March 28, 2024 | Jamie Hayes

Unbelievable Sea Cliffs Should Be On Everyone's Bucket List


The Greatest Views On Earth

There's nothing like when a sheer cliff juts straight out of the ocean—but do you have the guts to peek over the edge?Scgallery

Acantilados de Los Gigantes

You don't have to speak Spanish to guess that Acantilados de Los Gigantes on Tenerife in the Canary Islands might be pretty tall. At 1600-feet high, the "Cliffs of the Giants" are the highest in the Canaries, and they don't disappoint.

Acantilados de Los GigantesDiego Delso, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

The Devil's Wall

Before settling on Acantilados de Los Gigantes, some people called these cliffs the "Wall of Hell" or "Devil's Wall"—but today, being one of the Canary Island's most popular tourist destinations, it's probably not quite so spooky.

Acantilados de Los GigantesTim Rawle, Flickr

Bunda Cliffs

It's hard to miss the Bunda Cliffs in Southern Australia, not only because they can reach up to 400 feet high, but even more because they stretch for 130 miles along the coastline.

Bunda CliffsBahnfrend, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

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Bunda Down Unda'

The Bunda Cliffs might be on a relatively uninhabited stretch of coastline along the Great Australian Bight, but you can still catch a glimpse of them from the Eyre Highway that connects Western and South Australia.

Bunda CliffsWilderness Kev, Flickr

Dingli Cliffs

Uniquely, the highest point on the island of Malta stands right near the sheer cliffs near the village of Dingli, where the land suddenly stops and plummets nearly 800 feet to the sea below.

Dingli CliffsBernt Rostad, Flickr

Safe Haven

The village of Dingli sits right near the top of the cliffs, which offered ample protection from the corsairs that once terrorized the Mediterranean. Pretty amazing views, too, especially at sunset.

Dingli Cliffsrphstock, Shutterstock

White Cliffs of Dover

Maybe the most famous cliffs in the world, it's undeniable that the 350-foot stark white cliffs at Dover, for many the first view of the English Isles when arriving from mainland Europe, are one of the greatest sights on Earth.

White CliffsImmanuel Giel, CC BY-SA 3.0 , Wikimedia Commons

Bone Cliffs

Ever wonder why the cliffs of Dover are so white? Well, it's because they're made of bones—literally. The chalk that makes up the cliffs is made of the shells of countless microscopic sea creatures that died 100 million years ago. 

Don't believe, go look at chalk under a microscope!

White Cliffs of DoverWalter Perkins, Shutterstock

Cape Enniberg

Located at the northernmost tip of the Faroe Islands, Cape Enniberg looks like it was gracefully sculpted by an artist—an artist who could carve out a 2,500-foot cliff above the Atlantic Ocean.

Cape EnnibergArne List, Flickr

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View From The Top

Though the views of Cape Enniberg are awe-inspiring from the sea, only a brave few adventurers get to enjoy the view from the top of the cliffs themselves. 

Even still, due to the rugged terrain and blanket fogs that can roll in without warning, it's recommended you hire a guide.

Cape Ennibergkasakphoto, Shutterstock

Étretat

If you can pull yourself away from the pristine beach in Étretat in the south of France, you should hike the 230 vertical feet to the top of the cliffs overlooking the town. They may not be the highest, but there are no other cliffs in the world like them.

étretat beach normandykasakphoto, Shutterstock

The Needle

The ocean has eroded the white chalk cliffs at Étretat into remarkable shapes, including three grand, natural arches and a sharp, pointed formation called "The Needle".

Etretat, France cliffIgor Plotnikov, Shutterstock

Fira

The onetime Greek island of Thera was blown to smithereens in a massive volcanic eruption 3,500 years ago, leaving a gaping hole in the middle of the island, now called Santorini. 

It also made some pretty spectacular sea cliffs—with maybe the most amazing below the city of Fire.

Fira SantoriniMarina Datsenko, Shutterstock

Hanging Over The Sea

Fira is the capital city of Santorini, and its white-washed houses sit directly at the top of a 1,300-foot cliff. From the edge of the cliff, you get a panoramic view of the 11-mile caldera left by the eruption millennia ago.

Fira panoramaHavoc, Shutterstock

Cabo Girão

As if the Portuguese island of Madeira wasn't stunning enough, the nearly 2000-foot Cabo Girão is just the cherry on top.

Cabo Girão Skywalk, Portugalschusterbauer.com, Shutterstock

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Hello Down There

The sheer drop down to the ocean at Cabo Girão is dizzying, but if you focus you'll catch a glimpse of the terraced farmer's fields right at the base of the cliff, which until 2003, where only accessible by boat.

Cabo Girão cliffThomBal, Shutterstock

Hornelen

The tallest sea cliff Europe, Hornelen Mountain in Norway overlooks the stunning seas and fjords of the country's Nordfjord district. At its peak, Hornelen reaches 2,800 feet above the sea below.

HornelenA. Aleksandravicius, Shutterstock

From Above Or Below

Daring adventurers can hike to the top of Hornelen for some of the most remarkable views on Earth—but the way is long and steep. You could also see the mountain from below, if you want, aboard a luxurious Norwegian cruise liner.

Hornelen sea cliffA. Aleksandravicius, Shutterstock

Kalaupapa Cliffs

Hawaii is the land of amazing sea cliffs, but maybe the most amazing are the 3,000-foot cliffs above the village of Kalaupapa on the island Molokai.

Maybe you saw them in Jurassic Park III. Even if you did you should see them in person.

Kalaupapa Molokai HawaiiReimar, Shutterstock

A Real "Cliff's Cliff"

A more genuine "cliff" than mountains like Mitre Peak, the Guinness Book of World Records considers the Kalaupapa Cliffs to be the highest sea cliffs in the world, reaching a high point of 3,315 feet.

sea cliffs of Molokai, Hawaiikridsada kamsombat, Shutterstock

Mitre Peak

Mitre Peak in New Zealand's Milford Sound rises straight out of the ocean to 5,500 feet tall. That makes it the tallest sea cliff in the world—with several of its neighboring peaks also high on the list.

Mitre peak reflectionSomphol, Shutterstock

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As High As It Gets

Mitre Peak has such a stark, triangular shape that Captain John Lort Stokes of the HMS Acheron thought it looked like a bishop's mitre.

Cruise boat sailing on Milford Sound towards Mitre PeakChameleonsEye, Shutterstock

Cliffs of Moher

At over 14km long and as high at 700-feet in some places, it's no wonder that Irelands Cliffs of Moher are some of the most famous sea cliffs in the world, drawing over a million tourists in 2022.

Cliffs of MoherBjørn Christian Tørrissen, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

A Nice, Long Walk

The best way to enjoy the Cliffs of Moher is along the 18km Cliffs of Moher Coastal Walk—but keep your head about you! Unstable terrain and rock falls make straying off the main trail dangerous.

girl standing on the Cliffs of MoherPiotr Orlinski, Shutterstock

Látrabjarg

The westernmost tip of Iceland—and technically the westernmost tip of Europe—ends in the stunning, 1400-foot cliffs of Látrabjarg. But if you want to visit there, you're probably going to have a lot of company.

LátrabjargPierre Leclerc, Shutterstock

For The Birds

Látrabjarg is home to millions of nesting seabirds, including including puffins, northern gannets, guillemots and razorbills. At 1400 feet high and 8.5 miles long, it's the largest bird cliff in all of Europe.

Latrabjarg birds on cliffPiotrek Golemo, Shutterstock

Paracas Sea Cliffs

The volcanic origin of the the sea cliffs and beaches at the Paracas National Reserve in Peru give it a distinct red color that has to be seen in person. 

Paracas Peninsula, PeruPrzemyslaw Skibinski, Shutterstock

Nowhere Like It

Paracas National Reserve is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, both due to the unique birds and marine life that live there, and the Paracas Candelabra, and enigmatic 600-foot geoglyph dated to 200 BC.

paracas sea cliffsKsenia Ragozina, Shutterstock

Sagres

The relentless Atlantic ocean has been shaping the spectacular cliffs at Sagres, on Portugal's Algarve Coast, for millennia. 

Saint Vincent cape in SagresSopotnicki, Shutterstock

The End Of The World

Situated at the very southwestern tip of Europe, people call the cliffs at Sagres "the end of the world"—but if that's the end of the world, it seems alright to me.

Sagres, Algarve, Portugalajcabeza, Shutterstock

Skansbukta

If you really want the end of the world, try the cliffs at Skansbukta, Svalbard. 

Svalbard is a Norse island deep into the Arctic Circle near the North Pole—but if you can manage the journey, some of the most amazing sights on Earth await you.

Skansbukta bayBjoertvedt, CC BY-SA 3.0 , Wikimedia Commons

The North 

Svalbard was first used as a base for European whalers, before the discovery of rich mineral deposits. There was once a gypsum mine at Skansbukta, and you can still find artifacts from that era rusting on the barren beaches beneath the cliffs.

Svalbard Islands, NorwayAlessandro Vigano', Shutterstock

Slieve League

The cliffs at Slieve League, from the Irish for "mountain of old pillars," sit at the edge of County Donegal facing the Atlantic. They're only the second-highest sea cliffs in Ireland, but don't let that fool you—2,000 feet high is nothing to sniff at.

Slieve League, Irelands highest sea cliffsMNStudio, Shutterstock

One Man's Path

Once a mountain, the ocean has slowly chewed away at Slieve League, leaving a near-vertical 2,000-foot drop into the sea. The hiking trail along the cliffs, called One Man's Path, have been called one of the most remarkable walks in Ireland.

Slieve League, Irelands highest sea cliffsMNStudio, Shutterstock

Qingshui Cliff

No visit to Taiwan is complete without visiting Qingshui Cliff, an awe-inspiring, 13-mile stretch of sea cliffs hanging over the bright turquoise waters of the Pacific. It's so spectacular, the government calls it one of the Eight Wonders Of Taiwan.

Qingshui cliffsKYTan, Shutterstock

The Wall

What makes the cliffs at Qinshui so spectacular is how precipitously they rise up out of the ocean, with the highest point—Qinshui Peak—towering to nearly 8000 feet above sea level.

Taroko Qingshui CliffSean Yeh, Shutterstock


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