The sky is beautiful at night with shining stars in clear dark skies. However, not all places have clear dark skies where you can enjoy the marvelous sight. Big cities have what is called light pollution which omits the ability to see stars in the night sky.
Luckily, there are great spots where you can go and enjoy an amazing stargazing experience. These spots have minimal light pollution and so you can enjoy a great view of the stars.
Here are five best places to stargaze in Europe. These parks and reserves have been certified by the International Dark Sky Association (IDA), an indication that they are dedicated to the preservation of the quality of darkness of night sky.
Remember, for the best experience in stargazing, you will need good astronomy binoculars.
- Pic du Midi, France
Pic du Midi is a dark sky reserve covering 3,112 km2 across Pyrenees-Mont Perdu and Pyrenees National Park.
The reserve is known for viewing zodiacal light, constellations and the Milky Way. The Observatory Midi-Pyrenees is the most popular astronomical views spot. It also houses a museum exhibiting astronomy as well as Pic du Midi history. It is among the highest museums in the world at 2,877m altitude.
Here you can get a package that comprises the tour of Bernard Lyot telescope. If you like, you can also take part in extreme sports.
Therefore, as you stargaze, you can learn about the history of Pic du Midi as well as fill the rest of your time with sports.
- Exmoor, England
At Exmoor National Park, you can see about 3,000 stars on the clearest nights. One of the places where you can get the best views is at Wimbleball Lake with its clear skies.
The best months for stargazing are in March and April when the skies are the darkest. You can see meteors in late summer.
The park is the first to be designated as a dark sky reserve in Europe in 2011.
- Westhavelland in Germany
Westhavelland is a dark sky reserve in Germany. From the nature park, you can see the Aurora Borealis and the Milky Way.
To catch the clearest and darkest skies, visit the park between the middle of May and the middle of July. This when you can see the zodiacal light.
Autumn is characterized by migrating wild cranes and geese, whose background sound rhyme well with the starry sky.
- Northumberland, UK
Northumberland is a designated dark sky park located in the UK. The park houses Kielder Observatory, which is the largest station of sky viewing in Britain.
The darkest sky at the park is in winter when you can also see the Andromeda Galaxy with the naked eye. In summer, meteors, comets, and Milky Way are visible.
- Hortobagy, Hungary
The region around Hortobagy National Park is characterized by clear night skies, which make it ideal for stargazing.
The park was designated as a dark sky park in January 2011. It started protecting its dark skies to conserve wildlife.
Here, you can get the best views adjacent Kilenclyuku, which is UNESCO heritage site and Hungary’s longest stone bridge.