Croatia is a great place to view the stars at night. Most of its population is concentrated in just a handful of cities, leaving the rest devoid of light pollution.
If you go anywhere outside the city in Croatia, you will definitely see the starry sky. However, some locations are better isolated from the city lights, giving you a more spectacular view.
In this post, we cover the 6 best places to get a starry view at night. Each of them is located in a different Croatian region, so you can find one closest to you.
The best stargazing spots are:
- Gacko polje
- Mountain Peak Vojak at Učka
- Petrova Gora – Biljeg
- Sveti Urban in Međimurje
- The island of Lastovo
- Vrani kamen
Let’s get started…
Gacko polje (Gacka Valley) is situated in the karst area of northern Lika near Mala Kapela and Northern Velebit National Park. The biggest town in Gacko polje is Otočac. The river of Gacka flows through the Gacka Valley and it is the 3rd longest sinking river in the world.
The valley is known for its fertile ground where corn, vegetables and fruits are grown. The famous “Lički krumpir” (potato from Lika) is grown there. The whole area of Gacko polje is ideal for staring at stars since it is an unpolluted area surrounded with valleys and woods.
Even just 200-300 meters below Vojak, you can also find a good view. During summer nights, bring a blanket with you and chill under the stars.
Be sure that you know all the hiking rules if you hike up to Vojak’s summit. If you are an amateur hiker, best to stay hike on it’s slopes rather than go to the top especially since you will need to hike back down in darkness.
It is also possible to get near Vojak by car. There is parking near the telecommunications tower and air traffic control radar.
Petrova gora is one of the most preserved forest landscapes in Croatia. It is located less than an hour and a half drive from Zagreb. Petrova gora has been declared as međunarodni park tamnog neba (international dark-sky park) by the American non-profit organization called “International Dark-Sky Association” – IDA.
The best location to observe the stars is the mountain peak Veliki Petrovac (512 meters), at the Spomenik ustanku naroda Banije i Korduna (Monument to the uprising of the people of Kordun and Banija). It is a monument that commemorates the victims of nazi-fascism from the World War II.
Every year at the end of August and beginning of September, a gathering called “Petrova Gora Star Party” is organized here. Amateur astronomers come to observe the sky through telescopes of different sizes.
The northwest part of Međimurje county is ideal for observing stars. There is a nice viewpoint situated in Sveti Urban (Saint Urban), near the Slovenian border, atop one of Međimurje’s many green hills. From there, you will have a view to Slovenia, Hungary, and Međimurje county.
If you are into astronomy, you’ll love this spot. The horizon is very clear there, so you will have an expansive view of the sky and stars.
You cannot remain indifferent when visiting Lastovo Nature Park. Lastovo is one of a few Croatian islands that is so distant from the mainland. As a result, the light pollution is at a bare minimum.
In addition, all public lighting on Lastovo has been replaced by ecological lighting, which emits 0% light pollution into the sky.
Lastovo’s sky is one of the darkest in Europe. Slovenian astrologists Mikuz Herman and Andrej Mohar stated that Lastovo has the most beautiful starry sky in Europe.
At the island of Lastovo, you can see the Milky Way and millions of stars, leaving you astonished. If you have a telescope, you might be able to observe other galaxies. You can observe the stars from almost anywhere on the island of Lastovo, but there are also several viewpoints that are particularly special. Check out a list here.
Vrani kamen is located on the western part of the Papuk mountain and it covers an area of 8.000 square meters. Vrani kamen has also been declared as međunarodni park tamnog neba (international dark-sky park) by the American non-profit organization called “International Dark-Sky Association” – IDA.
In addition to its rich flora and fauna, Vrani kamen is preserved from light pollution making it an ideal location for observing the stars. Vrani kamen is a perfect location for all lovers of astronomy and nature. People come there to watch and photograph the stars.
The highest mountain peaks include Vrani kamen (832 meters), Crni vrh (863 meters), and Petrov vrh (614 meters). Petrov vrh is the most visited location for observing stars and it is only 9 kilometers away from Daruvar. There is also a mountain hut situated near Petrov vrh.
If you can’t make it to one of these starry spots, you can visit one of Croatia’s many planetariums. Check out our post about those here.