
So, to reconnect with nature and see distant galaxies and constellations against the darkest of skies, head to one of the following destinations.
A surreal setting for stargazing, Sesriem, Namibia
Sesriem in the Namibian desert has practically no precipitation, making it ideal for clear night stargazing. It’s known for its massive red sand dunes, its canyon and the dead, black trees that twist out of the surrounding plains. The dunes are definitely worth admiring before the sun goes down, while they’re bathed in a sunset glow and ripple in the evening wind. Then, when darkness prevails, enjoy a dazzling display of shooting stars and constellations.
Watch the sun set and the moon rise over the Sahara's mighty sand dunes, M'hamid, Morocco
M’Hamid is a small oasis town that serves as a launch pad for visiting the Sahara Desert and Morocco’s most impressive sand dunes, the Erg Chigaga. Reached on camel’s back or by jeep, these dunes tower into the sky, some reaching 60m tall. The area has long been inhabited by ancient Berber tribes, so a stargazing session is generally accompanied with live, traditional Berber music to surreal effect.
The International Dark Sky Reserve of Lake Tekapo, New Zealand
Lake Tekapo, New Zealand
Lake Tekapo is an International Dark Sky Reserve, so you’ll enjoy exceptional visibility of the night sky. This is a great place to pitch up a tent for a few days, as it’s no less magical by day than it is by night. The milky-blue lake, its purple floral shores and surrounding pine forests are quite something to wake up to. While you’re here, you can also take a tour of the nearby astronomical observatory atop Mount John, with the largest telescope in New Zealand.
Cabo Polonio is a truly secluded hamlet with a pitch black night sky
Cabo Polonio, Uruguay
Cabo Polonio is a hamlet sat on a sliver of sand stretching out into the Atlantic Ocean. With no roads leading to this little collection of shacks, this is genuine seclusion. And the perfect place to sleep under the stars.
Wadi Rum's lunar landscape makes for incredible stargazing
Wadi Rum, Jordan
The barren wilderness of Wadi Rum is made up of craggy canyons and orange earth, so pockmarked and rugged that it resembles the surface of the moon. Camp with the Bedouin in isolated sites and enjoy a vivid view of our Milky Way at night.
The unlikely stargazing spot of Sao Domingos Mine, Portugal
Sao Domingos Mine, Portugal
This eerie, deserted mine in Portugal has a history dating back to the Roman era. Though not intended to be, this man-made pit is rather beautiful, and a quirky and therefore special spot for stargazing. Explore the museum here, the English cemetery and old mine buildings during the day, then lie back and enjoy the celestial show at night.