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Destinations

The 6 best sunset spots in the world

Jul 06, 2022 by Erin Arbaugh

Around here, we consider ourselves the ultimate sunset seekers. We’ve chased twilight over Italian mountain ranges and across Australian beaches just to bathe in that tangerine glow. Maybe it’s because sunsets seem to rejuvenate the soul, or because nothing caps off a perfect day of travel quite like watching one of nature’s most stunning performances.

Whatever it is, we’re hooked, and our list of the best sunset spots just continues to grow. But if we had to choose our favorites, there are a handful that really stand out. So read on for the six hottest sunsets we’ve seen, as well as tips for how to make the most of them on tour.

Uluru Rock at Sunset in Australia

1. Uluru in Australia

Sundown is a showstopper at this UNESCO world heritage site in the Outback. As the final rays of the day dance across Uluru’s rough edges, the sandstone seems to glow red from within. Aboriginal people believe their ancestors’ spirits rest here, and it’s easy to see why—every evening, an ethereal mood rolls off the rock. This is, unequivocally, one of the most beautiful sunsets in the world.

“The sunset itself was gorgeous and unique because the desert is so flat around Uluru,” said staffer Thea. “It felt very much like being on another planet. I could see that sunset every night and still be in awe.”

Ways to have the best sunset experience at Uluru:

  • Hike to Talinguru Nyakunytjaku, a stunning, 360-degree viewing area near Uluru. Then meander the walking path until you find your perfect, quiet spot to watch.
  • Go during the rainy season from January to March. You’ll be one of the lucky few to see waterfalls cascade off Uluru and purple succulents creep across the desert. It’s the perfect off-season trip, with almost no crowds. Just remember to bring your sun hat—the Outback gets hot during these months. 
  • Bring a bug net or insect repellent. No matter the season, those little buggers are always buzzing about the rock, so spray yourself down or cover up.

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Cabin at 11pm sunset in Iceland

2. Iceland in the summer

Touch down in Iceland anytime from May to August, and you’re in for a wild experience: the midnight sun. During the summer, the sun only sets on this Nordic nation a few hours a day, which is one of the wild facts about Iceland. So, you’re going to need a nap and late-night snack to catch crisp, beautiful sunsets.

“I will never forget unzipping my tent at 11pm to see the sun skim Eyjafjallajökull volcano and basically come right back up,” said staffer Erin. “My friends and I still talk about it today. It was breathtaking.”

Ways to have the best sunset experience in Iceland: 

  • Get out of the city. Staffer Erin recommends heading south to Skógafoss waterfall, climbing the steps to the top, and taking a 10 minute (stunning) walk to Steinbogafoss viewpoint. It’s one of the best sunset spots in Iceland. “The waterfall steps are steep, but it’s so worth the thigh burn,” she said. “When you see the oranges and pinks on the water and the craggy rocks, it will make you feel so alive.”
  • Go during the Summer Solstice. That’s the longest day of the year, and it lands between June 21 and June 23. The sun sets just after midnight and rises a few minutes before 3am. Added bonus? The light dwindles but never fully fades, so you’re looking at hours of mystical twilight.
  • Pack a sweater (and maybe a hat). Don’t let that evening island light fool you—this is still Iceland, and it regularly drops below 40 degrees Fahrenheit at midnight.

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Yosemite at Sunset Firefall

3. El Capitan in February

Hike beneath this famous rock in late winter, and lava may appear to rip down its granite walls. But you haven’t discovered a volcano in Yosemite National Park. You’ve stumbled upon something even better: an ephemeral sunset experience.

It’s called Firefall, and sunset seekers the world over chase this fickle moment all year. The snowpack and temperature need to be just right for a fleeting waterfall to pop up on El Capitan. If those conditions happen to collide with a cloudless night, grab your camera and prepare for pure wonder. As the last of the sun runs across the rock’s upper ridges, it’ll look like magma cascading 3,000 feet to the valley floor. Natural wonders like this make Yosemite one of the must-see places in California.

Ways to have the best sunset experience in Yosemite:

  • Go the second week of February. That’s when the weather stars are most likely to align for the perfect Firefall conditions.
  • Set up by 2:30pm. The sun doesn’t set on El Capitan until around 5:30pm in February, but the crowds build quickly. So if you want the most primo viewpoint, pack a cooler and camp out early.
  • Don’t leave too soon. Many Firefall chasers give up about 15 minutes before the big event. That’s when El Capitan turns gray, and it seems like the sun has already set. But the coveted red falls don’t light up until the very last of the day’s rays hit the water. Just wait! You don’t want to miss one of the best sunsets in the world.

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Sea Organ at Sunset in Zadar, Croatia

4. The Sea Organ in Croatia

The sun dances to a new soundtrack every evening on tour in Zadar, Croatia. There, along the edge of the Adriatic, locals gather on the Sea Organ steps to see—and hear—this experience. As you watch the sun melt into the horizon, soothing tones bellow from small holes below your feet. The music feels like magic, but it’s actually a brilliant art installation—crashing waves fill the holes, creating a symphony of whale-like notes. This is unequivocally one of the best places to see the sunset.

“With sailboats in the distance adding to the ambiance, it felt more like a painting than real life!” said staffer Amanda.

Ways to have the best sunset experience in Croatia:

  • Pack a picnic. The Sea Organ steps make for a romantic, date-night dinner. Pop a bottle of Graševina wine, pair it with Dalmatian pršut (prosciutto), and you’re looking at a night you’ll never forget.
  • Keep the evening going at the Greeting to the Sun installation. Just a one-minute walk from the Sea Organ, this giant kaleidoscope illuminates the night. Millions of photocells soak up the sun all day so you can see one of the best light shows on the planet.

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Sunset on lake in Sorrento

5. Bagni della Regina Giovanna in Sorrento

Tucked into a cove along the Sorrento coast, you’ll find this lush, seaside spot… and the perfect place to see one of the most stunning beach sunsets. This rocky stretch is a secret, local beach and the former site of a sprawling, first-century villa. Queen Giovanna of Naples is said to have entertained lovers in the villa’s turquoise pools at sunset, and it’s no wonder—the shimmering water radiates romance at golden hour.

“From this spot, we had an incredible view of Capri, and the sunset behind it,” said staffer Claire, who swam here on her honeymoon. “There was a group of Italian men nearby loudly singing along to Pavarotti’s Nessun Dorma. The grand crescendo of the song was perfectly timed to the exact moment the sun passed below the horizon, and it felt like this was the iconic moment we’d always dreamed of experiencing in Italy!”

Ways to have the best sunset experience in Sorrento:

  • Wear water shoes. The hike down to the cove is very rocky, as is the beach. But both are gorgeous.
  • Pack a backpack. The best sunset spots are often remote. This one’s no exception. You won’t find any snack shacks or cabanas here. Stuff a bag with towels, snacks, water, and plenty of sunscreen so you can soak up the sun and make it to sunset without a sunburn.

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Group of Travelers posing at Sunset in Tanzania

6. A safari lodge in Tanzania

Giraffes grazing against the setting sun? Elephants trumpeting as the last rays kiss Mount Meru? This isn’t a scene from Lion King. It’s just your average evening on safari in Tanzania, although it will feel anything but. After a long game drive on the Serengeti, there’s nothing more relaxing than settling in on your lodge’s deck to watch the wildlife roam the savanna under a cotton-candy sky.

Ways to have the best sunset experience in Tanzania:

  • Set the mood at sundowners. That’s the traditional happy hour in Tanzania. It’s the perfect place to find fellow travelers to share the sunset experience with. “One of my favorite memories was sitting with my group members at the end of the day to enjoy sundowners at our lodges,” said staffer Jamie. “It was so nice to have a drink on the outdoor patio overlooking the landscape.”
  • Keep your binoculars close. You won’t want to miss a moment of the animal action as the sun sets. “Animals tend to get more active as the hot African sun goes down,” said staffer Jamie. “We got to watch elephants, zebras, and more right from the deck during sunset. It was so amazing.” Find more tips in our guide to Tanzania’s national parks →

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About the author | Erin Arbaugh
Erin grew up in New York’s winding woods, where she discovered a love for a lot of adventure, a little danger, and plenty of bug spray. Since then, she’s backpacked across Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull volcano in a white out snowstorm, gone waterfall jumping in Costa Rica, and escaped the Patagonian wilderness just before COVID slammed the borders shut. Erin’s never met a food she won’t try once (lookin’ at you, fermented shark) or a wallet she can’t lose at least twice on any trip. Luckily, just like every trip's memories, it always comes right back.

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