Close to the heavens

The Rhön Star Park at night

Staying outside on a clear starry night and allowing the dark to unfold is particularly worth it in the Rhön. Because of the sparse population density, the light pollution is relatively low. This means that you can not only enjoy a wonderful night’s sleep, but also experience natural night skies. And that is precisely what I am giving a try.

In the Rhön, you get your money’s worth as a moon and star gazer: from here, you have a particularly good view of the stars and planets as well as the Milky Way and shooting stars. The astronomy platform on the Hohe Gebe provides the best views of the night sky. If you want to find out more about astronomy, go on a moonlight hike with one of the Rhön star experts, take astronomical evening walks with them or listen to their fascinating talks – like I am doing. 

Walking in the dark

A guided tour of the stars beneath a cloudy sky? That’s not what I had in mind… But Sabine, a certified star guide of the Rhön UNESCO Biosphere Reserve is confident: “The clouds are sure to clear soon. Besides, they provide the perfect backdrop for a completely different player in the night sky.” Everyone looks upwards. As if by magic, the clouds part a little and reveal the moon.

©Oliver Eisenmann, Rhön GmbH

Wow! Perfect timing for the start of our astronomical night hike. After around 20 minutes of hiking, the clouds really have cleared. We keep stopping to admire the beauty of the Rhön’s night sky. Thousands of stars are twinkling down on us in spite of the lustre of the moon. Isn’t that the Big Dipper? And over there, isn’t that the North Star? Fortunately, Sabine shares her astronomical knowledge with us: we determine the diameter of the moon with the help of a pea. Each of the six participants is hanging on her every word. The two hours go by like a flash. I could listen to Sabine enthusing about the night sky for hours. My conclusion about the star hike? It was a magical nature experience during which I learned a lot.

Another tip: you can also visit the planetarium in Bad Salzungen, where you will find interesting facts about the night sky presented in a very vivid way.

The inhabitants of the night

With a little luck, you may also spot other things during your star hike: bats dancing. Glow worms shining. Owls hooting. Hedgehogs rustling. It does not always have to be the big things that make a holiday special. In the Rhön, it is also the little things. It is enough to experience nature with your eyes and ears open, to get a feel for it. It is and always will be the best adventure playground.

More Information about the International Dark Sky Place - Rhön



Romantic Accommodation

In a star caravan, you can experience the beautiful darkness of the Rhön in a particularly cosy way. The glass roof gives you an unrestricted view of the majestic night sky, which you can enjoy in comfort even in the coldest winter’s night – from a caravan heated by a wood-burning stove. What could be a better way of enjoying the Rhön Star Park? Image ©Robert Wolf, Thüringer Tourismus GmbH

Header Image: ©Werner Klug, Rhön GmbH

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