Sunsets are not only colorful, one-of-a-kind displays — they’re also mesmerizing. Research shows that a relaxing sunset enhances our mood and promotes relaxation. Psychologists say that if we pause long enough to admire a setting sun on the horizon, time slows down, creating moments similar to those experienced through meditation. Whether the skies are exploding with color over a vast ocean or blanketing a wide-open plain in an aura of light, glorious sunsets are a big part of the splendor of the world’s most beautiful destinations.
South of the Isle of Skye, just ten miles off of the west coast of Scotland, the Isle of Eigg has a population of about 100 people. Jump aboard a ferry to get to the island, then hire a bike or kayak or set out on foot to explore the small isle. One of the best sunset views is from the black-and-white sand beach on the Bay of Laig. The vivid orange- and purple-hued sunsets highlighting the cliffs along the Scottish coast are nothing less than awe-inspiring.
The island of Santorini, in the southern Aegean Sea, is about 120 miles southeast of Greece’s mainland. The town of Oia is famous for its sunsets; so much so, you’re likely to encounter a crowd while finding the perfect spot to observe the magical view. The light reflects off of the white buildings that sit on the edge of the cliffs overlooking the ocean, and ribbons of blush-pink and orange light up the evening sky.
The two-hour drive from Maui to the summit of the volcano in the Haleakala National Park may seem long, but it’s worth it. The best sunset views are from the observatory. Once you’ve reached the summit, look out over the tops of billowy clouds toward the west to face the golden light emanating from the setting sun. Unobstructed streams of light flash across the sky as it melds with the horizon, producing radiant views as far as the eye can see.
The Australian Outback is home to infinite natural wonders and unique wildlife, and its sunsets are no less sensational. Uluru, or Ayers Rock, is an Aboriginal sacred place, a massive sandstone rock formation in Australia’s Northern Territory. The wide-open landscape provides unhindered views of the setting sun. As the colors emerge across the sky, Uluru’s appearance slowly changes. Blue and purple hues spread across its terracotta dome, creating a vivid and striking contrast to the deep ochre red and violet sunset behind it.
There is no shortage of serene, panoramic views throughout this island utopia. Palm and casuarina trees line pearl-white beaches, setting the visual stage for what occurs across its evening skies. Extraordinary sunsets can be seen from Promthep Cape, but the rooftop bars along the coast also provide optimal views. Order a cocktail, sit back, and take in the picturesque red-orange and hot pink sky as the sun begins its descent into the Andaman Sea.
The vast ecosystem that is the Serengeti Plain is one of Mother Nature’s most remarkable creations. It extends 12,000 miles across east-central Africa, with herds of giraffe, zebras, elephants, gazelles, and wildebeests making their home here. Evening safaris provide a front-row seat to the red, yellow, and orange eruption of color across the skies, bathing everything below in a golden light.
Environmentalists have singled out Lake Annecy, the third-largest lake in France, as the cleanest in Europe. Its crystal clear waters are ideal for swimming, sailing, and diving. The spectacular French Alps rise up all around, creating a frame that adds even more splendor to the evening skies. For the most amazing sunset, make your way to the Pass of La Forclaz. You’ll capture beautiful views of the lake beneath a blazing sunset sky.
As if one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World wasn’t enough to leave you awestruck, how about adding in an Egyptian sunset? As the evening rolls around, the haze lifts. The sun begins its decline toward the horizon and a beautiful, golden light eases across the skyline, highlighting the pyramids from behind and adding a shimmering, enchanting appearance to the sands and the pyramids.
The Tibetan settlement of Tawang in the far northeastern part of India is home to the famous Tawang Monastery, the second largest monastery in the world. The sixth Dalai Lama, Tsangyang Gyatso, was born here and while it is a sacred site for Buddhists, its natural beauty is an inviting and spiritual draw for all. The gentle magnificence of Tawang’s pastel and gold-colored skies as the sun falls slowly behind the imposing mountain peaks is mesmerizing.
About an hour’s train ride from Kyoto and Osaka, Nara is a must-see for anyone wishing to experience traditional Japanese culture. You’ll find ancient temples here, as well as the famous Nara Park, home to hundreds of deer that reside peacefully among the cherry blossom trees. One of the best spots to capture an enchanting sunset is at Nigatsu-do Hall with its panoramic views of the city. The bright orange and yellow hues gently fade into a rainbow of hazy pastels as the sun disappears below the horizon.
You’d expect no less from a spot called Monument to the Sun, but this magical spot in Zadar, a Croatian city on the Adriatic Sea, hosts an unforgettable sunset. Stand on the outdoor, solar-powered dance floor which absorbs sunlight throughout the day. As you watch the setting sun sink into the sea, the sky above bursts in clusters of orange, violet, and yellow. Once the sun has slipped below the horizon, the floor lights up in colorful patterns that illuminate the night.
The capital city of the Northern European Republic of Estonia is a marvel, with an amazing mixture of medieval history and modern comforts. Climb one of the observation towers to capture views of the sun setting across the city. The most inspiring views are of Old Town, a Unesco-protected 14th and 15th-century neighborhood. As the sun falls lower in the sky, the twinkling lights of the city merge with the sun’s golden hues creating majestic perspectives of the ancient city.
Situated on the northern coastline of Subic Bay in southern Zambales, Subic is a popular travel destination with lots of sailing, extreme water sports, ecotourism tours, and amusement parks. But despite Subic’s popularity, it’s not hard to find a nice, quiet spot to take in one of its dazzling sunsets. Head to Dungaree Beach, a less crowded area where you can enjoy a cool ocean breeze and golden- and cotton candy-colored skies that reflect off the ocean.
This national park sits inside a mountainous area about two and a half hours from Quebec City, surrounded by high cliffs and a dense forest. It’s the perfect locale for fun-filled adventures year-round. There are plenty of coves along the hiking trails providing optimal views of the stunning sunsets. Or, venture into the waters of the fjord aboard a kayak for a unique, spellbinding, sundown experience.
Imagine a palette with every conceivable shade of color in a sunset, and you’ve just described what you'll see over the Grand Canyon. Some of the best sunset displays occur during the summer months when thunderstorms create a mass of clouds across the sky. As the day gives way to the gloaming, the clouds reflect a throng of brilliant hues, from deep purple to neon yellow-orange, and pink-tinged shades. A heavenly light washes over the ochre-colored rock formations in the canyon below, illuminating stunning views as far as the eye can see.