September 13, 2012

Best Places To Watch The Sun Set

Sunsets oftentimes trump sunrises in terms of beauty and grandeur. These 10 destinations offer some of the best sunsets you can see, anywhere.

Oia, Greece: Located on the island of Santorini, Oia is famous for its whitewashed houses, blue-domed churches, and vertical construction. It’s also known for its sunsets. Stake out a spot near the Castle of Oia for the best view, and stick around after the sun sets. As the sky gets dark, Oia’s lights come on. The village at night rivals the setting sun.

Key West, Florida: Every night, hundreds of people gather at Mallory Square in Key West to watch the sun set over the Gulf of Mexico. Why? As the southernmost city in the continental United States, Key West has one of brightest, most brilliant sunsets in the nation. Plus, vendors sell conch fritters, Key West Sunset Ale, and wearable art.

White Sands National Park: The 275-square foot sea of white sand creates an amazing canvas for the warm hues of the setting New Mexico sun. Rangers lead 1-hour sunset strolls through the park where you’ll learn about the park’s geology, plants and animals before the sun’s grand finale. (By the way, sunrises are pretty spectacular here, too.)

Taj Mahal, India: This white marble mausoleum is one of the finest examples of Mughal architecture—a style that combines elements from Persian, Ottoman Turkish and Indian architectural styles—in the world. It also looks brilliant against the backdrop of the setting sun. Try to time your visit with a full moon so you can tour “the Taj” at night.

Uluru/Ayers Rock, Australia: The ash, dust particles and water vapor that is present in the earth’s atmosphere here acts as a filter, removing bluer light from the sun’s rays and producing rich red sunsets. Adding to the display, the diminishing light changes the color of Uluru, also known as Ayers Rock, from orange to red to purple.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: One of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, the Harbor of Rio de Janeiro is reason enough to visit what will be the site of the 2016 Olympics to watch the sunset. But, add to that watching the sun set over one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, the Christ the Redeemer at Corcovado Mountain.

Angkor Wat, Cambodia: Constructed between the 9th and 12th centuries, the temples of Angkor Wat honor the Hindu god Vishnu. It seems the sunsets on these sacred grounds pay homage, too. As the sun dips below the horizon, the temples become picturesque silhouettes.

The Maldives: These 1,191 islands in the Indian Ocean were a British protectorate from 1887 until 1965. Today, the independent republic is a resort destination. Rent a private bungalow in the turquoise coastal waters, order a tropical drink, and watch the islands pinpricking the horizon fade into the night sky as the sun goes down.

Samoa: Half way between New Zealand and Hawaii, Samoa is a mix of rainforests and white, sandy beaches. Until recently, the island was one of the last places on earth to see the sunset. But, that changed on December 29, 2011, when the country switched time zones to be in line with New Zealand instead of Hawaii. Now, it is one of the first places to see a sunset.

Highlands, Scotland: Rolling green hills set this sunset apart from others. The Highlands, as opposed to the Lowlands, is broadly defined by the Scotch Whiskey industry as the region nrth of an imaginary line between Dundee and Greenock.

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