Bonifacio, Corsica, France
To the west, on France’s island of Corsica, is Bonifacio, the city known as the Citadel of Cliffs. Bonifacio is a medieval town built on Corsica’s white limestone cliffs. It’s also known as Bunifaziu—Corsica and the Italian island of Sardinia were once connected until volcanic activity separated them into two islands, which eventually belonged to two different nations. The residents of the Citadel of Cliffs and neighbouring towns speak a French-Italian dialect.
Bonifacio is the oldest town on Corsica, founded in the early 800s, and is supposedly where Odysseus had his poetic run-in with the cannibalistic Laestrygonoians. You can descend from the top of the cliffs down to the sea by a steep stone staircase called the Staircase of King Aragon Alfonso V. Like staircases?
Also in France is the sacred city of Rocamadour in the Dordogne Valley. Built on three levels of cliffs overlooking the Alzou Canyon, Rocamadour is a medieval city towering almost 122 metres from the valley below. The car-free town has just one street and from it, you can climb the 216 steep steps of the Great Staircase halfway up the cliff to a square with eight churches.
Pilgrims have come here for hundreds of years to worship, and that makes Rocamadour a place to be especially careful about being a responsible tourist. That means dressing respectfully and making sure you don’t ignore the ethics of travel photography. Rocamadour’s castle sits atop the village and tourists can walk the ramparts to admire the views of the Alzou Valley. If you want a photo of the sky-high village, they’re best taken from the hamlet of L’Hospitalet.
Azenhas do Mar, Sintra, Portugal
Further west, in Portugal, is the popular tourist area of Sintra and the town of Azenhas do Mar. This tiny fishing village has a population of just 800 people. The town of white buildings with red roofs sits on the cliffs and has a large sea-water swimming pool next to the sandy Atlantic Ocean beach.