Travel lovers are looking toward the sky for their source of inspiration. Astrotourism is becoming a popular trend that has people searching the world over to find the best locations from which to view the night sky. From Australia to Iceland, astrotourism takes adventure seekers to off-grid locations to view the universe in all its glory. Some of the world’s most luxurious accommodations are offering stargazing opportunities that will add an unforgettable experience to an holiday. We’ve rounded up some of the best places and locations with the darkest skies to give this trend a try.
Leobo Private Reserve, South Africa
Located three hours north of Johannesburg, Leobo Private Reserve is home to The Waterberg Observatory, which boasts two different types of telescopes, and the award-winning Observatory Private Villa allows guests to stay near the view. Not only is this optimal for stargazing, but it also allows for views of the planets and nebulae, as well as a special scope for looking directly at the sun. If that’s not enough, the reserve offers tours of the night sky on a Starlit Safari led by a local astronomer. Rented exclusively, this accommodation allows for an intimate and fascinating stargazing experience like no other.
Hotel Rangá, Iceland
This accommodation, constructed with cedar from New Brunswick, is known around the world as one of the best locations to view the night sky, and more specifically, the Northern Lights. Hotel Rangá has an observatory on site with two telescopes and a local astronomer available from September to April. Hotel Rangá is located in the Icelandic countryside, far away from most light pollution which results in excellent stargazing conditions. On clear nights, you may be able to watch the northern lights in one of the hotels geothermally heated hot tubs while enjoying a glass of champagne.
The Torridon, Scotland
Located in the vast wilderness of the Scottish Highlands, The Torridon offers boutique hotel rooms or an entire boathouse with fabulous views of the surrounding nature. At night, the sky lights up to reveal the true treasure of the property. Surrounding The Torridon is an area that is one of the darkest locations on earth to view the stars. At certain times of the year, it is even possible to view the Milky Way with the naked eye. The Torridon offers a special stargazing package that includes a private three course meal followed by an excursion with an astronomer.
L’and Vineyards, Portugal
L’and Vineyards is a luxury resort found in the Alentejo region of Portugal. With 30 suites and villas, the resort was built to create an intimate retreat under the stars. This accommodation offers a Sky View Suite with a bedroom that has an open ceiling. Decorated by architect Márcio Kogan, the experience of sleeping “under the starry sky of Alentejo” was kept in mind while constructing this one-bedroom suite. It is located on a vineyard just 45 minutes from Lisbon airport, making this a must-stop for any stargazers looking for a unique experience.
Soneva Fushi, Maldives
From sea to sky the Soneva Fushi resort in the Maldives offers a tranquil experience for any traveller. With minimal surroundings, the secluded location of this resort offers low light pollution creating optimal conditions for stargazing. The Astronomical Dinner Cruise hosted by the resort allows guests to experience the night sky as it shifts from late sunset to darkness. A four-course meal served on a ship with a private astronomer is an incredible way to experience the secrets of the cosmos.
Camp Sarika, United States
In the heart of the Utah desert, ten covered pavilions stand under the uninhibited night sky. The accommodations here at Camp Sarika offer a private plunge pool as well as a shared lounge and restaurant. With three national parks close by, Camp Sarika has a stunning backdrop of mountains and desert that can be explored during the day by hiking trails or on horseback. At night, residents gather around a campfire for storytelling beneath the vast shimmering sky.
Longitude 131°, Australia
Amongst the rich red dunes of Australia’s central deserts is Longitude 131°, a lodge that overlooks one of the country’s most famous natural icons, the Uluru. The southern skies over Uluru-Kata Tjuta at night are filled with stars as far as the eye can see. With no obstruction from city lights or nearby structures, the views from this accommodation are a stargazer’s paradise. The restaurant at Longitude 131° is known around the world as an iconic outdoor dining experience, and with a menu prepared on a remote dune top, guests are served amazing food while dining under a blanket of stars.