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Natural wonders of cliffhangers and mountain-topped villages

Hovering on the edge of cliffs or carved into the sides of mountains lie some of the most intriguing cities in all of Europe. Steeped in ancient history, they each tell their own enchanting tale – from the Castellfollit de la Roca in Spain with its flowing River Fluvia to Manarola's cute and colourful villages in Italy.  

Made all the more majestic and magical by their high-cliffed setting and panoramic views, some cities stand perched on limestone rocks in the middle of secluded valleys. Others overlook the turbulent waters of the sea or lie situated over deep river ravines. But whatever their destination – France, Spain or Portugal –  they will forever remain beautifully unspoiled and ever so picturesque.

A medieval village in the Priorat wine region, Tarragona, in Spain, Siruana has a natural vantage point overlooking Montsant Prades Mountains 

Despite the fact that the Village of Ez in France has recently become an international touristic site, it has succeeded in retaining its ancient traditions and customs. One of the most charming hill top villages in the country, you can stroll down the winding narrow country lanes or stop off at one of the many cafes for a pain au chocolat 

Built between the 12th and 15th century on the tallest, most rugged end of a hill, the castle of the Duke of Frías still stands majestically today. Located in the province of Burgos, the castle boasts well-kept mullioned windows and exceptional architecture 

Manarola village is by far the most distinguished of areas in Cinque Terre and the Italian Riviera. It is most established thanks to its colourful and bright houses, along with the city's unique wine, which tastes like apricots and honey. Experience the pristine Mediterranean waters for deep-water swimming 

Located on the Amalfi Coast of Compania, Positano has transformed from a poor fishing village to an extremely popular and visited tourist attraction. Despite its small size, it's one of the most popular tourist destinations in all of Italy. Several popular films were also shot here, including Under the Tuscan Sun in 2003 and Only You in 1994 

Built on the rocky face above the Alzou River in southwest France lies the tiny village of Rocamadour. Nowadays the village thrives with tourists, but dating back to the 12th century, it became almost deserted as a result of the war and French Revolution

 

Ronda is found in the province of Malaga in Spain, famous for its city cliffs. Situated in the mountains at an elevation of 760 metres (2,500 ft), the city is split in two by the Guadalevin River that runs through Ronda, causing it to sit on either side of the El Tajo Canyon formed by the river 

One of the most exceptional villages in the province of Girona, Spain, Castellfollit de la Roca is a little spot of peaceful paradise. It was built over basalt foundation and most of its buildings seem to bend over the edge of the cliff, giving the illusion that they could  tumble at any second.  A famous landmark is the old church of Sant Salvador, which dates back to the 13th century 

Najac is a picturesque village set along a ridge above a bend in the Aveyron River in Southern France. The village prides itself upon its medieval history, produce of ham and abundance of vegetation and greenery 

Located in Sintra, Azenhas do Mar is Portugal's picturesque valley with quaint white houses perched on the North Slope. The beaches here are renowned as some of Portugal's best, since natural swimming pools are found in rock 

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