Sydney Harbour, Australia
There’s no better time for a panoramic photograph of the Sydney Harbour Bridge than sunrise, but it’s also possible to admire the dawn from the top of the bridge on a special tour on the first and the third Saturday of the month from October to May, and the first Saturday of every month from June to September. From here you’ll see views across the city as well as the Sydney Opera House. Check out the COVID-19 safety procedures and the latest booking information here.
Angkor Wat, Cambodia
Snowdon, Wales, UK
There are special hikes up Snowdon for those who want to catch the sunrise from the 3,560-foot (1,085m) peak of the tallest mountain in Wales. The five- to seven-hour trek isn’t to be underestimated, but walking beneath a twinkling sky of stars, before being rewarded with the break of dawn over north Wales is certainly worth it. It’s just one of the many reasons why we love Wales.
Okavango Delta, Botswana
The Okavango Delta in Botswana is described as ‘Africa’s last Eden’ – not too bold a claim given the unspoiled nature of this sprawling wetland area. The fluctuating delta is created as the Okavango River floods the Kalahari Desert, and some 160 species of mammal can be found here, from the African bush elephant to big cats like lions and cheetah.
Ha Long Bay, Vietnam
Vietnam’s enchanting Ha Long Bay is a spectacular sight and one of Asia’s great wonders. With its towering karst formations, clad in dense forest, the bay has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site for more than 20 years. Usually visitors here can sit back and watch the sunrise at around 5am in summer from Ban Chan Beach, or from a boat on the water. Planning a visit? Check out the latest travel advice for Vietnam here.
Brooklyn Bridge, New York, USA
A magnificent sunrise doesn’t always mean being in the middle of nowhere. Beat the usual crowds of New York City and set your alarm to watch the sunrise over Brooklyn Bridge. Watch the spectacle from the bridge, or take a walk towards the Manhattan skyline and watch the Big Apple aglow. Explore New York with our brilliant city guide.
Monument Valley, Arizona, USA
Lying on the Arizona-Utah border, Monument Valley’s been the backdrop to many Western movies such as Stagecoach and The Lone Ranger. But it’s best seen in real life at sunrise, when bathed in warm light, highlighting the red-sand desert. Usually you can enjoy a self-drive loop around the most beautiful spots, which takes around three hours but the park is currently closed so do check for opening times.
Cape Town, South Africa
South Africa isn’t short of places to watch a magnificent sunrise, but seeing it rise above Table Mountain must be one of the best. You can either watch with your feet firmly on the ground from Cape Town’s waterfront, or you can head up the mountain itself on foot to watch dawn break at around 6am in the summer months. Table Mountain National Park is currently open to hikers but do check for the latest arrangements.
Tower Bridge, London
Cape Mulinu’u, Samoa
Cape Mulinu’u is the most westerly point of Samoa and is one of the world’s most stunning spots, surrounded in clear waters and lush greenery. But sunrises here are more than just beautiful. Until Samoa hopped the dateline in 2011 – to make trade with its nearest neighbors easier – Cape Mulinu’u was the last place on Earth where the sun set each day. Now it’s the first.
Wainui Beach, New Zealand
However, the first city in New Zealand – and the world – to see the sunrise each day is Gisborne on the North Island’s East Cape. Wainui Beach, just outside the city, is a pristine place to welcome in a new day. It’s not the only reason to visit the world’s most beautiful country though, you’ll find 50 more stunning images of New Zealand here too.
Shetland Islands, Scotland
While some prime sunrise spots are well known to tourists, Scotland’s Shetland Islands promise you some peace and quiet. The sunrise in the most northerly islands in the UK is best seen in early spring or late fall, because in summer the sun spends a small amount of time below the horizon. Pictured is Grutness on the southern tip of the main island. Discover what else to see in Scotland this year and beyond.
Taveuni Island, Fiji
Machu Picchu, Peru
Few places capture the imagination like this archaeological site, a citadel built by the ancient Incas in the 15th century and mysteriously abandoned. Machu Picchu’s network of dry-stone walls and agricultural terraces etch the mountaintop site, surrounded by Andean peaks and make it an astonishing place to soak up the sunrise which bathes the surrounding landscape in glorious colors.
Tres Cruces, Peru
While the word Peru may instantly bring Machu Picchu to mind, one of the country’s other beautiful sights is Tres Cruces (Three Crosses). Near the town of Paucartambo in the south, visitors here can witness a jaw-dropping sunrise above the clouds. During July’s annual Virgen del Carmen Festival the sunrise is a key focus – because of the humidity at that time of year, it appears as if the sun is dancing.
Yosemite National Park, California, USA
Yosemite National Park is famed for its beautiful vistas, cliffs and the surrounding Sierra Nevada mountains. So imagine this spectacular scenery with the backdrop of the Californian sunrise. Head to the Tunnel View viewpoint no later than 5.15am in summer to see the sun rising through the Yosemite Valley. Both Yosemite National Park and Tunnel View are open as we write, but check the website for confirmation before traveling.
Sometimes you really do have to get up very early indeed to catch the sunrise. That’s the case in northern Norway where mid-April sees the final sunrise – taking place at around 2am – for over four months. From then the sun is in the sky 24 hours a day until late August.
If anything is going to be worth a 4am start, seeing the sunrise behind one of Australia’s most recognizable landmarks will do it. Uluru, sacred to the indigenous community, appears to change color at sunrise and sunset, making dawn the perfect backdrop to the sandstone landmark. Tourists are no longer allowed to climb on the rock and there are designated viewing platforms. Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is open but times vary so check if you’re planning a visit.
Mount Fuji, Japan
Where better to see a sunrise than the land of the rising sun? Usually you can endeavor to complete the seven-hour climb in one go, or stay in one of the mountain huts the night before, arriving at the peak for around 4am to witness the sunrise above the clouds. However, Mount Fiji is closed for the summer 2020 season due to COVID-19.
Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
Mount Batur, Bali, Indonesia
Anyone who is moderately fit should be able to take on Mount Batur in Bali and witness the sun rising against the silhouette of neighboring Mount Agung. Typically tours start at 2am from the town of Ubud, but the climb itself is a pleasant and steady two hours. It’s ideal for anyone who enjoys hiking and rewards you with one of the most dazzling sunrises you’ll ever see. Currently Bali’s airports are open for domestic tourism only, with the hope some international visitors can return from September.
Sunrise in the Sossusvlei in Namibia is often cited as one of the world’s finest by travelers in-the-know, despite the unforgiving 104ºF (40ºC) weather being something of a turn off for visitors. If you want to see the changing colors of the desert when travel is possible again, the best way to watch the show is perched on one of the high dunes or simply from the comfort of the Sossus Dune Lodge, the only one inside the park itself.
Haleakala National Park, Hawaii, USA
For perhaps the most beautiful sunrise in Hawaii, leave no later than 3.30am from Kahului to get to the peak of the wide volcano of Haleakala. You can drive up the Haleakala Highway and once you’re there, 10,000 feet (3,055m) above sea level, it’s just a matter of waiting for the world to turn different shades of red, giving way to an incredible volcanic landscape. Make a reservation to park your car seven days in advance and bring plenty of warm clothing to fend off the early morning chill. The park is operating on a phased reopening basis so check the website before traveling too.
Stonehenge, Wiltshire, UK
For thousands of years people have been gathering at Stonehenge – an ancient circle of stones in Wiltshire, England – to mark the Summer Solstice in the northern hemisphere – when the sun travels its longest path through the sky. It’s believed the stones, possibly built as a temple, were constructed to align with the rising sun of the Summer and Winter Solstices. Up to 20,000 people assemble to watch the special sunrise over the Heel Stone in mid-summer, although in 2020 the celebrations were taken online.
READ MORE: Stunning pictures of Summer Solstice traditions around the world
The old city of Bagan in central Myanmar is home to over 2,000 ancient temples and monasteries, making the sunrise over the unique shapes and designs of the places of worship an otherworldly experience. Typically, hot air balloon tours are available from October to April, offering visitors the best view of the sun rising above this ancient land.
Grand Canyon, Arizona, USA
The Grand Canyon is one of America’s greatest natural wonders and an impressive sight at any time of day. But add a sunrise and you’ve got yourself something truly extraordinary. The national park is home to possibly the best sunrises in the United States, with the colors complementing the bronze and red rock perfectly in the early morning. If you’re visiting don’t forget to check out the park’s opening times here before you travel as the North Rim Campground is currently closed.
These are the most beautiful views on Earth
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