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Culture Trip has teamed up with On the Go Tours to find six beautiful and wild destinations for observing celestial events, whether it’s watching the Geminid meteor shower in the Sahara, or hunting for the Northern Lights on Greenland’s remote inland ice cap.
At 12,000 square kilometres (4,633 square miles), Iceland’s Vatnajökull National Park is officially Europe’s largest. Vatnajökull’s waterfalls, mountains, forests and glaciers provide the perfect backdrop to the famed light show. Come nightfall, the skies transform into a sea of green and purple light, casting shadows on the peaks below.
Not only is Rovaniemi Santa’s official hometown, but Lapland’s capital is also home to one of the world’s dreamiest hotels. The Arctic SnowHotel has 39 permanent igloos, allowing guests to watch the aurora borealis from the comfort of their beds with 360-degree views of the night sky.
There are few places on Earth more awe-inspiring than Jordan’s Wadi Rum, a seemingly endless desert punctuated by striking sandstone mountains called jebels. From mid-July to late August, the Perseids meteor shower cascades over this eerie and beautiful moonscape.
Norway’s Arctic archipelago Lofoten stretches around 150km (93mi) from north to south across islands dotted with small fishing towns. Svolvær, Lofoten’s unofficial capital, sits on a dramatic bay surrounded with snow-capped mountains. You couldn’t find a more peaceful place to watch the aurora borealis unfold.
The Moroccan Sahara is home to Todgha Gorge – whose deep valleys forged from limestone have earned it the nickname ‘Morocco’s Grand Canyon’ – and the large windswept dunes of Erg Chebbi. Here, you can camp under the stars and watch the Geminid meteor shower during December without having to worry about light pollution.
Greenland is home to the second-largest body of ice after the Antarctic ice sheet. Kangerlussuaq, Western Greenland’s unofficial capital, has an international airport that once served as a former US military base; it’s possible to venture from here onto the ice sheet and watch the Northern Lights from one of the most desolate yet beautiful places on Earth.
To get more out of your trip, visit On The Go Tours.