Like snowflakes, no two sunsets are ever alike. There is certainly no shortage of places around the world to watch our favorite star sink beyond the horizon, igniting the sky with radiant hues that cast magic over the surrounding scenery. Whether you are atop a mountain peak, overlooking the ocean or at a UNESCO World Heritage Site, watching a sunset can be a romantic, photogenic and awe-inspiring experience. Orange, pink, purple, yellow and red infuse the dusky view – perhaps with a green flash, if you’re lucky. Sometimes it’s hard to believe the colorful canvas in front of you really exists. These are our top 10 spectacular places to watch the sunset.
1. Grand Canyon, Arizona
There is no one best place to watch the sunset in the Grand Canyon. There’s just good, better and more amazing places. Everywhere you turn, the sinking sun decorates the sky and canyon rocks with a blaze of color. Some of the preferred photo ops are the scenic viewpoints along the south rim of the canyon. Yavapai Point provides one of the best panoramic views of the inner canyon while the Toroweap Overlook lets you gaze over the river. The light and shadow play at dusk makes for some of the most breathtaking scenery on the planet. To witness a truly spectacular sunset, try taking a helicopter ride over the canyon.
2. The Maldives
Sparkling clear ocean waters, white sand beaches and impossibly romantic resorts puts the Maldives on this list of places to watch the sunset. The postcard-worthy skies here are nothing less than extraordinary when they display shades of pink, purple, orange and red. The thatched roof resorts that stretch out into the water make the perfect place to sit out on the docks and witness the heavenly magic. When booking a stay any of these Maldives resorts, be sure to ask for a room on the sunset side.
3. Serengeti, Tanzania
Watching the orange sun sink slowly beyond the horizon is only made better by the silhouette of African animals grazing. One of the world’s most exciting places to watch the sunset is the plains of the Serengeti. The Tanzania landscape is home to wildlife such as African elephants, wildebeest, giraffes and lions, who often become more active at dusk. Watching the fiery ball drop while the sky illuminates into a crimson vista as the nocturnal creatures come out to play is about as stunning as it gets.
4. Santa Monica Pier, California
Watching the sunset at Santa Monica Pier is one for the bucket list. It may be a bit touristy, but the picture perfect image won’t disappoint. The twinkling lights of the Ferris wheel reflecting off the breaking waves, fishermen casting off along the edges, cyclists peddling on the bike path to Venice Beach, people lounging on the wide stretch of sand, athletes swinging from equipment at “Muscle Beach”, the cliffs hugging the coast towards Malibu – it’s all part of the experience. The celestial show starts when the sky turns unimaginable colors and reflects off the ocean. If you’ve ever gazed at a classic sunset photo with a pier in the background, it was likely taken here.
5. Santorini, Greece
Santorini may just be the most famous spot to soak in beautiful sunsets. This idyllic Greek island features cliff-hugging towns and amazing ocean views, creating a romantic spot to watch the sun sink even if you’re not with a partner. The contrast of the dark hills, stark white houses and sparkling blue ocean create a magical feeling as dusk turns to dark. Add a cocktail or glass of wine in hand and you’ll be saying opa in no time.
6. Mount Haleakala, Hawaii
Maui’s Mount Haleakala is Hawaii’s highest peak at 10,000 feet up, and it provides the perfect backdrop for an incredible sunset. Haleakala actually means “house of sun” in Hawaiian. As you stand on what feels like the top of the world watching the sun disappear into the fluffy clouds below, you will understand why so many people choose to take in the sunset here. You can drive all the way up to the top, so its not just for avid hikers anymore. This Hawaiian volcano is an unforgettable spot to say goodbye to the day’s rays.
7. Ipanema Beach, Rio de Janeiro
This world famous beach is known for its cool elegance, laid back Latin vibe and incredible sunsets. Located in the bustling city of Rio de Janeiro, this sexy beach offers an oasis of beauty in the craziness of the city. The best place to watch the sunset is from Arpoador, a small peninsula located at the beginning of Ipanema Beach. You will want to come early to stake your spot, as tourists and locals flock here to watch the spectacular show as the sun disappears behind the striking mountains. It’s not uncommon for the crowd to burst out in applause at the sunset show!
8. Mount Bromo, Indonesia
Most visitors flock to this peak to watch the sublime sunrise. What they don’t realize is that the sunset is just as amazing and much less crowded. In order to catch the sunrise, visitors must journey there in the middle of the night, and more often than not are faced with a cloudy view once they reach the top. However, heading there for sunset leaves you more time to energy to enjoy the sacred scenery. We can’t think of a better place to watch the sun disappear than on the crater rim of an active volcano.
9. Stonehenge, England
One of the most visited archeological sites in the world looks even more mystical as the sun is setting. For thousands of years, travelers have been coming here to watch as the sun peeks through these gigantic stone formations that are loaded with history, lore and astronomical significance. For those wanting to get up close and personal with the stones, sunset tours can be booked where guides will actually take you inside the circle, normally off-limits to visitors. As the sun turns a brilliant orange and casts shadows through these majestic formations, there won’t be anywhere else you’d rather be.
10. Grundarfjordur, Iceland
This tiny fishing village located in the west region of Iceland makes for some spellbinding extended sunset views. Summer is the time to go for this, as November through February the sun often disappears entirely. Visiting late June through August will have you delighting in the spectacular skies that never totally get dark. Dusk and dawn seem to blend into each other in the land of the midnight sun this time of year. The scenery of the mountain range, the harbor and the sky turning amazing colors will have you never wanting to leave.