Indulging in a lie-in is one of the many luxuries while on holiday, and rising with the sun is often the last thing you want to do during your time off. Yet if there’s one thing that is worth acknowledging your alarm for, it’s seeing the sky streaked with heavenly hues. The added backdrop of some of the world’s most iconic landmarks is another draw for dragging yourself out of bed. As the saying goes, ‘the early bird catches the worm’ (or in this case, ‘captures an Insta-worthy snap’), so read on for our best places to watch the sunrise around the world.
- Mount Bromo, Indonesia
- Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
- Angkor Wat, Cambodia
- Grand Canyon, Arizona
- Mount Sinai, Egypt
- Machu Picchu, Peru
- Svalbard, Norway
Indonesia’s most iconic mountain (and one of the world’s most active volcanoes), Mount Bromo, towers over East Java at 7,641 feet tall. The awe-inspiring sunrise is best seen from nearby Mount Penanjakan, with the premier vantage point reached via a two-hour uphill hike. Widely acknowledged as one of the best places to watch the sunrise in the world, we would argue that the vista is worth every sleepy step.
Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is a frequent nominee for the most touted bucket-list travel experience and while the undertaking is no mean feat (the summit sits 19,341 feet above sea level!), conquering the mighty peak comes with the chance to witness one of the most stunning sunrises in the world. Reflect on your immense achievement while gazing out across the neighbouring mountains, as the sun enacts its morning ritual and the sky slips between shades of yellow, orange, purple and blue.
The fabled temple complex of Angkor Wat is one of the world’s most recognised religious monuments, as well as a national symbol and the heart of Khmer civilisation in Cambodia. Many travellers flock here in time for sunset, as its celebrated symmetry and intricate carvings come alive beneath the sun’s sinking yolk, yet the illustrious monument is equally enchanting at sunrise, and you’ll have less tourist crowds to contend with before daybreak.
The grandeur of Arizona’s Grand Canyon demands an equally splendid background and the sunrise transforms the already magnificent natural formation into a masterpiece of bronze, purple, orange and red, reminiscent of the colours found within the layered bands of rock. Watch from the southern rim (Mather Point is a prime spot) as the sunlight spills into every crevice and drenches the valley in its golden glow.
Renowned as the location where Moses is believed to have received the Ten Commandments, Egypt’s Mount Sinai holds great religious significance and many visitors still scale it for this reason. The magnificent Egyptian mountain also excels when it comes to breath-taking sunrises, and watching the sun emerge from behind its rugged mountain tops is an inspiring experience in itself.
Peru’s Incan citadel is impressive for myriad reasons; it’s an outstanding example of ancient architecture, it’s the most famous archaeological site in South America and it was crowned one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in 2007. Machu Picchu’s impeccable sunrises could also be added to this list, as the mist-shrouded ruins really come into their own during the early hours of the morning, making it one of the best places to watch the sunrise around the world. Begin your day at the Intipunku sun gate to see the first rays of sunlight illuminate the iconic peaks.
Norway is known for its dazzling light shows (most notably the elusive Northern Lights) and although not strictly a sunrise, the Nordic nation’s Winter Sun phenomenon is an enthralling event occurring between May and August, which sees the sun perpetually floating upon the horizon. The sky is adorned with vibrant brushstrokes of red and yellow, while the ethereal light casts dramatic shadows across the other-worldly glacial landscapes.
Written by Luisa Watts