Travel Picks: Top 10 sunrise destinations

Fri Mar 30, 2012 3:54pm EDT
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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Residents of the Northern Hemisphere are downright giddy this time of year with the official arrival of spring. In honor of longer days, sunshine and the tantalizing prospect of summer on the horizon, has chosen its top 10 list of places around the world to see a magnificent sunrise. Reuters has not endorsed this list:

1. Haleakala National Park, Hawaii, USA

Boarding a bus in the wee hours of morning is a pain, particularly on vacation when the greatest indulgence is sleeping in. But the alarm-clock acknowledgement is worth it if the payoff is watching a sunrise from above the clouds, on the top of a volcano. Various van tours offer the trip through Haleakala National Park in Maui, picking visitors up at 3 a.m. and dropping them off to see the event from the summit. Should you want to (and we highly recommend it), you can bike the 28 miles down the mountain, back to sea level.

2. Svalbard, Norway

The sun doesn't set in Svalbard—at least not between mid-April and late August each year. It's obvious, then, why the sun rising holds an almost magical appeal for visitors. Situated north of the Arctic Circle, the northernmost inhabited spot on the planet features the midnight sun, a phenomenon where the sun stays continuously in the sky for 24 hours a day. Glaciers and mountains clutter Svalbard's horizon, painting a landscape that merely enhances the event.

3. Angkor Wat Siem Reap, Cambodia

Angkor Wat any time of day is powerful, but arriving early enough to watch the sunrise offers visitors an even greater spectacle. The preserved temple attracts travelers to Cambodia from around the world, providing them architectural insight into Khmer and Hindu mythology and history. We advise that visitors dedicate more than a day to exploring the sacred grounds (and that one of those days begins before dawn).

4. Fiji

Smack dab on the 180-degree longitude line, Fiji is one of the first spots in the world to see the sun rise every day. The South Pacific destination, a favorite among lovers of turquoise seas and white-sand beaches (and who isn't), offers unrivaled scenery and inspirational landscapes. Itinerary tip: Follow an intoxicating sunrise up with a morning exploration; the "soft coral capital of the world" offers some of the best scuba diving in the world.   Continued...

A man walks along Kailua beach as the sun rises over the Mokulua Islands, near where U.S. President Barack Obama is staying while he is on Christmas vacation in Hawaii, December 24, 2011. REUTERS/Hugh Gentry