Sunset Lover’s Guide to the Cyclades

Mykonos sunset 180 degrees bar

There is something magical about sunset. The sky exploding in a passionate glow of colours as the sun kisses the horizon goodnight, leaving in its wake the reassuring promise of a new dawn and an air of expectancy filled with hopes and dreams yet to be fulfilled.

Sunsets have captivated people for tens of thousands of years.

Long ago, Greeks believed that the sun’s movement was caused by the Olympian god Apollo, as he transported it around and around the earth in his golden chariot pulled by four horses. In the morning, Apollo began driving up into the sky, and in the evening he drove back down again, creating the sunset as his horses retreated beneath the world to sleep.

Our understanding of the sun may have changed; however, that sunsets are the embodiment of magic and romance is one understanding that remains.

Sunsets are proof that no matter what happens, every day can end beautifully.

Kirsten Butler

When the fiery hues of sunset enflame the sky, we are reminded to soak in and appreciate those breathtaking moments during which Mother Nature shows off one of her finest displays, so very cleverly crafted to ignite the passions of lovers everywhere.

There is no doubt that sunset seems to embody romance, so where else to best enjoy it than in the Greek Islands, undoubtedly one of the most romantic places on earth?

The Cyclades sunsets, in particular, are some of the most beautiful in the world, so here are some of the best, most romantic vantage points from which to celebrate the magical golden hour of sunset.

It is almost impossible to watch a sunset and not dream.

Bernard Williams

Milos

Known as the ‘Island of Colours’ thanks to the variety of gorgeous colourful landscapes due to ancient volcanic activity, Milos is also known for its most breathtaking sunsets.

Milos Plaka sunset

Milos Plaka sunset

Milos Plaka sunset

Milos Plaka

At about 220 meters above sea level, Plaka, considered the island’s capital, provides for some spectacular panoramic views of the island, the sea, and the setting sun each night.

Built in 1820, the Church of Panaghia Korfiatissa is located on a breathtaking site in Plaka, overlooking the deep blue sea and the neighbouring islands.

Apart from the wonderful view of the sea and the spectacular sunset, you can see holy relics from the island’s old deserted churches, Cretan-Byzantine icons from the churches of Zefyria, as well as the gold-plated epitaph which was brought from Smyrna dated from 1600.

There are several bars and cafés in Plaka that are perfectly positioned to capture the extraordinary sunset scenes whilst sipping a cocktail or two.  The must-visit Utopia Café is one such place, offering a spectacular view of the caves of Milos as well as the sea and the sunset from its alfresco balcony.

Utopia Cafe Plaka Milos sunset

Utopia Cafe Plaka Milos sunset

Sarakiniko Beach

Sarakiniko is an impressive and unforgettable area of volcanic rock that is entirely bright white in colour, and reminiscent of the moon’s surface.

The lunar-like landscape makes a striking contrast with the deep blue and turquoise of the surrounding waters during the day and provides a remarkable setting for a very unique sunset in the evening.

The history of Milos Island dates back to the Bronze Age, with the people of that time most probably choosing to live on the island for its natural beauty, especially as they watched the sunset to the west each evening.

Aim to arrive at Sarakiniko at least an hour before sunset to catch the beautiful colours of the golden hour and plan to stay for the stunningly vivid colours of the blue hour also, which on average lasts about 45 minutes after the sun goes down.

Sarakiniko Milos sunset

Sarakiniko Milos sunset

Every sunset is also a sunrise, It depends on where you stand.

Karl Schmidt

Folegandros

Greece is famous for its magnificent sunsets but anyone who has visited would know that few places on earth can match the sheer beauty of the sunset from Folegandros Island.

Church of Panagia

Lording over Chora, high on a rocky peak, rests the picturesque Church of Panagia (Holy Mother) most famous and photographed church of Folegandros.

Built over an ancient Greek temple, to get to the whitewashed Panagia church you must make the 250-step, twisting, 15 minute climb from Pounta Square, adjacent to the Chora.

Each evening crowds make the pilgrimage to the top where they are rewarded with a 360-degree panoramic view of the whole island as well as with an incredible view of the most stunning sunset that, some say, rivals even the famous sunset of Santorini.

Church of Panagia

Church of Panagia Folegandros sunset

Church of Panagia Folegandros sunset

Chora and Pounta Square

For those who don’t want to make the trek all the way up to the church, you can stop anywhere along the path or at Pounta Square.

Positioned on the outsides of Chora and on the very edge of Folegandros’ wild and rocky cliffs, Pounta Square offers staggering views of the ocean way down below and of the sunset.

There are steps to sit on in the Square and a small café, from where to soak in some unforgettable golden moments that will have you pinching yourself to check that you are truly awake and not dreaming.

Folegandros Pounta Square sunset
Folegandros Pounta Square sunset

A sunset paints the sky as if there were no tomorrow.

Anthony T. Hincks

Santorini

Santorini’s enchanting, romantic sunsets are among the most sought-after phenomena in the world and one of the reasons why the island is one of the most sought after honeymoon destinations in the world. Whether or not you agree, there is no denying that viewing the sunset in Santorini is truly spectacular.

Oia

The northern village of Oia is well known as one of the most magical viewpoints of the beautiful Grecian sunset and undoubtedly the most popular place to watch the sunset in Santorini.

One popular, albeit crowded spot to watch the sunset is from Oia Castle, which offers a stunning view of the windmills and the surrounded whitewashed, cliff-side houses.

Oia Santorini sunset

Oia Santorini sunset

Ammoudi Bay

Ammoudi is a beautiful bay and small port located 200 steps below Oia.

A steep but walkable staircase of about 200 steps from the foot of Oia castle leads down to the bay for those who are up for the trek and want to admire the spectacular view all the way down.  Otherwise, it is possible to arrange for a car or taxi to drop you there.

The bay is lined with fantastic seafood restaurants and tavernas, such as Sunset by Paraskevas Taverna.  Considered to be one of the island’s most idyllic spots, the taverna which is famous for its seafood, is prettily bordered by the crystal clear waters that lap right up to the table’s edge.

Santorini is one of the best places on earth as far as sunset viewing is concerned, so if braving the crowded streets of Oia is not for you and a quiet, romantic night in is preferred, it is easily possible to admire the beautiful sunset from the refuge of many of the island’s strategically positioned hotels.

Sunset by Paraskevas Taverna, Ammoudi Bay, Santorini
Sunset by Paraskevas Taverna, Ammoudi Bay, Santorini
Santo Maris Oia Luxury Suites and Spa Santorini sunset
Santo Maris Oia Luxury Suites and Spa

The more clouds you have in your sky, the more colourful sunset it will be.

Sajal Sazzad

Mykonos

 Although Santorini seems to take much of the glory when it comes to Cycladic sunsets, the nearby island of Mykonos should not be underestimated.

The vivid sunsets in Mykonos are well-known to be amongst the most spectacular in the Aegean Sea.

In Mykonos, the sunsets are so revered that it is common for a hush to fall over the spectating crowd as the sun makes its final dip below the horizon, with the beauty of such a special moment often celebrated with a cheer of appreciation.

Mykonos sunset

Mykonos sunset

Little Venice

Little Venice is located on the water’s edge of Mykonos Chora and is highly regarded as a romantic location, buzzing with plenty of places from where to see the sunset.

Originally the homes of fishermen and their families, the buildings, which literally hang out over the water, are now home to lively cafes, restaurants and bars – perfect locations for viewing the sunset over a nice cocktail, meal, dessert or coffee.

The view from the windows and terraces of these buildings looks out directly over the sea to the west, giving you the perfect view of the setting sun and 16th century windmills against a sky of reds and oranges so spectacular that it’s difficult to believe that it is real.

Little Venice Mykonos sunset

180 Degrees Sunset Bar

Located atop the highest peak in Mykonos Town, the aptly named 180 Degrees Sunset Bar provides the perfect panoramic view for sunset lovers in Mykonos

From here, spectators can enjoy the enchanting Cycladic sunset whilst sipping cocktails and enjoying chilled music from the comfortable seat of a bar lounge.

180 Degrees Sunset Bar Mykonos

180 Degrees Sunset Bar Mykonos

180 Degrees Sunset Bar Mykonos

180 Degrees Sunset Bar Mykonos

Scorpios

On the sun-drenched southern tip of Mykonos, many flock to the supremely chic and vibrant Scorpios, a beachfront spot offering regional fare, unique cocktails and regular entertainment.

The location is the perfect vantage point from where to admire the sunset as the horizons of blue blur with yellows, golds, and pinks born of the generous Cycladic sun.

Scorpios Mykonos sunset

Johanna’s Nikos Place

A perfectly casual place for a sunset dinner is Joanna’s Nikos Place, a small restaurant located next to Megali Ammos Beach.

This affordable and absolute beachfront taverna offers the perfect place for authentic Greek fare in the most dreamy of locations.

Megali Ammos Johanna's Nikos Taverna Mykonos sunset

Elia Beach

There are plenty of romantic beach locations from where to admire the flame lit sunset in Mykonos, such as from the eastern end of Elia Beach, which provides the perfect view of the sun sinking below the opposing hilltops, shrouding the surrounding whitewashed buildings in an auburn glow upon its descent.

Elia Mykonos sunset

Elia Mykonos sunset

No sun outlasts its sunset, but will rise again and bring the dawn.

Maya Angelou

Naxos

 Naxos is the largest of the Cyclades islands off the main coast of Greece and the location of Apollo’s temple.

It was Apollo who drove his chariot into the sea off the coast of Naxos each night, according to the ancient Greeks, so perhaps it is fitting for some of Greece’s best sunsets to be found at the Port of Naxos.

Temple of Apollo – Portara

Of the temple of Apollo, the only thing that remains is the Portara, or ‘gateway’.

A colossal marble gate and the single remaining part of the unfinished temple of Apollo of 530 B.C., the Portara is the island’s main landmark.

Today, Naxos’ Temple of Apollo is connected with the Naxos mainland via a paved footpath, providing access to a spot that offers one of the most enchanting sunsets in Greece.

Temple of Apollo Naxos sunset

Agia Anna Beach

Agia Anna Beach in Naxos is popular with visitors all year round, thanks to its idyllic swimming conditions, picturesque fishing boats, a pretty little church perched on the south side of the beach, plus a range of beachside bars, restaurants and tavernas.

If you’re in the mood for a coastal wander, Agia Anna is an ideal location from which to take in the iconic Cycladic sunset and is well worth a visit.

Agia Anna Naxos sunset

Every sunset brings the promise of a new dawn.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ios

Perhaps more notorious for its party scene, the idyllic island of Ios also boasts some incredible sunset locations.

Panoramic views coupled with Cycladic architecture, plus crystalline waters and clear skies provide a heavenly combination.

Ios Chora

There are many winding paths that take you from Chora and up to the hill, from where you find some incredible panoramic views of the horizon.

Teatro Odysseas Elytis, often referred to as the Old Village of Ios, is a great vantage point that overlooks Chora and one of the best places to admire the sunset in Ios.

In addition, amazing views of the sunset can be captured from the rooftop the abandoned Gaitis Museum. And if you hand around for about 30 minutes after sunset, you can also see the lights twinkle on in Chora.

Ios sunset

Ios sunset

Milopotas Beach

If you prefer a more peaceful scene, out of the hustle and bustle, there are plenty of peaceful locations from where to admire blissful sunset views, such as Milopotas Beach.

After the sun has set, there are a number of surrounding bars, eateries, and the famous Drakos Fish Taverna located at the northern end of the beach from where it is possible to further soak up the holiday island atmosphere and enjoy the Greek cuisine.

Milopotas Ios sunset

Sifnos

A place renowned for its food, Sifnos, is an underestimated Cycladic treasure blessed with beautiful beaches, coves, olive trees and mountains.

Kamares

Kamares is the main port of Sifnos and is a fantastic viewpoint of some of the most amazing sunsets on the island.

Kamares Sifnos sunset
Sunset over mountains near Kamares village on Sifnos island, Greece.

Apollonia

Apollonia, a name that literally espouses the devotion of the city to Apollo, is the capital of Sifnos and the heart of the island.

There are many rooftop bars and restaurants from where one can admire the swirl of colours that light the sky upon sunset.

Just on the outskirts of the bustling village there are quieter locations from which the spectacle of a seemingly enormous fiery sun retreating behind a floral and mountainous landscape is a treat to spectators each evening.

Apollonia Sifnos sunset

Vathi Beach

Vathi is one of the most untouched and unspoiled beaches in Sifnos.

Its crystal waters are framed by a sandy beach lined with lovely coffee bars and tavernas.

At one end of the horseshoe-shaped beach lies the Church of Taxiarches, dating back to the 17th century.

A romantic setting for lovers, the ancient architecture seemingly comes to life with the shifting shadows and an otherworldly glow.

Vathi Vathy Sifnos sunset

A sunset is the sun’s fiery kiss to the night.
Crystal Woods

Greece’s Cyclades Hold a Special Power for Sunset Lovers

Each day is marked by a sunset, regardless of wherever you are in the world.

But Greece’s wondrous, ancient lands seem to hold a special power for sunset lovers, who travel across the globe to admire the wondrous beauty of skies illuminated by a kaleidoscope of colours swirling above a reflective ocean.

From their perfect position in the Aegean Sea, Greece’s island group known as the Cyclades provide many ideal vantage points to view beautiful sunsets from just about anyplace.

Mykonos sunset

Church of Panagia Folegandros sunset

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