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Europe for stargazing

Europe for stargazing: International Dark-Sky Parks (IDSP) are green spaces certified by the NGO International Dark-Sky Association. These are places where they try to minimize the light pollution of the atmosphere, which opens up the opportunity to see the amazing starry sky. Here is a list of the best places in Europe to contemplate the night sky.

The best places in Europe for stargazing

United Kingdom

There are as many as 5 IDSP-certified parks in the UK. First, it is the sky in the Cornwall region, near the city of Bodmin in England. It is a beautiful wasteland (in the geographical sense – open spaces with grassy vegetation, not protected from the wind), beautiful day and night, and there are many footpaths crossing hills and cliffs.

Northumberland National Park and Kielder Water Park and Forest Park in the north of England are also popular daytime tourist destinations. But at night, when the tourists return to the hotels, you can see the magnificent night sky.

Elan Valley Estate in Wales has become a popular destination for hikers looking to climb the Brecon Beacons and Snowdonia, both of which are IDSP-certified parks.

Further north is Galloway Forest Park in Scotland, rich in evergreen forests and beautiful lakes.

Ballycroy National Park and the Nephin Wilderness in Ireland are located in the Ovenduff and Nephin Mountains. This is the perfect place to get away from it all and literally stare into space.

Hungary

There are three IDSP-certified parks in Hungary. The first one is Bükk, the largest national park in Hungary. Located in the Bükk Mountains in the north, near the town of Miskolc, the park offers the perfect opportunity for stargazing.

Although the Bükk National Park is the largest in Hungary, the Hortobágy National Park is the most impressive. The territory of the park has not changed much since the last ice age. The park offers visitors night walks, and there are plans to open an observatory in the future.

The Želice National Landscape Reserve, located near the border with Slovakia, is considered by IDSA to be the best place in Hungary with an almost unchanging dark night sky.

Netherlands

De Boschplaat is a Natura 2000 nature reserve recognized by the European Council. The park is located in the east of Terschelling and is very convenient for visitors. The public can enjoy unlimited access to the park at any time, and there are eight designated stargazing spots to choose from.

Until May 1969, the area that is now the Lauwersmeer National Park was underwater when the former Lauwersmeer Sea was enclosed and separated from the Wadden Sea. Now the area is a wildlife oasis, and every year hundreds of thousands of migratory birds stop here.

Croatia

Petrova Gora and Vrani Kamen are the two main pearls of Croatia. Petrova Gora is known as the mountain with the best-preserved forests in Croatia. It became a protected area in 1969 and received IDSP certification in 2019.

Not far from the Croatian capital Zagreb is the country’s second park – Vrani Kamen – occupying 8,000 hectares of the majestic Papuk Mountains.

Spain

Albania is located in Girona, in Catalonia. If you go to Bassegoda Park, there are regular educational tours that you can join and watch the stars.

Denmark

Mön and Njord are two islands southeast of Denmark. Møn is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Denmark, famous for its white cliffs. If you want to spend time with nature, your best bet is to head to the smaller island of Njord.

Germany

Winklmoosalm is a private property located in the Alps in the southeast of Bavaria, just around the corner from the Austrian city of Salzburg.

The Alps are beautiful at any time of the day or year, but Winklmoosalm’s geographic location means it has especially dark skies, according to IDPA. Astro tourism started here ten years ago, and now the park receives a small income from tourists who come to look at the stars.

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