If you’re planning a trip to the Greek Islands soon, this guide to the most magnificent sunsets in the Cyclades is here to make sure you don’t miss the best spots to take in the beauty of the golden hour.
With their whitewashed architecture, pristine coves, beautiful beaches, and irresistibly authentic vibes, the Cyclades Islands are heaven on earth for anyone dreaming of experiencing a quintessentially Greek summer. When in the Cyclades, you shouldn’t miss a single sunset, as that’s when true magic happens on the islands. Whether you’re planning to visit one island or five, several amazing Cyclades sunsets await to make your Greek Island escape all the more memorable.
So, without further ado, here’s our list of the best sunsets in the Cyclades!
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Top 7 Sunsets in The Cyclades
1. Oia (Santorini)
Probably the most famous sunset spot in Greece, Oia boasts one of the most spectacular Cyclades sunsets. A former maritime superpower, this postcard-perfect town is built on Santorini’s volcanic cliff, offering excellent views of the Aegean Sea from its promenades, rooftop terraces, and beautiful mansions. Undoubtedly, Oia is a sight to behold at any time of the day. Yet, at sunset, it’s utterly enchanting.
The most popular location to enjoy the sunset in Oia is the town’s Old Venetian Castle, or what’s left of it. The word popular is key here. Every day, people from all over the globe flock to the dramatic ruins of the castle as sunset approaches. To say that the Castle of Oia is overcrowded is an understatement and the same goes for the narrow alleys that lead there. And just like that, an otherwise unbearably romantic moment can become literally unbearable.
However, this doesn’t mean that Oia isn’t indeed one of the most romantic places to enjoy a gorgeous sunset in the Cyclades. Far from that. Yet, the trick is to stay away from the castle and pick another good spot along the caldera-facing promenade to take in the golden hour spectacle. The sunset views are stunning no matter where you are in Oia. Therefore, you don’t need to be in the same place as hundreds of other people. Oia has the perfect place reserved just for you. All you have to do is find it!
2. Sunset Cruise (Santorini)
That said, if you still don’t want to risk experiencing a not-so-romantic sunset with hundreds of strangers, there’s a way to marvel at Santorini’s world-renowned sunset from the best vantage point and without the crowds.
A sunset catamaran cruise is the best way to take in the magic of Santorini’s celebrated golden hour in the company of no one but your loved ones and a few more like-minded dreamers. What’s more, by joining a cruise during your trip to Santorini, you’ll have the chance to appreciate the splendor of Santorini’s caldera and imposing dramatic cliffs from the water – an experience not to be missed. Not to mention that the deep blue sea is the perfect backdrop for your precious vacation photos.
Apart from being mesmerized by the grand vistas that always take center stage as the day gives way to night, during a sunset cruise, you’ll also have the opportunity to swim in the warm waters of Santorini’s hot springs, a unique activity to remember for life and take a closer look at Santorini’s famous Red Beach.
When planning your trip to Santorini Island with the help of JayWay’s experts, make sure you add the once-in-a-lifetime experience of chasing the sunset from onboard a catamaran to your Greek Island itinerary. You won’t regret it!
3. Fira (Santorini)
Even though Oia boasts one of the most world-famous sunsets in the Cyclades, Fira in Santorini shouldn’t be overlooked. The vibrant capital of Santorini, Fira is as picturesque as Oia, with its plethora of quaint blue-domed churches, narrow alleys, and a jaw-dropping sunset view. Fira is also the island’s nightlife capital and a major cultural hub, as it’s home to several museums.
For many, watching the sunset in Fira instead of Oia is an even more fascinating experience. For sure, the spectacle of the setting sun casting its shadow over the eternal blue of the Mediterranean Sea is what made Oia famous in the first place. Yet, in Fira, nothing beats the magic of the red-as-fire sun dipping in the depths of Santorini’s volcano.
Moreover, Fira sees fewer crowds than Oia during the sunset, which is yet another reason why the golden hour in Fira qualifies as one of the most beautiful sunsets in the Cyclades. As the sunset approaches, pick one of the caldera-facing bars, order a bottle of exquisite wine, and wait, taking in the beauty and the utter silence, disturbed only by the occasional words of admiration escaping the lips of charmed fellow travelers.
4. Little Venice (Mykonos)
Moving on to an equally popular island, probably the most famous of all the Greek Islands, Mykonos is not to be overlooked on your quest to find the best sunset in the Cyclades. In some cases, you don’t even have to go far to enjoy a spectacular sunset in Mykonos. The magic awaits right in the heart of Mykonos Town.
Little Venice is one of the most beloved sunset spots in Mykonos. Furthermore, it’s one of the most recognizable locations on the island, a true symbol of the Greek Islands as a whole. This row of whitewashed buildings standing for centuries on end at the edge of the shore is one of the most photogenic spots on the island, alongside the emblematic Mykonos windmills facing them.
No matter if you choose to stand somewhere near the windmills and watch in awe as Little Venice is dyed in the warm sunset colors or if you pick your spot at one of the cocktail bars that line the beachfront, you’re in for an unparalleled experience to cherish for life.
Although Little Venice and the windmills tend to get crowded in the late afternoon, this can – by no means – lessen the magic of the moment. Therefore, don’t hesitate to reserve an evening to watch the sun dive in the Aegean Sea, in doing so, reflecting its fiery colors on the whitewashed facades of Little Venice, the ideal location to fall in love with Mykonos.
5. Armenistis Lighthouse (Mykonos)
If you think that Mykonos has no remote places from where to watch some of the most breathtaking sunsets in the Cyclades without the hordes of other travelers, we’ve got great news for you: it does! Built in 1891, the nostalgic Armenistis Lighthouse catches glimpses of the neighboring island of Tinos and the glory of the Aegean Sea, offering one of the most majestic Cyclades sunsets.
Some things are hard to describe with words. The vastness of the Aegean Sea painted in the warm colors of the golden hour with nothing manmade to interrupt this scenic landscape but the imposing lighthouse is one of them.
As Armenistis Lighthouse is not within easy walking distance from the main town of Mykonos, it’s best to visit on a guided tour. At the planning stage of your Mykonos escape, make sure you let your JayWay travel experts know that you’d like them to add this guided tour to your Greek Island itinerary.
6. Naoussa Old Port (Paros)
There’s a lot more to the Greek Islands than just Mykonos and Santorini. Therefore, this list of the best sunsets in the Cyclades wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t include a couple of the best spots to take in the golden hour on some of the slightly lesser-known islands in the Cyclades.
In the heart of the Aegean Sea, Paros is an island that appeals to all sorts of travelers, from families traveling with kids to nature lovers to luxury seekers. Although there are several places on the island to enjoy a perfect view of the setting sun, there’s one that stands out. That’s no other than the quaint Old Port of Naoussa, the prettiest seaside town on the island of Paros.
With its picture-perfect little harbor adorned by wooden fishing boats and traditional restaurants, Naoussa epitomizes the sought-after Greek Island vibe. During sunset, the Old Port of Naoussa takes on a golden hue that’s almost unreal. A great place to be as the sun sets in Naousa is the windswept Old Venetian Castle that has been guarding the entrance to the sheltered port for centuries on end.
Alternatively, a few steps from the small port, the beach of Naoussa is yet another perfect spot to marvel at the sky as it changes from blue to vibrant orange and back into deep blue in an explosion of colors like no other.
7. Portara (Naxos)
Although this list of the best Cyclades sunsets does include big names like the world-famed Oia sunset, we could go as far as to say that we saved the best for last.
On the stunning island of Naxos, one of the most authentic, diverse, and laid-back islands in the Cyclades, there’s a spot that feels as though it was made for sunsets. A short walk from the heart of Naxos Town, Portara awaits to cast its spell on those who stroll along the scenic seaside path that leads there, with its great views and exciting history.
The symbol of Naxos, Portara is an impressive marble gate, the only remaining part of the unfinished Ancient Temple of Apollo. Portara offers fantastic views not only of the big blue that is the Aegean Sea and the coast of Naxos but also of the dazzlingly white gem that is Naxos Town.
As expected, Portara attracts hordes of dreamers during sunset but don’t let this discourage you. There’s room for everyone and watching the magical sunset from Portara is an experience that you definitely don’t want to miss.
We could go on and on about the best sunsets in the Cyclades. With so many islands within the most famous cluster of islands in Greece, it’s only natural that the opportunities to watch spectacular sunsets are endless. Yet, in this guide, we aimed to give you just a small taste of the best Cyclades sunsets you can enjoy on some of the most popular islands.
If you’re dreaming of a Greek Island escape, wait no more. The time is now! So, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our travel advisors and get ready to see the Greek Islands in the best way, the JayWay!
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Born and raised in Athens, Maria’s passionate about travel and storytelling, a combination that makes her ideal for her role as our content manager.