Sunsets are special. They change the world for a moment.
As the light fades and the sky changes colour, everything around us looks different. Sunsets can lift our spirits because even a bad day can end with a beautiful gift from the sky.
I think that’s why they make such an impression on us, why we turn our face to the last light of the sun so eagerly: because they suggest life doesn’t have to be the way it seems. Change can come. Beauty can appear. There is hope.
I was reflecting on the best sunsets in the world that I’ve seen so far, and here they are…
Most Spectacular: Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
I’ll never forget watching this pink sunset over the salt flats of Uyuni as long as I live. As the sun got lower in the sky, it’s light caught the edges of the salt hexagons. It brought the ‘flats’ into relief and turned the whole place first a warm yellow, and then pink. It felt pretty magical. I feel like it could be the most beautiful sunset in the world.
I’d love to visit again during the wet season, when the flats get covered in a thin layer of water and reflect the sky like a massive mirror – maybe one day I’ll see that…
Most Iconic: Santorini, Greece
When I got married, I really wanted to honeymoon in Santorini. Not only did it look pretty, but I’d always been fascinated by volcanoes, and loved the idea of staying on the rim of a massive volcanic caldera.
But we couldn’t afford it at the time, so we went somewhere less expensive (which was lovely!).
When we got a chance to go for 24 hours when island-hopping in the Cyclades, I was super excited, and loved every minute of it. Yes, it was very hot; yes, it was over-priced and yes, the towns were thronging with tourists – but the views were breathtakingly beautiful.
Watching the sun go down over the caldera and Nea Kameni is something I’ll treasure forever.
Best Silhouette: Cape Town, South Africa
This sundowner in Cape Town was a good one.
My friend had really wanted to watch the sunset views from Bloubergstrand, but we’d had a jam-packed day at Cape Point, and taken the scenic Chapman’s Peak drive route back – and then we hit Cape Town rush hour.
So we were hurrying through traffic, and then we had difficulty parking – but we made it to the spot just in time to grab a cider and watch the sun go down over the ocean, bathing the magnificent Table Mountain in gorgeous shades of peach.
Most Remote: NamibRand, Namibia
The gravel plains and mountains of the NamibRand Nature Reserve are deep within the Namib Desert. Driving out to this remote spot with a guide, we stopped to see baboons living amongst the rocks, and I was told that while there was only a one in 20 chance of seeing a leopard, there was a 19 in 20 chance a leopard would see us.
After witnessing this magic sunset (they call it sundown in Namibia), we carried on exploring the area by night and we were amazed that full moon lit the place fairly well – first time I’ve ever seen shadows cast by moonlight. It was both eerie and exciting to be out in such a remote, wild place in the dark.
When I needed the loo and had to go out of sight of the group, behind a pile of boulders, the words about the leopards certainly came back to me quite vividly…
Best Sea View: Mauritius
One of my top travel tips is: always try to stay somewhere west-facing, especially if west is in the direction of water. Why? To catch the sunset, of course!
Mauritius, in the Indian ocean, is one of the best places to watch the sun set over water. In Mauritius, I stayed on Flic en Flac beach on the west side of the island, which faces onto a calm coral lagoon – and we witnessed many wonderful sunsets reflected on the water.
One night I was watching the sunset after an already pretty perfect day. This boat came past and I managed to get my phone up in time to snap this.
It was a lovely moment. It felt like a gift.
Second Best Sea View: Korcula, Croatia
Another memory of a perfect sunset overt the sea, this time the Adriatic.
Korcula is a beautiful island off the Dalmatian coast, with a stunning fortified town. I watched the setting sun turn the world a warm peachy pink colour from just outside the town walls.
Then I went back to my cabin in a boat (I was island-hopping in Croatia with Sail Croatia).
Best City View: Dubrovnik, Croatia
Croatia is special, with many stunning places to watch the sun go down, so it deserves two mentions!
Dubrovnik is a beautiful city from any vantage point. But I did particularly love the view from the city walls and out to the island of Otok Lokrum.
As the sun started to set, the red rooftops of the old town glowed – it was wonderful.
Most Like Paradise: Maldives
In the daytime, the Maldives is a collage of bright turquoise sea, white sand, blue sky and lush green foliage. It is vivid and vibrant – almost therapeutic.
But as the light fades at the end of the day, those colours soften to wonderful dusky tones that bless your senses.
It is an expensive location, but worth it for a once-in-a-lifetime paradise experience.
Most Fanciful: Venice, Italy
A city built in a lagoon is naturally a great place to witness a sunset – seeing the sky reflected in Venice’s grand canal is special,
I stayed in a fancy hotel on the grand canal. It had a ‘house boat’ to ferry guests across to St Mark’s. Waiting for the boat to come one evening as the sun whet down, I fantasised for a moment that this was my life, rather than a rare indulgence; that I lived in some grand palazzo with my own boat. Does anyone else do this?
Best Mountain View: Montenegro
Kotor Bay is a spectacular location – steep mountains surround a narrow, channel-shaped bay, around which pretty towns sit peacefully on the water.
Above Kotor town is a path up the mountainside to a viewpoint high above the bay.
The steps are hard work on a hot day, so going at the end of the day is a smart move because it is cooler. It also means you may catch a wonderful sunset over the bay – like this magnificent one.
What about you?
Are there any pretty sunsets you have witnessed while travelling?