The world's most amazing cliff-side towns and villages


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For centuries mankind has been building settlements on the cliff faces of the world. Whether for their magnificent views or the fresh sea breeze, these places make for incredible destinations.

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  • Azenhas do Mar, Portugal
    © sean pavone/123rf
    Azenhas do Mar, Portugal

    With incredible food and gorgeous views, it's easy to see why this little seaside village in Sintra is a highlight of any trip to Portugal.

  • Castellfollit de la Roca, Spain
    © pabkov/123RF
    Castellfollit de la Roca, Spain

    One of the most beautiful villages in the region of Catalonia in Spain, Castallfollit de la Roca's houses were built out of volcanic rock onto the basalt cliffs between two rivers in the Middle Ages.

  • Rocamadour, France
    © Martin Molcan/123RF
    Rocamadour, France

    A tiny village built on the rocky face above a gorge on the Alzou River in southwestern France, Rocamadour rises in stages up the side of a cliff. Flights of steps ascend from the lower town to the churches. The village, which dates back to the 12th century, became almost deserted as a result of war and the French Revolution. Today, it is popular for both tourists and pilgrims, the latter of which come to honor St. Amadour (the village's namesake).

  • Bonifacio, Corscia, France
    © wertes/123RF
    Bonifacio, Corscia, France

    At the southern tip of the island of Corsica, the city of Bonifacio and its fortifications extend for some distance along the cliff-tops. The cliffs have been eroded by the ocean waves so that the buildings appear to be hanging over the edge.

  • Mesa Verde, Colorado, United States of America
    © Eileen Mattil/123RF
    Mesa Verde, Colorado, United States of America

    Although now no more than ruins of a past settlement, we couldn't leave out Mesa Verde. In southwestern Colorado, the town is home to the famous cliff dwellings of the ancient Anasazi people and is probably the most significant archeological site for Native American culture in the USA.


The world is full of beautiful towns built on cliffs that look like something out of a medieval fairy tale. These little gems are dotted around the world, from Italy to Colorado, Bolivia to Yemen. They have so much charm and blend so seemlessly into their surrounding landscapes that you'll want to visit them all.

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Sam Donnelly
Posted on 26/01/2018 363 shares
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