8 coastal cliffs that might cure your fear of heights – or make it worse

A peek over the edge of towering seafront cliffs.

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Cabo Girao on the Portuguese island of Madeira Cabo Girao on the Portuguese island of Madeira (Photo: artur / Shutterstock)

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Cabo Girao

This sea cliff sits on the Portuguese island of Madeira, which is actually closer to the western coast of Africa than to mainland Europe. When viewed from the ocean, Cabo Girao has a distinct diamond shape, with the top point towering at 1,932 feet above the waters of the Atlantic. 

Cabo Girao is well known to both tourists and locals. Trails snake their way up the steep land-side slopes to scenic overlooks that allow visitors to peer out over the cliff face. To enhance the tourism potential, a glass-floored skywalk was built and opened in 2012. However, the cliff is not only an attraction for travelers. Local farmers tend terraced fields on the interior slopes. The landscape is too steep for vehicles, but an aerial tram was built in the early 2000s to help them reach their crops more easily. 

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