The best places in the world to stargaze

Most of us have never seen a truly dark sky, and the magnificent celestial view that goes with it, but there are destinations around the world with incredible stargazing opportunities.

By Saga team

Published 22 May 2024

Milky Way above volcano Teide and Pico Viejo. SPIN: Astronomy and Geology in Tenerife

If you’d like to see the heavens in all their star-spangled glory, here are our suggestions for the best places to do just that…

With our proliferation of cities and towns, you might be surprised to learn that England has some incredible stargazing opportunities.

The Kielder Forest in Northumberland is England’s first Dark Sky Park area, as well as the largest area of protected night sky in Europe. Kielder Observatory is England’s largest observatory and holds stargazing events throughout the year.

Majestic Mount Teide, the dormant volcano overlooking the entirety of Tenerife, also gives incredible views of the blanket of stars above the island, due to its high altitude and the fact that flight paths are strictly controlled in the surrounding areas.

It’s a particularly unusual experience given the spectacular lunar-like scenery that already feels as though you’re on another planet.

Pay a visit to the Teide Observatory, from where you can admire the entire northern hemisphere and part of the southern hemisphere through telescopes.

Known mostly for its incredible safari opportunities, South Africa is just as good for looking to the skies as it is looking for wildlife.

The unpolluted sky makes it easy to identify constellations and even planets with just the naked eye, but at Lakeside Lodge you can spend one evening gazing at the stars in the special on-site Astro Boma, with help from a professional speaker or a qualified ranger.

Discover astonishing, stimulating South Africa on the holiday of a lifetime to one of the continent's most fascinating countries.

The US offers many fantastic places to stargaze, but perhaps most iconic is the Griffith Observatory in California.

Set on the southern slope of Mount Hollywood in Los Angeles, this observatory is free to enter and allows visitors to use telescopes and explore the mysteries above.

See it for yourself during the LA stop on Saga's Best of the West tour. And of course, whilst in Hollywood you can explore a collection of stars of a completely different nature – embedded in the sidewalk on the sparkling Walk of Fame!

Not only does New Zealand boast crisp, clear night skies, it also offers unusual experiences to make your night-time viewing all the more memorable.

A visit to the Hot Water Beach in the Coromandel, for example, where geothermally heated water will fill a hole you dig in the sand and create your own personal hot tub.

This is incredible during the day, but after the sun sets and the brilliant stars start to shine overhead, it’s even better.

Alternatively, pay a visit to the Waitomo Glow-worm Caves.

Here you’ll board a boat for a cruise on an underground river lit by thousands of pale blue lights created by the glow-worms on the cave roof, creating the eerie sensation that you’re actually sailing out in the open, under thousands of stars.

Browse our huge collection of holidays, including adventurous touring trips and relaxing hotel getaways.

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