Sunsets Hero

Where to see the world’s best sunsets

Discover eight spots around the globe where you can witness a truly sublime sunset

October 2020

By Tristan Parker

While you may have witnessed many a sunset, how many of them will you really remember in the years to come? Boost that number, and see some of the most exciting places on the planet while you’re at it, with our guide to the best sunsets in the world.

Santorini Sunset

See the stunning colours of a Santorini sunset © Clark Van Der Beken/Unsplash

Santorini, Greece

Often cited as the most beautiful sunset in the world, Santorini’s offering is indeed a magical sight. The most popular areas to catch the spectacle are centred around the small village of Oia, where you get the full view of dreamy white-washed Greek houses backdropped by an incredible pink sky. You can book a Princess excursion that takes you directly to Oia in good time for the sunset after sampling local wines at a nearby vineyard. Just be sure to have your camera at the ready.

Fairy Glen Sunset

A mesmerising sunset at Fairy Glen © VisitScotland/Kenny Lam

Isle of Skye, Scotland

Who says you need to go far from home for a life-affirming sunset? Head to the wild and rugged Isle of Skye in the Scottish Highlands and pick your spot. Neist Point is a favourite haunt, as is the otherworldly and suitably named Fairy Glen, and the Trotternish peninsula in the far north of Skye. Even if bad weather foils your viewing, you’re surrounded by some of the finest and most dramatic landscape in the UK, so you certainly won’t be short on visual thrills.

Couple on beach during El Matador sunset

Take a sunset walk on El Matador Beach © Nathan Dumlao/Unsplash

El Matador Beach, Malibu, United States

Reachable from Santa Barbara via a scenic coastal drive down California’s iconic Highway 101, El Matador Beach is blessed with blissful sunset views. Here, the swirling skies, which glow deep blue or hazy orange, are also framed by wild, golden rock formations standing tall just offshore. If you’ve got time to spare in Santa Barbara beforehand, take in the gorgeous historical Old Mission Santa Barbara, or catch some of nature’s most impressive creatures at play on a Princess whale-watching trip.

Lake Tekapo Sunset

The sun setting in beautiful Lake Tekapo © Peter Hammer/Unsplash

Lake Tekapo, New Zealand

It won’t surprise you to learn that New Zealand has numerous sunset hotspots, but one that’s off the tourist trail and worth seeking out is Lake Tekapo. An hour away from the port of Timaru, this beautiful town offers magnificent sunset opportunities, thanks to vast open spaces that allow for strokes of colour as far as the eye can see. The peace and tranquillity here really adds to the experience – you’ll feel like you’re the only person on the planet watching this dazzling natural wonder.

Angkor Wat Sunset

One for the bucket-list: the sun setting over Angkor Wat © Remi Yuan/Unsplash

Angkor Wat, Cambodia

The mind-blowing maze of Buddhist temples that make up Angkor Archaeological Park in northern Cambodia is a beguiling place to wander at any time of day, but watching the sun slowly dip between the spires of Angkor Wat, the most famous temple in the complex, is a unmissable sight. But what to do here before sunset? At over 400sq km, the park has plenty to keep you busy, and the sheer creative beauty of some of the sites is genuinely difficult to put into words. See it for yourself and you’ll understand. FYI, the sunrises from parts of Angkor Wat are pretty spectacular too.

Arpoador Sunset

Rio's sky fills with lilac and orange as dusk arrives © Jason Ortego/Unsplash

Arpoador, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

There’s not much that Rio de Janeiro doesn’t boast, including Instagram-perfect sunsets. Arpoador, the rocky outcrop at the end of the famous Ipanema Beach, is one of the best places in town for a superb view of the sun going down. Watching the light gradually fall into the sea while the golden sands of Ipanema Beach arc out in front of you is a real bucket-list moment. If you’re spending the day in Rio before sunset, be sure to tick off the highlights, including seeing Christ the Redeemer towering above the city and riding a cable car to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain for even more fantastic views.

Grótta lighthouse, Iceland sunset

The clear views at Grótta lighthouse make for perfect sunset viewing © Grimur Grimmson/Unsplash

Grótta lighthouse, Iceland

Soak up the crystal-clear sunset skies found off Iceland’s coast by making the short journey from central Reykjavik to this tucked-away lighthouse. Locals love trekking out to Grótta for sunset and it’s not hard to see why – it’s a welcome dose of escapism and you’ll likely be rewarded with orange, pink, blue and purple-hued skies as you gaze out across the ocean. Don’t forget to experience Iceland’s other charms when back in the ‘real’ world, such as visiting the sights on the renowned Golden Circle route and taking a dip in warm geothermal waters at the Blue Lagoon.

Taj Mahal Sunset

A cloud of peach surrounds the Taj Mahal as the sun goes down © Rowan Heuvel/Unsplash

Taj Mahal, Agra, India

A classic and with good reason: watching the sunset here is, quite simply, unforgettable. Agra’s dazzling marble mausoleum is awe-inspiring by itself, but wait around until sunset and you’re in for even more of a treat when the sky burns an intense orange and the Taj Mahal seems to glow. But while the Taj may dominate any Agra schedule, there are other activities in the city as well. Two of the best are the mighty Agra Fort – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – and Mehtab Bagh, an extensive series of luscious green gardens where you can also glimpse the Taj Mahal from across the river.

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About the Author

Tristan Parker

Tristan Parker

Tristan is a journalist writing about travel, lifestyle and music. Writing has taken him all over the world, though he seems to spend a lot of time in Spain and Scandinavia, which is fine by him. His belief that you can learn a lot about a place by sitting in the local bar for a few hours has worked out well so far.