The Acropolis, Athens, from the roof of the Grande Bretagne Hotel
Whenever I travel, especially in the company of my two daughters, by late afternoon we usually find ourselves sitting by the water somewhere with a glass of wine, waiting for the sunset. That’s when I really know I’m on vacation.
Many years ago I learned that Key West has a sunset party on the beach every night, with fire-
eaters and dancers and all sorts of celebration of the beauty of the evening sky. On Santorini, in Greece, every sunset is a party as well. The white-sugar-cube buildings turn gold and orange and the roofs and balconies become crowded with onlookers who applaud as the sun disappears into the Aegean.
Cats at Hydroneta on Hydra
Some sophisticated bars, like Franco’s on Santorini, and Hydroneta on Hydra, cue their music so that it reaches its climax at the moment the sun drops out of sight. (At Franco’s in the town of Thera on Santorini, you’d better reserve a lounge chair in advance—although every spot on Santorini has a drop-dead view.)
Windmills on Mykonos
On Mykonos, the bar called Veranda, overlooking little Venice, is our favorite spot to drink and savor the show. That’s where my profile photo with windmills in the background was taken by Eleni some years ago. (She keeps telling me it’s time to replace it with something more up-to-date.) And that’s where this photo of a sailing ship was taken.
Corfu also has sunset views that could make you weep. Here’s a spot I always stop to photograph—showing the fortress overlooking the harbor.
As soon as we arrive in Corfu every year, we head for a drink on the roof garden of the Cavalieri Hotel, perhaps the most romantic spot ever for sunset watching as the swallows wheel, shrieking, overhead in a frenzy of bug-chasing, and the retro sounds of Frank Sinatra provide background music.
The most dramatic sunsets I’ve ever seen, night after night, were in Nicaragua, on Playa del Coco, the beach where sea turtles flock to lay their eggs in August to December and the babies emerge to head for the sea in January and February. Every night on Playa del Coco we’d go down to the beach, sit on the rustic chairs and watch the light show in the sky. And say, as we lifted our glasses toward the horizon, “Now we’re really on vacation.”