There may be no better spot on all the Mediterranean coast to watch the sun set than Cabo Sunion, a vantage point which, from the dawn of history, has offered a view of the boats sailing towards Athens. At around 70 kilometres from the Greek capital, there is only one drawback to watching the magnificent spectacle of the sun going down between the pillars of the Temple of Poseidon, and that's the number of people who are inclined to do the same. Although the numbers can't rob the sight of its breathtaking magic, if you aren't a fan of crowds, this may not be the place for you.
The Spanish coast, too offers fantastic settings to watch nature's dazzling spectacle. The majestic cliffs of Cap de Creus, for example, on the gulf of Rosas at the very tip of the peninsula's northeast coast, or, at the other end of the country, the beautiful beaches of Cabo de Gata. Here, even in summer it is seldom crowded and it offers a perfect location to climb to the highest point available and watch in silence as the blue of the sky and the water tinge with pink or flame with orange, and the volcanic peaks are gradually wreathed in darkness.
Ibiza offers exciting options to savour the sunsets to a background of chill-out music at Cafe del Mar, Mambo or Kumara. On the island, you'll also find the somewhat more intimate settings of Punta Galera and Cap des Falco, the sandy bay at Cala d’Hort looking out over the islet of Es Vedra, and the romantic hotel Hacienda Na Xamena. Set alone atop a cliff, the hotel is surrounded by pine woods, and the sunsets can even be enjoyed from the luxurious open air spa, a hedonist's delight where the water tumbles between pools and waterfalls among the natural rock formations.
The neighbouring island of Minorca has plenty of stunning sunset sites, too, including the unmatchable Cova d'en Xoroi, a cave whose rocky walls are transformed each night to house one of the island's most unusual discos. The sunset views from the terraces overhanging the cliff edge are, quite simply, breathtaking.
On the southern shores of the Med, the Sidi Chabanne cafe in the Tunisian village of Sidi Bou Said is an enchanting spot to sit and drink in the atmosphere as twilight creeps into the bougainvillea-decked terraces. Meanwhile, on the north shore, a host of magical settings also await. There's the glamourous port of St Tropez where the the last rays of the sun slip between the masts and furled sails of the moored yachts. Or, in the same area, the road that leads from Antibes towards Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat between pine trees and grand mansions with the sea in the distance and the Alps with their usually snowy peaks that seem to touch the sky. These are settings fit to rival the Amalfi coast in southern Italy where the narrow coastal road winds precipitously along between historic villages each more beautiful than the last.
The old town of Dubrovnik, Croatia, is a treat at any time, but dusk clothes it in new beauty. And what better than the eminently 'classical' setting of the Greek isles where you can watch the sun set over Santorini or over the blue domes and white walls of the mythical island of Mykonos?
Perhaps, though, if you had to choose a single sunset spot, it should be Istanbul. From the boats that ply the Bosphorus to the rooftops of the cafes in the central district of Sultanahmet, the aptly-named estuary the Golden Horn, or maybe best of all from the medieval Galata Tower, built by the Genoese merchants when they frequented the ancient Constantinople. From its heights, the minarets of the ubiquitous mosques that line the horizon are tinged with fire while their spires cast brilliant darts at a mythical sky and pierce the hearts of those fortunate travellers who witness the sunset from this perfect stage, leaving an indelible image in the memory, and a longing to return.
Catalonia, Balearic Isles, Ibiza, Minorca, Andalusia
Greece, Tunisia, France, Croatia, Turkey