beach sunsets

10 glorious beach sunsets

In Beach, Travel Inspiration by Russell Bowes

beach sunsets

Every night, the same orb sinks below the horizon, the same way as it’s always done – the same way as it always will. East to west, day after day, year after year until the end of time.

Technically, the sun is a ball of hot plasma comprised of three parts hydrogen to one part helium, but to describe it in purely scientific terms would be doing it a disservice. The sun has the power to do more than illuminate and warm us: it also fills us with wonder. 

The Pacific smoulders under a swirling palette of pinks and oranges

From hues of red to shades of deep purple and violet, no two sunsets are alike. We’ve all seen skies that we’ll never forget, the clouds aflame, the ocean shimmering as we savour the last hurrah of a dying day.

From Hawaii to the Highlands, we’ve rounded up the greatest beaches with sunsets. To savour the perfect moment, just add company and a camera phone.


1. Oia, Santorini

Santorini sunset

Santorini is a romantic kind of place by day, but as night falls those feels are intensified when the sun flees the hillside town in a blaze of glory. Soak up those skin-tingling views from this white and blue villa with pool. In the distance lies the caldera and beyond that – several million miles beyond that – the orb that brings its crater into sharp focus.

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2. North Beach, Hawaii

Sunset Hawaii
Photo: Floyd Manzano

As the sun paints the sky in burnt orange, Hawaii shimmers gently. These volcanic islands assume an ethereal charm as night falls, the light dissipates and the cicadas are summoned out to play. This villa on the North Shore’s Sunset Beach promises a view to ooh over. When the last rays of light have exited stage right, retreat inside for cocktails and good company. Tomorrow you get to do it all over again.

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Fingerprints; snowflakes; sunsets: no two are ever the same

3. Santa Monica Pier, Los Angeles

Santa Monica sunset
Photo: Pier Lawther

As night falls on Cali’s coast, the light spilling from the theme parks and diners is complemented by the greater light show unfolding over the ocean. One of the best places to take it all in is Santa Monica Pier. While the Pacific smoulders under a swirling palette of pinks and oranges, this Santa Monica beachhouse forms a stylish perch from which to catch the action.

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4. Scottish Highlands

Sunset in Scotland

Sometimes it’s best to let the pictures do the talking. Is it a photograph or is it a watercolour? Is this earth or is it heaven? When you book a stay in this Baronial Highland manor, don’t expect to witness an identical scene – instead you’ll be treated to a different show that’s every bit as spectacular. Fingerprints; snowflakes; sunsets: no two are ever the same.

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5. Puglia, Italy

Italian Beach Sunset

As the pinprick sun dashes off to greet nations that are just rising, it treats the Med to a final burst of colour. Is it purply-orange or orangey-purple? Quibble over colours while you sup a fine chianti from the terrace of this plush villa, just metres from the beach.

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6. Bora Bora

Sunset over beach huts at Bora Bora

To catch the best view of the sun-kissed water, you have to get close to the water. Not just yards from the beach close, but hovering just above it close. OK, so you’re not technically hovering – you’re supported by stilts – but there’s no disputing the unfettered view from these Bora Bora huts. No buildings, outcrops or urban smog clouding the vista: just you, the sea and the last serenade of the sun.

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In 500 million years the sun will burn into a ball of fury, but until then it remains our warmest friend

7. Pfeiffer beach, California

Sunset over Pfeiffer beach, California

With its amazing rock formations and purple sands, there’s a lot to fall in love with in Big Sur – and that’s before you glance up. Cast your eyes to the skies and you may have trouble averting your gaze. Stare all you like: the view from this stone beach house is constantly changing. No sooner have you been wooed by one sunset than another suitor has come along to claim its place. Fall in love all you like: when it comes to lusting over sunsets, polyamory isn’t just allowed – it’s encouraged.

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8. Ipanema beach, Rio

Ipanema beach, Rio

The football crowds may have gone, but Brazil remains a paradise retreat – a remarkably unspoilt one given the throngs who’ve trampled through here in recent months. Watching the sun slink over Sugar Loaf Mountain is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that everyone should witness. That’s not to say you can’t return for an encore of course. In 500 million years the sun will burn into a ball of fury, extinguishing all life on this planet, but until then it remains our warmest friend. Renew your BFF bonds from this beautifully appointed apartment on Ipanema Beach.

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9. The Maldives

Maldives beach sunset
Photo: Mohamed Muha

With their golden sands, glistening clear waters and plush beach huts, the Maldives have it all. They don’t deserve exquisite sunsets, but they get them anyway because life ain’t fair. Still, it feels pretty fair when you’re shacked up in one of these beautiful villas watching the sinking sun strut its stuff.

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10. Dubai

Dubai beach sunset
Photo: Utpal Nath

More synonymous with man than nature, Dubai is a vertiginous feat of engineering. There’s something enchanting, however, about the juxtaposition of glass and steel with sun and sea. From this luxury two-bedroom apartment, you’re surrounded by the comforts of 21st century living, plus a view that no amount of oil money can by. Dubai may not have soul, but it’s got style and sunsets, and that’s good enough.

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Take a beachfront break

See your next sunset from a HomeAway holiday rental.

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About the Author

Russell Bowes

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Russell is originally from leafy Hertfordshire, England but now lives in the bright lights of London. He has travelled to many parts of Europe and South-East Asia. His favourite trip was to Athens and Santorini, Greece in 2012. When he is not writing about travel he can be found working on his blog where he posts all sorts of recipes and adventures from his kitchen.

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Russell Bowes10 glorious beach sunsets