While much of the UK and Europe is blighted by light pollution, in Wales there are hundreds of places to experience our natural wonders under dark skies. Some of them are obvious; Wales now has a network of International Dark Sky Reserves and Dark Sky Parks that astronomers have singled out as world-beating places to go stargazing. However, there are hundreds of other places, from small and accessible Dark Sky Discovery Sites to Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Llanelian Community Centre, Llanelian
This village south of Colwyn Bay is a regular meeting place for the North Wales Astronomy Society They hold regular observing nights and lectures at the Llanelian Community Centre.
The Clwydian Range and Dee Valley AONB is an excellent location for stargazing, with some of the darkest skies found above Caer Drewyn, an iron age fort sat on top of a hill overlooking the stunning valley of the Afon Dyfrdwy.
Capel Garmon, Betws-y-Coed
Deep within Snowdonia National Park, Capel Garmon Burial Chamber is a neolithic tomb above the Conwy Valley. Access is easy and there are great views of Snowdonia and the sky.
Penmon Point, Isle of Anglesey
This central area of Wales is all about the 45,000 acres of the Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water-owned Elan Valley International Dark Sky Park, the only privately-owned such place in the world.
Usk Reservoir, Brecon Beacons
Cwmdu, Crickhowell, Brecon Beacons
This quiet valley within the Black Mountains hosts the twice-yearly AstroCamp at Cwmdu Campsite, where astronomers and stargazers gather to share telescopes and the valley views.
Craig Goch Dam, Powys
Popular with stargazers and astro-photographers, the Elan Valley's Craig Goch Dam near Rhayader has easy parking. Stargaze from the dam itself or take the path on the east side of the reservoir to find stunning views of the night sky.
Claerwen, Elan Valley, Powys
About 12 miles from Rhayader, Claerwen Dam in the Elan Valley has a car park on the western side, and no through traffic to worry about.
Llangoed Hall Hotel, Powys
South towards Brecon along the A470, Llangoed Hall country house hotel close to the River Wye has stunning skies. The owners will switch off the outdoor lights if asked, and even have a house telescope and binoculars on hand.
There are several Dark Sky Discovery Sites within the Cambrian Mountains area, from Llanerchaeon on the coast to high up Dylife in the heart of Mid Wales or the remote Llyn Brianne Reservoir. The remoteness of rural Wales means little light pollution so these are some amazing spots to look up to the skies in wonder.
Broadhaven South Beach, Pembrokeshire
The National Trust car park at Broadhaven South Beach is the darkest of all Pembrokeshire's Dark Sky Discovery Sites, which gets 'Milky Way'-class designation.
Penbryn Beach, Ceredigion
With the ocean on one side, the rugged and rural west coast of Wales is a haven for dark skies. Penbryn Beach is less than a mile's walk from the National Trust Car Park at Llanborth Farm in Penbryn.
Port Eynon, Gower Peninsula
It might be where most people in Wales live, but escaping the light pollution of Cardiff, Newport and Swansea is easier than you might think. You could head towards the southernly part of the Brecon Beacons International Dark Sky Reserve, or give one of the many options in Monmouthshire or the Vale of Glamorgan a try.