Had enough of the daily grind? These magnificent cliff towns will whisk you away into a beautiful holiday world. And best of all, they’re found in destinations like Italy, Spain, Greece and the US!
Nestled in a stunning cliff-side valley in the La Spezia region, the village of Riomaggiore is as perfect as cliff towns get – and is the first village you’ll encounter when travelling north along the Cinque Terre.
With its origins in the 12th and 13th Centuries, this town is characterised by old buildings crowded around narrow streets, all of which overlook the coast. The area is known for its wine, and so a tour of the vineyards while visiting is a must.
Just up the road from Riomaggiore (and worth the breathtaking half-hour journey), you’ll find another amazing cliff town in the Cinque Terre – Manarola. While the colourful cliffside buildings here are similar to that of its neighbour, Manarola is smaller and boasts a more intimate atmosphere.
Two key things to do in this destination: Visit the medieval bell tower and church at the top of the Via Discovolo, and head to the viewpoint of Punta Bonfiglio for stunning ocean views.
If you’re set on exploring France’s beautiful southwest, put Rocamadour on your itinerary. Perched in the Lot department of the Mid-Pyrenees, Rocamadour began to come to fruition during the 12th century and today houses only 600 residents.
Key attractions in Rocamadour include the medieval houses, the stone gateways, the chapels, the Black Madonna – and of course, the views of the Alzou River.
Castellfollit de la Roca, Spain
A stone’s throw from the lovely town of Girona is Castellfollit de la Roca, a medieval village that sits atop a 50-metre volcanic cliff and is surrounded by lush, green scenery.
If you manage to get here, make sure you visit the Broken Bridge and the churches. A hike through the landscape is also recommended if you’ve got time. If not, make sure you at least catch the postcard-perfect views from the Josep Pla Square.
Mesa Verde, US
You wouldn’t think the US is known for its cliff towns, but in southwest Colorado, the Mesa Verde National Park is a hidden cultural gem filled with cliff towns.
One of the most well preserved archaeological sites of the Ancestral Puebloan, the region was inhabited from the 1190s to the 1300s, with the villages containing up to 150 rooms.
The tours here will take you through the Cliff Palace, Balcony House and the Step House.
The white cliff-climbing houses of Santorini have become an iconic image of Greece, and the black-sand beaches and stunning views draw thousands of tourists each year.
While there’s no shortage of fun things to do here – swimming, dining, sailing and museum-ing – we urge you to break away from the shores and dedicate a little bit of time to exploring the island’s ruins and streets, whether on your own or in a walking tour.
Azenhas do Mar, Portugal
Portugal is an underrated country full of glorious wonders, and the cliff-dwelling village of Azenhas do Mar is no exception. Situated near the palace town of Sintra and easily accessible from Lisbon, this destination is the perfect place for a luxury getaway, with hotels, restaurants and cliff pools at your fingertips.