The 10 Sunniest Cities in the World

February 26, 2024

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Sunniest cities in the world

Have you ever wondered why you feel happier when the sun is shining? Scientists have confirmed that exposure to sunlight increases the serotonin levels in your brain. Serotonin is a hormone that produces positive feelings, such as happiness, satisfaction, and optimism. 

But sunlight is not just beneficial for your mood. Spending time in the sunshine has health benefits too. It increases your body’s production of Vitamin D, which is essential for preventing disease, lowering blood pressure, and supporting bone health.

So, sun-worshippers, keep reading. In this article, we’ll reveal the ten sunniest cities in the world — which should provide more than enough inspiration for your next vacation.

1. Yuma, United States

Yuma, Arizona
Downtown Yuma in Arizona
Hours of average annual sunshine: 4,015

Yuma is the world’s sunniest city, with an average of 4,015 hours of sunshine a year. That works out at more than 300 sunny days a year or 11 hours of sunshine a day. Put another way, 91 percent of the city’s daylight hours are filled with sunshine!

As well as being the sunniest place on Earth, Yuma is extremely hot and dry due to its desert climate. Located in the Sonoran Desert in the US state of Arizona, it only receives about 3.4 inches of rain per year, and temperatures soar during the summer months. July is especially hot, with typical highs of 107°F (41.7°C). The highest temperature ever recorded in Yuma was 124 degrees Fahrenheit (51.1°C) in July 1995.

2. Marsa Alam, Egypt

Three Corners Sea Beach Resort, Marsa Alam
Three Corners Sea Beach Resort, Marsa Alam
Hours of average annual sunshine: 3,958

The city of Marsa Alam in Egypt receives 3,958 hours of sunlight, making it the second sunniest place on Earth.

Like Yuma, the city experiences a hot desert climate, with steadier temperatures than the neighboring cities of Hurghada and Sharm el Sheikh. In May 2010, Marsa Alam reached 113 degrees Fahrenheit (45°C) — the highest temperature ever recorded in the city. 

Dubbed the “Egyptian Maldives”, Marsa Alam is fast becoming one of the most popular tourist destinations in Egypt, thanks to its sunny climate, white sandy beaches, and crystal clear water. 

3. Dakhla Oasis, Egypt

El-Qasr in Dakhla Oasis, Egypt
Fortified town of El-Qasr in Dakhla Oasis
Credit: iStock/cinoby
Hours of average annual sunshine: 3,943

Again located in Egypt, Dakhla Oasis is considered the gem of the Western Desert, thanks to its fascinating history, stunning landscape, and unique architecture.

As is typical of most of Egypt, Dakhla Oasis has a hot desert climate, regularly experiencing temperatures of more than 100°F (37.8°C).

4. Calama, Chile

View of the mining town of Calama in Chile
Mining town of Calama, Chile
Credit: iStock/tifonimages
Hours of average annual sunshine: 3,926

On average, the sun shines for 3,926 hours a year in the Chilean city of Calama. Located in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile, it is also one of the world’s driest places, with no more than 1.4 inches of rainfall per year!

Calama’s average yearly temperature is 52.2°F (11.2 °C), though there are drastic changes between winter and summer, with average daily lows of 32°F (0°C) in winter and average daily highs of 68 °F (20°C) in summer. Record highs of more than 86°F (30°C) have been recorded in Calama.

5. Phoenix, United States

View of the suburbs of Scottsdale and Camelback Mountain in Phoenix, Arizona.
Camelback Mountain in Scottsdale, Phoenix.
Hours of average annual sunshine: 3,872

Also known as “The Valley of the Sun”, Phoenix is blessed with 3,872 hours of sunshine annually.

Phoenix experiences a subtropical desert climate thanks to its location in the Sonoran Desert. The amount of sun exposure the city receives is comparable to the Sahara Desert, but unlike the Sahara — which can get relatively cold during the winter — winters in Phoenix are short and mild, while summers are extremely long. Temperatures during summer reach average highs of 104°F (40°C), with a record high of 122°F (50°C) recorded in June 1990. Overall, the temperature in Phoenix never drops below 51°F (10.6°C) — even during the winter.

6. Keetmanshoop, Namibia

The sun setting in Keetmanshoop
The sun setting in Keetmanshoop
Hours of average annual sunshine: 3,870

Like the rest of the cities on this list, Keetmanshoop has a hot desert climate. Situated on the edge of the Kalahari Desert in southern Namibia, it has extremely hot long summers and short cold winters. It only receives about six inches of annual rainfall, and temperatures are moderate throughout the year.

On average, temperatures reach highs of 83.8°F (28.8°C) and lows of 55.9°F (13.3°C). However, the annual mean temperature of the city is 70°F (21.1 °C).

7. Las Vegas, United States

Drone view of Las Vegas
Drone view above casinos and hotels in Las Vegas
Hours of average annual sunshine: 3,825

The seventh sunniest city on Earth is another US city: Las Vegas. It receives an average of 3,825 hours of sunshine each year.

Located in the country’s driest state, Nevada, Las Vegas is like an oasis in the Mojave Desert. Again, the city has a subtropical, hot desert climate, and for five months of the year, the average temperature reaches at least 90°F (32.2°C).

Known as both “Sin City” and the “Entertainment Capital of the World”, Las Vegas is famous for gambling, pool parties, and novelty weddings. However, many tourists also visit the city because it is sunny 85 percent of the time.

8. Tuscon, United States

Tuscon, Arizona
City skyline of Tuscon, Arizona as the sun is fading
Hours of average annual sunshine: 3,806

The fourth US city to appear on this list is Tuscon, which receives 3,806 hours of annual sunshine.

As well as being sunny in the daytime for 85 percent of the year, Tuscon — which can be found in Arizona, 60 miles north of the US-Mexican border — reaches highs of 100°F (37.8 °C) in the summer and lows of 66°F (18.9°C) in the winter. Like Yuma and Phoenix, Tucson is located in the Sonoran Desert. However, it is slightly cooler and wetter because it has a higher elevation.

9. Kharga, Egypt

Ancient cemetery of El Bagawat in Kharga, Egypt
Ancient cemetery of El Bagawat in Kharga, Egypt
Credit: istock/HomoCosmicos
Hours of average annual sunshine: 3,791

Kharga is located in the middle of the Western Desert, about 125 miles west of the Nile River. Across the year, though, the average temperature in Kharga is a balmy 76.3°F (24.6°C).

But Kharga has more to offer than sunny weather. The landscape in the area is beautiful at sunset, and it has many ancient sites for visitors to explore.

10. El Paso, United States

El Paso, Texas, USA downtown city skyline at dusk with Juarez, Mexico in the distance
El Paso, Texas at dusk
Hours of average annual sunshine: 3,763

Rounding off the list of the ten sunniest cities in the world is El Paso in Texas, with an average of 3,763 hours of sunlight per year. Nicknamed the “Sun City”, El Paso enjoys sunshine for 302 days of the year.

An oasis in the Chihuahuan Desert, the weather in El Paso is mild and dry in the winter and hot and dry in the summer, with around 8.8 inches of rainfall per year. For seven months of the year, temperatures are above 80°F (26.7°C), peaking during the month of June. In a typical year, 109 days are hotter than 90 °F (32.2°C). Be sure to pack your sunscreen!

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