Ekaterina Pokrovsky

15 Spectacular Spanish Cliffs (And Cliff Towns) To Visit

Windswept seaside panoramas, a city built into a cliff, and adventurous via ferrata routes.

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Spain has a diversity of geological formations, from volcanic remains to sedimentary rocks and unique seaside cliffs and coves. Inland, a long tradition of fortified villages and castles sit perched on cliff tops. We share the most spectacular cliffs in Spain — from north to south and adjacent islands — that can’t be missed on your next visit (plus, the best nearby stays).

view of the ocean and cliff from cape formentor lookout
Niklebedev | Shutterstock

1. Cape Formentor, Majorca (Balearic Islands)

Known as the “meeting point of the winds,” Cape Formentor on the northern edge of Majorca is a fascinating location. Romantic, windswept, and wild, the whole Formentor peninsula has multiple viewpoints and unique bays. The pine trees growing here were the inspiration for the famous Majorcan poet Miguel Costa i Llobrera.

For a lovely walk, head to the southeastern edge, where a cave opens out above the sea at Racó de Xot. This prehistoric cave is 90 meters long and provides welcome cover from the sun on a hot day. On the way back, stop for dinner in Port de Pollença at Terrae, where sustainable cooking showcases local produce and the chef’s taste for authentic creativity.

You’ll want to spend a few days in this fabulous setting. We recommend the five-star El Vicenç de la Mar, an adult-only coastal hotel with unparalleled views, food, and comfort.

Puente nuevo from below from the el tajo gorg
Sean Pavone

2. El Tajo Gorge and Canyon, Málaga (Andalusia)

The entire Mediterranean coast around Málaga in southern Spain is full of scenic spots, but the area around Ronda is particularly noteworthy. This unique town is located on both sides of a 150-meter-deep gorge (El Tajo) — a dramatic ravine that splits Ronda in two. Take a quick look at the Puente Nuevo (new bridge) and the vertigo-inducing drop to the Guadalevín river below and you’ll understand why this was once a favorite haunt of Ernest Hemingway, Orson Welles, and other great romantics.

Stay at the chic boutique hotel Los Pilares de Ronda a stone’s throw away from town to enjoy quiet luxury once you’ve seen all the main attractions.

castellfollit de la roca at sunset
Eloi Omella

3. Castellfollit de la Roca, Girona (Catalonia)

On the Costa Brava in Catalonia, you’ll be treated to scenic villages and fantastic rock formations. However, none of them hold a candle to Castelfollit de la Roca, the embodiment of a dream castle on a hill. This tiny village stands atop a basalt cliff above the river Fluviá. It enjoys breathtaking views over the valley, as well as a romantic, lost-in-time ambiance within its walls. You cannot miss the town’s church of Sant Salvador, dating back to the 13th century, reconstructed and refurbished a few times over.

You’ll be in the Garrotxa Volcanic Zone National Park, so we recommend heading to Olot as a base for spectacular hikes. While in town, dine at the two Michelin-starred Les Cols.

aerial view of the cross on top of the sanctuary of sant salvador
Cegli | Shutterstock

4. Sanctuary of Sant Salvador, Majorca (Balearic Islands)

On the dreamy island of Majorca, spectacular cliffs await at the Sanctuary of Sant Salvador. This monastery has been around since the 14th century and towers over the surrounding landscape on the Puig de Salvador at 509 meters above sea level.

Why so high? When it was built, the world was laden with disease, primarily the black death, and altitude was considered an antidote. Visit the church and wonder at the looming statue of Christ the King, 35m high on top of a column.

On your return to Palma, visit one of the world’s largest underground lakes, before retreating to the Can Bordoy Grand House and Garden to soak up some rays while lounging in luxurious accommodations.

Arcos de la Frontera view of river, city, and cliffs
Ivan Soto Cobos

5. Arcos de la Frontera, Cádiz (Andalusia)

The area around Arcos de la Frontera is known for its unique white villages — the Pueblos Blancos, so called because of their white stone buildings. There is evidence that Stone Age cave dwellers were the first inhabitants of this region. Nowadays, tourists follow the Pueblos Blancos route to explore the villages at length.

Arcos de la Frontera is considered the gateway into the Pueblos Blancos. Situated at the top of the Peña Vieja hill, it greets visitors with literal flashes of white light as they stroll through the sun-filled streets. The Castillo de Arcos, a medieval castle, is the heart of the village and a persistent reminder of the region’s battle with the Moors.

view of the tower and oceanside cliffs of maro-cerro gordo
Voyagerix | Shutterstock

6. Cliffs of Maro-Cerro Gordo, Málaga (Andalusia)

You’ll be spoilt for choice of spectacular cliff-top towns and rock formations all around Málaga. East of the city is the Costa del Sol, a beautiful stretch of Mediterranean coastline featuring, among other attractions, the Cliffs of Maro-Cerro Gordo. This nature reserve is filled with high cliffs overlooking the sea, a multitude of walking paths, and numerous coves and beaches.

To make the most of your trip, stay in beautiful Nerja, a rustic village that’s home to the Balcony of Europe — a unique promenade built into the jagged rocks along the seafront. Add a day trip to the Pueblo Blanco of Frigiliana, then indulge your senses with a meal at the boldly modern Sollun.

Lava-formed cliffs being hit by the ocean wave
Irakite | Shutterstock

7. Los Hervideros, Lanzarote (Canary Islands)

The spectacular island of Lanzarote is well-known for its volcanic makeup. The result of centuries of geological movements is a dramatic, rugged coastline at Los Hervideros. The name literally means “boiling water.”

You’ll find fantastic caves carved into the volcanic rock, as well as lava formations that date back to volcanic eruptions from the Timanfaya Mountains as recently as 1730-1736. Explore the whole Timanfaya National Park at length from a base at the exclusive Secrets Resort & Spa, just half an hour away on the tamer east coast.

curved street showing white-washed buildings built into the cliff of setenil de las bodegas
Diego Grandi

8. Setenil de las Bodegas, Cádiz (Andalusia)

Whitewashed houses face the sun from dramatic cliffs in Setenil de las Bodegas. Surrounding an old Arab fortress, this town is literally built into the rocks. Walk down its narrow streets and you’ll be passing under huge boulders nestled in between windows and balconies.

“Bodegas” means wineries and the place was named after a flourishing wine trade that since has diminished. However, you can still taste local produce here, such as almonds and olives. Visit the single tower left from Nazari Castle and enjoy panoramic views of this exceptional location.

Pro Tip: Brush up on how to tip in Spain before you go.

curvced cliffs on the beach in cabo de gata
Anetlanda |iStock

9. Cabo de Gata, Almería (Andalusia)

Tucked away East of Málaga, the Cabo de Gata is another exceptional national park with uncrowded beaches and rocky outcrops. It’s a great place for exploring the sea: scuba diving is one of the key activities here, followed by hiking and horse riding. For those looking for more intense adventures, cliff jumping from La Cala del Cuervo is a local tradition. And, for the best view in the park, head to the Mirador de la Amatista, in between Isleta de Moro and Rodalquilar.

Don’t miss out on visiting the beautiful yet tragic Cortijo del Fraile, built by Dominican monks and the site of a crime that inspired Federico García Lorca to write “Bodas de Sangre” (literally “blood wedding”).

Aerial view of vixia herbeira and the lighthouse from the dramatic coastline
JTgalicia | Shutterstock

10. Vixia Herbeira, Coruña (Galicia)

The northwest coast of Spain is well-known for its breathtakingly surreal steep cliffs. In fact, the Serra de la Capelada mountain range is home to the highest cliffs in Europe, with its crown jewel, Vixia Herbeira, sitting at 620 meters high.

Enjoy unbeatable views of the Galician coast while you hike the length of the seafront to scenic Cape Ortegal. Or take an easy drive to the highest viewpoint in the area, La Garita de Herbeira. Stay in the picturesque village of San Andrés de Teixido or in Cedeira, a fishing village where you can indulge in local cuisine.

The giant cliffs behind tenerife stand like sentinels in the distance
Melinda Nagy

11. Acantilados de Los Gigantes, Tenerife (Canary Islands)

Located on the largest of the Canary Islands, Los Gigantes is a town in its own right. But its main draw is the spectacular cliff faces it’s named after —The Acantilados de Los Gigantes (“cliffs of the giants”). Reaching up to 500 meters in places, the cliffs create an almost impenetrable barrier between the island and the sea. The best way to see them is from the water on a boat tour, or as part of a full-day, custom VIP private tour of the island.

For the ultimate Tenerife vacation, stay at the exquisite Bahía del Duque, where a wellness retreat and amazing food await. Venture out of the resort for a unique dinner at San Sebastián 57, which serves traditional local food with a South American influence. 

view of the cliffs from a sea cave opening
Jose Antonio Aldeguer

12. Cliffs of Benitatxell, Alicante (Valencia)

The Costa Blanca, on the southeastern edge of Spain, is well-known for culinary symbols like Valencian paella and for its spectacular scenery. North on the coast from Alicante and Altea, you’ll find Cala del Moraig — one of the most famous beaches for its wild landscape and crystal blue waters.

It’s challenging to access this hidden cove, but once you’re there, it’s the starting point for the extremely popular Benitatxell route. Walk from Moraig to Llebeig Cove and enjoy spectacular rock formations, crystal clear Mediterranean waters, and some of the region’s fishing history along the way.

beautiful view of the turquoise ocean and rugged costa brava cliffs
Funkyfrogstock | Shutterstock

13. Costa Brava Cliffs (Catalonia)

Barcelona dominates the cityscape of Catalonia, but the epic coastline dominates the entire region’s landscape. From the Costa Brava to Tarragona, it’s peppered with quaint fishing villages, quiet coves, and beautiful towns.

Along the whole of the Catalan coast lie many opportunities for adventurous activities like the Via Ferrata at Cala del Molí, where you’ll be hanging off the cliffs straight above the waves. Closer to Tarragona, check out the Torredembarra cliffs and lighthouse to watch the sunset.

Close up view of the flysch rocks showing the sedimentary layers
Kavram | iStock

14. Basque Coast Geopark, Gipuzkoa (Basque Country)

The unique coastline of the Basque Country has been designated a UNESCO Global Geopark for its geological features. The Basque Coast Geopark offers multiple guided tours and educational information about the area’s unusual sea cliffs. By far, the most famous are the Flysch Cliffs — a tidal platform made up of sedimentary rock deposits. Visit Itzurun Beach or Elorriaga for the best views.

Consider a fairy-tale stay at one of the most beautiful countryside castle hotels in Spain, the Hotel Castillo de Arteaga, or across from the Guggenheim at the Gran Hotel Domine in urban Bilbao.

View of the cabo de peñas cliff dramatically dropping into the ocean
Rawlways | Shutterstock

15. Cabo de Peñas, Gozón (Asturias)

The rugged northern Spanish coast is home to Gijón and the Asturian sea cliffs of Cabo de Peñas. The lighthouse here is the second most northern point in the country and sits above 100-meter-high Paleozoic cliffs. Best as a side excursion, we recommend a visit to the lighthouse, hiking to the panoramic viewpoint at Mirador Cabo Peñas before retreating to the concept eco-resort & wellness retreat, Puebloastur.

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