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The Universe above you! The best stargazing places in Hungary



The sight of the star-filled night sky fascinates everyone. But since we spend our nights in well-lit houses and streets, we see less and less of it, as the lights on Earth outshine the stars. Are you brave enough to leave the lights of the city behind to discover the wonders of the night sky?

There are many things that need to be discovered, but not so close to the ground: if you just lift your gaze towards the starry sky, you will see a whole new wonderful world. Of course, the place you look from is also important since, while the bright lights of big cities are useful in town, they will prevent you from seeing everything there is to be seen in the sky. You might want to venture a little farther away from densely populated areas and discover more adventurous trails. As far as stargazing goes, one of the most exciting times is the arrival of the Perseids meteor shower in August, but apart from that, any time of year is a good time to look at the night sky. You should always wear warm clothes and you may even want to bring a warm sleeping bag, since you will be spending the whole night outdoors. These are the best places.

Admire the Milky Way from the top of Zselic

About 25 kilometres from the centre of Kaposvár, you will find the Zselic Star Park located within the Landscape Protection Region of Zselic, which has been selected according to the strict rules of the International Dark Sky Association. Light pollution has been measured and the visibility of the night sky has been tested several times – as a result, the Star Park has made it onto the international top lists of stargazing places on several occasions, and has been awarded a number of international prizes. This is the place where you not only see the shooting stars speeding across the summer sky, but you can also observe the Milky Way itself with your bare eyes. But this involves more than simply lying down on a blanket and looking at the stars, for here you can use telescopes to study the starry sky, climb up onto the lookout tower, or walk along one of the hiking trails (with a guide if you want), and if you are thirsty for a little theory and information, you can learn more about astronomy while watching films and visiting exhibitions. 

The milky way

Under the big black sky in the puszta in Hortobágy

The second dark-sky park in Hungary was established in Hortobágy in 2011. This is the area that is least affected by light pollution in the whole of Hungary, so on moonless nights you can see thousands of stars, the faint light of the Milky Way and the sunlight reflecting off interplanetary dust, i.e. the Zodiacal light after sunset in the spring and before dawn in the autumn. The stargazing centre in the Fecskeház Forest School in Máta is open to visitors, but they also organise specialised camps, night-time tours and bird watching combined with stargazing, as well as astro-gastro tours.

Get closer to the sky in the Bükk

The Bükk National Park is known as the third dark-sky park in Hungary, with several spots inside the park suitable for observing the stars: one of them is at Három-kő by the Cistercian Abbey in Bélapátfalva, while another is at the Kalapati Lookout Tower near Szalajka Valley. The landscape is special because you can get physically closer to the sky, which you can observe through a thinner layer of atmosphere. You will find many interesting events and activities all year round in the dark-sky park, including astronomical observation, night-time tours and forest schools. Work on building a special visitor centre, the Bükk Stargazing Centre, has begun in Répáshuta.

 

The milky way

Observe the stars by day and night in Bakonybél

The first complex astronomical educational adventure centre in Hungary has been set up in Bakonybél and offers several exciting daytime and night-time events and activities, such as the interactive space research and astronomy exhibition, 3D cinema, a large collection of modern telescopes and the most cutting-edge digital planetarium in the country. This is where the famous Gibson meteorite is kept, and you can even watch the film called Acta Galilei about the life and work of the famous scientist. The key mission of the stargazing centre, built in the middle of the deep dark wood in Bakony, is to conserve a piece of the natural sky without any light pollution at a place that offers a clear view of the sky. This is a particularly family-friendly place, so you should bring the kids with you on your visit and let them stay up late so that they can enjoy the wonders of the night sky. 

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