Witnessing a sunrise or sunset is like experiencing a few magical moments of solitude and wonder. The hues of orange, pink, and gold sky serve as a reminder of the world’s natural beauty. While you can catch a pretty sunset or sunrise almost anywhere, some places offer a particularly breathtaking view. Here’s a list of the top 15 places in the world where the day’s first or last light is a sight you will never forget.
The palette of colors, from fiery orange to deep purple, makes every sunset in Santorini unique. Restaurants and cafes offer “sunset view” seating so you can dine while watching the sun dip below the horizon, encapsulating a perfect Greek evening.
Mount Fuji, Japan
Climbing the mountain at night to reach the summit for a sunrise view is a rite of passage for many. Local folklore says that a sunrise seen from Mt. Fuji can cleanse your soul, making the trek up this sacred mountain even more meaningful.
Grand Canyon, USA
Yavapai Point and Hopi Point are the most recommended spots to catch the sunset. The varied colors of the geological layers catch the sun’s rays differently, making each sunset a dazzling show of nature’s artistry.
Banff National Park, Canada
A morning hike in Banff can lead you to a secluded spot where you can enjoy the sunrise in peace. Two Jack Lake and Lake Minnewanka are among the best spots, offering mirrored reflections of the rising or setting sun.
Visiting the Taj Mahal at dawn is less crowded and allows you to feel a deeper connection with the architectural marvel. The Yamuna River behind the Taj also reflects the changing colors, doubling the beauty of the experience.
It can get chilly at Haleakalā’s summit, but the view is worth braving the cold. The Hawaiian name “Haleakalā” actually means “House of the Sun,” and once you see the sunrise here, you’ll understand why.
There are various viewpoints around Uluru to catch both sunrise and sunset. Given the site's spiritual significance for the local Anangu people, there’s a deeper, almost mystic, layer to experiencing the sun’s journey here.
Table Mountain, South Africa
Cable cars offer a quick ride to the summit to enjoy a sunset picnic. The Twelve Apostles mountain range in the distance adds to the dramatic panorama as the sun sets.
Atacama Desert, Chile
Some travelers say the Atacama sunset looks like something from another planet. The Valle de la Luna (Valley of the Moon) offers the most surreal backdrop, its name justifying the unearthly experience.
Key West, Florida
Street performers and food vendors add to the festive atmosphere at Mallory Square, making it a community gathering as much as a natural spectacle. The sight of sailboats drifting by as the sun sets is iconic.
The overwater bungalows in most resorts offer a perfect platform for uninterrupted sunset views. The sky and the water often merge in a canvas of colors, making it difficult to tell where one ends and the other begins.
Angkor Wat, Cambodia
The temple complex opens as early as 5:00 a.m., allowing visitors to claim a perfect spot for sunrise. Watching the sky light up behind the intricate spires is like traveling back in time.
Hot air balloons aren’t the only way to enjoy the sunrise; cave hotels and rooftop terraces offer equally stunning vistas. However, seeing hundreds of balloons floating alongside you at dawn is ethereal.
Pfeiffer Beach, California
The best time to capture the sunlight streaming through the rock is during the winter solstice. The purple sand owes its color to the manganese garnet particles that wash down from the hills, adding an extra layer of beauty.
Masai Mara, Kenya
Whether you’re on a dawn game drive or watching from the camp, the rising or setting sun adds drama to an already mesmerizing landscape. Seeing a lion or a herd of elephants silhouetted against the fiery sky is surreal.
So, the next time you plan a trip, consider one of these locations where the beginning or end of each day is celebrated with a spectacle of colors. These are more than just scenic spots; they offer a moment of reflection and a lifetime of memories.