It’s hard to find anything more awe-inspiring than a sunset – that precious moment of stillness and calm at the end of the day when Mother Nature paints a spectacular picture before our very eyes. But where are the best places to catch these habitual displays? Here’s our round-up of the top European hotspots for sunset-seekers…
Not only does Lisbon get more hours of sunshine than any other European city, it’s the only city in Europe where the sun sets on the sea, making it an unmissable destination if you’re an avid sunset-seeker. We recommend watching the sun plunge into the water from the port of Belem, on the outskirts of the city, or sitting on the promenade close to Lisbon’s Cais do Sodre station. For aerial views of the city, head to Lisbon’s castle area – it’s conveniently situated close to the famous Alfama district, so you can treat yourself to an evening of classic Portuguese fado music afterwards.
Soul & Spirit’s top tip: Head to the magical town of Sintra, 18 miles north of Lisbon (45 minutes by train) to catch a spectacular sunset over the Pena national palace – it’s nothing short of a fairytale.
While the best sunset spot on this idyllic island is widely contested, it cannot be denied that watching the sun sink into the Aegean sea under swathes of pinks and reds is a bucket list must-do. The picturesque village of Oia is one of the most popular destinations for this – and is commonly described as one of the best sunsets in Europe – so head there early if you want to catch a glimpse of the famous white-washed buildings under a setting sun. If you’d prefer to avoid the crowds, we recommend finding a cosy spot at the Akrotiri lighthouse, or Fira.
Soul & Spirit’s top tip: Get to your chosen spot with plenty of time to spare. Find a traditional taverna, or take a blanket, lie back and soak up the atmosphere while you watch the sun slowly descend into the sparkling sea.
Typically regarded as one of the most romantic cities in the world, it’s no wonder tourists flock to Venice in their droves to take in its culture, waterways and spectacular night skies. But did you know that you needn’t rush to hire a gondola to soak up Venice’s sunsets? Head to the famous Piazzo San Marco or Rialto bridge and you’ll be able to catch a spectacular display in one of the most romantic places in the world, for free.
Soul & Spirit’s top tip: For intrepid explorers, we recommend taking a sunset walk along Venice’s waterfront from the Palazzo Ducale to the Naval museum.
This ancient city is often referred to as the “pearl of the Adriatic” and you can see why – with its cobbled streets and terracotta roofs encased within an impressive set of city walls, Dubrovnik stills feels like an undiscovered gem. Soak up its last hours of sun by walking along its 1,940 metres of city walls – as the sun dips and the evening breeze picks up, you’ll be able to catch the scent of orange blossom from the old town’s trees if you’re lucky.
Soul & Spirit’s top tip: For a bird’s eye view of Dubrovnik and its neighbouring islands, take the cable car up to to Mount Srdjcar an hour before dusk.
Niedzica castle, Poland
Celebrated as one of Poland’s most picturesque castles, this dramatic building is also steeped in myth and legend – it’s said that the sacred scrolls of the Incas are hidden here. As daylight disappears, the skies become equally mythical too – swathes of pinks and purples surround Niedzica castle and the Dunajec valley, a scene that adorns many paintings, book jackets and postcards across Poland.
Soul & Spirit’s top tip: Niedzika makes an ideal day trip from Krakow. While in the area, be sure to visit Zakopane – a quaint Polish town that nestles the base of the Tatras mountains.
About the author
Kayleigh Rattle is a Soul & Spirit staff writer who loves all things unicorns.