Stargazing on Hvar island for a peace of mind
Hvar island is the perfect place to experience stargazing. If you haven’t tried, it is a must since the feeling is not easy to explain. Get away from the everyday stress and find a peace of mind.
I was lucky to spend my childhood on Hvar Island, growing up away from city lights and chaos – enjoying simple living, beautiful nature, and dark night skies. Looking back, I can see how I took many of these things for granted, as these things were simply the norm.
Summers were the best – carefree holidays were filled with endless hours at the beach or exploring the area by bike. Evenings, on the other hand, were often reserved for the stars. My friends and I would often find a quiet spot on the pier in Jelsa, my hometown on Hvar island, and we would gaze at the sky for hours, dreaming of faraway places. There was something magical and meditative about it.
And then, I grew up (a figure of speech 😉 ). I moved to a city and started with “real life”. University, then jobs, then growing a business, and so on. And in all of this, I lost the habit of looking up to the skies. That was, until summer 2020, when time slowed down due to COVID-19.
I was at the sea with my friends, AndAdventure guides, circumnavigating Hvar island by kayak. We decided to explore every single bay along the way – and there were plenty. (You can read more about this adventure here.)
We would kayak during the day and wild camp for the nights. We were often camping in beautiful tucked-away bays, away from any light pollution. And it was during this time that it happened again: having time to gaze at stars for hours. Laying there, breathing, mesmerized by the sky and not doing anything else. It becomes a time to process emotions, just because there are no other distractions – only stars and silence. It just reminded me how precious these moments are, how much I enjoyed them, and how much I appreciate those moments even more today.
When I learned that my hometown had decided to start a project and create a Dark Sky Park in Humac, a small abandoned shepherd settlement on the island’s ridge, my heart filled with excitement. It is not just because of the fantastic potential this project might have for all interested in astronomy, but also because of the opportunity for many people from light polluted areas to experience how extraordinary stargazing can be.
Did you know that approximately 80% of Europe’s inhabitants can’t see the Milky Way anymore from their residence because of the light pollution?
The designation of the International Dark Sky Park is a unique way of promoting the protection of the night sky in the world, and a special recognition of the protected landscape, which provides added value and attractiveness in terms of nature protection in tourism as well. The label is awarded to protected areas of nature that have incredibly dark skies full of stars and implement programs to popularize astronomy, educate the public on light pollution, and actively promote and preserve the night sky for present and future generations.
When was the last time that you had the opportunity to soak the beauty of clear dark skies with millions of stars twinkling above you?
If you’re reading this and you happen to have lived in a city your whole life, and you’ve never laid down on a beach or meadow to watch the stars, go do that now! Or, at least make plans to get somewhere dark in the next 6 months and see for yourself.
Stargazing is something (I feel) that everyone should experience because it does feed the mind and soul. Observe the night sky; combine seeing your new holiday location with getting under the stars and sipping a glass of wine. And just be.