13 beautiful destinations in Europe to see an epic sunset
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Whether you’re an adventurous or relaxed traveler, on a business or leisure trip, taking a family or solo getaway, or escaping for a month-long jaunt, a beautiful sunset can make just about any traveler happy.
Seeing a medley of pink, blue, red, orange, purple and yellow hues as day turns into night will offer any and all travelers joy while on vacation. While there are endless destinations to see a perfect sunset, here are some of TPG’s favorites around Europe, especially on a warm summer evening.
1. Santorini, Greece
The idyllic Greek island of Santorini is likely one of the most famous sunset spots in the world, so we’d be remiss to not add it to our list.
One of the most famous places to see the sunset here is from the Old Castle atop the hill in the village of Oia, which overlooks the sea. Although this site was once packed with crowds, post-pandemic, it may seem a little more private until tourism picks up steam once again.
2. Barcelona, Spain
With attractions like the iconic Sagrada Familia landmark, the call of the Mediterranean beaches and a lively (and delicious) cuisine and drinks scene, it’s no wonder Barcelona is one of Spain’s most visited spots.
Most travelers make it a point to explore the hilltop Parc Güell while visiting, a must-do activity. Since you have to buy timed entries, many usually head up in the morning to beat the heat. But checking the time of the sunset and timing your tickets to watch that Spanish ball of fire set over the tiled benches, Barcelona’s cityscape and the sea is a much better plan. Plus, you’ll beat some of those morning crowds, too.
3. Ibiza, Spain
Whether your trip to Ibiza is a romantic, relaxing escape or a chance to party it up, making time for a sunset (or several) is key. The island is home to many a bar and beach club where you can enjoy live DJ beats and cocktails as the sun goes down, many of which are located on what’s nicknamed “the sunset strip,” a hopping area of San Antonio with bar after bar.
But for a truly spectacular sunset, gather up your own drinks and snacks and drive to the dirt road where you can hike up to the Torre des Savinar. From here, you’ll spot the sun setting over the glistening sea and the famous Es Vedra rock.
4. Cabo de Sao Vicente, Portugal
A short distance away from the town of Sagres, Cabo de Sao Vicente is the most southwestern point in Portugal — some say in all of Europe. The famed red-and-white lighthouse backed by epic rock formations and misty clouds over the Atlantic is the perfect setting from which to view one of the most incredible sunsets you may ever take in.
Just make sure to check the weather before driving up here from the Algarve — it can often be windy, foggy or even rainy, especially once the warm sunshine disappears for the evening or hides behind a cloud.
5. Golden Circle, Iceland
There’s no shortage of hilltops, waterfalls and nature reserves to view sunsets all around Western Iceland. The Golden Circle, a route that encompasses many of the country’s top attractions, has a number of breathtaking spots from which to admire the sunset. There’s also the tiny island of Grimsey, known for its large population of puffins.
But really, when it comes to Icelandic sunsets, it’s more about the when than the where. Visiting around the summer solstice in June will ensure you’ll take in the incredible midnight sun phenomenon, where the sun never actually sets, but instead just dips down and begins to rise once again in the middle of the night.
6.Cliffs of Moher, Ireland
This nine-mile-long line of craggy cliffs along Ireland’s western coast is already a famous tourist attraction. But visiting during sunset is extra stunning, as the towering ridges make for the perfect sunset backdrop against the Atlantic.
As the site of the cliffs is so large, it’s best to give yourself a bit of time to hike and explore first before the sun actually goes down, so we suggest arriving a few hours in advance. And once the sun disappears from the horizon, head back to your car — the darkness gets, well, extra dark there out in the wilderness, so it’s best to head out quickly so you don’t get lost.
7. Capri, Italy
Capri’s western coast has many beautiful spots to take in a sunset from hilltop towers to chic restaurants overlooking Italy’s Tyrrhenian Sea.
One of the easiest walks and most beautiful viewpoints from which to take in the changing colors of the light is the Belvedere sui Faraglioni. The walk is paved, mostly flat and generally easy — and you’ll get to spot those jagged famous Faraglioni Crags in the distant sea as the sun slowly lowers.
8. Dubrovnik, Croatia
Most of Croatia’s seaside coast faces west, so there are endless spots to admire a sunset after a long day at the beach. Dubrovnik, in particular, though small, has a number of different areas (maybe even the terrace of your hotel) to view the sunset.
The best one is from either the top of Mt Srd or even from the window of the cable car as you ride up the mountain. However, lines from the cable car can be long, so plan accordingly if you want to be heading up at just the right time to see the sun as it lowers down. Once at the upper cable car station, there are few different viewing areas where you can snap photos, admire the brilliant sky over the sea or watch the sun go down over dinner and drinks.
9. Paphos, Cyprus
Paphos combines all the fun of a beach town with the history of archaeological ruins on the southwestern coast of Cyprus. Although the lighthouse is a popular place to gather for the sunset, we recommend heading a bit south of Paphos to admire the sun go down behind Aphrodite’s Rock.
In fact, plan to spend the entire afternoon there. Bring a picnic, lounge on the beach and don’t forget to swim around the rock pre-sunset. Legend has it that those who lap the rock three times will end up with eternal beauty, love and luck for life thanks to the goodwill of the goddess of love, Aphrodite.
10. Paris, France
There’s nothing sexier than a sunset in Paris. You won’t be alone in taking a bottle of French wine down to the banks of the Seine and sipping as the sun goes down, a favorite pastime of many Parisian locals.
But for those who don’t mind splurging on the experience, having a romantic dinner at one of the riverside restaurants is worth the cost. Or, for a moving view of the sunset over the river and Paris’s sprawling cityscape (including the Eiffel Tower), consider a sunset boat cruise.
11. Bastei, Germany
Whilst many of the destinations on this list offer seaside sunsets, this one is for those who prefer to see the sun setting over the mountains. The Saxon Switzerland National Park (on the German side of the border) will offer hikers, bikers and those who love the great outdoors the perfect sunset in nature.
Specifically, the famed Bastei Bridge, located in the Elbe Sandstone Mountains is one of the most famous landmarks. Seeing the sunset behind the bridge, or even from the bridge itself among the surrounding grandeur, is truly unforgettable.
12. Prague, Czech Republic
Locals in Prague love to view the sunset from one of the city’s many beer gardens, and we’re definitely not opposed. But you can also get a view of the sunset from one of Prague’s bridges — St Charles may be your best bet as it’s strictly pedestrian.
If you’d prefer a higher point of view, consider the St. Vitus Cathedral or Prague Castle. Although it may be pushing your “tourist limits,” heading up to Prague Castle via segway could be a great idea. Or, try your luck with an electric scooter. Just be careful going back down, though, as that hill is steep!
13. Sicily, Italy
Many of Sicily’s hilltop villages are great vantage points to see a sunset or even heading up towards the tip of volcano Mt. Etna.
But for a truly unique sunset experience, head over to Sicily’s western coast and view the sunset from the Scala dei Turchi. Not only has this unique, stairstep white rock formation been voted one of the best beaches in Europe (and in the world) numerous times, it also offers one of the best Sicilian sunsets on the island.
If you love a beautiful sunset (and honestly — who doesn’t?) head to one of these spots to see day turn into night. Whether it’s an island, a beach spot, a cityscape or mountains, seeing a vibrant sunset is a must while on vacation. Don’t miss one, or several!
(Feature image courtesy of kelvinjay/Getty)
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