Star Gazing Holidays
As experts in northern lights holidays, we’ve been going starry-eyed over night skies for many years. Our aurora watching trips in Iceland, Lapland, the Canadian Yukon and the Arctic all promise superb opportunities for admiring the cosmos. But we also offer unforgettable stargazing in some of our southern hemisphere destinations, such as New Zealand, Namibia, Chile and the South Pacific.
For an incredible stargazing experience in Europe, look no further than Iceland. We know some of the best rural hotels and lodges, far from artificial light pollution, where you can not only fall under the spell of the aurora borealis, but also study the constellations and planets such as Venus, Mars and Saturn. Some properties, like Hotel Ranga in southwest Iceland, have state-of-the-art observatories, allowing remarkable close-up views. Or you can combine stargazing with wellbeing, lying back in an outdoor hot tub, gazing up at the heavens.
Recommended Holidays for Star Gazing
In Swedish Lapland, the Aurora Sky Station in Abisko National Park is renowned for its clear night skies, while a winter trip to Svalbard, high in the Arctic, can offer 24hr Polar Night conditions for maximum stargazing and aurora-watching potential.
Of the dozen or so International Dark Sky Reserves (officially recognised for the exceptional quality of their starry nights), we feature two of the most exciting destinations in our portfolio of worldwide holidays.
In New Zealand, a stargazing tour in the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve reveals the night sky of the southern hemisphere in all its vivid glory. Using telescopes at the Mt John Observatory, experienced guides will point out the Southern Cross, Magellanic Clouds (satellite galaxies to the Milky Way) and other features of the cosmos.
Another International Dark Sky Reserve, the NamibRand Nature Reserve in Namibia is also renowned for its clear night skies and lack of artificial light pollution. Spend a night or two at Sossusvlei Desert Lodge and you can enjoy a celestial safari with the resident astronomer using the lodge’s telescope to pick out distant nebulae or the rings of Saturn. Also in the NamibRand, Wolwedans Dune Camp and Tok Tokkie Trails offer you the chance to sleep out under the stars – either on your own private deck, or on a hiking adventure.
In Chile, the Atacama Desert is another stargazing hotspot – a high-altitude plateau located in a rain shadow between the Pacific Ocean and Andes, it is not only one of the driest places on earth, but also boasts incredibly clear skies. Our Travel Specialists can easily arrange for you to include an Atacama astronomy tour on your holiday.