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Best Places to Watch the Sunset

Watching the sun set seems like a rare treat with all the day-to-day nonsense, but it’s possible to make it a real luxury by seeing the sun melt into the horizon from a spectacular location. Whether from a mountaintop, next to the ocean, on a glacier or at the top of a skyscraper, looking to the west has never been so inspiring than from these 10 incredible vantage points.

1. Santorini, Greece

The Greek island of Santorini is all that remains of an ancient volcano that once exploded leaving a huge volcanic caldera, now filled with water, at its center. Visitors know they’re in for something special as soon as their boat pulls into the harbour, with the island’s cliffs rising vertically hundreds of feet straight from the sea. The island’s settlements sit perched on top of these cliffs and every sundown thousands of people come out to watch the sun dip below the horizon and witness the colorful hues juxtaposed against the white buildings of Santorini and the blue Aegean Sea.

2. Uluru, Australia

Rising out of nowhere, the massive monolith dominates the outback and the eye. Visitors can watch spellbound as the rock’s light show cascades through otherworldly reds, oranges, yellows and pinks, reflecting the clouds and sky above. It’s also possible to walk around or climb the sandstone giant. Sunset is when the rock literally glows, though, and practically pulses through the light changes, cementing its status as the heart of Australia.

3. Tanzania

Home of the Serengeti and Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania is achingly beautiful. The luminous sunset sets off the wide spread acacia trees and occasional herd of animals, looking like something straight out of The Lion King. From Barafu Camp on Mt. Killimanjaro, the sun sets into a sea of clouds, giving the impression that you may well be in heaven. If the sky clears, climbers can see both the stars above and the lights of Moshi from 10,000 feet below for double the glow.

4. Atacama Desert, Chile

Valle de la Luna, or Moon Valley, is a popular area for visitors to see the sun set and the stars glow. The otherworldly look of the endless rocky outcroppings and sand dunes emits a rather forbidding feel, and the slashes of color that light up the sky at sunset offer one last hint of warmth before the cold really settles in. Seeing the moonrise and cosmos simply heightens the fantastic appeal. Alternatively, drive up to the El Tatio geysers, the highest geyser plain in the world, to see the sun sink into the sand dunes.

5. Maui, Hawaii

There’s really no wrong place to watch the sun go down on Maui. Pulling over on the way back from Hana to watch the sunset is just the cherry on an already perfect day, while simply enjoying a beer next to the beach is also pretty ideal. There’s the chance to chase the sunset on Mt Haleakala. The list could go on and on, but it’s really just enough to know that it’ll be nothing less than stunning from whichever location you choose.

6. Angkor Wat, Cambodia

One of Asia’s most beautiful ancient sites, Angkor Wat is enchanting all day long, but at sunset, it’s like the whole reason for this being built suddenly becomes clear. There are more than 30 vantage points to see the sunset, from hilltops to a gondola ride. From nearly every available point, visitors can see the sky turn from searing yellows and oranges to much more mellow purples, which is pierced only by the ridged tops of the temples and the “oohs” of others standing near.

7. Tahiti

Sunset doesn’t get any more picturesque than on the South Pacific island of Tahiti. The last bits of daylight filter through the palm fronds, before pulling back and throwing vibrant warm hues across the sky. In no time, the palm trees, hills and the occasional boat are nothing but silhouettes, turning the show into distinct parts that equal the sum of a spectacular sunset.

8. Stonehenge, England

Stonehenge may have mysterious origins, but there’s no doubting that there’s definitely a celestial element to it. On clear days, the sunset is always spectacular, but it certainly deserves extra attention on the solstices and equinoxes when modern-day Druids, Pagans and visitors pack in to witness what the ancients saw thousands of years ago.

9. Empire State Building, New York

This one’s a must for rom-com lovers everywhere. Cemented by Sleepless in Seattle as a place of true love, the Empire State Building evokes a feeling that everything will be alright, especially when watching the sun go down over one of the most vibrant cities on Earth. And who knows, maybe certain someone will be waiting up on the viewing deck!

10. Taj Mahal, India

Dulcet tones of yellow, orange and pink enhance the warm glow of the Taj Mahal at sunset. With such a saturated palette against the white marble and delicate carvings, this striking sunset is a paragon of romance, and one that will whisk away any negative thoughts, along with the sun, into the night.