Throughout history, people have been fascinated by the idea of reaching the end of the world, and numerous tales and legends have been woven around this captivating concept. From the ancient Greek myth of Atlas holding up the celestial spheres at the edge of the world to the daring explorers of the Age of Discovery who braved uncharted waters in search of new lands, the notion of standing at the edge of the world has long captivated the human imagination. Even in literature, characters such as Jules Verne’s Phileas Fogg in “Around the World in Eighty Days” embarked on ambitious journeys to circle the globe, pushing the boundaries of the known world.
How far do you have to travel to feel like you’re on the edge of the world? The truth is, there are places scattered across the globe where you can experience that exhilarating sensation without venturing into uncharted territories. Whether it’s the breathtaking cliffs that drop precipitously into the ocean or the seemingly infinite expanses of salt flats that blur the line between earth and sky, these awe-inspiring locations evoke a unique feeling of standing at the very edge of our world. The feeling of being on the brink of an immense expanse, where the vastness of nature’s wonders surrounds you, can bring a sense of wonder, excitement, and even a touch of fear.
In this article, we’ll explore some of these remarkable places, where you can embrace the thrill of standing at the edge of the world and witnessing the incredible beauty that our planet has to offer.
1. North Cape (Nordkapp), Norway
Nordkapp, or North Cape, is a must-visit destination for those seeking that edge-of-the-world feeling. Located on the northern coast of the island of Magerøya in Norway, this breathtaking spot is often considered the northernmost point of continental Europe. The highlight of Nordkapp is the awe-inspiring 307-meter (1,007-foot) cliff that plunges dramatically into the Arctic Ocean, creating a breathtaking panorama that makes you feel as though you’re standing at the very edge of the world.
Adding to the mystique of Nordkapp is the captivating phenomenon of the Midnight Sun. During the summer months, the sun never truly sets, bathing the landscape in an ethereal glow that enhances the already otherworldly atmosphere. As you stand at the edge of the cliff, the endless expanse of water and the perpetual twilight combine to create an unforgettable experience that truly captures the essence of standing at the edge of the world.
2. Cliffs of Moher, Ireland
The Cliffs of Moher, situated on the western coast of Ireland, are another awe-inspiring location that will make you feel like you’re at the edge of the world. These majestic sea cliffs stretch for 14 kilometers (9 miles) along the coast and reach a staggering height of 214 meters (702 feet) at their highest point. With the wild Atlantic Ocean crashing against the base of the cliffs, the breathtaking views and rugged beauty of this landscape will leave you speechless.
For an exceptional vantage point, head to O’Brien’s Tower, a 19th-century observation tower built atop the highest point of the cliffs. From this vantage point, you can take in panoramic views of the ocean, the Aran Islands, and Galway Bay. As you look down from the tower, the combination of the dramatic cliffs and the seemingly endless ocean horizon make the Cliffs of Moher a must-visit destination for anyone seeking the thrill of standing at the edge of the world. The abundance of wildlife, including thousands of seabirds, adds to the sense of wonder as you immerse yourself in the power and beauty of nature.
3. Ronda, Spain
Perched on a dramatic cliffside in the province of Málaga, Spain, the picturesque town of Ronda offers a unique perspective on living at the edge of the world. Divided by the deep El Tajo gorge and connected by the stunning Puente Nuevo bridge, this historic town combines breathtaking views with rich history and culture. The sheer cliffs surrounding Ronda create a spectacular backdrop that emphasizes the town’s precarious position at the edge of a 120-meter (394-foot) drop.
For an unforgettable experience, stroll along the pathways leading to the Mirador de Ronda, a scenic viewpoint that offers a sweeping panorama of the surrounding landscape. From here, you can fully appreciate the gravity-defying architecture of the town, the lush valley below, and the sense of living on the edge.
4. Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
Discover a place where the sky meets the earth at Salar de Uyuni, the world’s largest salt flat, located in southwest Bolivia. Covering an astonishing 10,582 square kilometers (4,086 square miles), this otherworldly landscape offers a unique experience that feels as if you’ve reached the end of the world. The seemingly endless expanse of the salt flat, with its mesmerizing patterns and textures, captures the imagination and leaves a lasting impression.
During the wet season, a thin layer of water covers the salt flat, transforming it into a gigantic mirror that reflects the sky, creating an illusion of infinite space. Be sure to visit the Incahuasi Island, a hilly, cactus-covered outcrop in the middle of the salt flat. From here, you can truly appreciate the vastness of Salar de Uyuni and the stark contrast between the bright white salt and the vivid blue sky. Witnessing the seamless fusion of land and sky at this remarkable location will undoubtedly provide a memorable experience.
5. Sørvágsvatn, Faroe Islands
Sørvágsvatn, the largest lake in the Faroe Islands, offers a unique perspective that intrigues and fascinates visitors. Located on the island of Vágar, this remarkable lake appears to hover above the ocean due to an optical illusion created by its position on a cliffside, just 30 meters (98 feet) above sea level. The lake’s tranquil waters are surrounded by lush green hills, which contrast sharply with the rugged coastline.
For the best view of this stunning landscape, follow the hiking trail that leads to the edge of the cliff, known as Trælanípan or Slave’s Cliff. From this vantage point, you can marvel at the unusual optical illusion and take in the breathtaking scenery, where the lake, cliffs, and ocean all come together. Sørvágsvatn is a perfect destination for those seeking an extraordinary experience, with its unique natural phenomena and the sense of standing at the edge of a captivating, seemingly impossible landscape.
6. Casa Del Arbol, Ecuador
High up in the mountains of Baños, Ecuador, you’ll find Casa Del Arbol, or “The Treehouse,” which hosts an extraordinary attraction called The Swing at the End of the World. Positioned at an altitude of 2,600 meters (8,530 feet), this wooden swing hangs from a tree branch and offers a thrilling experience as it soars over a steep drop, providing breathtaking views of the Tungurahua Volcano and the surrounding Andean landscape.
Reaching Casa Del Arbol involves a scenic hike or an exciting bus ride along winding mountain roads. Upon arriving at the treehouse, visitors can climb onto the swing and feel the exhilaration of swinging into the sky, seemingly suspended over the edge of the world. The Swing at the End of the World combines adventure with the beauty of the Ecuadorian landscape, making it a fascinating destination for those looking to explore nature and create unforgettable memories.
7. Edge of the World Cliff, Saudi Arabia
The Edge of the World Cliff, located northwest of Riyadh in Saudi Arabia, is a remarkable geological formation that offers visitors an unparalleled experience. These dramatic cliffs are part of the Tuwaiq Escarpment, an extensive limestone plateau that stretches for 800 kilometers (500 miles) across central Saudi Arabia. Standing atop these towering cliffs, you can take in the vast expanse of the surrounding desert landscape, which seems to stretch out endlessly in all directions.
To fully appreciate the majesty of the Edge of the World Cliff, follow the hiking trails that lead to various viewpoints along the escarpment. From these vantage points, you can marvel at the stark beauty of the desert landscape and the contrast between the sheer cliffs and the seemingly infinite horizon. The Edge of the World Cliff provides a unique and captivating experience for travelers seeking to explore the natural wonders of Saudi Arabia and stand at the edge of a seemingly boundless landscape.
8. Falaise d’Aval, Étretat, France
Étretat, a picturesque coastal village in Normandy, France, is home to the captivating Falaise d’Aval. This extraordinary cliff formation is famous for its towering limestone arch, L’Aiguille (The Needle), which stands 70 meters (230 feet) tall amidst the relentless waves of the English Channel. The alluring beauty of Falaise d’Aval and its surroundings has long been a muse for renowned artists such as Claude Monet, who immortalized the landscape in their paintings.
To fully embrace the exhilarating sensation of standing at the edge of the world, venture along the hiking trails that lead to the clifftop. From this vantage point, you can peer down at the surf crashing against the cliff base and behold the sheer scale of L’Aiguille towering above the waters. The dramatic juxtaposition of the rugged cliffs and the seemingly infinite horizon of the English Channel further amplifies this extraordinary experience.
9. Cabo de San Vicente, Portugal
Cabo de San Vicente, situated on the southwestern tip of Portugal, is a breathtaking destination that offers a dramatic experience. As the southwesternmost point of mainland Europe, this windswept cape, also known as Cape St. Vincent, features towering cliffs that rise majestically above the Atlantic Ocean. From the clifftops, the seemingly endless horizon and the powerful waves crashing below create an awe-inspiring atmosphere.
The area has a rich history and is steeped in legends. Ancient navigators once considered this cape to be the end of the world, and it has been a vital landmark for seafarers for centuries. The historic lighthouse, perched atop the cliffs, continues to guide ships along the treacherous coastline, adding an air of mystery and wonder to this captivating location.
10. The White Cliffs of Dover, England
Located on the southeastern coast of England, the White Cliffs of Dover are an awe-inspiring natural formation that leaves a lasting impression on visitors. These remarkable chalk cliffs stretch for eight miles and reach heights of up to 110 meters (350 feet) above the English Channel, creating a memorable landscape that has captivated people for generations.
When standing at the top of the White Cliffs, you can enjoy a vast view of the English Channel, and on clear days, you might even see the French coastline in the distance. The height of the cliffs and the sound of the waves crashing against their base provide a thrilling sensation of being on the brink of an immense space. To fully experience the beauty of this iconic site, you can explore the walking trails that run along the clifftops, offering a unique opportunity to appreciate the stunning vistas that unfold before you.