Undoubtedly one of the world’s most famous landmarks, the Taj Mahal – Agra, India’s beautiful white marble mausoleum built between 1631 and 1648 at the behest of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his wife – is at its most spectacular at sunset. Watching the sunset from within the ground of the Taj Mahal is a delight – take sentry at the pool for stunning shots of the magnificent mausoleum reflected in its waters while the sun casts a warm glow on the Taj Mahal’s white marble – though visitors are treated to an equally beautiful sight viewing the sunset from across the Yamuna River at the Mehtab Bagh garden.
Regularly hailed as one of the best places in the world for truly scenic sunsets, the Greek island of Santorini is a gem of the Aegean Sea and home to several charming villages brimming with beautiful whitewashed architecture that has become synonymous with the Cyclades island group. Though you’re in for a spectacular sight at any of Santorini’s westward facing villages from the island capital of Fira to the clifftop commune of Imerovigli, but for a really stunning sundown head to Oia. Located on Santorni’s northwestern most tip, Oia is home to the ruins of Fort Londsa – a perfect vantage point for gorgeous Grecian sunsets.
Adventurers flock to northern Chile’s amazing Atacama Desert – the rugged 600 mile stretch of land sandwiched between the Andes and Pacific Ocean that boasts being the driest place on the planet – for its wild and remote beauty and if they time their trip correctly they’re in for one of the most awe-inspiring sunsets of their lives. Valle de la Luna, or ‘Valley of the Moon’, is home to stunning rock and sand formations sculpted over eons by wind and water that make a magnificent backdrop for sunset-watching while the breathtaking Licancabur – an active volcano stunning in its symmetry – is an equally stunning spot.
Created in 1961 to protect local wildlife, the Masai Mara National Reserve is one of the best-loved wildlife destinations in the world and home to herds of elephant, rhino, leopard and buffalo to name just a few of its animal residents. In addition to the bountiful fauna the Masai Mara has to offer, visitors to the reserve are also treated to quite possibly the most beautiful sunsets in the whole African continent – so stunning that photographers, such as Paul Goldstein, have spent years trying to perfectly capture the spectacle. Sunset safaris are the best opportunity for that perfect picture, and if you’re lucky you might just capture a herd of elephants silhouetted against the warm, orange glow of the African sun.
An experience on many a travelers’ bucket list, sunset at Uluru – the giant, age-old sandstone monolith in Australia’s Northern Territory also known as Ayers Rock and named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987 – is a truly incredible sight. As the sun dips below the horizon Uluru puts on an awesome show changing color from brown to a blazing red to tones of blue and purple. Add to that Uluru’s ancient, cultural significance to Australia’s Aboriginal population – a sacred site, the Anangu state Uluru was created by ancestral beings during Dreamtime and has been the site of rituals and rites of passage for over 10,000 years – and you’re in for an awe-inspiring experience.
With Rio de Janeiro’s dramatic cityscape – from its sandy beaches and bustling metropolis to breathtaking mountains rolling down to the Atlantic Ocean – visitors are guaranteed an amazing sunset at any number of locales across the city. Head to the beach at Ipanema and enjoy a cocktail or two as the sun basks a warm glow over the Atlantic Ocean and Two Brothers mountains or trek up to the towering Christ the Redeemer statue atop Corcovado Mountain for amazing panoramic views as the light fades and the city lights start to twinkle. For a truly breathtaking experience, take the cable car to Sugarloaf Mountain and watch the sun set suspended 200 meters above the city.
While there’s no denying the wild beauty of watching the sun go down in some of the world’s more remote locations, the urban sunset is also a sight to behold and nowhere is this truer than Manhattan. Head to the top of the Empire State Building for stunning panoramic vistas as the setting sun casts a warm glow over the city, or visit the High Line for a sunset stroll at one of New York City’s most unique and charming green spaces. Twice a year Manhattanites, clear weather permitting, are also witness to a breathtaking phenomenon dubbed ‘Manhattanenge’ when the setting sun aligns perfectly with the city’s street grids.
One of Britain’s most iconic landmarks, Stonehenge’s history spans 4,500 years and is intrinsically linked to the sun. In fact, though many theories abound as to the original usage of the stone circle from a Druid temple to a coronation site for Danish kings, the most generally accepted theory is that Stonehenge is a prehistoric temple built in alignment with the sun’s movements. During the winter solstice, Stonehenge offers an awe-inspiring sight when the setting sun is perfectly aligned between the stones of its tallest trilithon and many sunset-chasers gather to see a spectacle witnessed in Britain for millennia.
By Helen Armitage