By Jessica Russo
Ya' know those moments when something is so beautiful that it seems magical? Those moments that make you stop in your tracks and say whoa. Sometimes, those moments make you remember just how spectacular the world truly is.
Many of us live in cities and suburbs flooded with bright lights. So go on, escape the bustle. Take a trip to these breathtaking remote areas, where you'll become overwhelmed by twinkling white stars and purplish watercolor hues of galaxies far, far away.
Sure, Ireland's skies are known for their rainbows, but after dark, they become a cosmic wonderland! Head to Kerry International Dark Sky Reserve for a mesmerizing show of starry sparkle.
Galloway Forest Park, Scotland
This postcard-worthy woodland park in Scotland is a hilly haven of lush greenery by day, and glittery dark skies by night. See a shooting star? (Of course you will) Make a wish!
Atacama Desert, Chile
Just west of the Andes mountains sits this vast, 49,000-square-mile desert - yes, it's the driest in the world! It's also known to be an astronomer's paradise, as its massive nothing-but-nature landscape provides one of the darkest skies you'll ever experience.
Aoraki Mackenzie, New Zealand
This International Dark Sky Reserve (IDSR) is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Sure, the mountainous scenery during the day is gorgeous, but many folks flock here to see the stars, specifically! When entering the reserve, the traffic sign even reads "Enjoy the Stars."
Exmoor National Park in Devon, England
Stroll this unique environment - another IDSR - of romantic open moorland, wooded valleys, and stunning cliffside coastal views. By night, this whimsical wonderland turns into an unbelievable space show. Sit back, relax, and point out constellations!
Snowdonia National Park, Wales
This International Dark Sky Reserve boasts over 800 square miles of territory - that's about 10% of the total land area of Wales! Snowdonia is the gem of Wales, and while many people visit for its stunning daytime scenery, the real magic begins after dark.
NamibRand Nature Reserve, Namibia
No, you're not in Van Gogh's painting Starry Night; you're in Namibia! This IDSR is one of Africa's largest private nature reserves and produces one of the naturally darkest skies visible on Earth. Wildlife, culture, and mesmerizing night skies? Yes, please.
La Palma, Canary Islands, Spain
Volcanoes, lush vegetation, bright blue coast, cute towns, cobbled streets, waterfalls, forest - you name it, La Palma has it. This beyond beautiful island doesn't stop showing off after sunset. Head to Caldera de Taburiente National Park for a real star-studded event.
Pic du Midi, France
Ah, France, the posh paradise of fashion, cuisine, art, and - astronomy? You bet! The Pic du Midi is a mountain in the French Pyrenees and became famous for its mind-boggling starry views. This IDSR boasts its own observatory, so feel free to get up-close and personal to the world around you.