From the mythical Angkor Wat sunrise to spectacular mornings in Santorini and Bali, here are eight of the world’s most spectacular sunrises.
It seems that when we’re traveling, we’re much more aware of when the sun rises and sets. It’s something that we don’t generally pay attention to because we live our day-to-day lives on autopilot. While traveling, though, these parts of the day become essential and add a romantic note to the beginning and/or end of the day. In fact, we’re even willing to sacrifice a few hours of sleep to live the magic of those first rays of sunlight. Especially in a beautiful backdrop that enhances the spectacular sunrise hues.
1. Angkor Wat, Cambodia
Watching the sunrise at Angkor Wat is a must when in Cambodia. To do this, you have to leave Siem Reap before dawn. Tours usually pick you up at around 4:00 a.m., but we assure you that the early rise is worth it. Hordes of tourists go every morning to watch the sun gradually ascened behind the world’s largest Hindu temple. Plus, the pond in front of the temple reflects the view, rendering the sunrise doubly spectacular.
2. Uluru, Australia
Located in the “belly button” of Australia, the mysticism of Ayers Rock (or Uluru) adds a truly special aura. As the first rays shine, the sky becomes a chromatic spectacle that will leave you hypnotized. Tip: bring a small picnic to enjoy the most panoramic breakfast you’ve ever had.
3. Kruger National Park, South Africa
Silhouettes of wild animals and the golden sunrise hues—the perfect contrast to marvel at as the day begins. It also provides an exceptional backdrop for incredible pictures that will be the crown jewel of your photo album or Instagram feed. If a safari is already exciting, taking one at sunrise in the immense Kruger National Park (it’s over four million acres!) will make you forget your woes and savor every second.
4. Val d’Orcia, Italy
Tuscany is already the perfect destination for reconnecting with yourself, for enjoying that dolce far niente, living slowly, and enjoying the small pleasures of life (ahem, Italian food and wine). Within the framework of mindfulness vacations, rising with the sun in perfect synchrony with the universe is a must. And what better place to do it than in Val d’Orcia, in the province of Siena where you can watch the sun calmly emerge between the rolling green hills.
5. Colorado Grand Canyon, United States
We have mentioned this marvelous natural wonder many times the beauty of this gorge formed by the Colorado River more than 10,000 years ago is undeniably captivating. The Grand Canyon, which celebrated its centennial as a national park last year, is one of those spots that makes you feel tiny, wrapped in a landscape that seems like another planet—the color pallet of reddish tones is reminiscent of Mars. And what to say about the sunrise here? It’s a treat that you should enjoy at least once in your life.
6. Santorini, Greece
We won’t try to fool you—Santorini is one of the most touristic Greek islands, so taking advantage of quiet early morning hours is a must. Wake up early to freely roam the island and absorb the calm as the sun rises behind the whitewashed houses with blue Oia domes. It will be the best wake-up you could have—although, for some, sunrise is the icing on the cake of a long night out.
7. Stonehenge, United Kingdom
If the early bird catches the worm, those who love to contemplate the sunrise must be the most fortunate people in the world—and even more so if they enjoy this magical moment at Stonehenge, the famous megalithic monument that was constructed by the old British Druids more than 3,000 years ago precisely to watch sunrises, sunsets, solstices, etc. Go and absorb this magical place that is still surrounded by an aura of mystery thanks to the many theories, some more extravagant than others, that are tied to it.
8. Mount Batur, Indonesia
We end our journey through the most beautiful sunrises in the world in another spot surrounded by great spirituality: Bali. The serenity surrounding what is called the Island of the Gods will capture you most of all when you discover Ubud and its surroundings. There you will find the iconic Mount Batur, to which excursions are organized to watch the sunrise. Yes, another early morning…but one that’s well worth it.