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12 Best Places To Watch The Sunrise Around The World

Sunrises are some of the most extraordinary shows the planet offers. Brightening our day, they rejuvenate us as we wake up and are simply breathtaking. We can watch them from our balconies in the city or travel into nature for a magical experience. But where are the best places to watch the sunrise?

This article discusses the 12 best places to visit worldwide, from heritage sites to mountain peaks, that offer the best view of the sky in the morning.

For more travel inspiration, visit our quote collection about vacations, wanderlust, and, of course, our sunrise quotes, or save our article on sustainable travel companies.

12 Best Places To Watch A Stunning Sunrise

1. Angkor Wat, Cambodia

angkor wat
Photo by shankar s. on Flickr licensed under CC BY 2.0 (Cropped from original).

Declared a UNESCO World Heritage site, Angkor Wat is one of the world’s most famous religious monuments. It is a complex temple in Siem Reao, a modern Cambodian city of over 200,000 people. Angkor Wat contains the remains of various Khmer Empire civilizations, a forest area, and a temple. 

Angkor Wat represents Khmer art from the 9th to the 14th centuries. The Guinness Book of Records named the temple, spread across 200 acres, the largest religious structure in the world. The indigenous people built the uninhabited temple complex to honor the Hindu god Vishnu, but it became a Buddhist temple at the end of the 21st century. 

The history of Angkor Wat adds to the enticing view of the sunrise in the early hours. Its intricate carvings, architecture, and greenery come alive under the orange streaks of the rising sun. 

Most tourists enjoy watching the sunrise at Angkor Wat because there are fewer people in the morning. Sunsets are also magnificent, but you might have to contend with a large crowd of people.

2. Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

Mount Kilimanjaro
Photo by Laikipia on Needpix.

Mount Kilimanjaro is another valuable UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the best places to watch the sunrise in the world. At 19,340 feet, it is the highest point in Africa. Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro for the striking view of sunrises and sunsets has become a mark of excellence for most tourists. 

You will most likely forget the pains of climbing once you see the breathing view of the first rays of sunlight changing the shade of the sky to orange, blue, purple, or yellow. There are two specific spots on the Volcanic mountain with the most stunning view of sunrises. 

They are Shira 2 Camp on the western slope and Karanga Camp on the southern slope. Shira 2 Camp is in the moorland zone of Kilimanjaro. It is 11,795 feet high, with no trees or thick vegetation blocking the view of the sunrise. Karanga Camp is 13,100 feet high and oversees the alpine desert areas of Kilimanjaro. 

We recommend starting your hike to the best spots on the iconic mountain at midnight. As the sun rises, it burns the mist covering the mountain, bringing warmth. It is a life-changing experience.

3. Mount Bromo, Indonesia

Mount Bromo, Indonesia
Photo by Gentur Awan Sabdito on Wikimedia Commons licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 (Cropped from original).

Mount Bromo, an integral part of the Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park and standing at 7,647 feet, offers visitors a breathtaking sunrise experience from vantage points such as the nearby Mount Penanjakan. Most start their journey from the village of Cemoro Lawang, with options of hikes or organized jeep tours depending on volcanic activity warnings.

4. Mount Penanjakan, Indonesia

Mount Penanjakan, Indonesia
Photo by Hildaniar Novitasari on Wikimedia Commons licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 (Cropped from original).

Mount Penanjakan is a volcanic mountain in the same area as Mount Bromo. The iconic mountain overlooks Mount Batok and Mount Semeru. Your climbing efforts will be rewarded with the natural beauty of the first rays of the sun hitting the distant Hindu temple and desert area. 

5. Machu Picchu, Peru

Machu Picchu, Peru
Photo by Amatula11 on Wikimedia Commons licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 (Cropped from original).

Machu Picchu is next on our list of the best places to watch the sunrise. The mountain is 7,972 feet above sea level in a tropical forest. Machu Picchu has the best sunrise view because the Incas built some constructions according to the alignment of the sun. 

The mountain area is very humid and misty, which affects how you see the sunrise. The best months to watch the sunrise are May to August. The fog is not as intense in September, October, and November. You will also experience rainfall during these months. 

Depending on the time of the year, the first rays of the sun illuminate the surrounding mountains from 5 to 6 am and slowly rise over the top of Huayna Picchu mountain after a few minutes.

Aside from watching the sunrise, you can explore the Intipunku sun gate, Huayna Picchu Mountain, and Machu Picchu Mountain. You can also explore the Temple of the Sun and Intihuatana. The Intipunku sun gate was the original entrance to Machu Picchu, and the Intihuatana is a large piece of granite rock used for astronomical observations. 

6. Grand Canyon National Park

Grand Canyon National Park
Photo by Grand Canyon National Park on Flickr licensed under CC BY 2.0 (Cropped from original).

The Grand Canyon is a spectacular work of nature. Watching the sunrise in the Grand Canyon National Park is a beautiful, magical, and peaceful experience. You can catch the best sunrises and sunsets all year long. 

The national park offers various spots to get the best sky view as the sun rises. At the Suh rim, east side, and north rim, you can watch the sun light up the Grand Canyon with vivid colors and dancing shadows. 

Visit the Grand Canyon to watch the sunlight highlight the shapes and spaces between the rocks as the sky brightens with a yellow tinge. As the sun gets brighter, the sky changes colors from yellow to pink and then purple. The glow emitted by the rocks is worth the experience. It is one of the best places to watch the sunrise. 

7. Svalbard, Norway

Svalbard, Norway
Photo by Bjoertvedt on Wikimedia Commons licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 (Cropped from original).

Svalbard is one of the most unique spots in the world. It is a group of islands in the Arctic region. Since it is in higher latitudes, Svalbard has constant sunlight, or midnight sun, from April to August. After this period, total darkness, or polar night, occurs from November to January.

The ideal time to experience the majestic Arctic sunrise and sunset is mid-March to April. However, the sun rises first in mid-February. All year round, you can still indulge in other activities, like kayaking, hiking, dog sledding, and glacier cruises. 

8. Mount Sinai, Egypt

 Mount Sinai, Egypt
Photo by Thomas Depenbusch (Depi) on Flickr licensed under CC BY 2.0 (Cropped from original).

Mount Sinai is an iconic mountain with an incredible history. It is a monument to the Christian and Muslim religions. Mount Sinai also has other names like Mt Horeb, Moses Mountain, and Mount Mousa. 

It is best to hike to the top of the mountain during the summer because the peak is less cold. Mt. Sinai is 7500 feet above sea level. The walk to the mountain's Zenith usually starts from St. Catherine's Monastery below. 

The sunrise on Mount Sinai reveals layers of mountain ridges, and the horizon turns orange. While at Mt. Sinai, you can see the historical burning bush that spoke to Moses. 

9. Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park

Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park
Photo by Dietmar Rabich on Wikimedia Commons licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 (Cropped from original).

Uluru is a site of Ayers Rock, one of the world’s most mysterious religious sites. Uluru means Earth Mother. Some believe the rock is a powerful energy source, making the location where Dreamtime started. 

There are different spots in Uluru where you can watch the sunrise. You can watch it in Talinguru Nyakunytjaku, the tourists’ favorite spot, or along the Minymaku Walk. You can also see the sunrise from the 45-minute Watiku Walk. From these spots, you can see the first sun rays bathing the terracotta surface bright red.   

10. Haleakala National Park, Maui

Haleakala National Park, Maui
Photo by Mferbfriske on Flickr licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 (Cropped from original).

Haleakala National Park holds a special place in the heart of Hawaiians. The 32,265 acres of land contains the Haleakala crater, a dormant volcano rising above the Pacific sea level at 10,023 ft. Haleakala means the house of the sun in Hawaiian. 

The Hawaiians believe that Haleakala is where Demigod Maui captured the sun, only to free it after it promised to stay in the sky longer. However, the crater formed about a million years ago when the Pacific plate drifted over plumes of superheated rocks. Decades and centuries of erosion and wind gave it an array of spectacular shapes.  

The dormant volcanic structure is a breathtaking landscape with an equally spectacular sunrise, which 1.5 million visitors experience annually. The sunrise at Haleakala features a swirl dance between vivid colors and light. Trekking to the top of the crater takes you through six of the world’s climate zones.

11. Taj Mahal, Uttar Pradesh

 Taj Mahal, Uttar Pradesh
Photo by Yash Soorma on Wikimedia Commons licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 (Cropped from original).

Fitting to be a UNESCO World Heritage site, the Taj Mahal is one of the extraordinary architectural developments of Indo-Islamic architecture. Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan built the monument in memory of his wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Construction started in 1632 AD and finished in 1648 AD. 

The magnificent building contains the mosque, the guest house, the main gateway on the south, and the outer courtyard. They constructed it with a mix of solids, voids, concave, convex, and light shadows. 

Sunrises in the Taj Mahal are breathtaking. The early morning light often colors the fine of the temple golden. Watching the sunrise in all its glory behind the temple is a magical experience. It is also the best spot for self-reflection.

12. Borobudur Temple, Island of Java, Indonesia

Borobudur Temple, Island of Java, Indonesia
Photo by Cmichel67 on Wikimedia Commons licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 (Cropped from original).

The Borobudur Temple is one of the best Buddhist temples in the world. The temple's base, body, and structure followed the conception of the universe in Buddhist cosmology. 

This UNESCO World Heritage site has three tiers around a hill, with a pyramidal base of five concentric square terraces, the trunk of a cone with three circular platforms, and a monumental stupa at the top. The sunrise around the temple is a majestic view worthy of a thousand photos.

Conclusion: Best Places To Watch The Sunrise

Watching the sunrise is a must-have experience for its breathtaking and therapeutic beauty. We hope our list of the best places to watch the sunrise or sunset gave you an idea for your next vacation itinerary. 

By Jennifer Okafor, BSc.

Jen’s a passionate environmentalist and sustainability expert. With a science degree from Babcock University Jen loves applying her research skills to craft editorial that connects with our global changemaker and readership audiences centered around topics including zero waste, sustainability, climate change, and biodiversity.

Elsewhere Jen’s interests include the role that future technology and data have in helping us solve some of the planet’s biggest challenges.

Fact Checked By:
Isabela Sedano, BEng.

Photo by Mohammed Moussa on Wikimedia Commons licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 (Cropped from original).
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