Even if you’re not a morning person, opening your eyes in a fresh destination is guaranteed to give an extra kick to your spirits. And when you’re surrounded by lotus ponds, mountain-filled horizons, a symphony of fountains, or views of minarets, the sound of the alarm clock is the sweetest thing you’ll ever hear. Here are some of the world’s loveliest wake-up calls.
As if the murmuring waves, frolicking whales, waterfalls and jungles outside your door weren’t enough to get you throwing back the covers, Maui also serves up some of Hawaii’s best vistas. Try out sunrise over the volcanic crater at Haleakalā National Park or from the spectacular road to Hana.
There are few things more magical than getting up on a rooftop before dawn to listen to this city wake. As the mournful cries of the muezzins issuing the call to prayer weave over one another and the sky lightens behind the minarets, you’ll be working up an appetite for a sumptuous Turkish breakfast to fuel your perfect İstanbul day.
The top corner of Australia basks in 300 days of sunshine a year, so there’s a fine chance of being greeted by a stunning blue sky when you open your eyes. Continue the theme with a trip into the forest to look for glowingly blue butterflies or a snorkel in brilliant blue seas.
Waking with your beloved in this grand romantic film set of a city still just can’t be beat. And whatever time you drag yourself from those tangled sheets, Paris will be looking its best (hell, even the streetlamps are picture-perfect). What will you share for breakfast? A baguette or a brulée?
Big Sur, USA
You’ll sleep so well in these laidback partsthat it’s easy to wake up smiling – and if you’re here in fog season, dawn can be one golden glow. Keep yourself smirking with a pastry from the Big Sur bakery (with hummingbird floor show!) or a saunter through the redwood forest.
You might be waking up slow here after an evening sampling the famous wines of this sophisticated desert city. But with fountains in just about every plaza, chances are you’ll be surfacing to the soothing sound of burbling water. (Make sure to have a glass by your bed!)
This brash, breakneck city shows another face at dawn. With the sun rising in a rosy, hazy bubble over the sea, it’s time to head to Sassoon Docks to see a fishing scene virtually unchanged for centuries (just don’t get in the way of the fisherfolk!). Cap off your morning with a stroll through Colaba to see the pastel Art Deco buildings take the light, and a spicy chai on Arthur Bunder Road.
Hong Kong, China
Waking up in Hong Kong can be any kind of beautiful you want it to be. Like it pacy? Kick yourself out of bed to join the buzzing streets and track down something fishy and spicy for breakfast. Like it lyrical? Start slow with dawn tai chi and a tram to the top of Victoria Peak to take in the early morning views.
Rocky Mountains, USA
Heady alpine air, adventure sports, majestic peaks looming on the skyline – a week or two here and you’ll be so fizzing with health you’ll fairly spring from the pillow. Ever hear of a Rocky Mountain high? You’re about to wake up to one.
It’s a crowded little paradise, but it’s still possible to find your own special corner to watch the rising sun paint the rice paddies pink and lavender. And there’s nothing quite so sweet as spending the morning lushing around with a lover amongst the lotus flowers of the island’s upmarket spas and resorts.
This article was updated in June 2012.