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Getting yourself up before the crack of dawn is no easy feat and it’s especially difficult on holiday – but a tranquil sunrise view in a foreign destination can be worth the hassle. Whether prepping for a day full of exhilarating adventures ahead or bound to crawl back into bed once the sun comes up, these locations are worth waking up extra early for.
1. Joshua Tree Park, California, US
Joshua Tree sits where the Colorado and Mojave deserts collide. The national park is distinguished by its yucca palms and has a reputation as a sanctuary for artists and freethinkers. Head to Keys View – the highest point in the park – to take in panoramic sights of the Coachella Valley (minus the festival revellers) at sunrise.
2. Lake Shoji, Tokyo, Japan
Arrive early to the smallest of the Fuji Five Lakes and you’ll be treated to a golden sunrise with a completely unobstructed view of Mount Fuji. You’ll also avoid crowds and leave feeling utterly serene.
3. Table Mountain, Cape Town, South Africa
This flat-topped mountain towering over Cape Town is best visited in the morning hours before hoards of tourists roll in. You can reach the top via cable car or a long, but scenic, hike.
4. Oia, Santorini, Greece
With its distinct whitewashed buildings, steep winding pathways and volcanic beaches, Santorini is Greece’s most snapped island. Its blue-dome skyline is instantly recognisable but its dramatic cliffside are diverting our gaze. Head to the latter to watch the sun come up.
5. Vista Chinesa, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
If you’re longing for an impressive mountain-top view of Rio but you’re not too keen on sharing the moment with a crowd eager to see Christ the Redeemer, Vista Chinesa is the place to scope out. The little pagoda perched in Tijuca National Park delivers views of the south coast and serves as a more serene alternative to Corcovado and Sugarloaf Mountain.
6. Seljalandsfoss, Iceland
For a country renowned for its natural beauty, it’s not exactly a shocker that Iceland is home to some spectacular waterfalls. Seljalandsfoss is unique in that visitors can walk behind the falls — add in a stunning Icelandic sunrise and you’re set to ‘gram.
7. Makapu’u, Hawaii, US
On the island of Oahu you’ll find the gem of Makapu’u, home to tide pools and a paved trail that leads to a lighthouse overlooking the sea. If you’re lucky, you’ll spot humpback whales from one of the viewpoints.
8. Ha Long Bay, Vietnam
Located in North Vietnam’s Gulf of Tonkin, this natural wonder contains thousands of (mostly) uninhabited limestone islands topped with lush forests. Ha Long Bay is hailed for being one of Vietnam’s top spots to watch the sunrise – orange skies melting into emerald waters is an ethereal sight. Take our word for it.
9. Wharariki Beach, Puponga, New Zealand
Wharariki Beach stands out from the sandy crowd for being home to Archway Islands, a group of rock formations constructed by wave erosion. Not only does the beach exhibit views difficult to match anywhere else, but its caverns and cliffs are ideal for adventurers.
10. Lofoten Islands, Norway
You can catch the Northern Lights eight months a year at this Norwegian destination, but its stunning natural scenery should be reason enough to visit any time of year. The islands of Lofoten provide a perfect backdrop for watching the daybreak before hiking and kayaking.
11. Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia
This Buddhist temple is one of the world’s most beloved religious monuments and it’s easy to see why. Angor Wat’s unrivalled beauty paired with surrounding nature joins to create a picture perfect moment as the sun comes up.
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