To stand at the top of a sea cliff feels a bit like positioning yourself on the top of the world. The vast expanse of water that stretches out before you makes everything else seem small and distant. These formidable bits of coast might not allow much room for lounging near the shore, but their sheer size and spectacular views make them just as worthy of a visit. Here are some of the most majestic on the planet.
Moloka'i Cliffs, Hawaii
At 3,900 feet above sea level, the cliffs of Moloka'i are the tallest in the world. Their beauty and stature attract adventurous visitors while their isolation and close proximity to a leper colony often has the opposite effect. There are no roads leading to the northern part of the island where the cliffs are located, but you can take a helicopter ride to see them in their entirety or hike down the steep beach switchbacks. The landscape is often shrouded in fog and clouds, but even the moody weather can’t hide the brilliant green slopes and unusual topography.
A climb to the top of the 1,900 foot cliff above Lysefjorden allows individuals to access one of the world’s craziest overlooks. The completely flat eighty-two square foot viewing platform has plenty of room to walk around as you gaze off into the distance at Norway’s mountains and fjords. For other insane Norwegian views, check out their National Tourist Routes.
Cinque Terre, Italy
Sitting on the very cliffs that once deterred barbaric pirates from overpowering the delicately balanced fishing villages, Cinque Terre is now on almost everyone's radar. This 6 mile stretch of coastline along the Tyrrhenian Sea contains five picture-perfect pastel villages that were relatively unknown to outsiders until the 1970s. The area’s current popularity means an unpleasant number of people during the day, but the further into the hills you go, the more the crowds dissipate. Steep footpaths lead from village to village, guiding you through lush vineyards, traditional Tuscan farmhouses and Italy’s most famed countryside.
Leitisvatn, Faroe Islands
Sandwiched between Norway and Iceland, the collection of 18 islands in the Faroe chain aren’t often visited, but with their their winding fjords, unique rock formations and some of the highest sea cliffs in Europe, they should be. Leitisvatn Lake provides some of the most interesting views. If taken from the right angle, a picture creates the optical illusion of being much higher and dramatic than it actually is.
The iconic arches and pointed needle outside the resort town of Etretat are largely what make the cliffs on the northwest coast of France so impressive. If you think they look familiar, it's likely you've seen depictions of them hanging in art galleries. The white cliffs and unique natural formations left such a lasting impression that world renowned artists like Claude Monet frequented the area in the 19th and 20th centuries in an attempt to capture its beauty with a paintbrush.
White Cliffs of Dover, England
These chalky white cliff faces are among the most visited attractions in England and also have sentimental value to many since they are both the first and last thing you see when departing from the port of Dover. They look toward the French coast over the narrowest part of the English Channel and have served as a trustworthy lookout point since the Romans crossed over almost two millennia ago. If you're keen on exploring more of the English countryside while you're in the area, we have some suggestions here.
Twelve Apostles Marine National Park, Australia
The impressive size and sheer drops of some of these cliffs are what simultaneously draw us to them and also keeps us from exploring them fully. However, in Australia, this isn't a problem. A hiking path dubbed "the Great Ocean Walk," winds between Twelve Apostles and Apollo Bay. It hugs the shore and ensures that visitors can enjoy the crashing waves, damp sand, rugged cliffs and limestone sea stacks for the entire 65 mile course.