These cliffside cities are full of history, views, and fine dining, all wrapped up in colorful villages that seem to defy gravity in how they cling to the cliffsides.
Not only do they have character thanks to the way they almost look they’re falling, but since they are usually smaller, they offer a unique experience compared to big city destinations.
The Piodao earns the name “Crib Village” thanks to the way the village looks magical with the lights turned on at night. It’s still quite stunning during day with its mountain houses made of wooden doors and blue colored windows.
The mountain of Serro do Accor has character itself with its abundance of schist stone.
This village is hanging on a “tuff”, which is compacted volcanic ash. If that’s not cool enough then its ancient medieval disorderly houses should be. They seem to hang on each other so that they don’t slip off the edge.
Picture this: flights of steps ascending from the lower towns leading to stunning churches. The village and its architecture date back to the 12th century. The village was almost deserted after the war and the French Revolution.
It became popular again when tourists and pilgrims who came to honor St. Amadour. According to legends, he witnessed the deaths of St. Peter and St. Paul in Rome and then traveled here to hide.
Castellfollit De La Roca, Spain
Castellfollit de la Roca was built onto the basalt cliffs between two rivers. As a result, the buildings almost look like they’re hovering on the edge of the cliff like they could all fall down at any moment.
What’s a better combination than fresh Mediterranean food and award-winning wine by the ocean on volcanic islands after a long day of visiting archaeological sites?
Some of the famous historic sites you can visit are the Byzantine monasteries in Metéora and the Acropolis in Athens.
Feast your eyes on the super colorful Italian village of Manarola. So much wine is produced and consumed here. The local specialty is sciacchetrà, a sweet dessert wine that tastes like honey and apricots.
Manarola is one of the five villages in the Cinque Terre area of the Italian Riviera.
Al Hajjarah, Yemen
The Haraz mountains are in the western part of the country. The clifftop center of the village was originally built by the Ottomans in the 11th century. It was originally built partially for military purposes, but also to serve as a Muslim enclave for the then predominantly Jewish village.
Mesa Verde, USA
Mesa Verde is very close to home, right in southwestern Colorado. The cliff dwellings were home to the ancient Anasazi people.
The Anasazi started building houses in shallow caves and under rocks there in the 12th century. Some of these houses were so big that they had 150 rooms! It is unclear why they left so suddenly.
The town is one of the oldest in Spain. It was founded by the Celts in the 6th century BC, then used by the Romans as a fortified garrison during the Second Punic War.
Today, the town houses a population of 35,000 and incredible landmarks like the Plaza de Toros and then 14th century Mondragon palace.
Acapulco is the original Mexican resort town. In the 1950s, it was a hotspot for Hollywood stars and millionaires. Today, it’s still popular among Mexicans and as a spring break destination for college students.
One of its highlights is watching the cliff divers do impressive jumps into shallow waters at the bottom part of La Quebrada.
This town is located right on a rocky promontory that overlooks a deep valley 40 meters high. Its views are stunning thanks to its surrounding mountain peaks and pine forests
This is the hub for summer vacations in south Lebanon. It’s full of cafés and restaurants that capitalize on the landscape.
The city was named in honor of the emperor Constantine the Great. It is often referred to as the “City of Bridges,” as it is full of breathtaking bridges connecting the mountains to the city.
The town is decorated with hotels dating back to the French colonial era, and tourists are very welcome.
This romantic cliffside town has picturesque views of the Mediterranean Sea while you hike or enjoy premium seafood. The town is made of all pastel-colored houses on the cliffside, facing crystal clear waters and sandy beaches
The main attraction is the Santa Maria Assunta church with its stunning majolica dome
Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria
This cliffside town was famously known as the capital of the Second Bulgarian Empire. It left behind endless historical architecture.
It is known for its many churches and as the former main residence of the nobility. In fact, during the Middle Ages, it was among the main European hubs for culture.
This is another city where the buildings seem to overhang because of the way they were placed a the very top. From the water, it looks like a white city suspended over rough waters. It does make for a very unique look.
You’ll love this one if you’re a Game of Thrones fan. You’ll recognize the scenery as you enjoy some exquisite cuisine after a day of hiking over 1,000 islands and huge national parks.
The medieval city is surrounded by almost 2,000 meters of ancient stone walls that date back to the 8th century and have been preserved to the present day.
In Greek, the word “meteora” means “suspended in the air,” which is what the villages hanging 1,200 feet look like.
This town is an Eastern Orthodox monastic complex that dates all the way back to the 14th century. It was built by monks who were looking for spiritual isolation and freedom from religious persecution. Today, six monasteries are still open to the public.
Azenhas Do Mar, Portugal
Azenhas do Mar is located between the ocean and the mountains. It looks so peaceful with its white painted houses, most with pools that were carved into the cliffs in the 1950s.
The village beams with Portuguese culture and cuisine, boasting an array of fresh seafood like oysters, clams, and lobster, as well as bread soup and passionfruit mousse.
Cuenca’s steep steps descend into the deep gorges of the Júcar and Huécar rivers. The medieval city was built on the canyon’s cliff more than 500 years ago.
The unique hanging houses (called casas colgadas) were built right up to the cliff’s edge, making Cuenca one of the most striking towns in Spain.
There is plenty to do here, from discovering leftover Roman treasures like the ruins of Pompeii, and sipping fine regional wines. This destination is known for its lemon orchards, towering mountains, undiscovered beaches, and smokey volcanic craters.
But it’s also known for its history and architecture, including ancient temples and medieval buildings. It definitely has something for everyone.