The best sunrises in the world
Capturing a stunning sunrise is one of the joys of a vacation. From mountaintops, iconic landmarks, beaches (or even your hotel balcony), you’re spoiled for choice when it comes to enjoying some of the best sunrises in the world.
If you’re a keen photographer, sunrise is the perfect time to practice your lighting skills. Catch vibrant orange skies or a soft light that makes the world around you glow. Be quick though, you only have a couple of minutes from when you first glimpse the sun to when it’s over the horizon. Although the sun rises in the east, you can enjoy this spectacle all over the world, so we’ve rounded up the best places around the world to help you plan your sunrise vacation.
Wainui Beach, New Zealand
New Zealand is the first country in the world to enjoy sunrise, so Wainui Beach in Gisborne, North Island, is the perfect place to see it. Wainui is a stretch of pristine sand that curves between two headlands and is backed by gently rolling foothills. At sunrise, the sand, sea, and sky take on a magnificent orange glow.
Angkor Wat, Cambodia
Despite the tourist crowds, Angkor Wat in Cambodia is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Asia and should definitely be on your list. This is a sprawling temple complex, some of which date back to the 12th century and is probably one of the best places to watch the sunrise in Southeast Asia. The best place to watch the sunrise is from the pond. Angkor Wat’s towers are reflected in the water as they bask in the beautiful orange and red light of sunrise.
Cape Mulinu’u, Samoa
A quirk of fate (and a change in deadline in 2011) turned Cape Mulinu’u in Samoa from the last place in the world to enjoy sunrise to one of the first. Not only do you get truly photogenic sunrises, but Cape Mulinu’u is an idyllic vacation spot of pristine waters, golden sands, and lush forests. It is perfect for romance, making it an ideal honeymoon location.
Australia’s Uluru is always mystical and mysterious, but if you visit it at sunrise it becomes truly magical. It is definitely worth starting early. Sacred to the indigenous community, Uluru gradually changes color as the sun rises, taking on a brilliant red luminescence that stands out against the surrounding landscape. Even knowing that science can explain the color changes doesn’t detract from the glory. This sunrise will remain in your memories for a lifetime.
Cape Town, South Africa
Watching the sun slowly rise over Table Mountain in Cape Town is breathtaking. Look out from the beach or your hotel balcony or head up the mountain to enjoy the sunrise. If the climb (and the sunrise) has taken your breath away, take the Table Mountain cable car down. (The sunsets are also quite spectacular, especially with a cocktail in hand.)
Haleakala National Park, Hawaii
Hawaii is one of the last places in the world to see the sunrise with the volcanic peak of Haleakala offering one of the best views. Plan on an early start to get to the top, but once there you’ll be treated to a light show as the world turns orange and red before your eyes. The changing colors run through the bamboo forests and lunar landscapes.
Stonehenge, United Kingdom
Stonehenge in Wiltshire is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, another place full of mystery and is a. On the summer and winter solstices, thousands of people gather to watch the sunrise and the spectacle of the sun’s rays tracing a precise line through the stone circles. The stones are thought to have been cleverly placed to be in line with the rising sun.
Machu Picchu, Peru
The jungle and mist add further mystery to the ruins of Machu Picchu, another UNESCO World Heritage Site. Enjoy a fogless morning and the sunrise at Machu Picchu offers an experience like no other. It’s easy to let your imagination run wild as the rising sun bathes the ruins in glorious colour. Abandoned in the 15th century and only rediscovered in the early 20th century, a sunrise at Machu Picchu is definitely worth making the effort.