When the sun hits the sky like a red, smudgy pizza pie, that’s called Rayleigh Scattering.
As the sun hugs the horizon, its light has to pass through a thicker atmosphere on its way to the human eye. The blue in the sunlight scatters, leaving a red sunrise or sunset. For photographers, it’s time to get out the camera and capture some magic hour gold. For lovers, it’s time to sigh and admit you’re in too deep.
Either way, that orange-red glow is the most soul-affirming way to begin and end your day.
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But the intensity of that glow, the angles and landmarks it illuminates, depend on where you’re sitting. Here at Mornings.co.uk we know how important a good night’s sleep is (and how hard it can be to get out of bed in the morning!) To make those early starts a little brighter, we’ve identified the best spots to wake up and watch the sunrise.
We gathered data from Tripadvisor reviews to find the places with the highest number of sunrise/sunset mentions around the world.
Image Credit: MikeFuchslocher / istockphoto.
Angkor Wat Leads Spiritual List of Must-See Sunrises
Sunrise comes with its own Official Soundtrack: the dawn chorus of birds beginning the day’s singing. Mountains, lakes, and national parks make up many of the world’s most-reviewed sunrise locations – sun-up is not just for the early birds but the trekkers and explorers who set out to make a day of it. It is also for those seeking a spiritual experience.
One of the most esoteric sunrise views in the world is that of the UK, where the most-raved-about destination is the prehistoric monument of Stonehenge. “There is something truly spectacular and powerful about being at Stonehenge and being inside the henge is even more breathtaking,” reports one visitor. “Everything looks different as the sun rises and then starts to change colors once the sun has risen.”
But the following are the top 10 sunrise destinations…
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10. Cadillac Mountain , Maine
Cadillac Mountain is one of many mountains on Mount Desert Island in Acadia National Park. Standing at 1,530 feet, it is the highest point along the North Atlantic seacoast, offering glorious views of a glaciated coastal and island landscape. The trek up Cadillac Mountain to watch the sunrise is more than worth it.
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9. Sarangkot, Nepal
Even if you aren’t a morning person, witnessing the sun rise from behind some of the world’s tallest mountains is surely an experience worth getting out of bed early for. Sarangkot is a hill on the western side of Pokhara with an altitude of 1600m. It is well known for its panoramic views of the Himalayan peaks, including the Annapurna Range. Watch from the view tower at the top of the hill as the sun rises over the city.
Image Credit: 12596926 / istockphoto.
8. Mount Batur, Indonesia
Mount Batur is an active volcano located on the island of Bali. Sitting at 5,600 feet above sea level, the volcano’s last eruption was in the year 2000. The original eruption took place around 30,000 years ago and is one of the largest known volcanic events on Earth. The view of the sun rising above the clouds is well worth the trek, for both tourists and locals alike.
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7. Tiger Hill, India
Located in Darjeeling, in the State of West Bengal, and soaring 2,590m high, Tiger Hill offers uninterrupted and panoramic views of the mountains. To really make the most of this stunning, scenic backdrop, visit at sunrise between October to December or March to April, when the skies remain clear.
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6. Uluru, Australia
Uluru is an immense sandstone monolith nestled in the heart of the Northern Territory’s arid “Red Centre.” Sacred to indigenous Australians, it is seen as a resting place for ancient spirits and is believed to have started forming around 550 million years ago. The sunrise here is spectacular from any viewing point.
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5. The Grand Canyon
The Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona is home to the famous Grand Canyon. The Colorado River began carving the canyon around 6 million years ago, resulting in beautiful layers of multicolour rock. Not only is it a sight to behold in itself, but the views from the rim are unmatched – particularly the South Rim at sunrise.
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4. Borobudur Temple, Indoneisa
The magnificent Borobudur Temple is the largest Buddhist monument in the world. Located on the island of Java, perched on a hilltop overlooking luscious green fields, the temple is surrounded by beautiful scenery. The perfect place for an early morning hike as the sun breaks.
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3. Taj Mahal, India
The Taj Mahal is a stunning, white marble mausoleum built in Agra between 1631 and 1648 by order of the emperor Shah Jahan. It is regarded as one of the world’s most iconic monuments and one of the finest, if not the finest, examples of Mughal architecture.
Visiting in the early morning hours means you’ll get to see the temple awash with the sunrise’s soft, golden glow. And there’ll be fewer tourists.
Image Credit: DepositPhotos.com.
2. Haleakala Crater, Hawaii
Towering over the Hawaiian island of Maui, the Haleakala Crater is both a scenic beauty and a force of nature. Its highest point reaches 10,023 feet above sea level, boasting a range of landscapes and skyscapes to marvel at. The summit offers the perfect stage to watch a breathtaking sunrise – a tourist attraction that has been popular since the 1800s.
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1. Angkor Wat, Cambodia
Angkor Wat is one of the seven wonders of the ancient world and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Steeped in history and rich in culture, it is a must-visit attraction. Although views from this spot are inspiring at any time of day, a sunrise here is not to be missed.
Image Credit: MikeFuchslocher / istockphoto.
Methodology & sources
We used Tripadvisor to gather data on the best places to watch a sunrise and sunset by searching Things To Do using keywords “sunset” and “sunrise” in each country of the world and each US state.
Places with the highest number of mentions of, respectively, “sunset” and “sunrise” in their reviews were deemed the best places to watch sunset or sunrise.
Anywhere which included “sunrise” or “sunset” in the name was removed from the dataset. Attractions offering tours, adventures, excursions to various locations around them were also removed from the dataset.
The selection of places is limited to physical locations, i.e. public spaces, mountain peaks, beaches, buildings, establishments, etc.
The data was collected in November 2021.
Image Credit: DougLemke / iStock.
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