Say YES to Stargazing in Switzerland! Switzerland is a perfect destination for stargazers, with light pollution and artificial light kept to a minimum in many locations, as well as a mild climate, allowing stargazing in Switzerland is a great night-time activity for yourself, the whole family or with a loved one! We’ve written this post with a few top tips for stargazing, so that you can explore in the night for some pretty star spotting adventures.
Our top tips for Stargazing In Switzerland
Choose a clear night
The best stargazing conditions occur on a clear night with minimal light pollution. It is also best to find a location away from city lights and other sources of artificial light. In Switzerland, there are several areas with low levels of light pollution, such as the Swiss National Park and the Jungfrau-Aletsch region.
More Switzerland stargazing places are listed further down below for some of the best low light pollution locations.
Wrap up warm
Dress appropriately: It can get cold at night, especially at higher altitudes even in the Summer, so it’s important to dress in layers and wear warm clothing. Two main things to wear is a good pair of hiking shoes and a windproof jacket incase of weather changes.
For the winter period, you can go out any time from 6:30pm onwards for an evening of stargazing in Switzerland.
Take binoculars to spot shooting stars, a telescope, a portable camping chair and a red torch (it’ll help you see the stars better). While you can see many celestial objects with the naked eye, a good pair of binoculars or a telescope can help you see more detail and faint objects that are not visible to the naked eye.
Of course it’s also nice, if you know what you are doing, to take your camera too. Make sure the battery is charged, your camera card has plenty of space (or take at least 2 empty cards!) and take a tripod.
Going prepared also includes tips to take with you some food or drink, such as a flask and some protein snacks. The last thing you want is to be stargazing, taking some photos for more than an hour or two and then not have anything to eat or drink.
Find A Good Spot
Find a good spot to stand and look, away from any street and car park lighting. So it’s always best to head up away from the main cities and villages into rural areas. We also suggest to take a blanket or a chair to sit on, and find a spot with a clear view of the sky while staying cosy.
Give Yourself Time To Adjust
Give your eyes time to adjust to the darkness: It takes about 20-30 minutes for your eyes to fully adjust to the darkness, so give yourself plenty of time to get comfortable and allow your eyes to adjust before attempting to observe celestial objects.
Use Sky and Stargazing Apps
Download a stargazing map to orientate yourself with the night sky. Using a mobile app such as Star Walk 2 or Sky Map is also great to use, as it can use your location to tell you exactly what’s in the sky above you at any given moment. This will really help you identify constellations and other celestial objects in the sky. Many are free, else a few paid ones for those who would use it often is beneficial.
Where To Stargaze In Switzerland The Best?
In general, on a clear night you can see many stars from many places when not located right in the city centre of places like Zurich, Geneve or Basel. Such as our experience on a peak of a local mountain in Ticino, which worked out perfectly with the clear night sky.
However some places to highlight for stargazing in Switzerland include:
- Swiss National Park: Located in the eastern Swiss Alps, the Swiss National Park is a protected area with low levels of light pollution, making it an ideal location for stargazing.
- Jungfrau-Aletsch region: This region, located in the Bernese Alps, is a designated UNESCO World Heritage site and has low levels of light pollution, making it a great place to observe the stars.
- Rhône Valley: The Rhône Valley, located in the Swiss Alps, is another area with low levels of light pollution and offers excellent stargazing opportunities.
- Observatory at the Swiss Museum of Transport: Located in Lucerne, the Observatory at the Swiss Museum of Transport has a large telescope and hosts regular stargazing events.
- Swiss Astronomy Society: The Swiss Astronomy Society hosts regular stargazing events at various locations around Switzerland. Check their website for upcoming events and locations.
It’s important to note that these locations may not always have ideal stargazing conditions due to weather or other factors. So keep this in mind when visiting when in Switzerland.
FRequently Asked Questions
Is Switzerland good for stargazing?
Overall we personally think yes, based on personal experience while out on a local mountain peak or during a late evening. Of course it all depends on the weather forecast and how clear the sky is at the time of your visit, as well as the big issue of light pollution from local cities.
For example, we recently spent August 2023 for a night at the top of Monte Bar in the Ticino canton, where we experienced a full clear and beautiful night sky. This location was perfect for stargazing, with it being quite far from the city of Lugano to experience stargazing.
We saw many shooting stars, as well as the Tiangong Space Station, Starlink satellites and many other satellite passing over during just a short period of looking up! We tracked the space station and Starlink with the app called ISS detector.
Good to know: Some locations even advertise and highlight night sky events, such as when a large Perseids meteor shower with up to 100 meteors an hour (August 2023) when all French-speaking cantons turned off their city lights!
Where can you see the Milky Way in Switzerland?
Like the question above, it’s possible to see the Milky Way in many locations Switzerland, depending on the light pollution and the weather.
It’s possible to see the Milky Way with no equipment too, visible to naked eye. This is something we experienced in both Ticino and Valais, with the Milky Way being amazingly clear to see!