The "golden hour" is often viewed as the best time to take photographs. Typically it's one hour after sunrise and one hour before sunset. But I believe this has to be taken loosely, as it depends on your location. Technically, according to Wikipedia, the golden hour is created when the sun is at an altitude of 10-12 degrees. In the Arctic circle I think this could last most of the day.
The golden hour is known for its soft and warm light. There are no harsh shadows or bright highlights, such as occur during the middle of the day, and which are hard for a camera to record.
During a two week vacation in Maine, I took a few images during the golden hour. However, with the sunrise so early in the morning (twilight around 4:45, as I recall) it was pretty hard to motivate ourselves to wake up, grab coffee, and go out and meet the morning mosquitoes.
The first three were taken with a point and shoot camera. I'm a big fan of small cameras. In the first instance, I took shots with both a point and shoot and a dSLR. Though technically the dSLR had better results (but not that much better), the lighting and composition was just a little better with the point and shoot. It goes to show me that lighting and composition are far more important than the camera you are using.
In the second and third scenes a point and shoot was I had with me at the time. And the final shot was taken with an Olympus dSLR with my best lens. I tried this final scene with my point and shoot, but it just didn't get as much detail out of the clouds as did the dSLR.