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A traveller’s guide: The best destinations for a stargazing holiday

A traveller’s guide: The best destinations for a stargazing holiday

The UK is soon set to experience one of the most spectacular meteor showers! The Orionid meteor shower takes place each year around mid-October, with 2019’s prime opportunity for viewing expected around the 21st and 22nd of the month. The Orionid shower happens when the Earth passes through an area of space littered with debris from Halley’s Comet. Known for their brightness and speed, NASA describes it as one of the most beautiful of the year.

You may need to travel to somewhere rural away from street lights to best witness this amazing shower. The prime time to do so is within the hours just after midnight right up until dawn! – We know this isn’t practical for everyone, so to take away your fear of missing out, we’ve rounded up some of the best destinations for a stargazing holiday!

Tenerife stargazing holidays

Milky Way above Teide National Park at Tenerife

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Nights in Tenerife don’t always have to consist of a flurry of bars down in Playa de las Americas, take yourself away from the hustle and bustle and head out to Teide National Park!

Experiencing Mount Teide by night is an experience like no other. Take a cable car to the height of around 7000 feet to watch the most amazing sunsets and see stars like you’ve never seen them before. Thanks to the parks high altitude and country’s proximity to the equator, stargazing in Tenerife makes for some of the best stargazing in Europe. The island of Tenerife even goes so far as to controlling its flight paths to protect those idyllic stargazing conditions.

Make a night of it and book to eat at the restaurant at the top of Mount Teide, partnered with a glass or two of bubbly, your view that evening will be a hard one to beat!

Stargazing holidays in Iceland

Northern Lights above waters edge

Jamen Percy/ Shutterstock.com

A backdrop for the Northern Lights, Reykjavik draws in thousands of tourists each year hoping to catch a glimpse.

Once you’ve had your fill of basking in the blue lagoon and visiting the golden circle, take a night out of your visit to go off the beaten track in order to witness this amazing natural phenomenon. Plan a late-night adventure with a local tour guide for your best chance to witness these celestial wonders. With expert knowledge of these solar storm occurrences, a guide will help you leave the bright lights of the city behind and take you to an ideal viewing location.

Some northern lights tours even bring along powerful telescopes to allow you to explore even more of the sky. View the brilliance of the moon, far away galaxies and potentially witness a meteor shower! Stargazing holidays in Iceland can open your eyes to more than just pretty constellations.

South Africa stargazing holidays

Milky Way over African bush camp with bonfire in Kruger Nationalpark, South Africa

Samuel Bezares/ Shutterstock.com

A destination typically sought out by wildlife enthusiasts, South Africa with it’s majestic mountain backdrop and sand-coloured Savannah has vast areas free from pollutant, providing the perfect environment for a spot of stargazing!

Kruger National Park is the largest game reserve in South Africa, covering more than 7300 square miles. Not only is this a great place to stargaze in Africa, you can also witness the famous big five whilst you’re here! That’s lions, leopards, rhinoceros’, elephants, and Cape buffalos.

Kruger appeals to lovers of stargazing thanks to its flat Savannah, far removed from artificial light. The rings of Saturn have actually been seen from here… through a decent set of binoculars of course! Take an open-air jeep out at dusk, equipped with champagne, yummy appetizers and your nearest and dearest. This night under the stars will be one to remember, not only will you witness some of the clearest skies, you’ll be accompanied by the distant roars of your lion neighbours.

Stargaze in the Caribbean Sea

Cruise Ship in port at night

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Stargazing holidays don’t only have to happen on land. Have you ever thought about taking a cruise? They’ll be parts of your journey where you’ll find yourself in the middle of the ocean with nothing but the sea, the sky and your ship for company. With little artificial light, sitting out on top deck with the sounds of the moving waves and a cocktail in hand can be one of the most idyllic and relaxing settings. – Your eyes will soon adapt to witness some of the prettiest night skies of your lifetime.

Due to equator proximity, Caribbean cruises can offer particularly amazing views of constellations such as Canis Minor, Aquarius and Eridanus. The best time to go? Set sail during the winter months of late November into December. The Caribbean weather is glorious that time of year and the clear skies makes frequent stargazing opportunities all the more likely.

Hurghada, Egypt stargazing holidays

Quad bike stargazing tour

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Hurghada, perched on the edge of the Sahara Desert offers some of the best landscapes for a stargazing holiday. If you like going on an adventure when on holiday, Egypt is one of the best destinations to combine adrenaline with the beauty of the night sky.

Excursions such as quad biking, camel rides and safaris will often run past sunset. Get your fill of the thrill and witness the sky change in the most spectacular way as the sun goes down. You’ll then still be around to gaze up at stars which become amazingly clear after dusk. Some guides may even be nice enough to take you to some special stops where the star’s glisten in abundance.

Stargazing holidays in LA

Griffith Observatory views at night

Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles 

Primarily known for other kinds of stars, those ones which have names on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Los Angeles may be the last place you’d think to travel to for some celestial stargazing.

Due to those bright city lights and LA’s famous blanket of smog, noticing the stars when in Los Angeles can sometimes feel like a bit of a hard task, unless you make your way up those famous hills to the iconic landmark that is the Griffith Observatory!

A backdrop to many films including the recent La La Land, the Griffith Observatory is one of the best spots to enjoy spectacular views of the bustling city beneath and the famous Hollywood Sign, but most of all it’s your gateway to the sky.

Stargazing holidays in LA are made easy with a visit to the Observatory. Get ready to fully emerge yourself into the astrology of Los Angeles and look through the famous Zeiss telescope! Experience views of not only constellations but planets, meteors, comets and the moon. Plus, on one Saturday of every month, the Griffith Observatory actually hosts a free public star party.

Stargazing holidays in Tuscany, Italy

Views of a starry night in Tuscany

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What better place to go on a stargazing holiday than where the famous Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei developed his telescope! Visit Tuscany and delve into the Italian countryside where you can settle in for a night under the stars, far away from Italy’s urban centres.

Florence is actually home to the Arcetri Astrophysics Observatory and the Chianti Observatory which has the biggest telescope in Tuscany and hosts its own amazing stargazing nights aimed to teach its visitors a little more about that beautiful night sky of ours.

Marrakech stargazing holidays

stargazing in Marrakech

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Similar to Egypt, Marrakech gives you access to the sands of the Sahara but also to many more amazing stargazing spots. Slip into the Atlas Mountains where you can enjoy those starlit skies surrounded by snow topped peaks!

Take an unforgettable adventure with a multi-day trek visiting awe-inspiring destinations such as AitBenHaddou, Dadès Gorge and the Valley of the Roses. Ride camels into the desert while the sun sets and camp with a Bedouin tribe among the sand dune. In the middle of the desert you can see a million stars, and in the company of locals, it’s truly a once in a lifetime experience.

Portugal stargazing holidays

Alqueva lake near Monsaraz village in the night, Portugal

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Portugal may surprise you as being a top spot for a stargazing holiday but its region of Alqueva was actually the first destination in the world to be awarded the Starlight Tourism Destination certification! Supported by UNESCO, UNWTO and IAC, this means not only is it almost guaranteed you’ll have amazing visibility but the tourism board are committed to keeping it that way.

Alqueva is often surpassed for the warmer side of Portugal. Those golden beaches and stunning coastlines do draw tourists in, however the Alqueva Dark Sky route is not one to be missed. It’s actually only around a two hour drive from the sunny region of Portugal’s Algarve, so you can easily make this a trip within your trip.

There’s minimal light pollution in the Alqueva area providing the ideal conditions for admiring those dazzling constellations. You’re able to take part in a number of after-dark activities offered by the Dark Sky Route’s members. These include night hikes, wine tasting and even horseback riding. Binoculars and telescopes are also available to visitors throughout the zone so you can get the best view of all those galaxies, pretty star clusters and even nebulas.

What can be an utterly romantic experience, traveling to a rural area with only yourself, a partner and the sky. We don’t always get chance to appreciate the pleasures of nature, to truly sit back and relax among the stars in complete peace is something everyone should do when given the chance.  So why not make stargazing a part of your next holiday.

Have you decided on the destination for your upcoming stargazing holiday? All that’s left to do now is find out how much you can SAVE with Holiday Hypermarket.