Sunset over a lake

(Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash)

Have you ever wondered which places across this planet of ours are the best for watching the sunset? Or why some places have prettier sunsets than others? We did too, which is why we went searching for the five consensus best places to watch the sunset in the world.

Picture-perfect sunsets occur due to a scientific phenomenon. According to the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the colors we see (or don’t see) in a sunset are the result of light scattering. This scattering occurs when light rays hit particles in the air, changing the direction of the light. At sunset, sunlight passes through more atmosphere, and there are more particles to scatter the light. And if you see a vibrant red sunset, NASA explains that it’s because the atmosphere is full of moisture and dust particles. 

That doesn’t sound quite as beautiful as it looks. But regardless of the science behind sunsets, there is new research about how they make us feel. Researchers from the University of Exeter found watching sunsets in the evening promotes increased perceptions of natural beauty and an uptick in feelings of “awe.” The research team speculates that when people experience a sunset, it could help boost well-being. It may even work as a “green prescribing” practice, in which nature plays a therapeutic role in mental health.

The study even found images of sunsets boosted feelings of contentment. And another study’s findings tie in, too. In that study, participants who watched an awe-inspiring sunset video exhibited much more positive emotions and less anxiety. To come to their conclusions, researchers analyzed the results of two experiments consisting of 729 participants. For the first experiment, participants took a fake IQ test. And in the second experiment participants were told to wait for feedback on how other people perceived them. While waiting to get their results, they were shown a video of a sunset with instrumental music, which chilled them out.

Interesting stuff, huh? Want to know something else interesting? How about the five best places to watch the sunset in the world! This consensus list comes from the recommendations across 11 expert reviews. And we hope you find some new places to add to your bucket list. Or, should it be called a sunset list? Either way, check out the list below for awe-inspiring and wanderlust-inducing descriptions. And in the comments, let us know about your favorite spot to soak in the sun’s final rays of the day. 

The List: Best Places In The World For Sunsets, According To Experts

1. Santorini, Greece 

Accor describes Santorini as a breathtaking place to watch a sunset: “The Greek Island of Santorini is covered with picture perfect sunset spots, and is known world-over for this. The ragged cliff towns, breathtaking views and white-washed architecture offers sunset seekers an otherworldly experience while enjoying the sunset dusk. Colours range from bright rose-tinted pinks to ivory-infused lavender, accentuated by the glowing white of the island’s buildings and reflection of the Aegean Sea.”

Sunset in Santorini, Greece
Santorini ranks first on the list of best places to see the sunset in the world. (Photo by Unsplash+ in collaboration with Getty Images)

Travel Awaits shares a first-hand account, “Nothing blocked our view of the setting sun. The wide-open Aegean Sea spread out as the bright orange ball began to slowly dip into the deep azure water as the orange, purple, and blues spread out across the open sky. We all cheered and clapped at the sun dipped into the water and hugged tightly, savoring the beauty and the incredible moment.”

And May Cause Wanderlust will give you a bit of sunset envy, too: “The views were breathtakingly beautiful. Watching the sun go down over the caldera and Nea Kameni is something I’ll treasure forever it really is one of the best places to watch the sunset.” 

2. Mount Bromo, Java, Indonesia

According to List 25, “This huge volcanic crater on the island of Java in Indonesia makes for an incredible setting in which to watch as the sun falls below the horizon. After hiking up the mountain, stay at Sukapura Permai Hotel at the foot of the mountain for a well deserved break.” 

Mount Bromo, Indonesia
Sun sets over Mount Bromo in Indonesia. (Photo by dsaputrarizky on Unsplash)

The Luxury Travel Expert says take advantage of the vantage point: “Indonesia’s most iconic mountain, Mount Bromo, stands tall at 2,329 meters (7,641 ft) and is still one of the world’s most active volcanoes. The mountain is easily recognized as the entire top has been blown off and the crater inside constantly belches white sulphurous smoke. The overall effect is unsettlingly unearthly, and this breathtaking, ethereal landscape has been swooned by many travelers. It takes about 1-2 hours to hike to the first vantage point (although you can also get there with a jeep excursion).”

3. Bali, Indonesia

A Bali sunset is an Instagram dream. Luxury Escapes writes, “Among the many reasons why Instagram influencers flock to Bali are the fiery sunsets, best admired from a chic beach club with a cocktail in hand. The crashing surf provides the perfect backdrop for a stunning sunset shot, not to mention the tiered rice paddies and intricate Buddhist temples dotted across the island.” 

Sunset in Bali. (Photo by Mikhail Nilov on Pexels)
Sunset in Bali. (Photo by Mikhail Nilov on Pexels)

Forbes also recommends this sunset-watching spot, saying, “The stunning Uluwatu coastline is my favorite area of the island — because of its sunsets. Bali sunsets are unlike anywhere else in the world. The colors explode like fireworks and stretch for miles across the sky. This sunset lit the sky on fire. There’s a bit of magic in Bali that is evident in every sunset.”

4. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Travel + Leisure recommends Rio: “Whether you’re standing with your feet in the sand at Barra da Tijuca or sipping a caipirinha on Leblon’s golden shores, there are many ways to enjoy a Rio de Janeiro sunset. Locals looking for a romantic rendezvous, though, usually head to Arpoador — a small peninsula that sits between Ipanema and Copacabana and juts out into the ocean. Arpoador’s geography allows for stunning views in all directions making it the perfect spot to watch the sun dip into the ocean.” 

Sunset in Rio de Janeiro.
Sunset in Rio de Janeiro. (Photo by Gabriel Rissi on Unsplash)

“Rio has some of the most amazing sunsets in South America. Head to Ipanema Beach in Rio de Janeiro to experience the setting sun behind the beautiful mountains,” Trips To Discover writes.

5. Key West, Florida

The Boutique Adventurer raves, “If Florida is known as the Sunshine State, then Key West should be the sunset city. The island city is famous for pastel-hued houses that mimic the colours of the skies above. Locals would argue that there isn’t a single terrible place to view the sunset in Key West.” 

And according to BudgetAir, “If you’re prepared to fight the beachfront crowds, there are some sensational sunset views on offer. Take a trip to Mallory Square around two hours before the sun sets. Enjoy a bite to eat and watch the many street performers by the beach. You’ll see the glorious pink and orange sunset from almost anywhere in the area, regardless of how busy it is.”

Sunset in Key West, Florida.
Sunset in Key West, Florida. (Photo by Jonathan Wheeler on Unsplash)

Hopefully this list inspires you to not miss out on the next sunset! Where did you see the prettiest one? Let us know in the comments! 


Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This post may contain affiliate links. 

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