Sundowners: restaurants for a sunset toast

A long and wonderful journey deserves a special farewell. We find a spot away from the crowds, and our traveling companions, to have a reflective evening. This lets us process the special experiences we’ve shared, and also helps us transition to the trip home.

Istanbul mosque at sunset

Istanbul, Turkey

We began this tradition in Istanbul when we discovered the Mikla bar on the rooftop of the Marmara Pera hotel. The hotel is perfectly situated with views of the minarets and mosques of the old city as well as the modern skyline on the opposite side. Though essentially a bar, there’s a restaurant one flight below. Have your dinner there and head up to the roof for an after-dinner drink.

Our guide with Istanbul on Food had recommended the bar, but we were especially thrilled upon returning home to find it featured on Anthony Bourdain’s Istanbul program.

Athens, Greece

Acropolis at night

We lucked into this one as Windstar Cruises booked us at the St. George Lycabettus. The hotel might not be the finest in Athens but one visit to the rooftop infinity pool convinced us to make a reservation at the adjacent restaurant for our last evening in Athens. What a view. The hotel sits on Mount Lycabettus and looks over the whole city to the Acropolis. The food was excellent and the complimentary aperitif well appreciated. (Mastic Tears… wish we could get this in the US)

But what brought us, and ALL the other diners to our feet, was the sunset. Conversation stopped as the sky turned golden over the Acropolis.

Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon at night

Happenstance led us to Bellalisa Elevador, a great little spot next to the Santa Justa lift. We’d ducked in here for a quick refresher after visiting the Carmo Archaeological Museum. We were hot and the sangria was the best we’d ever tasted.

We returned our last evening and lucked into a window table as someone had cancelled their reservation. The view that night was especially dramatic as a thunderstorm darkened the skies and lightning flashed over the Castelo de S. Jorge.

Another Option:

Take a sunset cruise on the Tagus River. A perfect way to bid Lisbon farewell.

Lisbon sunset cruise

Rome, Italy

Rome Marriott rooftop restaurant

In Rome we stayed at the Palazzo Naiadi, a gorgeous hotel that follows the curve of the Piazza della Repubblica. Our first night there the concierge guided us to the Ristorante Target opposite the hotel and told us to try the pizza. Best recommendation ever!!

But the last night we enjoyed a rooftop table beside the infinity pool. The view was good, not great, but the service was wonderful. We ordered light meals, and were a little put off by the price. But it soon was apparent that we would got value for our money. First complimentary prosecco, then complimentary appetizers, complimentary desserts (on a bed of dry ice), and finally complimentary limoncello.

Venice, Italy

Every place in Venice is beautiful, but we chose our hotel, the Hilton Molino Stucky after seeing images of its rooftop pool. The hotel sits on the Giudecca canal overlooking the city. We loved this hotel, which offered regular shuttles to St. Mark’s square. The shuttle itself was a fun way to be on the water enjoying Venice. We knew we’d end our stay in Italy enjoying the rooftop pool and lounge. Perfect spot!!

What made this evening extra special was the fact that we had traveled to Venice on Windstar’s Wind Surf and as we sat enjoying the sunset, the ship sailed past us, departing Venice for its next cruise. What a perfect send off!

Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Amsterdam from Doubletree

With a week long bike/barge tour behind us, we delighted in the Hilton Doubletree Amsterdam. (A modern bathroom! Wow!) The hotel is conveniently located on the Amstel river, right next to the train station. And its rooftop restaurant, SkyLounge, is rated the best in Amsterdam. The menu was limited, mainly small plates, but we enjoyed trying some Dutch specialties. As we hadn’t made a reservation we didn’t get the best table, but that didn’t stop us from walking to the railing to watch the sun set over the city.

Cairo, Egypt

Mena House

Mena House – OK, we didn’t make if for sunset, and it’s not on a rooftop, but what an incredible spot. To be seated by a lush garden looking out at the pyramids…sigh.

Other places we’ve enjoyed or are looking forward to:

Restaurants with Skyline Views (Photos from left: Tomo in Dubai, Eyebar in Hong Kong, Santorini sunset)
  • Duke’s in Waikiki
  • Tomo in Dubai
  • Eyebar in Hong Kong
  • Terass in Paris
  • Belmond Sanctuary in Machu Picchu
  • Upstairs at the Kimberly, NYC
  • Le Pont de la Tour in London
  • anywhere in Santorini!

And our ultimate favorite Sundowner spot:

Sanctuary Baines Camp, Okavango Delta

Have any suggestions for us? We not above planning a trip just to find that special restaurant!

For more great spots, read Travel Tales of Life’s blog post – 6 Stunning Restaurants with a View


Restaurants with a sunset view

Favorite Sunset spots around the world

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