Wherever you’re travelling to this year, there’s always an abundance of landmarks to tick off your itinerary. But sometimes the most spectacular views can be found by simply looking up at the sky. You might think that you’ve already seen plenty of sunsets but believe us when we say you’ve not seen anything like these. This round-up showcases the ten best sunsets in the world that are truly feats of nature…
1. Uluwatu Temple, Bali
Temples are a common sighting in Bali, but Uluwatu Temple, which perches on a cliff 250 meters above the crashing waves of the Indian Ocean, is unique. It’s open all day but many flock to the area in the late afternoon to secure a viewing spot on the edge of the cliff for optimal selfie taking and sunset gazing. This one does come with an admission charge (a nominal 30,000 IDR – around £1.50) but there’s plenty to do here beyond taking in the views, for example, a traditional Kecak dance is performed daily at 6pm on a special cliff-top stage.
Stay at Karma Backpacker House which is bang in the centre of Uluwatu and a short journey away from the temple.
2. Isle of Eigg, Scotland
Thanks to the less than reliable British summer weather, the UK doesn’t often get a look in when it comes to stunning sunsets. However, the Isle of Eigg, ten miles from the Scottish coast, is an exception. Here, a dramatic, orange-hued sunset plays striking contrast to the looming craggy peaks of Askival, Ainshval, Hallival, Trollival and Barkeval. Many choose to make the trip from Fort William (you’ll need to take the bus to Mallaig; where you can then take a ferry over to the Isle) and we recommend basing yourself at Fort William Backpackers a cosy hostel housed in a Victorian building.
3. Oia, Greece
This traditional whitewashed village is a highlight of Greek island Santorini. Travellers tread the cobbled streets in droves to reserve top viewing spots and there are plenty of bars, cafes and restaurants that promise dining with a view. The sunset is picture perfect: with blush pink tinges sweeping across the sky; reflecting off the stunning white buildings that teeter at the top of the cliff. Our top-rated hostel in Santorini is Caveland, which offers beautiful sea view terraces, communal kitchens, a large pool and plenty of character.
Image by needoptic from Flickr
4. Angkor Temples, Cambodia
This World Heritage site hardly needs an introduction. But just in case Cambodia isn’t on your radar then let us rewind. The Angkor region in Siem Reap is home to over one thousand stunning temples dating back to the 12th century. The most famous of all temples is Angkor Wat, which can be found on the Cambodian flag and is thought to be one of the largest religious buildings in the world. To catch the stunning sunset at this incredible location, many now head specifically to Pre Rup (aka pyramid tower) when sunset dawns. It’s the ideal spot to take in a burnt orange sunset that eclipses the sky; illuminating the surrounding tower of brick and laterite (a reddish clay). FYI, the most well-known spot to grab a sun-rise photo is by the pond which sits directly in front of the magnificent Angkor Wat. Siem Reap is teeming with hostels but party hostel Funky Flashpacker is perfect if you want to let your hair down after a day of exploring.
5. Sugarloaf Rock, Australia
This stunning granite rock formation is just over a mile from Cape Naturaliste; a coastal landform in Western Australia. Admittedly it is beautiful by day, but it becomes a thing of wonder in the evenings. The viewing platform located directly opposite Sugarloaf Rock allows you take in the landform in all its glory as the sun sets over the Indian Ocean behind it. If you’re lucky, you might also get a glimpse of the whales and dolphins that make this area their home. Dunsborough Beachouse is minutes from Sugarloaf Rock and situated right on the beach.
6. Negril, Jamaica
Everyone on the hunt for Negril’s epic sunsets comes to one place: Rick’s Cafe. Teetering on the edge of a 35 foot cliff, Rick’s Cafe is the prime spot to watch the sun go down; with a live reggae band filling the air and an extensive cocktail menu. With the waves crashing behind you, it’s hard to envision a better place to take in the blend of crimson and purple that bombards the sky. Stay at The Judy House in a cosy cottage nestled amongst beautiful gardens.
7. Yalong Bay, China
When you think of China, you often think of metropolitan skylines swirling with pollution, but you may be surprised to learn that this country has its fair share of illuminating sunsets too. Our top pick is Yalong bay, located in beach resort Sanya (yes, China has beaches too!) Its palm trees, golden beaches and clear waters make it the perfect place to stop and observe a truly stunning sunset. Stay at Sanya Backpackers, just a 5-minute stroll from the beach.
8. Klong Dao Beach, Koh Lanta, Thailand
The serene Thai Island of Koh Lanta is relatively uncrowded whatever time of year you visit; making it a welcome contrast to tourist-packed Koh Samui and party-capital Phuket. With a plethora of pristine sandy beaches, we’d recommend staying at Slacklines Hostel which is in easy reach of most of them. Klong Dao Beach is a highlight, with many choosing to grab a seat at the Indian Bar as the sun goes down and stay put for the fire show afterwards. The sunsets on this laid-back island really are some of the best in Thailand and the sky glows with shades of orange and pink.
9. Grotta, Iceland
An easy walk or bus ride from capital Reykjavik, Grotta is home to a lighthouse with spectacular views over much of Reykjavik, including volcanic mountain range Esja Mountain and Snaefellsnes glacier. The desolate lighthouse and surrounding nature provide a beautiful backdrop to the orange glow sunset. Wrap up warm, hang around and if you’re lucky, you might even get a glimpse of the Northern Lights too. Stay at Loft HI Hostel which is located in the heart of the capital.
10. Mt Srd, Croatia
Towering above the walls of Dubrovnik’s old town is Mt Srd; providing panoramic views of the historic city below it. Most choose to hop on a cable car to reach the top but it’s possible to hike up too should you be feeling energetic. The viewing platform can get crowded, so be prepared to queue or go off path. Either way, gazing down on the dramatic streaks of pink and orange that fill the sky, along with the twinkling lights of the city is truly an amazing experience. Old Town Hostel is your perfect place to explore everything Old Town has to offer.
About the author
Jenna Farmer is a freelance journalist from Warwickshire. Having spent several years working in China and travelling across South Asia, she’s now back in the UK. Jenna also runs A Balanced Belly, a blog all about living, eating and travelling with food intolerance.