World-class sunsets

Whether you’re one to get up at the crack of dawn to catch a beautiful sunrise and get started with the day or are more of a night owl, you can’t deny the beauty of a really gorgeous sunset. There’s something about that brief moment between the sun touching the horizon and disappearing beneath it that evokes a sense of calm and peace within you.

Luckily, new research from Lensbest has determined the best places in the world to catch a beautiful sunset. Lensbest asked travel journalists from 46 different countries to nominate the best sunset-watching spots around the globe.

From the shores of the Aegean to the jagged rock formations of Arizona, these luminescent locations make up the top five.

1. Santorini, Greece
One of the most beautiful islands on Earth – at any time of day – it’s no surprise to see this jewel of the Mediterranean topping the twilight charts. Santorini’s white-washed facades are famous the world over and come alive amid the evening glow, often clustered evenly down a hillside for maximum exposure. If you don’t mind crowds, and the incessant clicking of cameras, the northern town of Oia is said to offer the best views on the island. Otherwise, pretty much anywhere west facing will do.

2. The Grand Canyon, USA
Many of the world’s great sunset spots rely at least partly on the reflective ripples of the ocean, but the Grand Canyon manages to create the same rippling, colour-shifting effect sunsets have on the sea – with only layers of rock. As the sun sinks beneath the horizon, the sedimentary layers shine deepest crimson to softest brown, and the almost uniquely jagged terrain splays light and shadow in all directions. A mecca for photographers, the UNESCO-listed site is entirely immobile, yet changes beyond recognition at different times of the day.

3. Mykonos, Greece
Taking a leaf straight from the Santorini playbook, Mykonos is scattered with dazzlingly white cottages standing out against otherwise dusty hillsides. Best known as a party island that comes alive after nightfall, Mykonos is also chock-a-block with sunset spots from which to watch the Mediterranean change colour as day turns to dusk. Perhaps most popular is Little Venice, a rustic waterfront leading straight into the sea, alongside the oft-photographed windmills that adorn the covers of most guidebooks.

4. The Taj Mahal, India
Natural generally trumps man-made for looking good in a dusky glow, but the Taj Mahal is an exception to most rules. Built by a Mughal Shah as a mausoleum for his beloved wife, the building famously changes colour as the day wears on, shining pale pink at sunrise, dazzling white at noon, and a deep orange-brown come sunset. Reflected by the Yamuna River on one side, and on the other, a long ornamental pool, the pearly marble of the Taj gleams even in low light, and its radiant symmetry precedes it the world over.

5. Madeira, Portugal
West of Morocco and north of the Canary Islands, the Portuguese archipelago of Madeira reads like a checklist of sunset specialities. Ringed by one of the calmer sections of the Atlantic, the semi-tropical climate ensures year-round mild heat, while the mountainous terrain offers natural panoramas aplenty. It is said that when explorers first came upon Madeira, they thought its dark jagged cliffs signalled the gates of hell. Today, the rugged shorelines simply serve up stunning sunset views.

Now we’ve heard about the international sunsets, we can’t forget about the spectacular beauty held right here in our homeland. Experience Oz hosted a poll that allowed the public to vote on the best sunsets to catch in Australia.

Busselton, Western Australia
This small seaside town has been named WA’s top tourist destination in three separate years. Busselton hosts an impressive jetty that extends 1/8km into the waters of Geographe Bay and is a great spot to sit back and enjoy one of the town’s famed sunsets. Spectators often comment on the unusual but distinct indigo-purple tinge.

Mt Kosciuszko, NSW
Mt Kosciuszko is Australia’s tallest peak and the snow and surrounding mountains reflect the gold and red hues of each sunset.

Uluru, Northern Territory
The sun setting over Uluru is perhaps one of Australia’s most iconic images.

Moreton Island, Queensland
The boat wrecks that dot the coastline of Moreton Island are arguably what makes this sunset special. The famous Tangalooma Wrecks were purposefully sunk to create a break wall for local fishermen, but the reflection of the sunlight as it sets produces a distinct landscape and a beautiful view.

Grampians National Park, Victoria
There are multiple spots to take in a sunset here, thanks to the various canyons, gorges, peaks and valleys, but the most popular is ‘The Balconies’.

Do you prefer a sunrise or a sunset?

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YourLifeChoices Writers
YourLifeChoices Writers
YourLifeChoices' team of writers specialise in content that helps Australian over-50s make better decisions about wealth, health, travel and life. It's all in the name. For 22 years, we've been helping older Australians live their best lives.
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