Is there anything more beautiful than a really gorgeous sunset, in the brief moment between the sun touching the horizon and disappearing beneath it?
That was a rhetorical question – because no, there isn’t – and now new research from Lensbest has 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 made 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 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 serves up stunning sunset views.